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Heroism Motive Speech

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The Hero makes a speech about why they became the hero and/or what being a hero means to them. In a lot of works, the hero's motive speech typically lists having a great desire to help those in need. Losing a loved one or being saved from danger in their younger years is usually what they list as the moment where they had their heart set on being a savior. The reasoning might just be For Great Justice — righteousness and the hero's principles.

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The hero might use this speech while training their younger protege, while advising a friend, or as a counter to the villain's Motive Rant.

It doesn't always have to be for a noble cause, though. Some heroes just do it for fun or something fairly simple (To Be a Master is a common one), while darker characters like anti-heroes might be motivated by a grudge or hatred. Knight Templar and Good Is Not Nice characters might focus their speeches on wanting to punish evil.

May involve the delivery of the Standard Cop Backstory. May be part of a Badass Creed.

Related to Motive Rant, where the villain talks about what pushed them to villainy in detail.


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Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Bleach: Ichigo tells Ishida about losing his mother, and after seeing his father and sisters suffer as a result, not wanting anyone else to feel the same. He states that he can't save everyone, but wants to protect as many people as he can, which makes Ishida reflect on his grandfather's teachings and accept his offer to fight the Hollows together.
  • Happens at the end of Puella Magi Madoka Magica, when Madoka finally makes her wish to become a magical girl. The whole series up to this point lays out why she should never, ever do this, first because her naive selflessness would put her in danger, and later because this would literally cause a planet-scale apocalypse due to her uncontrollable power turning her into an unstoppable witch. But she realizes that there's a way around the latter problem, allowing her to use her immense power for good, and fulfilling her desire to sacrifice herself to save others:
    Madoka: I wish to erase all witches before they are born. All the witches in all the universes, both past and future. With my own hands! note 
    Kyubey: If a prayer like that were granted, it could unravel the fabric of time itself! It would go against the very force of karmic destiny! Do you truly intend to become a god?
    Madoka: I don't care what I become. All those who have fought against witches, who believed in hope as magical girls... I don't want to see them cry. I want them to be smiling to the very end. If any rule or law stands in the way of that, I will destroy it. I will rewrite it. That is my prayer... my wish. Now, grant my wish, Incubator!

