Follow TV Tropes


Hanging Around

Go To

I'm waiting in my cold cell when the bell begins to chime,
Reflecting on my past life and it doesn't have much time.
'Cause at five o'clock, they take me to the gallows pole.
The sands of time for me are running low.
Iron Maiden, "Hallowed Be Thy Name"

When a character is suspended by a noose or knot tied around their necks with the intention of that character dying.

Was once one of the most common ways to conduct a Public Execution and remains a primary method of capital punishment in countries and regions across the world. In such cases, hanging can lead to Dead Guy on Display if the body is not immediately taken down or is intentionally left up to Make an Example of Them and possibly dishonor the deceased. This form of public execution is still a genre staple in The Western and in Pirate Stories due to its historical use in both settings and is a favorite of the Hanging Judge.

Hanging is also a common way people choose to take their own life in real life and is a very popular way to have a character commit suicide. According to The Other Wiki, it was the most prevalent way to commit suicide in pre-industrial societies given its relative simplicity and as late as 2008 was still the most widely used method of suicide globally. Ideas regarding the shamefulness of this method vary from place to place and over time, with some civilizations—like those of ancient Rome—refusing to bury those who do such an act and others believing that this method more than others will allow one's spirit to linger and haunt the living, thus carving out a justifiable reason to do so. This latter belief has been found to be prevalent in traditional Chinese culture.

If the fall doesn't immediately break their neck, the victim of a hanging may respond by Clawing At Their Own Throat to try to relieve the pressure before succumbing to unconsciousness or death. If they're lucky, someone might come save them by shooting the rope, cutting them down, or loosening the noose around their necks. If they're The Man They Couldn't Hang, then they may ask The Executioner when they'll be done.

Can also be used as a form of torture, using the noose to cut off a victim's air supply since contrary to popular depictions of Choke Holds, it takes several minutes for a suffocating person to pass out, let alone die. Because it does not require mutilation or drawing blood, hanging as torture can be used as a Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique with The Hero using the minutes it takes before the victim blacks out to get the information they need. That said, when done professionally, hangings usually lead to death by Neck Snap and not just asphyxiation.

See also Noose Catch, a more ambiguous way to have a (usually) villainous character hanged without making The Hero directly culpable, heavily associated with Disney Death.

Note that the "gallows" in Gallows Humor refers to the wooden frame used to hang people from and it is still quite common to see creators make use of Gallows Humor in scenes between characters awaiting their own hangings.

If someone's hanging themself/being hung not for the purpose of killing them, but for sexual gratification, then you got a case of Erotic Asphyxiation (and examples should be listed there). If however that person ends up dying by accident, then both tropes would apply.

Do not confuse this with Unwilling Suspension where a victim is simply hanging helplessly around either by their wrists, torso, or ankles.

As this is a Death Trope, unmarked spoilers abound. Beware.


    open/close all folders 
    Anime & Manga 
  • The first chapter of Ana Satsujin shows our main character, Kurosu, try to commit suicide by hanging himself on a wall-mounted hanger. However, the hanger tears out of the wall due to shoddy construction, creating a peephole into his neighbor's bedroom and acts as the catalyst to the story.
  • The first page of given discreetly shows Mafuyu discovering Yuki's suicide by hanging.
  • Hunter × Hunter: Machi of the Phantom Troupe is able to make her aura take the form of thread, which she can manipulate for various different applications like sewing up body parts and tying up others. In the anime, she has been shown using her thread to quickly kill multiple people simultaneously by hanging them.
  • In Mars (1996), Rei recalls that his mother committed suicide by hanging herself in her bedroom when he was a child. He and his twin brother Sei found the body.
  • In Neon Genesis Evangelion, Asuka's mother Kyoko Zeppelin Soryu killed herself by hanging. She also hung a doll that she thought was Asuka, so to Kyoko, she was hanging her own daughter as well.
  • One Piece: The 4Kids dub claims this was how Gold Roger was executed (in the original, depending on whether you want to with the manga or anime, he was either beheaded or double-impaled). The original does suggest, in Jango's cover arc. that hanging is also a perfectly standard penalty for pirates.
  • Paranoia Agent has an episode dealing with 3 people who had made a suicide pact over the internet. Over the course of the episode, they each try separate methods to kill themselves, one of them being hanging, but they all end up as Bungled Suicides, and it's all Played for Laughs. Subverted in that at the end it's revealed that they were Dead All Along.

