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Go, Ye Heroes, Go and Die

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"You suck!"

"Go, ye heroes, go to glory—
Though ye die in combat gory,
Ye shall live in song and story!
Go to Immortality!

Go to death, and go to slaughter!
Die, and every Cornish daughter,
With her tears, your graves shall water!
Go, ye heroes, go and die!"
Mabel Stanley and her sisters to cowardly policemen, The Pirates of Penzance

When a Rousing Speech... isn't.

A hero — or, well, anyone — is about to go risk their neck for something. A sidekick or other people begin "motivating" them, sometimes in song, by thanking them for the dangerous task they are about to undertake, which may cause their deaths, describing To the Pain what the hero might suffer and — really, it would be better if the hero hadn't heard this speech at all. Especially in comedy shows.

The trope is named after a passage from the song "When the Foeman Bares His Steel," from Gilbert and Sullivan's The Pirates of Penzance.

Compare with Unwanted Assistance, where good intentions don't outweigh the negative effects of the "help". Contrast with the Rousing Speech, which "Go, Ye Heroes, Go And Die" subverts... unless the listeners are from a Martyrdom Culture where a call to go forth and die heroically is a Rousing Speech played straight. Also contrast Suicide Dare, where the speaker leaves out the heroic part and just says "Go and die.", and Bravado Song.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Azumanga Daioh: Right before taking the entrance exam for college, Tomo declares "All right, let's fail this thing!" Only Osaka remains cheerful.
  • In One Piece, Ace's beloved commander Whitebeard comes to try to save him from execution, and it turns into a massive battle. At a fairly dire turning point, Whitebeard puts forth this rallying cry: "Those who would stand with me, prepare to lose your lives!" His men stick with him. They don't all die, but the idea here is that they're making a Heroic Sacrifice to let some of the other pirate factions get away.

    Comic Books 

    Comic Strips 

    Film — Animated 
  • In A Bug's Life, all of the ant children put on an adorable pageant for the "warrior bugs", featuring a mural showing them getting massacred in battle, and then a school play where all the characters die dramatically. The "warrior bugs", who are in fact circus performers who had no idea they had been mistaken for warriors until this moment, are horrified.
    Rosie: Oh, look at the beautiful colors of the... blood.
    Dot: We drew one of you dying because our teacher said it would be more dramatic!
  • In The LEGO Movie, Emmett spends a bit too long on the part of the Rousing Speech where he plays down his strengths, so that by the time he gets to the actual rousing part, everyone's lost faith in him.
  • Pooh's Grand Adventure: Owl sends Pooh and the others off into the Great Unknown with Adventure is a Wonderful Thing, a deceptively-upbeat little ditty about the dangers and misery they'll encounter on their journey.
  • Ratatouille:
    • When Linguini gives his "inspiring" speech in preparation for the arrival of food critic Anton Ego, he depresses his kitchen staff so much that by the end only Colette can muster the energy to stand up straight. (It doesn't help that what he actually said was, "Appetite is coming, and he's going to have a big ego!")
    • Colette finally stops him and gives her own shorter speech, which moralizes them much better.
      Colette: Ego is just another customer. Let's cook!
  • The first Shrek movie has Lord Farquaad giving a speech trying to inspire combatants in a tournament, saying that the winner will be given the chance to rescue the fair princess, Fiona. And then starts rambling on about a pecking order if the first hero should fall.
    The champion will have the honour - no, no, the privilege, to go forth and rescue the lovely Princess Fiona from the fiery keep of the dragon! If for any reason, the winner is unsuccessful, the first runner-up will take his place! And so on and so forth. Some of you may die, but it's a sacrifice... I am willing to make.
  • "La Resistance" from South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut. It's very inspiring for everyone except the three people it's supposed to be inspiring. (Also see Les Misérables under Theater, which is what this song is parodying.)
    You may get stabbed in the head
    With a dagger or a sword,
    You may be burned to death,
    Or skinned alive or worse,
    But when they torture you,
    You will not feel the need to run
    For though you die, La Resistance lives on!