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice: At Clark's funeral in Smallville, Bruce has a conversation with Diana about how badly he screwed up, and wants to change things and do better. He talks of bringing together the other metahumans and Diana says they don't want to be found, explaining that she gave up on humanity a long time ago. Bruce asserts that "Men are still good." and they can do better.
  • In Hot Fuzz, when Danny finally gets Nicholas to open up to him, Nicholas reveals that his obsession with being a model police officer was inspired by his uncle Derek's (who was also a policeman) gift of a police pedal car when Nicholas was five years old. Even when Derek was later imprisoned for selling drugs, Nicholas' desire to uphold law and order only grew stronger.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the episode "45-year-old new bodyguard!! Protect the lives of 20,000 spectators" in BG: Personal Bodyguard, Akira Shimazaki was back to doing his work as a private security bodyguard contractor, after being reassigned to do Traffic Guard work from 2012 to 2018 from a Noodle Incident, when he subdued a reporter from a local magazine for trying to kill Minister of Health, Labor and Welfare Aiko Tachihara. While Tokyo Metropolitan Police Security Bureau officer Yosuke Ochiai of the Security Police Division speaks to him, he can't help but mention that civilians like him are involved in close protection work. Shimazaki's speech serves as subtle foreshadowing of the growing rivalry between the TMPD and Hinode Security Service in the close protection realm. It also serves as Shimazaki's motivation for why he's involved.
    Ochiai: I don't approve of civilians doing personal security. Money can't protect people. This is no place for yojimbos.
    Shimazaki: Do you know the meaning of yojimbo?
    [Ochiai stares]
    Shimazaki: Powerful servants employed by samurais and the mafia to finish off their enemies. That isn't the original meaning.
    [Shimazaki takes traffic cone bar from safety cone]
    Shimazaki: Using a polenote  to defendnote  themselves from an adversary... that's where the name comes from.
    Ochiai: So what?
    Shimazaki: If it wasn't for you guys [SPs] and your guns, he [the suspect] wouldn't have taken out his knife. By being unarmed and using only a pole... No.
    [Shimazaki opens his suit jacket to show his white dress shirt and necktie only]
    Shimazaki: It's because we're unarmed that we can protect people. Don't you think?
    Ochiai: [laughs] Must be nice. Doing and saying what you like as a civilian.
    Shimazaki: I'm sorry. That was self-important of me.
  • In "Community", this speech is very much a staple of every episode (usually done near the end of the episode). It is even referenced in-universe as "Winger Speech", named after the main character of the show, Jeff Winger. It is sometimes Played for Laughs, like when Jeff tries to convince Troy to join Greendale Community College's Football team and when he gave another speech to convince Troy to NOT join the team (much to the chagrin of the other players).
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    Literature 
  • Kane story "Cold Light" introduces Knight Templar Lord Gaethaa, aka "The Crusader", who was born as an aristocrat but got tired of his pampered life and decided to devote his life and resources to fighting evil. He delivers his speech to citizens of plague-wracked Sebbei — and it falls flat, as they have already crossed the Despair Event Horizon and only want to be left alone.
    I have made it my mission in life to hunt down and destroy the agents of evil who bring death and deprivation to the helpless! Too long has evil held sway over our lives - too long have the creatures of evil run unchecked among mankind! Evil has ruled the lives of men with the consuming might of merciless force - and mankind has had to bow to its terror or else be destroyed! But I have sworn to destroy the servants of evil wherever they hold mankind in thrall!
  • Spells, Swords, & Stealth: Throughout the books, the ex-PC knight Timuscor has desired to be a paladin. He has the potential, and good instincts for the role, but is hampered by an unwillingness to fully devote himself to any god who might grant him the mantle and an incomplete understanding of what being a paladin truly means. For a while, he's a Martyr Without a Cause, determined at least to die like a paladin if he can't otherwise be one. The climax of the fourth book, Siege Tactics, sees Timuscor finally understand the true meaning of paladinhood, enabling him to become a Free Paladin, a paladin with all the divine powers without owing allegiance to any god. As he explains to the enemy his party is fighting:
    But I have the strength to stand here, to face you. That's all the calling ever was, really. We put so much ceremony and divine law on it, yet at the end of the day, it is simply the will to stand between the innocent and the wicked. And anyone can choose to make that stand. My failing was in seeing the calling as something to die for, rather than a cause that must drive one to keep living. One cannot make an oath without both conviction and understanding. ... I pledge my sword to the innocent in need. I shall serve the kind, and the weak, and all who seek to live in peace. For so long as I live, I will strive to protect, to save, to endure. My name is Timuscor, and I am a paladin.

    Podcasts 
  • Red Panda Adventures:
    • In "Red Panda: Dead or Alive", the Red Panda explains to Kit that he initially became a crime fighter on a lark, for something to do. As he trained to do so, as he became a beacon of hope for the people of Toronto, the Red Panda discovered that Good Feels Good, and, more and more, became a hero for the sake of others as much as himself and reached a point where he regarded his civilian self as a Secret Identity Identity.
      When I started this, it was a lark. A thing to do to see if I could. The training, the equipment... then I started to make a real difference. I started doing more real good than I'd have ever done if I lived my other life a thousand times over. It became who I am. The spoiled rich boy became more thin character sketch than a person. I couldn't be him again if I wanted to.
    • "The Rookie" features the Red Panda trying to discover the reasons young Flying Brick Mr. Amazing has been rejected for the Allied Super Services and the home-based Danger Federation when heroes with less reliable powers are actively recruited. He discovers that Mr. Amazing's powers are finite, meaning his superpowers will eventually run out and, when that happens, he will die. When the Red Panda tries to convince Mr. Amazing to give up superheroics Mr. Amazing reveals he's had much the same Good Feels Good epiphany the Red Panda did, and would rather be a hero for a week than not be one and reach old age. The Red Panda respects this decision and makes Mr. Amazing one of the few heroes he'll allow to operate in his city.
      It was in that girl's eyes when she saw daylight again. It was in her mother's tears, and the expression on the face of every man and woman there. They felt their lives touched by a miracle. And every single one of them will have hope in their hearts that they didn't have before. If I can do that for a week, a month, a year... and I choose not to so I can live to be a hundred? No. Not me, buster.