    Comic Books 
  • An old story from the 60s/70s has a guy making a Deal with the Devil to become Captain Kidd, his favorite pirate, only to be put into his shoes during the day of his execution by hanging in 1701.
  • In Alpha Flight, Jerry Jaxon tried to hang himself. He survived but did enough damage to leave himself paralyzed.
  • During the 80s run of The Defenders, a depressed Gargoyle tried to hang himself. He failed, due to the fact that his body was too strong.
  • The main turning point of the infamous Chick Tract Dark Dungeons is Marcie committing suicide by hanging herself after losing her D&D character Black Leaf. This event serves as the catalyst for Debbie falling out with Game Master and Wicked Witch Ms. Frost.
  • The Sandman (1989): Jonathan Crane, an incarcerated supervillain obsessed with fear, stages his own hanging as a joke. He has a hidden hook to take his weight instead of the noose; the security guard he's hanged in the next cell isn't so lucky.
    Crane: There's nothing like a good hanging to scare people witless... I'll stick out my tongue, and I'll be white as a sheet, and they'll all look up at me and then I'll go "April fool"!

    Fan Works 
  • In At the End of All Things, Sam is condemned to die via hanging as punishment for leading a rebellion against Saruman. Luckily, Frodo, Merry, and Pippin arrive in time to save him.
  • Jayne gets hung in FireflyThe Execution of Jayne Cobb”(rest of story on right sidebar). Mal fails a Shoot the Rope trying to save him but he then aims for the beam holding the rope. River anticipated it and slipped in an incendiary round that exploded the beam so Jayne would fall and they could get him on the mule. He’s hurt but lives. The erotic effect is mentioned too with someone telling Jayne that when you get hung “ya jizz in your drawers”.
  • In Lincoln is Done, Lola believes she caused her brother Lincoln to run away since she clogged the toilet and lied that he did it. Thus, she tries to hang herself, but her parents talk her down, so she survives.

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Used to dramatic effect in 12 Years a Slave, in which Solomon is hanged by Tibeats for attempting to strike him. Solomon spends hours on his tiptoes to lessen the burden of the rope on his neck to avoid death as everyone else around him continues about their daily routines, paying him no mind.
  • Happens in Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues. After a failed stint at SeaWorld, Ron tries to hang himself over a fluorescent spotlight, but it collapses due to his weight.
  • Played for Laughs in Antique Bakery, in which Min Seon-woo, after having his love confession to a male classmate rejected and a cake shoved in his face, attempts to hang himself in his home and fails miserably. This happens in the opening credits.
  • In Back to the Future Part III, Buford Tannen and his gang try to hang Marty. During filming of this scene, the safety line actually snapped, so Michael J. Fox was really being strangled during the scene. It was only due to the crew realizing what had happened that Fatal Method Acting was averted.
  • Discussed in Beetlejuice, where Lydia's parents think that George and Barbara hanged themselves, but they actually died in a car crash.
  • Chuck of Cast Away tries to commit suicide by hanging when stranded on an island, but he does a test run with a dummy and the tree branch snaps. He later says that was the moment when he hit rock bottom, as he couldn't even die on his own terms.
  • The Crow: City of Angels: After gaining the Crow's powers, Judah tries his attempt at a public execution on Ashe by hanging him from a street light in front of the whole town.
  • In The Crucible 1996, there is a series of Public Executions in which the crowd is at first excited and later miserable after so many have died because of the witch trials.
  • In Detention, Riley attempts to hang herself but slips off the chair before she is ready and starts slowly strangling herself. She is only saved when Cinderhella, attempting to kill her with an axe, winds up cutting her down instead.
  • Flavia the Heretic: The morning after Flavia's attack on the convent, one of the nuns is found hanged from the bell rope.
  • The Gallows: Hanging is the modus operandi of Charlie, a murderous spirit of a deceased student who accidentally hanged himself in a high school play.
  • In The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, the hero and his partner run a scam in which he turns the partner in for a bounty and saves him by shooting the rope before the sentence can be carried out. This leads to several hangings of the latter that the former interrupts.
  • The Goonies opens with a guard at the local jail discovering that prisoner Jake Fratelli has hanged himself in his cell. He goes in to investigate, reads his suicide note, and discovers that Jake has faked his death.
    Guard: [reading] You schmuck. Did you really think I'd be stupid enough to kill myself?
  • Hang 'Em High:
    • A 1968 Western classic starring Clint Eastwood. The film starts with Jed Cooper being lynched by a group of 9 vigilantes due to a wrongful accusation of murder. He survives it and is given the chance to bring the men to justice.
    • Judge Fenton is a Hanging Judge who lives up to the name and is used as a contrast to Jed who ultimately seeks leniency for some of the vigilantes, despite having every reason not to.
    • Captain Wilson expecting the worst when Jed finally has him cornered, decides to hang himself instead of facing him.
    • The man that framed Jed gets hanged for the exact crime he tried to pin on Jed.
  • Hocus Pocus: In the beginning portion of the film that is set in the past, the Sanderson sisters are hanged by the townspeople when they are discovered to be witches who suck the life-forces of little children to prolong their lives.
  • In House of 9, Francis kills Al B. by hanging him with Max's scarf is an attempt to make it look like a suicide.
  • Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, a band of Nazi soldiers plan to hang Indy in a tower at the fortress. When an Allied bomb takes out the floor, Indy finds that the rope around his neck is the only thing preventing him from plummeting to his death, even as it is slowly strangling him.
  • In Jojo Rabbit, The Nazis use this to dispatch of traitors in the town square including Jojo's mother.
  • In Kill Your Darlings, Lucien Carr attempts to hang himself in a jail cell with his sheet, but the knot undoes itself.
  • Machete Kills: Our Made of Iron hero is hanged by a redneck sheriff, but it doesn't kill him.
  • In The Man in the Iron Mask, Porthos gets depressed and believes he has nothing to go on living for. He kisses the tavern girls goodbye and goes into the barn to hang himself. Subverted as you hear a big thud followed by Porthos swearing. Aramis knew he'd try to commit suicide and sawed through the beam...Then the barn collapses on him, since Aramis sawed the wrong beam (he lives).
  • Mission: Impossible – Fallout: Lane manages to ambush and hang Benji, though Ilsa is able to rescue him before it kills him.
  • In The Mummy, Evy rescues Rick O'Connell in the middle of his public hanging in the prison courtyard.
  • In Never Grow Old, Mrs Crabtree's daughter is hanged in the middle of town after she kills her first client as a prostitute. As the town carpenter, Patrick is the one commissioned to build the gallows.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean:
  • The finale of Plunkett & Macleane has Will Plunkett saving James Macleane from the gallows in the biggest Big Damn Heroes moment of the movie.
  • In The Ridiculous 6, in order to serve as a distraction for his brothers' robbing of a bank, Lil' Pete Stockburn is sentenced to hanging for shoving his face into the sheriff's wife's cleavage, feeling all giddy at the gallows. As the trap door opens and he's suspended, he briefly starts choking and dangling around... only to laugh in the audience's face and start fooling around by swinging on the rope, not dying as a result of his strong muscles. As a result, the sheriff and others try to shoot him, but his brother Tommy manages to cut the rope with a knife toss and the other brothers drag him by the cut end across the prairie.
  • In Schindler's List, Amon Goeth is tried and executed for crimes against humanity this way. He's executed via a stool as opposed to a trap-door platform, however.
  • In Ingmar Bergman's Smiles of a Summer Night, Henrik tries to hang himself, but fails to do so.
  • Early in the 2010 version of The Western True Grit, three men are publicly hanged.
  • In Truth or Dare, Justin is telling the truth when he says that Felix hanged himself after receiving the postcard. However, the groundskeeper found him and cut him down before he died, but Felix had suffered brain damage from oxygen deprivation and is now permanently paralysed.
  • The Young Poisoner's Handbook: After Berridge kills himself and Dr. Zeigler drops him from his rehabilitation program, Graham attempts to hang himself with a bed sheet but fails.