    [...] They may cut your dick in half,
    And serve it to a pig,
    And though it hurts you'll laugh,
    And dance a dickless jig,
    But that's the way it goes,
    In war you're shat upon,
    Though you die La Resistance lives on!
  • Wreck-It Ralph: Ralph's encouraging speech to a nervous Vanellope as they are on their way to the big race presumably has the opposite of its intended effect:
    Ralph: If you get nervous, just keep telling yourself, "I must win Ralph's medal or his life will be ruined." And have fun!
  • Admiral Fred gives one of these in Yellow Submarine just before The Beatles board the submarine. Fortunately, the Beatles are not fazed for more than a few moments.
    Fred: Well, lads, what do you think?
    George: Well, I think that...
    Fred: Remember, there'll be rough seas ahead. What do you think?
    Paul: Well, then, um...
    Fred: Pounding, overwhelming waves! Now, what do you think of that?
    John: Well, I think that...
    Ringo: As a matter of fact, I...
    The Beatles: I think...
    Fred: Well?
    The Beatles: I've forgotten.

    Film — Live Action 
  • In the Babylon 5 movie In the Beginning, the President of the Earth Alliance calls for volunteers to hold back the final Minbari advance to buy time for civilians to escape. A subversion in that, depressing as it is, the speech does motivate a last-ditch defense.
    President: We will not lie to you. We do not believe that survival is a possibility. We believe that anyone who joins this battle will never come home.
  • An intentional version from the Marx Brothers movie Duck Soup as Harpo is "volunteered" to break through enemy lines in the final battle between Freedonia and Sylvania:
    Rufus T. Firefly: You're a brave man. Go and break through the lines. And remember, while you're out there risking your life and limb through shot and shell, we'll be in be in here thinking what a sucker you are.
  • In Erik the Viking, Erik makes a dramatic speech about the quest he and his men are going on, mentioning the dangers they might face. He only succeeds in making the families of his crew start mourning their deaths before they even clear the dock.
    Lalo: Dis is very bad juju right here...
  • King Erasmus the Randomly Biased gives one at the end of The Gamers: Dorkness Rising:
    Flofenrest: The Mask of Death! It's gone! Stolen, by The Shadow!
    King Erasmus: It must be recovered! Who will risk their life on this quest?
    [the heroes raise their hands/swords]
    King Erasmus: You guys just got here! Surely there is another hero in our kingdom that would prefer to go in their place to certain death?
    [beams at audience]
    [throne room breaks into laughter]
    King Erasmus: Alright, it seems unlikely... Good luck then, off you go!
  • Kermit rallies the Happiness Hotel together to foil a robbery in The Great Muppet Caper, only to ruin everything by warning them of the probability of violence. Fozzie, of all people, is the one to get them all back on the band wagon.
  • Jesus Christ Superstar:
    Crowd: Hey JC, JC, won't you die for me?
    Jesus: [suddenly looks awfully concerned]
  • In Kamen Rider × Super Sentai: Super Hero Taisen, the newly Face–Heel Turn-ed Kamen Rider Decade's speech to his forces consists of "You all suck except for the fact that you come back no matter how many times you're killed, so go out there and fight until you win!" Subverted in that it actually does seem to motivate them, and makes a lot more sense when they reveal that Decade is only pretending to be a villain..
  • Théoden has a remarkably short one in the The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King movie. "No, we can't [defeat them]. But we will meet them in battle nonetheless." No wonder Aragorn took over the duties of rallying his troops in the next battle. The speech was originally Éomer's encouragement for a Last Stand in the book, which is why it boils down to "let's at least try to die heroically".
  • Monty Python and the Holy Grail:
    • "Bravely, bold Sir Robin" is the song of a bard on how Sir Robin will suffer (his eyes gorged out, his elbows broken, his bowels unplugged, his nostrils raped, and his penis...) in his heroics.
      Robin: That's... that's enough music for now, lads.
    • Another famous line:
      Tim: Follow. But! Follow only if you be men of valor, for the entrance to this cave is guarded by a creature so foul, so cruel that no man yet has fought with it and lived! (...) so brave knights, if you do doubt your courage or your strength, come no further! For death awaits you all with nasty big pointy teeth.