    Video Games 
  • Sonic the Hedgehog's speech is short and to the point before his final fight with Shadow in Sonic Adventure 2.
    Sonic: What you see is what you get. Just a guy who loves adventure. I'm Sonic the Hedgehog!
  • Resident Evil 2 (Remake): After failing to help the owner of the Gun Shop Kendo and his zombie-bitten daughter, Leon rants to Ada that he wants to find out whatever caused the virus outbreak in Raccoon City to satisfy his motive for becoming a policeman in the first place.
    Leon: I want to find out what's happening here. And stop whoever's behind it. Helping people like them... that's why I joined the force.
    Ada: My mission is to take down Umbrella's entire operation. We may not make it out.
    Leon: Whatever it takes to save this city... count me in.

    Visual Novels 
  • Ace Attorney:
    • Near the end of the last case in Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Justice For All, after discovering that his client is guilty, Phoenix begins to question what it means to be a lawyer. Edgeworth reveals what he learned in his time overseas. It's not about "winning", it's about revealing the truth.
      Edgeworth: We prosecutors use anything we can to attack the defendant. But [...] It doesn't matter how many underhanded tricks a person uses... the truth will always find a way to make itself known. The only thing we can do is to fight with the knowledge we hold and everything we have. Erasing the paradoxes one by one... it's never easy... we claw and scratch for every inch. But we will always eventually reach that one single truth. This I promise you. That's the reason why prosecutors and defense lawyers exist.
    • After the Big Bad's Villainous Breakdown in the final case of Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney, there is some surprisingly poignant words from Klavier Gavin and the Judge about the nature of the law, given that the two of them are a Bunny-Ears Lawyer and a Cloud Cuckoolander. While the Big Bad believes "the law is absolute" and needed to protect the "ignorant masses" from themselves, Klavier and the Judge point out that the law is not absolute, full of contradictions that inadvertently help criminals, and is constantly changing as a reflection of human morals, and that it is thus the job of lawmakers and defenders to nurture it over time.
      The Judge: The law is the end product of many years of history... the fruit of human knowledge! Like a gem, polished to a gleam through trials... and errors. It is this fruit we receive, and pass on, and face in our time. And it is always changing, growing. Nurturing it is our task as human beings.
    • In the final case of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Dual Destinies, as Phoenix, Apollo, and Athena deliver the final key piece of evidence that proves identity of the culprit, they also deliver a lecture about the power of trust that punches a hole in the villain's unemotional facade and prompts a massive Villainous Breakdown.

    Web Animation 
  • RWBY: Ruby Rose talks to her friend Blake about how she was inspired by stories and fairy tales of heroes and grew up wanting to become just like those heroes of legend.
    Ruby: I love books. Yang used to read to me every night before bed. Stories of heroes and monsters... They're one of the reasons I want to be a Huntress!
    Blake: And why is that? Hoping you'll live happily ever after?
    Ruby: Well, I'm hoping we all will. As a girl, I wanted to be just like those heroes in the books... Someone who fought for what was right, and protected people who couldn't protect themselves!

    Web Videos 
  • Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog: Parodied with Captain Hammer's song "Everyone's A Hero," where he gives a speech about how being a superhero is all based in philanthropy, except he's both incredibly narcissistic about how cool it is to be a real superhero and incredibly insensitive towards the people he's supposedly helping.

    Western Animation 
  • During a Flashback in the SWAT Kats episode "The Wrath of Dark Kat", Jake Clawson and Chance Furlong are kicked off the Enforcers because of an incident involving Big Bad Dark Kat, then forced to work in a salvage yard. However, this causes them to have an epiphany that leads to their becoming the SWAT Kats.
    Jake: Hey, y’know Chance, there’s enough military salvage here to build our own jet.
    Chance: And do what?
    Jake: Get back in the air and get back at Dark Kat! And all the other criminal scum who rear their ugly heads in Megakat City. Only this time, we do it our way!
    Chance: Well, what are we waitin’ for, buddy?

Alternative Title(s): Heroism Motivation Speech

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