  • The Bible: A popular cause of death for Judas Iscariot, born of differing accounts of his demise, is his suicide by hanging in Matthew going so horribly wrong that he suffers a terrible fall that results in his innards spilling out, as in the Acts of the Apostles.
  • Mal is hung by former Browncoats with a grudge in the Big Damn Heroes novelization of the Firefly TV series. Jayne does a Shoot the Rope and Mal survives and is up and moving almost right away because he’s the Determinator.
  • Discworld:
    • In Feet of Clay, there's a gallows in Ankh-Morpork which used to have a body hanging on it permenantly as a warning to others, but now has a wooden one instead. Kids invited to consider the terrible end to a life of crime mostly use it as a swing instead.
    • Public execution does still happen in Ankh, and happens to Moist von Lipwig at the start of Going Postal. He's very surprised to wake up in the Patrician's office, but apparently the executioner is very good at nearly hanging people Lord Vetinari considers could be ... useful.
  • The Essex Serpent: Luke Garrett decides to kill himself by hanging on a belt from a tree. He does it and almost dies but halfway through, he stops because he thinks of his best friend.
  • The Handmaid's Tale: The regime carries out Public Executions regularly, mostly by hanging, with the bodies left on display to warn others.
  • Esmeralda of The Hunchback of Notre Dame is executed this way on charges of murder and witchcraft.
  • The short story Hangman from the 4-issue anthology series, Classic Singapore Horror Stories revolves around a sadistic prison warden who gets promoted to becoming a hangman in Singapore's Changi Prison, where he delights in watching prisoners getting their necks stretched, and even playfully ordered his lackey to take a picture of him posing with the noose—which was used to hang another prisoner barely 48 hours ago—just for fun. That proves to be his undoing when the trapdoor under the noose he's posing with suddenly breaks, and he ends up hanging himself in an Ironic Death moment.
  • In the third book of The Hunger Games tetralogy, Mockingjay, Katniss recalls a somber folk song her father used to sing called "The Hanging Tree" in which a hanged murderer calls out to his loved one to either flee or join him, depending on your interpretation. Later became an actual song due to The Film of the Book, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, and the song's dance remix charted on the Billboard Hot 100, hitting number one on several charts outside of the US.
  • In the first Myth Adventures book, Another Fine Myth, Aahz and Skeeve are found and charged with witchcraft and hanged, but Aahz tells Skeeve to use his rudimentary magic skills to levitate just enough to keep the rope from strangling him and Aahz stiffens his neck muscles, which are much stronger than a human's. Skeeve nonetheless thinks Aahz sacrificed himself for him, leading to a distraught moment.
  • In Newes from the Dead, Anne Greene is executed by hanging for alleged infanticide on trumped up charges - every midwife could tell that the child was miscarried. The execution is described in all gruesome details, like Anne's relatives pulling on her feet to make her death faster. Unusual in that Anne survives the hanging despite all those efforts.
  • "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" is an 1890 short story by Ambrose Bierce which was also adapted as an episode of The Twilight Zone (1959). It is told from the perspective of a plantation owner and Confederate sympathizer during the American Civil War who is about to be hanged by Union soldiers from a bridge. Separated into 3 parts, the first focuses on the lead-up to the hanging, the second shows How We Got Here, and the third details his escape from death because the rope snaps. The infamous Twist Ending reveals however that the rope didn't break and he's been Dead All Along since the end of the first part of the story.
  • The Odyssey has the oldest recorded example of hanging as a form of execution in the part of the poem in which Odysseus returns home and is met with all of the suitors who have tried to woo his wife in his absence. He slaughters all of them and then punishes the 12 maids who slept with them, first by forcing them to clear away the suitors' dead bodies, then by ordering his son to take them behind the shed and stab them dead. However the son, having suffered abuse from the maids, decides stabbing is too good for them: Instead, he hangs them all from one rope.
  • The Outsider: Fred Peterson decides to hang himself after losing his entire family. He hopes that jumping off a footstool with a noose around his neck will snap his neck, thus instant death. It fails and instead he's strangled, which kicks in his survival reflexes and he tries to save himself. Then the branch breaks. He is found unconscious by his elderly neighbor, who gives him mouth on mouth resuscitation till an ambulance arrives. In the end, Peterson ends up in a coma from which he is unlikely to recover.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire: This is a standard form of execution in Westeros and it's not unusual for characters to stumble upon the bodies of hanged men and women.
    • The most notable case involves a resurrected Catelyn Stark having several members of House Frey hanged as revenge for carrying out a massacre in which her son was murdered. The epilogue of the third book is written from the perspective of one of her victims as he's being killed.