  • Blindsight is about a spaceship sent out to examine an alien artifact. At one point, it turns out that the aliens may have been manipulating the perceptions and actions of the crew all along. The ship's captain, vampire Jukka Sarasti, tries to instill confidence in the crew by telling them that their human senses and sense of agency are largely illusory anyway, so this isn't that different. It doesn't really help.
  • Discworld:
    • In Jingo, Captain Carrot rallies his troops with a rousing cry of "If we succeed, no-one will remember. And if we fail, no one will forget!" Noted to be perhaps the worst battle cry since "Let's all get our throats cut, lads." It's a subversion, though, in that it actually works. But only because it's Carrot, who could have led a thousand armies into war under the battle cry of "Eggs! Milk! Bread! FLOUR!" It also fits a running theme of the book: leaders who got their men pointlessly killed are remembered forever, but ones who prevented bloodshed are quickly forgotten.
    • In Lords and Ladies, Shawn Ogg makes an attempt at a rousing speech with a number of problems, but which at one point assures the listeners that the fewer of them there are, the more glory there'll be per survivor.
  • Dionysius ("Mr. D") sometimes pulls this in Percy Jackson and the Olympians.
  • In the backstory of A Song of Ice and Fire, the Storm Queen Argella Durrandon barred the gates of Storm's End after Orys Baratheon killed her father in single combat, intending to go down against the Targaryens fighting. Given that the Targaryens had dragons, her soldiers disagreed. The issue was resolved when they delivered her to Orys buck naked and in chains.
  • In the first book of the Sword of Truth series, Zedd invokes this by using it intentionally: He gets a mob that wants to burn him for witchcraft to convince itself that warlocks are powerful, evil quasi-deities, and then compliments them on their courage to fight such a dangerous foe. And then convinces them that he made their *ahem* "manhoods" disappear, as none of them want to admit they are gullible enough to believe him by checking in front of everyone else.
  • In The Wheel of Time, Mat Cauthon notes that he hates it when his troops sing songs like this when they pass through towns. Interestingly, his hatred stems from the fact that it causes his recruitment to go up massively making it that much more expensive to feed the army. The more brutal and gory the song makes war sound, the faster the recruits sign up.
  • In Worm the collected Heroes and Villains are preparing to fight Leviathan, one of the incredibly destructive monsters known as an Endbringer. Legend starts to give a speech, but quickly veers into the fact that even if this is a "good day", that probably means about one in four of the people in the room is going to die.