    • Hanging is also considered a method of execution for commoners, whereas nobles are beheaded. When Janos Slynt plans to have Ned Stark's bastard son Jon Snow executed for treason, he contemptuously notes that being beheaded is too good for a bastard like Jon, and Jon can hang. In what could be considered an ironic twist, when Jon becomes Lord Commander, he considers hanging Janos for insubordination but opts to behead him instead.
  • In Le Voyage où il vous plaira (roughly "Travel where you will"), by Alfred de Musset and PJ Stahl, the devil tells the tale of a man that tried to commit suicide by hanging himself over a river, taking some poison and, for extra security, shooting himself with a pistol...that misses and Shoots The Rope so he falls onto the river and drinks too much water that makes him throw up all of the poison from his stomach. Yes, exactly like the infamous Darwin Award.
  • The Waste Lands. The inhabitants of Lud hold a Lottery of Doom several times a day whenever a drumbeat sounds over the public address system. Those selected get hung from the speaker towers.
  • The Wheel of Time: Mat goes through a Portal Door and accidentally strikes a bargain with the entities within, which includes returning him to where he'd come from. Since he doesn't set a price or specify that he be returned unharmed, they leave him outside the door, hanging from a noose at the brink of death. A friend is just barely able to resuscitate him.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Andor:
    • Clem Andor was hanged in the public square by the Imperials when they first took over Ferrix, with his widow saying years later that she can't stand to go through the square for the memory of him hanging there.
    • After his mind is broken by torture Salman Paak is hanged in the square by Imperials to remind the people of Ferrix they have no power to go against the Empire. His son ends up building a bomb to toss at the Imperial Ferrix headquarters in response.
  • Being Human (US): Season 4 reveals Donna was hanged by colonial-era villagers as a witch in her first life.
  • In episode three of the Channel 4 miniseries The Devil's Whore, Angelica is hanged by Joliffe. She is later saved by Sexby.
  • The Empress: Franz Joseph has to attend a hanging of conspirators against the crown in the first episode.
  • FBI: Most Wanted: In "Rangeland", Cole Dewey stands the Bureau of Land Management chief on a chair with a noose round his neck and tied to a rafter. After his Joker Jury finds the chief guilty, Cole kicks the chair out from under him and lets him slowly strangle.
  • Forever: In the flashback of "Diamonds Are Forever" Henry is transferred from Charing Cross Asylum (where his wife sent him when he told her he was immortal) to Southwark Prison, and his new cellmate, a priest, not only believes Henry's tale of immortality, but helps him escape by hanging himself. The ceiling is too low for a proper neck-breaking drop, but the priest calculates that if Henry drops with both their weights instead of only his own, it should snap his neck quickly and cleanly instead of a slow, agonizing death by choking. He's right, and we see the shadow of Henry hanging from the noose for only a few seconds, then a flash of light, and then the shadow of the noose swinging empty.
  • Game of Thrones
    • In "Valar Morghulis" Jaime and Brienne find some women's corpses hanging, with a sign saying, "They lay with lions," indicating that the Stark forces killed them for associating with the Lannisters(whose sigil is a lion).
    • In "Mother's Mercy" Selyse Baratheon commits suicide by hanging out of guilt over allowing her daughter Shireen to be sacrificed.
    • In "Oathbreaker", the Night's Watch mutineers who temporarily killed Jon Snow are executed by hanging.
  • It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia: Played for Black Comedy in "The Great Recession." The Gang finds Frank has hanged himself in Paddy's Pub after losing all his money in a Ponzi scheme. Not only do they not care, but his neck is too thick to break so he's just dangling there. Later, after failing at door-to-door sales he tries it again and only manages to break a light fixture.
  • Mad Men: In "Commissions and Fees," Lane Pryce tries to kill himself by suffocating himself with the exhaust of the Jaguar his wife bought him; however, the engine wouldn't start on account of the faulty electrical system (which had been mentioned several times earlier). He later goes back to his office and hangs himself instead and his body being found becomes a major plot point for the following episode.
  • In Series 3 of Misfits, Tanya sets Rudy and Alisha up to die by hanging. Rudy manages to knock her out, but falls off of his chair in the process. Fortunately, his duplicate arrives in time to save him.
  • In Sons of Anarchy, Juice tries several times to hang himself. When he does manage to jump off, the branch snaps.
  • Star Trek:
  • Star Wars, The Book of Boba Fett, "In the Name of Honor": Fennec Shand snags Mayor Shaiz in a noose and hoists him up off the ground. His feet flail about a bit before an audible crack is heard and he goes limp. His corpse is left dangling over all the other corpses Fennec made inside the Pyke Syndicate hideout.
  • Underground: Sam is publicly hanged by his master as punishment for trying to escape the plantation and to send a message to the other slaves. His mother later secretly hangs their master in the cellar as revenge.