    Live Action TV 
  • A rare successful example happens in episode 3 of Band of Brothers, after Speirs, the local Blood Knight, knocks some sense into a shell-shocked private. For what it's worth, Spiers applies this to himself as well, to great effect.
    Speirs: The only hope you have is to accept the fact that you're already dead. The sooner you accept that, the sooner you'll be able to function as a soldier is supposed to function: without mercy, without compassion, without remorse. All war depends upon it.
  • Buffy gives one in the final episode of season 5:
    Buffy: Everybody knows their jobs. Remember, the ritual starts, we all die. And I'll kill anyone who comes near Dawn.
    Spike: Well, not exactly the Saint Crispin's Day speech, was it?
    Giles: We few. We happy few.
    Spike: We band of buggered.
  • The pilot of Community contains a non-death related variation; the Dean's Rousing Speech to welcome the new students in the pilot becomes one of these when he manages to lose the middle, which is unfortunately the bit that contains the 'Rousing' part. The rest is just a list of all the stereotypes (which, unfortunately, match our heroes quite closely) of the kind of 'loser' who attends community college. Naturally, no one listening is particularly roused.
  • Lexx:
    • Subverted in the Musical Episode, where the tale of a noble but doomed last stand genuinely inspires the heroes to do the same. The rousing finale:
      All: We will honor the past
      And fight to the last
      It will be a good way to die
    • In this case, they know that if they do not fight now, they will still suffer the same nasty death a short time later. If they fight now, they at least have a chance at hurting the enemy.
  • On British panel show Mock the Week, on the subject of "Bad things to do when leading troops into battle", Frankie Boyle offered these: Soon you'll be at home with your families! In a jar... on the mantelpiece..." and "Our best hope is that the enemy kills so many of us they become slightly depressed."
  • An ITV Panto had a song in which Jack (played by Neil Morrisey) declares his intent to climb the beanstalk, while a chorus of villagers sung how brave he was for risking certain death. In the second verse he starts explaining why he can't climb the beanstalk right at the moment...
  • At the beginning of The West Wing episode "Election Day", in the moments before the polls open it is suggested that Josh Lyman, the Santos Campaign Manager, might want to say a few words to thank, rouse and inspire the troops. Unfortunately, Josh is in the process of allowing his own neuroses about the occasion to overwhelm him, with the result that his speech quickly derails into a rant about a key tactical mistake that someone he's already fired made months ago, followed by him ordering his staff to incessantly nag their friends and loved ones throughout the day to act as informal poll observers. And he forgets the whole 'thank you' part. Needless to say, the troops are neither roused nor inspired by all this.
  • Another non-death variation happened in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air: Will has bet a lot of money on his college football team and seeing their regular motivator/mascot Carlton isn't available he tries to fill in and proceeds to give a Rousing Speech to motivate the team urging them to give it their all since winning this game will be the greatest moment of glory of their lives... literally, because the chances of any of them going pro are slim to none and a fair number of them probably won't even graduate. Naturally, they get bummed out and lose despite Carlton returning.
  • How I Met Your Mother: Barney gives Marshall a pep talk on picking up women. "Tonight isn't about scoring. It's about believing that you can do it, even though you probably can't."
  • In the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "Sacrifice of Angels" Facing a fleet that outnumbers their own more than 2:1, Dr. Bashir and Chief O'Brien decide it's a good time to recite "The Charge of the Light Brigade" (appropriately, the Federation fleet numbers about 600 ships). To their credit, they eventually realize that they're not being helpful:
    Ensign Nog: How does that poem end?
    O'Brien: [slightly abashed] Uh, you don't want to know.
  • In Power Rangers Mystic Force, the Rangers are chatting about their upcoming hike through the dangerous Cimmerian Forest (presumably no relation to Power Rangers in Space's Cimmerian Planet.) Udonna sternly tells them of all the horrors that will befall them, ending with saying that the challenge won't be returning with the McGuffin, but returning at all. The point of it was that they should take what's coming more seriously, but the script went far enough to make it sound like she really shouldn't be sending them in the first place, if she's that sure the only people who can save both worlds form the Underworld are going to wind up as something's dinner.
  • In an episode of Frasier, after a run of bad luck that's been bad even by Frasier's standards, he's come to view himself as being cursed. Niles tries to motivate him by pointing out that curses don't exist, but his method of pointing this out accidentally turns into listing all the ways that Frasier's life sucks:
    Frasier: Every time my reunion comes around, it coincides with a severe downturn in my life. Five years ago Lilith divorced me; five years before that I was left at the altar; five years before that I fell face first into the poison ivy! And here we are right on schedule, I'm freshly fired!
    Niles: Frasier, you are a man of science. You know curses don't exist. There's a perfectly rational explanation for all of this. You tripped and fell into the poison ivy; your radio station changed formats; your wife didn't love you—
    Frasier: If this is a pep talk, would you kindly segue to the peppy part?!
  • Done in musical form on Galavant. After angering the evil queen and getting a price put on his head, Sid rallies a group of peasants into marching on the castle, while singing a rousing anthem of rebellion. Unfortunately, the lyrics primarily concern how hopeless their cause is, and devolve into increasing graphic descriptions of the injuries they can expect. By the time he reaches the castle, he's the only one who hasn't fled.
    "Is it hopeless? Yeah, you said it!
    We might as well forget it.
    Tomorrow we'll regret it, but today, we rise!"
  • In the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "The Ensigns of Command", Data attempts to deliberately do this as a form of Reverse Psychology. It doesn't work.
  • Smart Guy: Coach Gerber's attempts at a Rousing Speech are anything but.
    • From "Below the Rim," to the basketball players:
      UNTIL ONE DAY at halftime of another game YOU DON'T HAVE A PRAYER OF WINNING, you get a note from your wife, telling you not to bother to come home! That she has shipped off your clothes to a Days Inn in Bethesda. But finally, you decide you're not going to lose anymore, because you're not gonna play. You're just gonna get in your El Camino, and drive until you get to a place where they NEVER EVEN HEARD OF BASKETBALL!
    • From "The Graduate," during his commencement speech:
      And, they say baldness comes from your mother's side of the family. Well I'm here to tell ya – my mother's brother Eddie, full head of hair, looks like freakin' Fabio! There's a lot of false information out there, kids, so be suspicious and get EVERYTHING IN WRITING, because you know who's watching your back... NOBODY! I guess all I'm trying to say is if your brother-in-law comes to you with a get-rich-quick scheme about ostrich, the other red meat, think twice before sinking your workman's comp settlement into it. Because if you give life half a chance, it will reach down your throat, PULL OUT YOUR HEART AND FEED IT BACK TO YOU ONE BITE AT A TIME.