  • At the end of the first episode of Watchmen, Chief Judd Crawford is found by Angela dead, hanging from a tree. Subverted when we learn later that he was Brainwashed by Will Reeves/Hooded Justice to hang himself as he was a member of the white supremacist organization Seventh Kavalry, making this actually Psychic-Assisted Suicide.
  • Walker, Texas Ranger: A common form of execution during the days of the titular Ranger's ancestor, the legendary Texas Ranger Hays Cooper, but most of the time in the series, used by the villains against their victims, but in one episode, one villain killed himself this way before he could be arrested.
    • In Season 3's "War Zone", the dispatcher of Prevent Armored, Clete Gibson, is killed this way by the main villain, Mitch Bolton, who was responsible for the murder of a close friend and former partner of Walker's. Walker and Trivette find his corpse while searching his home, but after they cut him down, they find out too late the noose was booby-trapped with a bomb, having been rigged with a fishing line connected to a Self-Destruct Mechanism that would go off in approximately 10 seconds, destroying the house and everything in it. Walker and Trivette barely escaped.
      Walker: When he goes down, this place is going up, so, let's run like hell. On three.
      Trivette: On three?
      Walker: Ready? One, two, three!
      (the bomb goes off and the house and Gibson's car are obliterated)
      Walker: You okay?
      Trivette: Did you say two or three?
      Walker: Three for you, two for me!
    • In Season 4's "The Lynching", a mentally-impaired young man named Jonah Nelson (played by Eric Bruskotter) is almost subjected to this a few times from his angry neighbors when he is framed of killing and robbing Wilma Casey, whom he had been living with at the time and was very well-known in her town, and it eventually comes to the point they start a House Fire with him inside along with Walker and the sheriff. The real culprit turns out to be his Evil Uncle, Earl, and after Walker shames the entire town for almost killing an innocent man, they were all forced to apologize to him. Moreover, Casey left everything to Jonah after she was killed.
    • Two serial killers in the series had this as their Calling Card: Adam "The Hangman" Quinn in "Hall of Fame" (the 4th Season Finale) and Dirk Morgan from "Code of the West" (Season 7). The former, living well up to his name, was an old nemesis of C.D.'s, which ultimately retired him, having never been caught because he checked himself into a clinic, but that failed just as CD was about to be inducted in the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame, and he went right back to his killings, where he is eventually shot dead by CD in a final showdown. The latter was an extremely dangerous convict who had recently escaped from prison and went on a deadly spree of killings against those who put them away, with the retired judge-turned-author who runs a ranch for the children of convicted felons so they don't follow in their parents' footsteps at the end of his list.
    • Mentioned in the show entry above, a villain used this method to kill himself before Walker could arrest him, and the episode where it occurred was Season 9's "Deadly Situation". The villain in question was Lieutenant Shell, a leading detective for the Sage City, Texas, Police Department who was one of the masterminds of a drug ring conducted by Chick Winslow, having framed rookie officer and aspiring Texas Ranger Glenn Cooper (a descendant of Hays Cooper and a distant cousin of Walker's) for the theft of 300 kilos of cocaine from a recent drug bust. After Glenn busted three of his own, Detectives Baker Moody and Rogers, for stealing the cocaine from that particular bust the night before, he gave Shell the original copies of the evidence, but Shell destroyed it all instead of turning it in to Internal Affairs and planted the stolen coke in Glenn's locker, at which point the three busted detectives set out to silence Glenn for good. Glenn doesn't realize the truth until near the end of the episode after Baker, Moody and Rogers are arrested by Gage and Sydney, who retrieved the second set of prints he hid at a library before they could. While Trivette, Gage and Sydney then go on to arrest Winslow, Shell is cornered at his home by Walker and his boss, Captain Ryder, who open his front door to find his corpse hanging from a makeshift noose.
    • "Blood Diamonds" (also in Season 9) had Trivette assuming the identity of an African diamond smuggler (killed by a pimp during a one-night stand with a prostitute named Sparkle, and also later revealed to have been a carrier of an extremely deadly variant of Ebola virus) in order for him and Walker to try to trick Victor Drake, a deadly arms dealer, into a trap. Somehow, Drake caught on to the two Rangers' cover, and subjects Trivette to this fate before mortally wounding Walker. Walker, while being chased by Drake through the building after this while he has the recovered diamonds in hand, recounts everything that happened in the episode in flashbacks before he gets gunned down by Drake after tossing the diamonds off the roof. Afterwards, the entire episode was luckily all just a terrifying nightmare Alex was having, but it may come to pass anyway since Walker and Trivette are on the case from that nightmare.
  • The Young Ones: After finding out no one in the house liked him, Rick tries to hang himself with his belt but couldn't find any place to attach it. He then tries to Suicide by Pills, not realizing the pills he was popping into his mouth by the handful were laxatives. Hilarity ensues.