  • In The Marriage of Figaro, the melody of Figaro's remarks to Cherubino, "Non più andrai" can be considered as this, explaining the joys of the soldier's life: no more women, no more dancing, but marching all day in big helmets and mustaches, foul weather, low pay, to the sound of bombards and cannons.
  • "When the Foeman Bares his Steel", from The Pirates of Penzance, is the Trope Namer. The policemen sing about how they could use some incentive. Then the women sing about how heroic they are to be facing certain death. Lampshaded by the leader of the policemen:
    "We observe too great a stress
    on the risks that on us press,
    and of reference a lack
    to our chance of coming back.
    Still, perhaps it would be wise
    not to carp or criticize,
    for it's very evident
    these attentions are well meant."
    • Towards the end of the song the police are working themselves up to it, and keep singing "Forward on the foe/we go, we go" (while starting to march offstage, only to turn around, march back and reaffirm that they really are going now; rinse and repeat). After a couple of iterations Major-General Stanley starts shouting "Yes, but you don't go!"
  • The musical Les Misérables has about half of "Do You Hear The People Sing?", which could perhaps stand to go into a little less detail on the blood of the martyrs and whatnot.

    Video Games 
  • The Exile can give one of these deliberately in a Dark Side option during the defense of Dantooine in Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords.
    • If your Persuade or Speech skills are too low, the most you can tell them is "Try not to get shot".
  • In Mass Effect 3, if Javik goes to the Citadel, he'll attract attention from some civilians due to being a Prothean. When asked if whether or not they'll have a chance to defeat the Reapers, he'll bluntly tell them that if his people were wiped out then this generation has absolutely no shot at beating them. However if Shepard steps in, he'll turn the speech around and make a Rousing Speech instead.
  • During a Serious Sam 2 cutscene, the hero tries to give a rousing speech, but an enemy mook messing with the microphone cable manages to time his disruptions of the speech so that it turns into one of these. It still works.
    Sam: If we go now [...] we'll never have a chance [...] to defeat Mental. [...] go now [...] enter those starships [...] that fate awaits you.
  • In The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, Ghirahim gives a speech similar to this to his army before the final showdown with Link by telling them to die on Link's sword to slow him down so that Ghirahim can finish an important ceremony. The army knows that if they don't die on Link's sword, then they will die on Ghirahim's.
  • Dawn of War Soulstorm: Indrick Boreale's... attempt at a Rousing Speech features this.
    Boreale: Battle-brothers! Space Marines, today the enemy is at our door! We know our duty and we will do it! We fight for our honor, as Blood Ravens, as Space Marines, and we fight in the name of the Emperor! And if we die this day, we die in glory! We die hero's deaths! But we shall not die, no, it is the enemy who will taste death and defeat!
  • Those Green Goblins in The Bard's Tale, in that case it overlaps with "The Reason You Suck" Speech, since its not entirely clear if its even supposed to be a Rousing Speech, then again... Yeah, oh how reassuring it is to hear them sing how the titular bard is not the chosen one and is gonna die. This goes on for an entirety of no less than 4(!) songs! Although in the final 5th one they finally acknowledge the truth (that one certainly qualifies though.
  • In Total War: Warhammer, a lot of Balthasar Gelt's speeches are to the effect of "I need this special title/magical artefact and here's why you should give your lives to help me get it". It has no effect on the morale of the troops present though.
    "Welcome to Estalia, gentlemen. I will not lie: the chances of your survival are small. Some may even turn against your friends as living corpses. But you have my word, that I will use my arcane gifts to ensure your bodies are given unto Morr's garden. This is the greatest reward, more than even gold, for the fate of your soul is an eternal concern. Now come, follow me: Strike down the undead that rise against us, allow me to find this eldritch amulet! I ask not for my own selfish studies, but for the good of the Empire!"
    • Before the Final Battle in the sequel's Vortex Campaign, Tretch Craventail will deliver a speech to his troops on the monumental task ahead and the value their contribution (especially his) will have for the Under-Empire. He then adds that he's vitally needed for reconnaissance elsewhere, far away from the actual battle.
      "Forward rodents of Rictus: The Elf-thing island; ours! Vortex; OURS!
      ** Beat**
      (Let me just go and take a look-strategise from this vantage point far-far over here...)"
  • In the Total War series, depending on the traits of your generals and the situation of the battle, they can give speeches ranging from inspiring and full of insults towards the enemy, to tedious and rambling, to depressed and defeatist, to rants about moon-men and funny hats.

  • The Adventures of Dr. McNinja gives us this gem, wherein the titular Doctor encourages his army of rabble to become Cannon Fodder in order to be privileged to witness a lot of dinosaurs being punched.
  • The Order of the Stick:
    • Elan's speech before the Azure City battle is a nice example of this. It parodies every well-known Rousing Speech in the book and actually builds to a pretty good heartening crescendo, until Elan makes one offhand observation that just deflates the whole thing at the speed of sound.
    • He gives another Sombering Oration later, filled with Brutal Honesty about the Empire of Blood. Haley subsequently points out that it was actually a sort of moral victory to make the oppressed people stop being excited about Bread and Circuses.
    • Subverted (and possibly defied) with Roy's drunken speech in strip 1187, which is just kind of "Go do whatever while I sleep this off before we go save the world." Elan's follow-up makes it inspiring when he points out that Roy (The Leader and frequent Only Sane Man) trusting for the rest of the team to do what they think is best is a sign of huge progress for all of them.

    Web Original 
  • Two possible ways for Clickhole's What Hope Do We Few Have Against The Armies Of Byzantium to go; one dutifully accepting demise, the other manically embracing it.
    So, who among you will march with me this day against the legions of Byzantium? Who among you will greet Death not as an unwelcome wraith, but as the bard who shall draft your deeds into song? Who among you will abandon both hope and despair—those equally false fiends!—and navigate solely by the unfaltering waypoint of honor? I shall go proudly into the fray with the soldiers among you at my back, and nothing but glory before me!
  • Oxventure: At one point in the Dungeons & Dragons campaign, Dob the half-orc bard makes it his personal project to provide some Character Development to the recently dethroned "King" Lynton of Dunbridge - a former butcher's boy who tricked his way onto a small village's hastily assembled throne and spent his time on it being just kind of obnoxiously selfish and juvenile. One stage of this plan consists of enlisting Lynton into a very small rebellion, and then spouting an elaborately detailed metaphor about the importance of choking the machine on their bones. It goes so badly that even the other players aren't sure what, exactly, Dob was trying to accomplish with it.