  • Alice Cooper traditionally climaxes his concerts with his own Public Execution. Over the years, he has been "killed" by guillotine, hanging, electric chair and most recently, lethal injection.
  • The powerful 1939 ballad "Strange Fruit" performed by Billie Holiday and written by Jewish poet Abel Meeropol uses an extended metaphor that compares the bodies of black Americans strung up to a tree to fruit hanging on tree branches in protest of the rampant racist lynchings of the Jim Crow era.
    Southern trees bear a strange fruit
    Blood on the leaves and blood at the root
    Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze
    Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees
  • The Iron Maiden song "Hallowed Be Thy Name" is about a guy condemned to death by hanging.
  • Johnny Cash:
    • The song "25 Minutes to Go" is about a condemned prisoner watching them construct the gallows outside his cell window and seeing the crowd gather for a Public Execution.
    • In the song "Joe Bean", the title character, in prison for robbery and murder, gets hanged on his birthday. The song ends with the prison staff singing, "Happy Birthday, Joe Bean" as the gallows lever is pulled.
  • Led Zeppelin's "Gallows Pole" is about a man to be executed whose family members offer various things to his captives to keep them from executing him. They kill him anyway.
  • The Murder Ballad "Tom Dooley" is a folk song made famous by The Kingston Trio. The lyrics include a murderer musing that he will soon be "Hangin' from the white oak tree..." Based on the real-life case of Tom Dula.
  • The Smothers Brothers' song "Hangman" is sung from the point of view of the condemned man on the gallows. Needless to say, it doesn't last long, and Tommy tells us, "That's the last song he ever wrote."
  • Richard Strauss's "Till Eugenspiegel's Merry Pranks" ends with the title trickster getting the noose.
  • The Strawbs song "The Hangman And The Papist" is all about a Public Execution by hanging.
  • Tyler, the Creator's infamous "Yonkers" music video ends with Tyler hanging himself on-screen, though there is a Discretion Shot.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • In WrestleMania XV, after winning the Streak, The Undertaker proceeded to hang Big Boss Man from the Hell in a Cell structure. Of course, this was mitigated as an illusion, because Big Boss Man had worn a safety bungee harness underneath his suit when he was attached to a long harness cord disguised as a noose; and he had to be taken down off-camera so that he could get to a hospital on a stretcher. The next time he returned no worse for wear, he became known as The Man Taker Couldn't Hang.