    Western Animation 
  • Invoked in the Sandokan Anthropomorphic Animal Adaptation. In his speech to the mooks occupying the goodies' island stronghold and awaiting a counterattack, "Admiral Zenay" delivers such inspiring lines as "the pirates outnumber us ten to one" (leading the Major to add, in his follow-up speech, "the pirates will be overwhelming us at any moment"). Since "Zenay" is actually Yanez, Sandokan's second-in-command, in disguise, demoralizing them is all part of the plan.
  • Nathan Explosion from Metalocalypse provides one in a college graduation ceremony in the episode, appropriately titled, "Go Forth and Die". In this case, though, it's him trying to make a decent speech but isn't eloquent enough to do so. He then ends up snapping and telling them that even though he's less educated than they are, he's still way richer than any of them will ever be and tells them that they'll all die anyways.
  • On the King of the Hill episode "Peggy the Boggle Champ", Hank tries to motivate a crying Peggy with a speech his football coach used to give: "Loser! You're a loser! Are you feeling sorry for yourself? Well, you should be, cause you're dirt! You make me sick! You big baby! Baby want a bottle? A big dirt bottle?" Naturally, all it does is make Peggy cry harder.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • "Sonic Rainboom" sees Fluttershy trying to reassure Rainbow Dash, who is nervous about pulling off a difficult maneuver in her routine for the Best Young Fliers' Competition: "But Rainbow Dash, just because you failed the Sonic Rainboom a hundred thousand times in practice doesn't mean you won't be able to do it in front of an entire stadium full of impatient, super-critical sports fan ponies!" Rainbow Dash's reaction, as can be expected, is to panic.
    • Later in "Green Isn't Your Color", Photo Finish tells Fluttershy, right before her first big fashion show, "Nervous? Don't be ridiculous. You're only facing a large crowd of ponies who will be watching your every moves and silently judging you."
    • Fluttershy is kind of a magnet for these, since Rarity delivers one to her in "Hearth's Warming Eve". There are many ways to stop Fluttershy worrying about going on stage; talking about how many ponies are coming to watch is not one of them.
    • Poor Fluttershy can't catch a break. In Filli Vanilli, Pinkie Pie attempts multiple times to motivate her into embracing her talent for singing, unfortunately her attempted inspirational speeches go way overboard and end up horrifying Fluttershy. Rarity calls her out on it:
      Rarity: PINKIE PIE! Don't be ridiculous!
      Pinkie: Awww, but I'm so good at it!
  • In the Animaniacs episode "King Yakko", Yakko addresses his army with "I'm not going to lie to you. Some of you might not come back from this battle. And the rest of you? Definitely won't." Naturally, as he goes on about potential horrible death, the army abandons him.
    Dot: Maybe you should have lied just a little.
  • Numbah Four has the same trouble trying to convince the other students to oppose the teenagers in an episode of Codename: Kids Next Door. (Using Brutal Honesty towards first graders about how dangerous something is rarely works.)
  • In the Futurama episode "War is the H Word", Zapp Brannigan tells his troops, "Men, you're lucky men. Soon you'll all be fighting for your planet. Most of you will be dying for your planet. Some of you will be forced through a fine mesh screen for your planet. They will be the luckiest of all."
    • It's explained in the episode where Brannigan first appears that he defeated an army of killbots by discovering they had a built-in kill limit, so he threw "wave after wave" of his own men at them until they hit the limit and shut down. He later offers to put "wave after wave of men at your disposal," which prompts an unseen voice in his crew (who hear him saying this) to shout "You suck!"
  • Played for Laughs in one episode of Star Wars: The Clone Wars when General Grievous gives a Rousing Speech to a bunch of droids designed for suicide-bombing.
    Grievous: You've been designed for this mission, to be the ultimate infiltration units. Some of you may not return... actually none of you will.
  • Final Space: In Episode 6, Gary tries to give a rousing speech to Mooncake about their upcoming mission to the Lord Commander’s prison colony. But although he is certainly sounding enthusiastic, he absolutely doesn’t bother to hide how dangerous the mission will be. As a result, Mooncake flees in terror, leaving Gary and Avocato without backup.

    Real Life 
  • Paul McCartney gives one of these early in the Let It Be sessions. (Yes, one of these made a documentary.) It did not go over well.
  • Too many Real Life recruitment appeals to count, back in the 19th and prior to World War I when death on the battlefield was still considered the highest honor. Before the horrors of mechanized warfare in the trenches began to seep down to the general public, it was considered inspirational to tell New Meat that "perhaps you'll die in battle... but you'll die with honor!!!"
    • In the days when the alternative was returning to die an extended slow death in an urban slum of disease or starvation or coal miner's lung or whatever, it probably was sweet and fitting (or at least more so than the alternative) to die for one's country.
    • A particularly significant one was a speech from Giuseppe Garibaldi during the Italian Wars of Independence: "Follow me, ye generous souls who abhor oppression and the chains of slavery. Follow me. I cannot offer you ammunition nor barracks; all I can offer you is hunger, cold, sun, battles and death. If you love your country, follow me."
    • Kemal Ataturk during the Gallipoli Campaign (1915) to his Ottoman soldiers when trying to stop the Franco-British/Entente invasion, outnumbered, out of ammunition and left with nothing but bayonets to meet the attackers: "I don’t order you to attack, I order you to die. In the time it takes us to die, other troops and commanders can come and take our places."
    • Johnny Got His Gun was pretty much a rebuttal to this kind of thinking. If you didn't get that from the lengthy tirade about what the dead would say if they could speak, go read it again.
    • Ernest Shackleton's alleged advertisement for crew for his Antarctic expedition deliberately invokes this trope, to discourage all but Real Men from applying: "Men wanted for a hazardous journey, small wages, bitter cold, long months of complete darkness, constant danger, safe return doubtful, honor and recognition in case of success." It turns out this ad is almost certainly apocryphal.
    • Winston Churchill's famous first speech as Prime Minister to the House of Commons, during the early days of WW2: "I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat."
    • General Charles Smith to his men at Fort Donelson: "You men volunteered to die for your country, and now you can!"
    • One of the actual slogans for the Red Army during the Great Patriotic War (aka WWII) was "Die For Russia".
    • Many songs on both sides of the Russian Civil War urged soldiers to spill their blood for the motherland. "We shall bravely fight" was used by both the Reds and the Whites, with the Whites promising to "Shed our blood for Holy Russia, one and all" and the Reds declaring they would all die for the Soviets.
    • General Charles Mangin, a French division commander in World War I and Nivelle's right-hand mannote , is alleged to have given the following pep talk just before an attack:
      "Gentlemen, we attack tomorrow. The first wave will be killed. The second also. And the third. A few men from the fourth will reach their objective. The fifth wave will capture the position. Thank you, gentlemen."
    • A well-known and cynical-sounding example is attributed to the French General Oscar de Négrier, who is reputed to have said to the Foreign Legion in 1884: "As for you Legionnaires, you are soldiers meant for dying, and I am sending you where one dies!"
    • On 7 October 1915, Serbian Major Dragutin Gavrilović addressed troops about to fight the Austro-Hungarians with the following injunction: "Soldiers! Heroes! The High Command has effaced our regiment from its number. Our regiment has been sacrificed for the honor of our Fatherland and of Belgrade. You no longer have to worry about your lives, which do not exist anymore. So onward to glory!" (In actual fact, no order was given by the High Command to "sacrifice" the regiment, though the Serbian army did fight heroically and suffered unspeakable losses in the war).
  • US President Jimmy Carter's "Crisis of Confidence" address is often cited as an example of a demoralizing speech, to the point where it is commonly called among Americans as the "malaise speech" (even though the term "malaise" wasn't used in the speech). Basically, Carter was calling for citizens to conserve fuel during the current energy crisis, but it unintentionally took on a tone of blaming his citizens for causing the crisis.


Video Example(s):


No; I said, 'DON'T grieve!'

Every quest must begin with a speech, but some leaders are less accomplished orators than others.
Featuring Tim Robbins and Mickey Rooney as Erik and his Grandfather

How well does it match the trope?

5 (4 votes)

Example of:

Main / GoYeHeroesGoAndDie

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