  • In one episode of The Men from the Ministry, after losing a 600,000 pounds win he thought he was going to receive from football matches, Mr. Lamb repeatedly attempts to hang himself on his braces, naturally failing because they're too elastic.

  • At the end of The Beggar's Opera, Macheath now finds that four more pregnant women each claim him as their husband. He declares that he is ready to be hanged. The narrator (the Beggar), notes that although in a properly moral ending Macheath and the other villains would be hanged, the audience demands a happy ending, and so Macheath is reprieved, and all are invited to a dance of celebration, to celebrate his wedding to Polly. Some stagings, however, have the Beggar making his pronouncement about the need for a happy ending and totally failing to notice Macheath actually being hanged in the background.

    Video Games 
  • Assassin's Creed:
  • Conker's Bad Fur Day: After his botched attempt to kick Conker's ass, Frankie the Pitchfork hangs himself out of shame. But since he doesn't have "a neck of any description" he's just left hanging from the rafters of the barn until Conker cuts him down later on.
  • Crusader Kings II added hanging among the possible random methods of executing prisoners in the Reaper's Due update. It is accompanied by the sound of the trapdoor opening and the rope creaking.
  • In Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn, Lucia, a Childhood Friend and retainer of Queen Elincia, is about to be hanged by Ludveck's forces when the Greil Mercenaries arrive to save her.
  • Gunfighter: The Legend of Jesse James have your friend, Cole Younger, captured alive by the villains and having a noose tied round his neck while balancing himself on a horse. You'll need to Shoot the Rope in a Quick Time Event - fail and the horse will run off, causing Cole to be hung.
  • King's Heir: Rise to the Throne: Edmund is framed for killing the King and is hanged for it, although the attempt is unsuccessful.
  • The Last of Us Part II has Abby get captured by the Seraphites, who try to execute her this way. The result is an agonizing scene of the character dangling helplessly and choking, before being rescued by Lev and Yara.
  • One of the early missions in Metro: Last Light involves Artyom needing to save his erstwhile ally, Pavel, from being hanged by the Fourth Reich.
  • In Persona 4: Dancing All Night, Yuko commits suicide by hanging.
  • Persona 5: As part of the Velvet Room's prison theme, you can strengthen persona through various forms of capital punishment. After you finish the Pyramid Palace, you unlock the "Gallows" option, via which you sacrifice a persona to strengthen another by hanging the sacrificed persona until it dies, with its stats and selected abilities going to another persona you own.
  • Pirates of the Carribbean: The Legend of Jack Sparrow begins with Jack and Will raiding a Panamanian fort, only to be double-crossed and left behind to be arrested. As they face the gallows, Jack requests to be allowed to tell the crowd about his adventures, and you spend the rest of the game playing through his exaggerated or fabricated adventures until the final level when the execution is finally about to be carried out. When Will complains that Jack's story was just a huge waste of time, Jack replies that was the idea just as Elizabeth saves them in the nick of time and the Black Pearl attacks the fort.
  • Featured as is par for the genre in both Red Dead Redemption and its prequel, Red Dead Redemption II as part of missions and as random encounters, in which players must save a hanging victim from outlaws before they meet their fate.
    • In the first game, there's a mission in which John Marston has to save Bonnie MacFarlane from being hanged by the Williamson gang.
    • In the second game, several missions include a hanging, most notably, the player character is introduced to Micah Bell by saving him from prison where he awaits hanging. A later mission sees rival gang leader Colm O'Driscoll set to publicly hang and you are tasked with preventing O'Driscoll gang members from interfering.
  • Sonic CD Alternative Ending: In Ending B, Sonic hangs himself from a tree after seeing Tails and Amy dead from the collapse of Little Planet.
  • Spec Ops: The Line: Near the endgame, Walker encounters a lynch mob in a refugee camp who attempt to hang Lugo. Walker interrupts the hanging, but Lugo dies anyway.

    Visual Novels 

    Web Animation 
  • In Rabbit Games, when the ? emotion is selected on the "how are you feeling today?" prompt, a stick figure drawing of Percy is shown hanging by a noose.

  • Girl Genius: When we first meet Da Boyz, they've been strung up on a small town gallows, but due to their Jäger physiology, they aren't dying, leading to a pretty literal example of this trope.
  • Homestuck: Terezi enjoys stringing up her puppets with nooses after she imagines herself as the puppet's prosecutor during a show trial. Her tree is full of several puppets which have suffered the same fate. Ironically, this is how Terezi's dancestor, Neophyte Redglare died, when she attempted to execute Marquise Spinneret Mindfang (Vriska's dancestor), who turned her own jury (and noose) on her.
  • Mr Square: The main character once tried to hang himself but he was too top heavy.
  • The Order of the Stick: Played for Black Comedy when Roy narrowly rescues all of the Order except Belkar the halfling from a hanging. Turns out Belkar is light enough to be in no danger; they end up using him as a weaponized tetherball in the ensuing battle.
    Belkar: Hey, any chance you guys can stop eulogizing and cut me down from here? The blood's starting to rush to my head.
  • Our Little Adventure: Two undead Wights hang themselves from nooses in their barn and pretend to be corpses, apparently just to play an unpleasant joke on any living victims who wander in.
  • Unsounded: Stockyard's father hangs himself after taking the fall for something Stockyard did. But other references to hanging include the name of Stockyard's brothel, the Deadly Nevergreen, which is named after the gallows. Also, Quigley is told on several occasions that he's destined for the gallows should the Queensguard catch him.

    Web Videos 
  • Game Grumps: Arin hangs himself at the end of Play With the Teletubbies because the game just drove him that crazy. We don't see it onscreen, but we hear him struggle and choke and eventually go silent.
  • Nightmare Time: In the episode "Honey Queen," the final fight between Zoey and Linda takes place on a catwalk above a stage. During their fight, Linda throws a rope around Zoey's neck. She later pushes the sandbag attached to the rope off of the catwalk, causing the other end to rise, hanging Zoey from the rafters.

    Western Animation 
  • BoJack Horseman: "Higher Love" starts with Mr. Peanutbutter's agent accidentally hanging himself during autoerotic asphyxiation. BoJack then learns his costar Corduroy Jackson-Jackson was addicted to that kink, and by the end of the episode, Corduroy accidentally kills himself when he relapses and strings himself up with a phone cord to get that sexual high back.
  • Much of the plot of the Daffy Duck cartoon “Good Noose” revolves around Daffy having to pass himself off as a magician to avoid being hanged as a stowaway.
  • Family Guy: In "Mom's the Word", after deciding that life is pointless if you're just going to die eventually anyway, Stewie tries to off himself in several ways and he first tries to hang himself, but can't due to the shape of his head.
  • The Porky Pig cartoon "Porky's Romance" sees Porky, distraught over being cruelly rejected by his selfish love Petunia, hanging himself on a tree branch in one of the sadder scenes to be found in a Looney Tunes cartoon. Of course, this being Looney Tunes, Mood Whiplash comes into play when the branch snaps off under his weight.
    • Another example involving Porky is in the cartoon “Claws For Alarm”. As he and his cat Sylvester are staying in a hotel, several murderous mice make concerted efforts to kill the oblivious Porky while Sylvester works to save his life, only to have his warnings be brushed off. Two of these attempts involve nooses: the first at the front desk- Sylvester pushes Porky out of the way before the rope can ensnare his neck- and the second in their bedroom- this time, the rope fastens around Porky’s neck while he’s sleeping, but Sylvester manages to cut the rope before he can be lifted out of the bed, only for Porky to wake up to find Sylvester holding the rope (still digging into his throat somewhat) and the razor he’d cut it with and come to the wrong conclusion.
  • The Ren & Stimpy Show: In "Out West", Abner and Ewalt hire outlaws Ren and Stimpy to steal a horse just so they can charge them with theft and have an old-fashioned hanging. When they get to the gallows, it turns out they ''can't'' be hung: Ren is so light that he just blows in the wind, while Stimpy has no neck.
  • Rick and Morty: In "Claw and Hoarder: Special Ricktim's Morty", Balthromaw gets hung for soul-bonding with Rick, and because of that bond, Rick gets hung as well. However, it takes 78 years to hang a dragon, so Rick treats his coughing and gagging like a minor inconvenience at best.
    Rick: Aw, man, it's s-so annoying. You ever, like, try to swallow a really big vitamin with no water? (gag) You know, like—(grunt)—a really, like, big one, you know, a-and it kinda gets—(gag)—stuck in your throat? (grunt) I-It's annoying.
  • The Shivering Truth: A man repeatedly tries to kill himself and every attempt just causes good things to happen. He tries to hang himself, but the ceiling above him collapses and reveals two Bound and Gagged girls.
  • The Simpsons:
    • As part of the running gag of chronically depressed Moe Szyslak, he hangs himself to try to kill himself several times and it's always Played for Laughs:
      • In "We're on the Road to D'ohwhere," he relates how he tried to hang himself, but the rope broke. So he sued the rope manufacturer, who gave him a huge cash settlement... and a new rope, which is already tied into a noose.
      • In "Simpsons Christmas Stories," Moe makes three consecutive attempts: he hangs himself with a popcorn string that snaps under his weight, rides a sleigh into heavy traffic only for every single vehicle to miss him, and shoots himself in the ear, only for the gun to send a "Merry Christmas" flag out the other ear.
      • Moe apparently succeeds in hanging himself once in a Treehouse of Horror special. Unfortunately, Homer had just killed the Grim Reaper so no one could die and Moe's left hanging there. "If I had known it would've taken this long, I would've put on the TV".
    • Homer's attempts to kill himself by hanging in "No Loan Again, Naturally," but the tree gives way, sparing Homer and wrecking his car.
  • South Park: At the end of "Safe Space", the town kills Reality by hanging him from the gallows.


Video Example(s):


"Hoist the Colours"

As a line of condemned pirates are awaiting their execution, they defiantly start singing about how their way of life will never end.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (5 votes)

Example of:

Main / PirateSong

Media sources: