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Immortality Immorality

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"When one tries to rise above Nature one is liable to fall below it... Consider, Watson, that the material, the sensual, the worldly would all prolong their worthless lives. The spiritual would not avoid the call to something higher. It would be the survival of the least fit. What sort of cesspool may not our poor world become?"
Sherlock Holmes, "The Adventure of the Creeping Man"

Immortality, at least for normal humans, is often seen as just plain wrong. Especially if they used to be mortals who actively wanted to be immortal. The rationale is usually one of these:

  1. Immortality is achieved through ethically dubious forms of Applied Phlebotinum.
  2. Immortality is bad in and of itself, even if attained without using evil means. From a religious standpoint, the crime is overstepping what has been divinely bestowed. From a secular viewpoint, immortality is bad for society even if it's great for individuals. Some works suggest that immortality in itself is damaging to valuing other people's lives: if most people's lifespans seem to pass in the blink of an eye for you, why care if they end slightly earlier?
  3. Immortality exempts one forever from judgement in the afterlife. When death is no longer "the great equalizer" and there's absolutely no way you can ever get a truly cosmic punishment, there is nothing keeping an amoral person from doing whatever the hell they want, no matter the cost to others. Alternatively, a bad guy may seek immortality specifically because they know they're already slated for post-mortem judgement for their past actions.

This trope focuses on immortality viewed by others as a bad thing, as distinct from Who Wants to Live Forever?, which focuses on the immortal character feeling that eternal life is a curse rather than a blessing. It may come up in discussions of The Singularity, as immortality and moving beyond traditional principles of human thought are seen by some as some of its defining characteristics.

The trope may result in a Broken and/or Anvilicious Fantastic Aesop. Expect anyone going ahead with these plans to become Enemies with Death. Also expect them to believe that Living Forever Is Awesome because why else they would commit such a heinous action except for something they want?

Also note that there are generally many kinds of immortality: Biological immortality (live "until killed", like Tolkien's elves) is usually natural, and full immortality rarely is except for gods. A person actively seeking the latter is almost always evil (The Epic of Gilgamesh being a notable exception, although even there the same basic Fantastic Aesop of "Mortal Man should not seek to rise above his station" was enforced).

See also Immortality and its subtropes.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Subverted in Baccano!. While the massacre aboard the Advena Avis suggests the "Immortality is bad" route (they even get immortality through a Deal with the Devil), it eventually becomes clear that eternal life is exactly what it claims to be: life, only (infinitely) longer, while the 'devil' they made a deal with for it is more of an amoral observer than a malevolent force.
  • Battle Angel Alita: Last Order has the citizens of the solar system essentially immortal through Applied Phlebotinum — which means that uncontrolled reproduction is a massive crime and children are lucky to be treated as garbage.
  • In Bludgeoning Angel Dokuro-chan, the reason Dokuro has come to the hero is on account of this. According to her, the hero will in the future create a Lolicon paradise by inventing a device that freezes every girl's growth at 12, allowing girls to live forever as eternal Lolitas; since such immortality is God's domain, the hero must be killed or otherwise stopped.
  • Buso Renkin: Becoming a near immortal homunculus generally requires human experimentation that can result in the deaths and forced transformation of many humans. In addition to this, once an individual becomes a homunculus, they suffer from a psychological Horror Hunger that compels them to consume humans even though this isn’t an actual necessity.
  • Code Geass plays it a different way. We don't know the actual origin of immortality in the setting, but for C.C. it qualifies in a different way since she had her Code forced upon her by the woman she had come to view as a surrogate mother, who was insane and wanted to be free of the curse of immortality. It's similarly implied later on when C.C. considered foisting it off on Mao, and later Lelouch, but despite her supposed Ice Queen nature, couldn't bring herself to do it. She might have gone through this before the show, but that part of her past was never covered.
    • This is just the tip of the iceberg. Immortality is apparently gained in a somewhat immoral way (if you do it that way), through taking the immortal's "Code". Now, maybe in a good world, it was designed to be in a voluntary way, but Charles proves it can be done through deception, without the victim's knowledge or acceptance - after all, V.V. probably wanted to live longer), so this aches to the Sith Rule of Two. But to have immortality, you need Geass, and to get a Geass, a former Geass-user, now Immoral Immortal himself/herself has to go to the trouble of giving you the Geass, and he/she will give it only to someone capable of using it to satisfy his needed, which may range to Magnificent Bastard qualities needed (like C.C. needed the Geass to evolve in Lelouch, finally being able to take on immortality. This may be further complicated if an immortal doesn't want to die, and makes more than a Geass user. The manga expands on this, stating Geass exists to bring chaos to the world, and thus balance it.
  • An episode of Corpse Princess dealt with a doctor who was trying to make people immortal by injecting them with solutions of Shikabane cells in order to save his dying wife. Unfortunately, the quasi-Shikabane ended up dying horribly.
  • Variation in Death Note; from the point of view of the Shinigami, it's no big deal to increase their own lifespans by killing humans, but for them to use someone's death to increase the life of a human is "forbidden and unnatural," and results in the Shinigami in question immediately dying and crumbling into dust. This may have something to do with the motivation most shinigami have to break that rule (love). Given that any death might potentially increase someone else's lifespan, this prohibition only applies to a Shinigami intentionally saving someone from their intended death.
  • In Dragon Ball, the driving point of many a villain was to collect the eponymous mystic orbs in order to summon the Dragon to grant their wish for immortality. While the immortality itself was not portrayed as evil, the fact that everyone searching for it was a Card-Carrying Villain that killed countless innocent people (even the eradication of entire civilizations) and the heroes never considered it (even former villains lost interest in the idea) does carry the inevitable Fantastic Aesop implications. Additionally, of the two villains that successfully achieved immortality, Garlic Jr. was subsequently shoved into a pocket dimension for eternity and Future Zamasu was erased from existence by Zen'O.
  • In The Executioner and Her Way of Life, the villain of the first novel is an old woman who is using large numbers of people as human sacrifices in her pursuit of immortality.
  • A variation takes place in the backstory of Fruits Basket. God has all of His animal friends enter an agreement to continuously reincarnate and stay together forever, so they can continue to have banquets and happy times. The cat is the only one to protest this, arguing that it's better to cherish the good memories they made while growing up and making new friends. None of the other animals wanted to hear this though, and as a result the cat was shunned in all of its reincarnated forms. The state of the Sohma family by the time the story takes place shows that the cat was right, and everyone is only able to find peace when the reincarnation cycle is broken for good.
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist, using a Philosopher's Stone to extend your life is portrayed as immoral. The process of creating the Philosopher's Stone uses up human lives, lots of them.
    • Greed's ultimate goal is immortality, since, as he puts it, "They don't call me Greed for nothing. I want money. I want women, status, and power. I want everything this world's selling and eternity's topping the list!" It's both a means to achieving his other desires and an end in and of itself. While Al points out that Greed seems to already be immortal, Greed himself is aware that he has a finite (though large) number of resurrections available. What he really wants all that time was friends.
    • Hohenheim is granted immortality after he (unknowingly) helps Father sacrifice the entire population of the nation of Xerxes to create Father's body.
    • However, this is averted in the case of Ling and May, who are actively seeking the secrets to immortality, but are still presented as sympathetic characters. This is probably because they're not looking for it so they can use it themselves, but so they can give it to their emperor to help their clans. They've expressed worry that if the emperor knew it was possible to sacrifice everyone in his country to extend his life he would, meaning he is a potential example.
    • In the 2003 anime version, the main method of using the Philosopher's Stone to extend one's lifespan involved stealing other people's bodies. In fact, one of the major recurring themes in both the original series and the 2003 anime are the lengths people are willing to go through to achieve immortality.
  • The Stone Masks in JoJo's Bizarre Adventure can turn a human into an immortal vampire if they absorb enough blood/lifeforce. One character in particular (a former good guy even) was so desperate to avoid old age that he betrayed his allies so he could use their blood to activate one of the Masks. However, this immortality does not come with invincibility. Vampires can be killed for good by exposing them to sunlight or using the Ripple to turn the body's biological processes into a manifestation of the sun's energy.
    • The Stone Masks were originally created by a member of a vampiric species known as the Pillar Men who sought complete immortality and immunity to both the sun and the Ripple. His fellow Pillar Men realized he would be a danger to the whole world and tried to stop him, but he and a handful of his disciples eradicated his whole species. The only thing keeping him from perfect immortality was the Super Aja, a gemstone that perfectly concentrates sunlight. In the climax of the story arc where he is the antagonist, he gets the Super Aja and becomes a perfectly evolved life form that cannot die. Not that he doesn't get what's coming to him.
  • As expected of a series that puts a lot of emphasis on the succession of the old generation by the new one, all cases of immortality in Naruto employs this trope. Orochimaru uses Grand Theft Me, effectively killing someone every time he steals a new body. Kakuzu stole his opponents' hearts to replace his old, failing ones (though Kakuzu declines to think of it as immortality, being more of an extended lifespan than an indefinite one, and is likely more interested in the power that gives him than the immortality). Hidan's immortality is both very evil and very immortal, effectively being fueled by him killing people, though exactly how it works isn't explained in detail.
    • Sasori also considers transferring his heart into a puppet a form of immortality. While he did not have to kill anyone to do it, it is partly a byproduct of his twisted views on human life (according to him, he can "make" people if he wants companionship by creating human puppets from the bodies of ninja).
  • This could be thought of as one of the major themes of Osamu Tezuka's Phoenix series. It's usually the antagonist of the volume that seeks the eponymous bird so that they can drink her blood and become immortal. The protagonists don't often agree with this, because Who Wants to Live Forever? Though it is worth stating that there are quite a bit of subversions as well, especially since the protagonist of one volume actually succeeds in become immortal.
  • Keith White in Project ARMS wants to be an immortal god and is willing to kill everyone in America with a missile to do so. It ultimately is revealed that his plan would never work - the immortal alien lifeform Azrael would never help him destroy the planet because it had spent several billion years alone in space and wanted companionship. The many clones of Huey Graham are also immortal to a degree (their conscious is backed on a computer, and thus can be reuploaded to any body), but all are shown to be emotionless. Their father ultimately decides that it is wrong to keep them that way and destroys their mental backup, shortly before they all die in an explosion.
  • Slayers portrays not so much the pursuit of immortality as universally bad, but the verification. Lina points out that the only way to be sure any method of immortality actually works is to test it, and the only way to do that is to apply it to somebody then try to kill them by every means you can think of(Bleeding and asphyxiation don't work? How about poison? disease? Massive blunt trauma? Acid? Organ removal?). Sooner or later, you'll succeed, then it's back to the drawing board(and the next test subject). One entire kingdom fell into ruin after the king offered a massive reward to anyone who could grant him immortality. The resulting testing phases depopulated entire communities. While true immortality is implied to be impossible, two methods of achieving partial immortality do appear in the series: selling your soul to the Mazoku, which is bad; or being cursed with ''Raugnut Rushavna'', which is worse.
  • This is one of the two reasons why the Humanization Ritual exists in the first place in 3×3 Eyes: according to Shiva during the Dream World arc, the immortal Triclops who ages beyond a certain point slowly become more decadent, losing their morals and growing arrogant, distant and apathetic. He told a young Pai that he wanted to undergo the ritual because he felt he was losing his goodness like them. Indeed, the adult Sanzhiyan we see in his arc are often laughing with contempt at the sight of lesser demons being executed and tortured.

    Comic Books 
  • The Star Wars Legends comic series Dark Empire gives us an interesting example with (who else?) Palpatine. He has a bunch of clone bodies to put his soul into, coming as close as possible to the Sith dream of immortality, but the clones are shorter-lived every time. To that end, he decides to give Alderaan expatriates a home "in restitution for Tarkin's crimes" and drain their energies, and eventually the entire universe would face this fate. So Luke and a lost tribe of Jedi sabotage the process and Palpatine tries to take possession of Han and Leia's son (this being a desperate last-ditch Plan B when he's down to his last clone, since it would result in being trapped in a helpless child for years), leading to a good old-fashioned father-son team-up wherein Han kills Lord Sidious's body and Anakin (Leia named him. Cute.) kills the soul.
  • The Eternals: The Eternals of Earth are a million years old, a hundred beings with Resurrective Immortality. The alien Celestials created them to guard the Earth. However, each time an Eternal resurrects, the process kills a human (or another sentient mortal) to provide the spark of life. Some of the Eternals know this, but don't care. Others reluctantly accept it as the price of their duty. And some, viewing it as utterly immoral, have been subjected to Laser-Guided Amnesia whenever they discover the cost. At least two have called for the destruction of their entire race when they found out about it.
  • The Mighty Thor: When Thor had been banished and his half-brother Balder was king of the Asgardians, the Asgardians accepted an invitation to move to Latveria. Once there, Dr. Doom started kidnapping and vivisecting Asgardians. Why? Dr. Doom was making plans for dealing with his impending mortality and wanted to experiment on the Asgardians to gain their longevity.
  • Justice League of America has Professor Ivo, a mad scientist who developed and drank an immortality potion, which unfortunately left him physically twisted, with a thick scaly skin. It got much worse later on when Ivo discovered his immortality process was slowly turning him into an unmoving living statue, which he would be trapped as for all of eternity. He got turned back into a normal human and learned his lesson... for about two months, after which he got spooked of death and downed the serum again.
  • There was a spate where immortal DCU villain Vandal Savage found his immortality had been shut down. The only way to restore it was to kill and devour one of his genetic descendants. He didn't even think twice about it.
    • In Final Crisis, it was "revealed" that he was the Biblical Cain, cursed to eternal life for murdering his brother.
  • X-Men:
    • The entire goal of the Dark Phoenix is to live forever, even at the expense of everyone and everything else. At least now it is.
    • X-Men Red (2022) discusses this at various points. The mutants of Arakko are not part of the Krakoan Resurrective Immortality system and, as they put it, are "not afraid of a life that ends". This raises questions about the morality of immortal Krakoans, such as Storm or Magneto, acting as their rulers and leading them to war. There's a similar conversation about Professor X's daughter Xandra, a mutant who is also entitled to Krakoan immortality, ruling over the alien Shi'ar.
    • This trope is rather more explicit (and literal) in the case of Selene, who discovered her mutant ability to devour life force well before recorded history.

    Comic Strips 
  • This was lampshaded by Artax in the Nodwick Highlander parody "A Kind of Tragic" after an attempt at immortality gone south: "I just wanted to live forever. Was that so wrong?"

    Fan Works 
  • This is what caused the fall of the First Ancestral Race in the backstory of Advice and Trust.
    ...having been all but immortal from birth, never knowing vulnerability, far too many of them never developed notions of empathy or restraint, or found them far too late.
  • In Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality, Dumbledore believes that seeking to live forever is inherently immoral, and the fear of death is what caused Voldemort to turn evil. Harry disagrees and wants everyone to live forever, but still wouldn't want to achieve it by immoral methods, such as Horcruxes — as he points out, the fact that they're powered by murder sort of contradicts the whole point of universal immortality.

    Film — Animation 
  • Ark have this as the motivation of the main villain, Storrian Vizier Baramanda; hijacking the ancient Ark meant for saving the citizens of Alcyeon for his own immortality, and use it to prolong his own life thereby condemning two alien races, the Ceveans and Storrians, into extinction while he lives forever.
  • Doraemon: Nobita's the Legend of the Sun King introduces a new villainess, the Evil Sorceress Ledina, who curses the noble queen of Mayana into a Deep Sleep, creates an endless drought upon the kingdom, and intends to hunt down its prince, Tio, to sacrifice the latter for her immortality ritual.
  • In Princess Mononoke, the Emperor wants to be immortal through the head of the Spirit of the Forest, which means the death of the spiritual world.
  • This idea drives the second half of Renaissance, and the film comes off as a mixture of "It's inherently wrong" and "Even if it was a good idea, letting the resident Mega-Corp control it is a recipe for disaster."
  • Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island: This happens to be the big dark secret of Simon Lenore and Lena Dupree. Centuries ago, they were the only survivors of a group of settlers attacked by Captain Morgan Moonscar and his pirate army. The two uttered a curse on them by their Cat God, giving them cat creature transformations and destroyed the pirates; however, invoking the Cat God's powers have cursed them as well, and they must drain the life forces of unsuspecting strangers lured by Lena to the island at midnight during a harvest moon, so they can preserve their immortality and stay alive. The zombies encountered by the gang were the various other visitors who lost their life forces, and they were trying to warn them so they wouldn't suffer the same fate they did.
  • In Tales from Earthsea, the evil Sorcerer Lord Cobb wants to be immortal through means of Black Magic, which means the death of the world.
  • The plot of Tangled revolves around this. When the king's army takes the flower that Gothel had been using to keep herself eternally youthful for centuries and uses it to heal the queen, its power is transferred to Rapunzel's hair, which loses its power when it's cut. Gothel then kidnaps Rapunzel and keeps her in a tower, doing everything she can to ensure that she stays there forever, so that Gothel will always have access to Rapunzel's hair when she needs it to rejuvenate herself.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • In Avatar: The Way of Water RDA has started hunting Pandora's whale-analogue tulkun for an anti-aging serum in their brains. Despite the biologist on their whaling ship acknowledging that tulkun are even more intelligent than humans.
  • In Before I Hang, a physician on death row for a mercy killing is allowed to experiment on a cure for aging using a criminals' blood, but secretly tests it on himself. He gets a pardon, but finds out he's become a Jekyll-&-Hyde murderer.
  • In the 1992 Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie: "We're immortal...We can do whatever we want."
  • In Cannibal Girls, the titular women maintain their youth and immortality by eating their victims and drinking their blood.
  • The MST3K movie Parts: The Clonus Horror is Immortality Immorality at its best!
  • In The Dark Crystal, the new Skeksis emperor seeks to restore his youth by drinking the painfully and fatally extracted essence of other sentient beings. This may or may not be a subversion, as it's unclear if success would also prolong his lifespan: the previous Emperor had just died of old age, but that could've been due to a lack of gelfling victims, not an indication that essence grants youth without long life.
  • In Fresh Meat, Heri believes he can achieve immortality through ritual cannibalism, including eating the still beating heart of his son and drinking the blood of his daughter.
  • From Beyond the Grave: Evil occultist Sir Michael Sinclair, from "The Door", found the secret of immortality; constructing his own personal room behind an ornate door, Sinclair lures those who come into possession of the door to the room to murder them and take their souls in order to extend his life.
  • Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade: The Holy Grail gives immortality to whoever drinks from it; however, the perk comes with two catches: First, you have to stay in the temple to benefit from the holy water; second, you can’t take the grail outside. Immortality serves as more of an imprisonment, since the knight guarding the grail was stuck there in perpetual old age. The fate of the villains clearly suggests immortality is impossible to have. Walter Donovan ends up drinking from one of the decoy grails and rapidly ages to death. Afterward, Elsa Schneider tries to take the grail out of the temple, but triggers a self-destructing mechanism. She finds herself in a Literal Cliffhanger, with the chalice just within arm’s reach. In her greed, she pulls herself from Indiana’s hold to grasp it. Needing just a little more to get it, she stretches too far and the glove pulls off her hand, which sends her falling to her death. Indiana also goes for it but he gives up after his father talks some sense into him.
  • The point made by the protagonist Will in In Time, who is against immortality if other people have to die for it. The point is also made by a century-old rich man who is tired of living.
  • In Jupiter Ascending, how the Abrasax family — and presumably others out in space — maintain their long lives is pretty horrible. The substance that rejuvenates them is created by harvesting human life forms they seeded millennia ago on other planets.
  • MST3K alumnus B-Movie The Leech Woman features a woman who retains her youth by using an African pollen... and the brainstem juice of the men she's murdered.
  • Point 2 is brought up in The Man from Earth.
  • In The Man Who Turned to Stone, a group of 18th-century scientists, led by Dr. Murdock, have remained young after all these centuries by using electricity to suck the life out of young women.
  • Mr. Nobody, in which society has achieved biological immortality by 2092, and the title character is going to be the last human to die of old age. Pop culture, at least, doesn't come off too well...
  • In The Night Strangler, an alchemist has developed an elixir of youth that has to be renewed every 21 years with the blood of a few women.
  • In Nothing but the Night, the secret behind the murder of the trustees of the orphanage is that the trustees have been transferring their personalities and knowledge into orphans and then destroying their old bodies to disguise the real cause of death.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean:
    • Jack Sparrow seeks immortality but is still initially presented as a likable protagonist. Until, that is, he makes a few deals — a bad one with Jones in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, then a really awful one with Beckett in Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End — betraying and sacrificing the lives of many others in order to save himself. It takes a little talk with Captain Teague to put Jack back on the other side of the line. In the climax of the latter film, Jack gives up an opportunity for immortality in order to save the life of his friend Will Turner.
      Teague: The trick isn't living forever, Jackie. The trick is living with yourself forever.
    • Blackbeard in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides is even more so. His quest for eternal life has more to do with a prophecy that he will die soon. Even then, he's perfectly willing to trade his daughter's life so he can live.
      Blackbeard: I'm a bad man.
      • Averted with the Spanish in the same film. For most of the movie, it's implied that the Spanish king wants the secret of immortality for himself. In fact, the Spaniards have orders to destroy the Fountain of Youth. Why? Because only God can grant one true immortality in Heaven.
  • In Self/Less, shedding is introduced as a revolutionary way to keep the most important and influential people in the world alive and healthy but is ultimately revealed to come at a pretty horrible cost — the healthy bodies being used used to be living people who were coerced into selling themselves. Not only that, but learning this leaves the client in a very difficult position, as the medication used to keep them anchored to the body is slowly erasing the body's former inhabitant. The ending shows Damien willingly dying so Mark can come back to life as being a result of him becoming a better person.
  • The two villains in The Skeleton Key live forever by tricking victims into believing in hoodoo and then stealing their bodies via hoodoo when they are susceptible to it (they are only affected by spells if they believe in them) when their current bodies are too old to sustain them. They got away with it for centuries and get away with it again.
  • Star Trek: Generations. Soran is so determined to get back to the Nexus (a place of eternal bliss) that he willingly destroys several populated star systems to do so.
  • Star Trek: Insurrection takes place on a planet with radiation that makes people living on it eternally young. But the villains are so old they may die before the radiation takes full effect, so they want to collect the radiation and concentrate it, destroying the planet in the process.
  • Palpatine's conversations with Anakin in Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith imply that the Sith are this trope, able to resist or even halt death using techniques and knowledge that the Jedi would consider to be abominable. It's most probably a big pack of lies though (considering he's a Manipulative Bastard attempting to convert Anakin to The Dark Side), and while the Star Wars Legends feature numerous Sith that seek immortality at any cost and a few that come close, none are successful.
    • In fact, after Anakin's final turn to the dark side, Palpatine coyly admits that he doesn't actually know the secret to immortality and that he and Anakin will have to discover it together.
      • Palpatine's primary goal is to rule the galaxy for eternity. In Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, it's revealed that Palpatine discovered a method of cheating death that involved transferring his spirit into a host body. He survived his death at the end of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi by inhabiting the body of a clone, and seeks Rey as a new vessel.
  • The cult in The Thirsty Dead requires the blood of nubile young women as a component of the elixir that provides then with eternal life. The process turns the donors into withered, ugly monsters whom the cult disposes of by feeding them to rats.
  • Another movie featured on MST3K, The Unearthly, involves a scientist performing tests on human subjects to activate "the seventeenth gland" and achieve immortality. His experiments have a bad habit of turning his victims into semi-catatonic zombies.
  • The evil Alchemist from the film Vidocq needs the blood of virgins to make a special type of glass for his mirror mask. Said mask grants him immortality and eternal youth by storing and slowly draining the souls of people who died staring into his mask. So there's a lot of death involved.
  • In The Wolverine, Ichirō Yashida wants to gain immortality by stealing it from someone else. That should be the first clue that he's not a good person. On the other hand, Wolverine's own immorality (or something close to it) isn't presented as anything immoral. But Logan was born that way, rather than gaining it by killing somebody else.

  • In David Eddings' The Belgariad and Malloreon series, even the sorcerers that dedicate their lives to the Prophecy of Light have somewhat warped morals, though it's unrelated to "pursuit" of immortality.
    Belgarath: ...and an occasional murder. Does that shock you? It shouldn't. I've never made any pretense at being a saint, and there were people out there in the world who were inconvenient [...] I was driven by Necessity, so I did what was necessary.
    • Also in The Belgariad, Queen Salmissra of Nyissia wanted to sell the Kid Hero to the Big Bad in exchange for immortality. Neither the protagonists nor the baddies were OK with it (the baddies wanted no conditions).
      • Sorceress Polgara eventually made her immortal by turning her into a big sentient snake (She doesn't seem to mind). In a later conversation with Garion Salmissra makes specific note of the fact that she no longer feels the desires that drove her prior to Polgara snaking her, and that she actually has no desires anymore. Mental changes would seem to be indicated...
    • The desire for immortality in itself isn't portrayed as immoral, since there are about fifteen immortals in the Belgariad (including Garion and various of his companions). Salmissra is mostly shown as desperate and crazed by drugs, with the general problem being that she wanted to be made immortal by screwing the God of Evil.
  • Isaac Asimov's "The Bicentennial Man": While discussing how to convince popular opinion to agree that Andrew is human, he's told that the immortal (or at least, indefinitely sustainable) positronic brain marks him as being too different from humanity to be considered a member. After he undergoes surgery that will make it break down (introducing mortality), people are practically falling over themselves to officially recognize Andrew Martin as a human being.
  • Bug Jack Barron: The immortality treatment is produced by irradiating children to death.
  • This is explored in the Agent Pendergast novel The Cabinet of Curiosities. The focus of the novel is a 19th century Mad Scientist who discovered an immortality formula, which unfortunately had to be taken regularly and required living human spinal cords as a key ingredient, turning the guy into a serial killer. However, even after the scientist developed a version of the formula which didn't require human bits, allowing him to stop killing, it's still explained by another character that the immortality formula is the most dangerous weapon ever developed; if the ingredients are rare and thus the potion expensive, it would lead to total social collapse as the poor would riot against the rich demanding equal access to it. If the ingredients are common and the potion easy to obtain, the human population would explode even more and the world would drown in billions of immortal losers, criminals, and other undesirables.
  • Averted in Captain French, or the Quest for Paradise. The titular protagonist lives in a universe where humanity has long ago discovered Cell Regeneration, a treatment that, once applied, stops aging dead in its tracks. The protagonist is quick to point out that this doesn't stop people from dying, as, statistically speaking, most are likely to die in accidents, murders, wars, social upheavals, etc. At the same time, he himself is over 2000 years old, although due to Time Dilation from his constant relativistic travels he is over 20,000 years old in planetbound time. The lack of aging doesn't make humans any more or less moral than they normally would be, if everybody else is just like them. Certain things are different, though, such as the concept of inheritance. There's an equal chance of a son dying before his father, so there's no expectation of your parents' possessions becoming yours anytime soon. Retirement is also out of the question, as the whole concept assumes you make enough money while you work to last you the rest of your life. If your life is potentially unending, you never make enough. Wars, man-made disasters, coups, etc., are still present. Overpopulation is present on many worlds, although it's resolved through child licenses and occasional colony ships to habitable worlds. The only people who grow old are criminals sentenced to aging and children of colonists on recently-settled worlds who haven't set up CR machines yet. A planet undergoes a period of religious fanaticism after a comet strike and a civilization collapses. Not only do they not consider immortality to be evil or immoral, they think it's God's gift to humanity and will not even deprive criminals of it (preferring to re-educate them through hard labor instead).
  • Inverted in The Case of Death and Honey, which holds that Holmes' views on immortality in "the Creeping Man" were a fabrication at his request, and once he discovers (in China) a bee-based method of rejuvenation he intends to share it with Watson so as to keep helping the world (he does, however, destroy the hives so it won't be a case of everyone becoming immortal).
  • The Chronicles of Dorsa: The deathless king and his followers embrace immortality, but at the cost of letting living shadows inhabit them (something dubious at best) and enslaving others who do the services they need (while also being immortal). Not to mention that they force this onto other people as well, seeking to rule the entire world so a supposed utopia in which no one dies will exist.
  • In the back-story of P.C. Hodgell's Chronicles of the Kencyrath, Gerridon, Highlord of the Kencyrath, betrays his entire people to the chaotic entity of Perimal Darkling in return for immortality. He has his consort and sister reap the souls of two-thirds of his people in one night of betrayal, the souls being fuel for his continued life.
  • Celia S. Friedman's Coldfire Trilogy has a main character who kills his kids and wife to be immortal (in the prologue), and survives on the fear of sacrifices.
    • Also by Friedman, the Magister Trilogy. They become immortal by draining other people's life force after their own has been used up, which has the side effect of giving them unlimited magical power, since magic is Cast from Hit Points.
  • Vlad Tepes is utterly determined to become immortal in Count and Countess, just so he can be with Elizabeth Bathory, with whom he has been exchanging letters since a small boy despite the huge gap in their time periods. Vlad will do absolutely anything that he thinks will help him achieve it—even cannibalism. The price definitely isn't worth it in the end.
  • In Fire Sea, part of The Death Gate Cycle, necromancy is commonly used by the inhabitants of Abarrach to raise the dead to fight as soldiers, though they are little more intelligent that zombies. Each resurrection kills a living person however. It is possible to bind the spirit of one of these zombies back into its reanimated body, giving it a twisted kind of life. These beings, called lazars, are quite sapient and capable of repairing their own bodies to full strength and wield all the magical powers they did in life making them quite unkillable. They find their undeath deeply unpleasant yet inescapable, and seek vengeance upon the living who they blame for their state, generally murdering and reanimating them as an eternal punishment.
  • In Dinner at Deviant's Palace, the villain is revealed to be the host body of an alien entity that has traveled from world to world for millennia feasting on the life forces of the inhabitants. The creature is utterly selfish and entirely lacking in empathy for others, which is probably the only kind of personality that could survive such a lifestyle.
  • Thomas Didymus and John believe Pentexore is an abomination because no one should have life everlasting on Earth in Dirge for Prester John.
  • In The Dresden Files, immortality is the motivation for quite a few necromancers. However, the least villainous of the ones that show up in Dead Beat, Kumori, plays with this trope a little; the reason she studies necromancy is to try to end death for everyone. As she puts it:
    Kumori: Can you imagine if da Vinci had continued to live, to study, to paint, to invent? That the remarkable accomplishments of his lifetime could have continued through the centuries rather than dying in the dim past? Can you imagine going to see Beethoven in concert? Taking a theology class taught by Martin Luther? Attending a symposium hosted by Einstein? Think, Dresden. It boggles the mind.
  • In the Earthsea book The Farthest Shore, a wizard is so petrified of dying that he endeavors to become a great necromancer and manages to make a door between the world of the dead and the world of the living which he can cross at will, setting himself up as lord of life and death. However, the door he opens drains all the light and life and magic of the living world; people find magic, creativity and imagination fading away, becoming forgotten.
  • The Elemental Trilogy: The Bane obtains his immortality by regularly abducting elemental mages and using them in sacrificial magic. He previously sacrificed his friend and entire family.
  • The Immortals in The Extraordinaires maintain their immortality by transferring their souls into the bodies of children, the younger the better.
  • Deconstructed in The Fable of the Dragon-Tyrant, which satirizes and mocks the connotation of immortality being evil. A dragon forces a kingdom to sacrifice its elderly for it to eat for so long that they accepted its horror as natural and beautiful. When scientists discover a material they can use to craft a dragon-killing weapon, they face heavy backlash trying to get funding due to the public accusing them of horrendous unethical behavior for destroying a "key part of the human experience." The fable pointedly shows how fear of the "immorality" of ground-breaking science is one of the most dangerous things in the world and will force innocents to pay for the authorities' ignorance with their blood.
  • Elizabeth Moon's Familias Regnant books are set at a point when life-extension drugs have just become common enough to cause widespread social chaos. The books can be considered a Deconstruction of this trope, looking at the effects that immortality can actually have on a society.
  • In Joe Abercombie's The First Law trilogy, people known as Eaters are able to maintain eternal youth and superhuman strength by eating human flesh. Many of them seem to revel in this existence, but a several hate what they have become and one is actually grateful when one of the protagonists successfully kills him. Bayaz, while not an Eater, has no qualms about manipulating the lives of millions to enforce his vision of civilization.
  • The Forever King contrasts two opponents: King Arthur, who is naturally reincarnated to fulfill his destiny as the once and future king, and Saladin, who has used the object that became known as the Holy Grail to live for many thousands of years. Arthur argues repeatedly that immortality twists people, as he says it has done to Saladin, but it comes off as a very warped or forced aesop because Saladin was a nasty (if brilliant) piece of work long before becoming immortal.
  • Ghost Roads: Played straight with Bobby Cross, but inverted with Routewitches and Ambulomancers, who get long life in return for the jobs they do on the highways and the ghostroads. Bobby's immortality comes from a Sinister Car given to him in a Deal with the Devil, which can only be fueled with the ghosts of those who die on the roads. The Crossroads predicted and intended that he would supply them by becoming an immortal serial killer.
  • Harry Potter: Zig-Zagged.
    • Voldemort doesn't care what he has to do or who he has to harm or kill to preserve his own life. The Horcruxes he uses to guard against death are so evil that not even dark wizards want to talk about them; murder and something JK Rowling describes as "nauseating" are required to make one, and each Horcrux created causes the degradation of the maker's soul. The seventh book clarifies that only people who accept death can call themselves the "Master of Death."
    • Conversely, the eponymous Philosopher's Stone of the first book was held and used by Nicholas Flamel for centuries, with no suggestion that it was at all morally questionable. Probably because the Flamels weren't so much "immortal" as "unaging"; they could still have died through accident or deliberate violence, and there was always the option, which they take at the end, of ceasing to take the elixir that makes them not age. Voldemort's horcruxes mean that he will survive no matter what happens to him, as long as one is still intact. There is also the fact that making a horcrux by definition involves an egregious crime, while the Stone seems to be a simple matter of harmless chemistry (or alchemy, given the setting). However, Flamel ultimately agreed to destroy the Stone to keep it out of Voldemort's hands (though it is also hinted that he and his wife were sick of immortality anyway). It's also implied that one must continue to take the elixir quite regularly to maintain the effect, as Dumbledore mentions that Flamel had to set some elixir aside just to have time to put his affairs in order. Confirmed in Deathly Hallows when Dumbledore indicates that Voldemort chose to go the horcrux route instead of seeking out a Philosopher's Stone because he didn't like the idea of being perpetually dependent on something (in this case, the elixir).
  • Ritual from The Haunted Air requires annual child sacrifice. Interestingly, the main perpetrator genuinely regrets the death of the child and drugs them to keep pain to the minimum. He also balks at suggestions of some of his colleagues.
  • According to Snorri Sturluson's Heimskringla King Aun a.k.a. Ani of Sweden sacrificed nine of his ten sons to Odin to prolong his own life. He would have sacrificed the last one too, but his subjects stopped him, causing him to die at the age of two-hundred.
  • In a number of C. J. Henderson's stories, becoming a sufficiently accomplished mass murderer in and of itself nets you an extended lifetime by way of absorbing souls to snack on later. It's just that the exchange rate is too low to really benefit unless you really get depraved about it.
  • In H. P. Lovecraft's Herbert West–Reanimator, Dr. West differs somewhat in that he was seeking to reverse death after the fact rather than merely stave it off, and that originally his goals were indeed great and noble, the society that couldn't spare some dead bodies for his experiments seeming quite oppressive. But later on, his grand quest turns into necrophilic obsession with death itself, and is even seen abandoning a potentially successful path to immortality in favour of attempts to reanimate detached body parts, for apparently no good reason aside from morbid amusement. That and the fact he kills someone just to ensure he has a perfectly fresh body, and refuses to stop his experiments despite the fact most of the bodies he revived immediately went on epic, savage kill-sprees.
  • Played straight and subverted in Andrey Livadny's The History of the Galaxy books. Played straight with the Harammins, a race of blue-skinned Human Aliens, or rather their upper class, the so-called Immortal Quota. They record their memories on crystals that then get downloaded into new cloned bodies. As a society, they have done absolutely nothing for 3 million years, after conquering two other races and forcing them into servitude, along with the majority of their own race. When they discover humans rapidly expanding close to their hidden territory, and worse, that these young upstarts have weapons the Harammins can only dream of, they stage a surprise attack on human worlds, hoping to eliminate the threat in one fell swoop. The attack is repelled, revealing the Harammin hideout and resulting in the destruction of the Immortal Quota. Subverted with many humans who start using the mind-recording crystals to live on in virtual space after their deaths. Other examples exist, including cyborgs, virtualized minds, AIs, and mutants.
  • In Justin Bradbury's Hope: A Fairytale, immortality is what drives the master of the Storm Bird, or rather the Storm Bird's true form, Duke Solovey. When young Prince Peter's heart was turned to stone and ripped out by Granny Bones' magic, and a Curse Escape Clause said only "the hand of true nobility" could restore it, Solovey convinced the Tsar to use the heart to detect for the fabled hand in princesses. Except he only wanted to find the right princess so he could use her heart in an immortality spell. When his plans are outed by the heroes, Solovey tries to justify his desire for immortality by saying, as the empire's loyalest servant, he could serve the royal family forever, but weeping "I don't want to die!" during his Villainous Breakdown proves he's only motivated by Mortality Phobia.
  • Hopscotch by Kevin J. Anderson has few methods of extending one's lifespan, and doesn't allow for cloning, cyborgization, or even storing one's mind in a computer. What it does allow for are body swaps, both voluntary and involuntary. The most ethical (and richest) of those who wish to live forever bid on the bodies of those sentenced to death, as portrayed in a rather repellent scene reminiscent of a slave auction. Those who lack sufficient funds must steal their new bodies, and usually can't impersonate the people they've "become." They're forced to hide out in the most secret of places and live a sort of half-life, constantly fearful of both justice and the coming time when they must steal another body or finally let old age catch up with them.
  • In Robert E. Howard's The Hour of the Dragon Conan the Barbarian meets up with Akivasha.
    "Her only sin was that she loved life and all the meanings of life," said the Stygian girl. "To win life she courted death. She could not bear to think of growing old and shriveled and worn, and dying at last as hags die. She wooed Darkness like a lover and his gift was life—life that, not being life as mortals know it, can never grow old and fade. She went into the shadows to cheat age and death — "
  • House of the Scorpion: People clone themselves, then kill the clones in order to harvest their organs and to prolong their life. And the best organs come from clones under age thirteen.
  • The Laundry Files makes this a component of vampires. They can only subsist on human blood, and while they don't have to kill when they feed, feeding establishes a sympathetic link with the parasitic entity that grants them their powers... and which will kill the person they feed on in 6 months, max, with something that looks not dissimilar to a degenerative prion disease. As such, most vampires meet the sunrise when they realize what's keeping them alive; the few that are still around are either kept employed by the Laundry because their immunity to the side effects of sorcery and necromancy are invaluable as the stars come right, or are independent cunning bastards who don't care about the human cost ( though one does try to minimize it via storing his victims in a time-dilation spell field, but given some of his victims are children, this is more about the practicality of not dropping bodies with what looks like a mad cow disease epidemic than anything else).
  • Not so much evil as grumpy, rude, and bored, Wowbagger The Infinitely Prolonged from Life, the Universe and Everything has become immortal due to an accident (which others have tried to duplicate and wound up dead, embarrassed, or both). Not having been born immortal, he hasn't the mental faculties to deal with it, and so has vowed to spend all of eternity insulting every creature that ever existed — in alphabetical order.
  • In the Alan E. Nourse story "The Martyr", immortality threatens to cause cultural stagnation, because people who have been made immortal hang on to their positions of influence forever (stultifying the ambitions of new talent) and feel no pressure to get anything accomplished.
    • This concept is countered in Kim Stanley Robinsons's Red Mars Trilogy, where it is argued that the brevity of human life was responsible for its institutions. Making a fresh start is easier when you have a few hundred years of experience and resources under your belt.
  • A key plot point of Paul Anthony Shortt's series, The Memory Wars, in which the Council of Chains is considered by the Reborn Conclaves to be violating the natural order by breaking the cycle of death and rebirth. The various paths to immortality all seem to involve either preying on innocents or making deals with evil gods, so the reborn have a point.
  • Mistborn: The kandra's immortality comes from being implanted with two Hemalurgical spikes, each of which requires the death of a human to create.
  • Isaac Asimov makes this point throughout the Robots series, especially in The Naked Sun. He shows the Spacers as having highly extended lifespans (as much as four hundred years), but as a result, their culture stagnates politically, socially and technologically because it's run by very old people who are stuck in old ways of thinking. Even when scientists want to develop new things, they'd rather work alone than collaborate because they've got time and want the glory for themselves. On a personal level, they become a society full of risk-averse germophobes because they've got more life to lose, and fear death a lot more as a result.
  • In Numbers 3: Infinity, the fact that Adam has the power to see people's dates of death piques the interest of a man who has the ability not only see but steal them when he reaches his own and has used this ability to live past the age of two hundred.
  • October Daye: Devin, the Big Bad of the first book, murdered at least three people and would have killed many more if that was what it took to get his hands on a hope chest, which can turn a changeling into a pureblood fae (and therefore make them immortal).
  • The Old Kingdom trilogy is populated with various evil beings made from either the spirits of the dead, the bodies of the dead, or both. Necromancers, though not strictly dead, themselves attempt to prolong their lives as much as they can. Both types need to prey on the flesh and spirit of the living to keep from dying.
  • In Otherland, the Grail Brotherhood, an international conspiracy of financiers, corporate executives, criminal lords, and heads of state, is united for the single purpose of cheating death via Brain Uploading. They accomplish this by building a hypersophisticated virtual reality computer network from the harvested brains of unborn children. Karma bites them in the ass hard.
    • The tragedy of all this is that the only reason to use the psychic children to power the computer was to make it more realistic. If they settled for worse graphics they could have won!
  • Patternist: Doro the Body Surfer destroys his victims' minds as soon as he inhabits them, wears out their bodies within a few weeks, and can't prevent himself from possessing the nearest person whenever he dies. After millennia of this, he's so inured that he'll Body Surf just to cross a river, and cares nothing of people except their usefulness to him.
  • In L. Jagi Lamplighter's Prospero Lost, Theo insists that he must use no more magic, which is all Black Magic, and must not take the Water of Life from Miranda, and is therefore dying of old age. Despite the revelations of undue influence on him, his siblings are all pleased and surprised when he agrees to take it again.
  • In The Secret Country books by Pamela Dean, the Big Bad Melanie and her brothers became immortal using the blood of a (sentient) unicorn they killed in what was supposed to be a ritual hunt.
  • In Shaman Blues, the murderer strangles children, because it'll give them immortality, either as human or as a wraith.
  • In the Sherlock Holmes story "The Adventure of the Creeping Man", Professor Presbury's use of a rejuvenation drug causes him to exhibit animal-like behavior. Holmes' comment, quoted above, indicates that he disapproves of immortality in and of itself.
  • Joan D. Vinge's The Snow Queen has a very similar premise: an alien species can be killed for a serum that prolongs life.
  • In Stardust, you have to kill a star and eat her heart to achieve everlasting youth.
    • In the film, though, there's another option: have one fall in love with you—taking her heart metaphorically instead of literally.
    • And being a star is perfectly fine.
  • In Ben Bova's story "Stars, Won't You Hide Me?" humans have developed an immortality treatment that requires killing a member of a peaceful alien race for each human made immortal.
  • Star Wars Legends:
    • Darth Plagueis: The eponymous character learns how to stop people from dying, and he very likely would have mastered this technique for himself, had not a certain other Sith Lord decided that his apprenticeship was at an end. Darth Sidious thought he'd be able to duplicate Plagueis' process, but he is wrong. Thus he has to fall back on body-surfing into clones of himself after dying.
    • Revan reveals that the Sith Emperor (later appearing as the Big Bad of Star Wars: The Old Republic) achieved immortality (and extreme levels of power) via a ritual that wiped out all life on his homeworld, allowing him to absorb the life energy of everything from people to the lowliest microbes. To the point that the Force itself no longer exists on that planet, because he absorbed it. Visiting Nathema is therefore a deeply disturbing experience for Force-sensitives. Even his fellow Sith Lords (those that know what he did, that is) are disgusted by his actions. And it's still not good enough for him; while he's ageless and incredibly powerful, it's still at least theoretically possible for somebody to kill him. Thus, he's trying to create an improved version of the ritual, one that will wipe out all life in the entire universe. Not only will this make him essentially a god (he would literally have become the Force itself in physical form), it won't leave anyone or anything to kill him.
    • According to the novelization of Revenge of the Sith, true immortality can only be gained by releasing oneself into the Force, as Qui-Gon, Obi-Wan, and Yoda do, and becoming a spirit, which is completely opposed to the Sith philosophy and hence unattainable for them. Any artificial extension of a person's lifespan (as Sith are prone to seek), no matter how effective it might seem to be, is in the end only temporary. Death is a part of life, and accepting that is key to achieving the immortality of the spirit.
  • This is apparently a major contribution to the evil of vampires in Straight Outta Fangton by C.T. Phipps. Peter Stone, the protagonist, observes that immorality causes you to become extremely cynical about most moral systems more than the power inherent to the form. After all, why care about people who will gone in a few decades anyway?
  • In The Strain, anyone can be a vampire—perks include immortality, regeneration, and unnatural levels of speed and strength. Downsides include disintegrating in sunlight, starving to death after about four to five days without blood, and spending the first week of your existance as part of a hive mind, and being completely enthralled by your ancient afterwards. Yay...
  • In The Sword of Good, the Lord of Dark keeps a Wormarium, filled with worms that he drains Liquid Assets from to artificially extend his life. This is treated as a case of "immortality attained by unethical means" until he reminds the so-called "Forces of Good" that eating meat is common practice in the realm and objectively at least as bad.
  • In the Takeshi Kovacs series by Richard K. Morgan, cortical stack technology allows people to have their mind transferred to a new sleeve (body). A life insurance policy will have your stack downloaded to a new sleeve when you die. Doing it repeatedly will allow you to live forever. However, because of the expense most people can only afford to resleeve after working for their entire lives to save up for it, meaning you have to go through the pains of aging every time. In Altered Carbon it's explained that most people can only face going though the whole process a couple of times before giving up and accepting death, especially since it's worse the second time round because you already know what you have to look forward to. As a result, only those who are both very rich and have the right mental attitude can live for more than a couple of hundred years, and are nicknamed "Meths", short for Methuselahs. Meths tend to be amoral bastards:
    1. because you have to be to reap enough success and wealth to fund repeated resleeving
    2. because you begin to view the lives of normal people to be short, miserable and therefore worthless in comparison.
    3. unless a Meth uses a cloned or artificial sleeve, it means they've bought the repossessed sleeve of a convict whose stack has been put on ice for the duration of their imprisonment and couldn't afford the storage costs. Once they're released, they have to put up with whatever wasted junkie body the government provides. One character discovers that while she was on ice, her body was sold as a spare to an advertising executive who wears it on alternate weekends.
  • In Larry Niven's Tales of Gil the ARM, bioethics are explored through having a society that can prolong life through transplant technology. This also addresses the death sentence issue, as the "donors" are condemned criminals, or for that matter any group that the voting public decides can be used for "spare parts" (In one of the stories, frozen dead — corpsicles — that died insane are being considered for becoming "donors", even though cures for their ailments now exist.) The conclusion: The inevitable erosion of the value of human life that this would cause is Not a Good Thing for society (if you can imagine death sentences for traffic tickets...)
    • Later on in the Niven verse, the organ donor problem is resolved with the invention of boosterspice and Cloning Body Parts, which prolong life without requiring any ethically dubious ingredients.
  • In Edgar Rice Burroughs's Tarzan's Quest, the nineteenth Tarzan novel, the malevolent Kavuru tribe manufacture immortality pills from the bodies of recently killed young women. Tarzan soon puts a stop to this when he finds out. He then uses the remaining pills to extend the lives of himself and some of his closest friends, reasoning that not using them won't bring the dead women back to life. This explains why Tarzan is still as spry fighting the Japanese in WWII (book 22) as he was fighting the Germans in WWI (book 7).
  • Thief of Time: Averted with some of the Time Monks, who achieve immortality through circular aging. It's never suggested in-story that this is unfair, perhaps because they tend to devote their vastly-lengthened lives to maintaining the Discworld's patchy timeline.
  • In Tide Lords, the immortals are thousands of years old and completely unkillable. Even the nicest ones simply don't have any regard for human life, since from their perspective they were going to outlive them anyway.
  • Tolkien's Legendarium: Númenórean kings grow envious of the Elves' immortality, refusing to accept the "gift" of mortality that Ilúvatar has placed upon their race. When Sauron comes to tempt them, this ultimately leads to Númenor invading the undying lands of Valinor and its consequent destruction in a Deus ex Machina of cosmic proportions.
  • In Tuck Everlasting, the Tucks are portrayed as sympathetic, but became immortal by accident. Most of the family believes that immortality upsets the balance of the world and that no one else should gain it. Jesse does think that being immortal is awesome, to the point of encouraging Winnie to gain immortality herself, when she's his age. While he's treated as just as sympathetically as his parents, the book does show Winnie's decision to give the last of the immortality-granting water to a frog and live and die a natural death as the right course of action.
  • In Margaret Peterson Haddix's Turnabout, an organization makes a drug that greatly extends life span, and if completed would indeed lead to immortality. However during trials, they discover that people tend to go crazy after having lived too long, and thus change their focus to making sure medical science never advances to allow people to live past 120.
  • Played with in The Twilight Saga. The Cullens warn Bella that becoming a vampire means giving up a lot (human family and friends, the ability to eat normal food or sleep, having children, etc.) and spending the rest of one's life with the risk of killing someone, while the werewolves warn Bella that her becoming a vampire means they can't be friends with her anymore. Bella ends up deciding that the things she's giving up are so unimportant compared to being with Edward forever that she considers her choice to be a no-brainer. It then becomes a Broken Aesop as not only is Bella able to keep all of the things she was told she'd have to give up (she remains friends with the werewolves, keeps in touch with her parents, has a baby shortly before turning, and is perfectly in control of her bloodlust), she believes that becoming an immortal vampire was her biggest purpose in life.
  • The Lords in Undefeated Bahamut Chronicle used Elixir in an attempt to become immortal and invincible. Elixir can be refined from the life energy of any living thing, but is more effective the closer the life energy source is to the user, so the Lords created monsters to eat their own citizens and harvest their life energy. It's mentioned in the same conversation that Elixir would be more effective if made from the life energy of family members than of unrelated people.
  • Toyed with in the Vorkosigan Saga books. The standard method of life-extension is clearly immoral; it involves raising a clone to adulthood and then transplanting your brain into their body (killing them in the process). However, the main characters conclude that the right response is to develop a more direct form of longevity treatment (which would probably be safer as well as less ethically horrific).
  • The X-Files: Skin features amoral scientists conducting illegal experiments with artificial skin on former soldiers (who were reported to have been killed in action during the Vietnam conflict), which not only results in fully obedient mooks, but also opens a possibility to uncovering the secret to immortality.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The version of the Lazarus Pit in Arrow leaves the user with a permanent (barring other magical effects) compulsion to kill, and that's if you Come Back Right. If you Come Back Wrong, it's as a Soulless Shell that only knows how to kill.
  • The immortality treatment offered by the title character of the Babylon 5 episode "Deathwalker" requires the death of some in order to make others immortal. Deathwalker hopes to cause the various races to degenerate into civil war as revenge for the destruction of her own people. Ironically, her plans are foiled by the Vorlons, a race that has already reached true immortality, and apparently by less immoral means. (But then again, you never know for sure with those First Ones.)
  • In Battlestar Galactica (2003), the Cylons couldn't appreciate life prior to their civil war, when the rebellious faction is exiled from the Resurrection Ship, meaning that any deaths would be permanent. Their leader explains it as the possibility of death made each second important, more so than it ever was before.
  • Averted with Henry Fitzroy in Blood Ties (2007), who is a Friendly Neighborhood Vampire and does his best not to kill any of his victims. Played straight with Monsignor Javier Mendoza, a high-ranking member of The Spanish Inquisition, who goes to Knight Templar lengths to ensure the destruction of all vampires. He doesn't shy from killing innocents and has kept himself alive all these centuries by draining his vampire victims and using their blood in a life-extension serum. Medusa is a Monster of the Week who also fits the trope. What was done to her all those millennia ago is terrible (being unjustly punished for being raped), but it doesn't justify seducing attractive young men and then turning them to stone when they call her beautiful. Henry's maker/ex-lover Christina is also morally ambiguous.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: In the episode "Lie to Me," Buffy's childhood friend and crush Billy "Ford" Fordham comes to Sunnydale... and it turns out he's dying from a "nest" of brain tumors. He makes a deal with Spike to hand Buffy over to him, as well as the Vampire Vannabes in the Sunset Club, in exchange for being turned into a vampire and becoming immortal. While Buffy is sympathetic to his plight, she states outright that Ford's motivations and desperation to live do not excuse murder.
  • Doctor Who:
    • From the original series, "The Five Doctors" deals with the attempts of a renegade Time Lord to become immortal, the secret involving a chat with Rassilon, the founder of the race. Rassilon does NOT like the idea of Time Lords being immortal; his solution probably inspired what the Tenth Doctor did to the Family of Blood.
    • In "The Brain of Morbius", the Doctor visits an alien race that possesses an immortality drug. The Time Lords have traded with them for ages, but only use the drug to help with failed regenerations; they believe that true immortality would cause cultural stagnation, as it has with the race in question.
    • The Master, once he reaches the end of his regeneration cycle, is perfectly willing to extend his life at the expense of others, whether by using the energy from a black hole's nucleus to restore his emaciated bodywhich would result in the destruction of Gallifrey and the Time Lords — or, ultimately, hijacking the body of a companion's beloved father.
    • In "School Reunion", Mr. Finch offers eternal life and eternal youth to the Doctor and his companions, even offering to help resurrect the Time Lords. Sarah Jane talks the Doctor out of it, saying "No. The universe has to move forward. Pain and loss, they define us as much as happiness or love. Whether it's a world, or a relationship... Everything has its time. And everything ends."
    • In "The Lazarus Experiment", the Doctor argues against the life-extension researcher who gets turned into the Monster of the Week, though strangely he focuses more on immortality itself than the fact Lazarus had become a monstrous thing that required that he eat people to continue living. He makes a similar argument against Cassandra in "The End of the World", although her monstrous qualities were unrelated to her longevity.
    • In "Human Nature"/"The Family of Blood", The Family of Blood try to steal the Doctor's immortality to extend their extremely short lifespans, killing a lot of people in the process. Naturally, the Doctor wasn't happy with all the killing and condemned the Family to a A Fate Worse Than Death.
    • Ashildr in "The Woman Who Lived" intended to sacrifice her butler to open a portal, considering it a trifling matter to end his short existence a bit sooner. She changes plans to use Sam Swift because he's already condemned to hang, but her comment to that effect seems to be more a (failed) attempt to mollify the Doctor than an indication that she cares one way or the other. She's an interesting case in that her lack of morals is caused by her immortality (which was forced on her by the Doctor in order to save her life); she has an infinite lifespan but only a human memory, so she forgets everything that she ever comes to care about and ultimately decides to care only for herself.
    • The Time Lords, as well as the Doctor himself, waver back and forth on this. They are said to be "immortal, barring accidents" and can survive even fatal damage at least twelve times, but while individual Time Lords are generally good people the civilisation as a whole is immensely arrogant and indifferent to the rest of the universe, and they have an alarming tendency to produce power mad renegades that use their immortality and knowledge to lord over and cause immense damage to "lesser races" (a category in which many include the Doctor). At the very least, in "The Ultimate Foe" the Doctor states they are "decadent, degenerate, and rotten to the core" due to eons of such power, and The End of Time demonstrates to what lengths they are willing to go to preserve their immortality.
    • When Jack Harkness is accidentally given immortality, both the Doctor and the TARDIS immediately run the hell away from him and display some hardcore Fantastic Racism. Jack calls them out on it.
      • We have only the Doctor's word for it that the TARDIS was trying to spin Jack off in the Time Vortex, and there could be other interpretations; the Doctor is a notoriously unreliable witness.
  • The mysterious caller in Forever claims he has been around for over 2000 years and, over this time, has lost all compassion for humanity. He sees no problems with killing an innocent person just to get someone to notice him. In contrast, Henry cares a lot, although the caller claims it's because Henry is only 200 years old and hasn't yet become a cynic. Being a doctor probably helps, although Henry is currently working as a coroner. Additionally, unlike the caller, Henry is determined to end his "curse" and die for good, much to the chagrin of his much older adopted son Abe, who himself wouldn't mind a few more youthful decades. Ironically, the one group of people that "Adam" feels compassion for are concentration camp survivors. Why? Because he himself was tortured and experimented on in Auschwitz by Mengele, who was trying to find the source of "Adam"'s Resurrective Immortality.
  • The driving force of the rogue watchers, or hunters, in Highlander: The Series.
    • Yes and no. While it does partly stem from the idea that Immortals are somehow "abominations before God/nature" or some such drivel, there's also the very reasonable fear of what would happen if an Immortal actually does win the nebulous "Prize," and what kind of world-ruling power they may actually have. Especially any of the evil guest-star Immortals, Kern, Kanis, Kronos. . .
  • In the Kolchak: The Night Stalker episode "The Youth Killer", Helen of Troy maintains her life and beauty by draining the lifeforce of attractive young people as a sacrifice to the goddess Hecate. Kolchak defeats her by revealing the glass eye of Helen's latest sacrifice. Displeased with the imperfect sacrifice, Hecate revokes her gifts and Helen is Taken for Granite.
  • A number of villains in The Librarians are immortal:
    • The Big Bad of Season 1 is Sir Lancelot Dulaque, who has been alive for over a thousand years.
    • The main villain of Season 2 is Prospero, the very first Fictional, created by the literary genius of William Shakespeare. All Fictionals are immortal, since they're magical beings.
    • The witch Morgan le Fay, who uses magic to maintain her eternal youth, is perfectly willing to get dozens of people killed to save herself.
    • Dorian Gray transfers any negative effects of physical damage, drunkenness, or drugs to others and sees nothing wrong with that. He has achieved that by using modern technology to create a new "painting", a photo mosaic of himself, made up of pictures of his club patrons. All the photos, including the mosaic, are stored in the cloud, meaning there's no easy way of destroying the magic.
    • Averted with Tesla's assistant, who was accidentally made immortal by a failed experiment. While she can't leave the area, as her immortality is maintained by the tech, she is not a villain.
    • The main villain of Season 4 is Nicole Noone, Flynn's first Guardian. A Time Machine explosion threw her 500 years back in time. When Flynn didn't show up to rescue her (he thought she died), Nicole grew bitter, found an immortality potion, and resolved to destroy the Library.
    • Also averted with Jenkins (AKA Sir Galahad), Judson (the first Librarian), and Charlene (Judson's Guardian). Also averted with Flynn and Baird, who are joined to the Library in the Grand Finale, just like Judson and Charlene were, granting them immortality.
  • Moonlight: There are thousands upon thousands of vampires across the world (we don't know the number, be we're told that a few hundred live in LA alone). Some are Friendly Neighborhood Vampires (drinking donor blood or from willing humans), while others are of the more murderous variety. It's also revealed that The French Revolution was partly the humans rising up against France's vampire royalty, whose parties typically included murdering humans for their blood.
  • The Outpost: The Masters, the group of Physical Gods who are the Big Bad Duumvirate of Season 4 (and the Greater-Scope Villain of the whole series), drain the Life Energy of other beings to sustain themselves. By the time they arrived in the show's universe, they'd already left countless worlds completely devoid of life, having drained them dry without remorse. Upon escaping their imprisonment in the modern day, they get right back into the habit, killing everyone they come across to regain their full strength and intending to keep going once they've done so.
  • In Sanctuary, vampires ruled the world millennia ago, until they were overthrown and exterminated. By all accounts, they weren't kind to their subjects. The Five manage to obtain a sample of vampire blood and use it to create a Super Serum. Each of the Five gets different abilities with some of the members (Helen Magnus, Nikola Tesla, and, possibly, Nigel Griffin) becoming The Ageless. While Magnus and Griffin appear to retain their morality, Tesla, who becomes a genuine vampire and gains electrical powers, starts dreaming of the old glory days of "his kind" and becomes obsessed with learning to make more vampires, so they can rule the world again as Philosopher Kings. While he mellows out in later episode, his initial appearance in the show is less than flattering and he even threatens to kill Helen. He also has no qualms about secretly injecting a serum into unsuspecting rich kids that will turn them into vampires over several decades. After losing his immortality, he is determined to get it back and manages to do that by obtaining another sample of vampire blood, except the real vampires don't consider him to be one of them.
  • Space: 1999 has a race that can become immortal by extracting and implanting into themselves the brain cells of Maya's shapeshifter species. Needless to say, this kills the "donor".
  • In Stargate SG-1, the Goa'uld regeneration sarcophagus, which doesn't grant complete immortality but is damn close, gradually turns its users sociopathic with repeated use. This, combined with the fact that Goa'uld memories are passed on in their DNA to future generations, is the cause of the species' Always Chaotic Evil nature. It's also why the rebel Tok'ra faction (descendants of the only known good Goa'uld, Egeria) refuse to use the sarcophagus, even at the cost of their own extinction. However, even the sarcophagus eventually fails, as it was in Yu's case. Conveniently, he was one of the most benevolent Goa'uld to become senile and close to death. It was not the issue with the host but with the symbiote.
  • Supernatural:
    • Subverted in season 3's "Time Is on My Side" with an immortal doctor who needs to replace his organs when they "wear out"; Sam steals his notebook, complete with the formula for how to become immortal. It turns out that its not some dark magic ritual that involves drinking blood from a baby's skull, it's just science — though "weird science". The brothers eventually bury the notebook with the doctor, not wanting to have to prey on others to survive. It seems like they didn't stop to consider the positive implications of that kind of immortality paired with organ cloning technology...
    • And subverted again in the season 5 episode "The Curious Case of Dean Winchester", in which the leads come across a witch who lengthens his life by playing Texas Hold'em with humans. At least 25 years of life is the buy-in: winning means you can regress to your younger self or not age for that amount of time, while losing means you age rapidly or die. There are no tricks involved, as the only ones who play the witch are those who search him out knowing full well what the game entails. Interestingly, the witch never cheats (he's been playing and winning so long, he doesn't feel the need to), tries to dissuade potential players whom he believes don't have a real shot at winning, and on one case, he folds a hand he's certain he'll win and voluntarily ends the game, just to give an aging opponent enough extra years of life for him to see his granddaughter's Bat Mitzvah. He's a pretty nice guy. His companion/lover eventually gets tired of immortality and forces him to play her and win, betting and losing all her years.
  • The Twilight Zone (1959):
    • In "Long Live Walter Jameson", the title character has married dozens of times during the course of more than 2,000 years and abandoned each of his wives as they grew older in order to keep his secret.
    • In "Queen of the Nile", Pamela Morris has managed to stay alive and beautiful for two millennia by draining the Life Energy of young men using a scarab beetle.
  • The Twilight Zone (1985): In "Our Selena is Dying", Selena Brockman drains her niece Debra's Life Energy in order to become young again. Her sister Martha previously did the same thing to her own daughter Diane.

  • Sentenced's "The Suicider" is about an immortal/undead man who now only finds pleasure in killing other people, feeling reborn every time he kills someone.

  • The Adventure Zone: Balance:
    • The Wonderland Twins have massively extended their lifespans by luring people into Wonderland and forcing them to play twisted sacrifice games in the hope of gaining their most desired item, causing the players to be slowly drained of life energy every time they express suffering. It's made very clear that they have never given out a prize at the end, and while it's possible to escape their game, nobody gets out unscathed.
    • The Red Robes are likewise liches who have mysterious reasons for following the Tres Horny Boys around. Subverted. The Red Robe that has been following them around is Barry Bluejeans, trying to help them to solve the mystery.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Chronicles of Darkness:
    • Geist: The Sin-Eaters introduces abmortals, humans who've discovered or fallen prey to strange processes that leave them immortal, unaging, and capable of healing any injury, but usually at a human cost. Sample abmortals feature processes ranging from "must convince someone to jump from the bridge they failed to commit suicide off of once a year" to "never rejects foreign tissue, but often needs a 'full work-up.'" The statted-up sample abmortal is a crooked exorcist who found a way to devour ghosts.
    • Mage: The Awakening:
      • The Tremere Liches are a magical legacy who suspend their aging by devouring souls — at worst, up to one every two weeks. Soul theft is one of the few ways to fall off the Karma Meter irrevocably, to say nothing of the hellish half-life the victims endure.
      • The Timori legacy can suspend their aging by De-Powering other mages, which generally Mind Rapes them into insanity as a side effect.
      • Malevolent spirits called Acamoth can halt a human's aging for a year at a time. The price tends to start at Mind Raping the summoner, but repeat customers tend to get roped into becoming their agents on Earth.
      • The True Soul is a grimoire authored by Tazanteotl, an Atlantean magus who had a unique inability to extend his own life past eighty. The book contains a Legacy that obliterates its members' identity, turning them into a psychic clone of him. The new Tazanteotl loses a point of Wisdom on the basis of him being a self-absorbed Jerkass obsessed with survival at all costs.
    • The sourcebook Inferno has one of the few ways a mortal can become The Ageless indefinitely: Demonic Possession. Hence, it comes with an Enemy Within that's fueled by Vice and literally Made of Evil.
    • One adventure seed in World Of Darkness: Innocents features a woman who maintains eternal life by sucking the youth out of children until they're nothing but ancient, desiccated corpses. She preys on children specifically because they have the most lifespan to drain.
    • In the supplement Immortals, forfeiting one's humanity is the standard price of immortality:
      • Blood Bathers are people who've created Blood Magic rituals to sustain their youth and health. Sure, they can make do with blood packs or animal sacrifice, but that limits the ritual's potential so much compared to Human Sacrifice...
      • Body Thieves and Patchwork People stay alive by preying on other humans through a Grand Theft Me or Organ Theft respectively.
      • The Harvesters become and stay immortal by killing other immortals. Sure, some of them try to Pay Evil unto Evil and only target the above groups, but when the hourglass is running low and the only nearby source is an innocent, do you really think that they're going to cling to their standards and face Mother Death with their head held high?
  • C°ntinuum: roleplaying in The Yet: A valid concern for players who reach Span Four: your PC has probably lived several hundred years, adopting numerous identities in multiple timelines, had a bunch of nano-technology implanted, and killed (or Fragged) enemies in service to an ethical code that only other spanners can relate to. At Span Five, you're telepathic, functionally immortal, you can traverse nearly all of human history in a single span and you're much more like the Inheritors than a human being.
  • Zig-zagged in Dungeons & Dragons, Depending on the Writer and setting.
    • The ritual to become a Lich is "unspeakably evil," to which some guidebooks add that existence as a lich or other Undead twists the soul towards evil if it wasn't already.
      • A 1st Edition Dragon Magazine article describes some highly immoral Eye of Newt components for the ritual, like the blood of an elf and the heart of a fellow mage. Of course, a resourceful player might obtain them by Paying Evil Unto Evil to avoid the Moral Event Horizon.
      • Since you Can't Argue with Elves, the Forgotten Realms and Eberron settings feature non-evil lich variants: the noble Baelnorn and the technically-not-undead Deathless respectively, both highly respected spiritual leaders to their peoples.
      • In 4th edition, Liches get immortality through an evil ritual invoking Orcus, an evil demonic deity of the undead. However, more noble casters with enough effort can find an immortality ritual that forgoes calling upon the demonic forces to become Archliches. Generally, in 4th edition, most epic destinies can involve immortality through different means, almost all of which are good or neutral.
      • 5E Liches eat souls to maintain their forms. Those that do not lose their bodies and revert to demiliches, floating skulls significantly weaker than full liches (unlike in previous editions where demiliches were advanced liches, who also ate souls and were floating heads but retained all spellcasting ability).
    • The Forgotten Realms also features magic that drains the life from others and adds it to your lifespan. Casting the spell is an inherently evil act, though careful users can avoid falling to Evil themselves through their choice of lifestyle and victims.
    • Eberron also shifts undead from Always Chaotic Evil to usually evil. The most well-known vampire of the setting is the guy who ended the last 100 years of war, and he didn't even want immortality originally. Since the setting tends towards at least somewhat realistic politics he earns his Lawful Evil alignment with his ruthless nature, but at least he's working towards relatively good ends.
    • Immortality can also be cosmically illegal: creatures called Marut travel around the Planes, hunting down people who go too far to avoid dying when their time is up.
    • Prior to 3E, Potions of Longevity were a regular part of every D&D game edition. Each potion consumed could add a few decades to someone's lifespan, but had a small chance of causing their deferred age to instantly catch up with them instead. So non-lichly longevity was available, without any moral baggage: it was just a gamble and didn't last long, relatively speaking.
    • In BECMI D&D, the wish spell could knock off 1d10 years of age, without any drawbacks. So once a magic-user hit the right power level, they had it made.
  • In Princess: The Hopeful, a Chronicles of Darkness fan supplement, this trope is the reason Queens allow themselves to die and reincarnate on regular basis despite having more than enough magic power to be The Ageless: they know sticking to the same life for too long isn't good for your mental health. The Queen of Tears has been unable to reincarnate for millennia because her power is the only thing preventing her city from falling, and she has devolved into an authoritarian Well-Intentioned Extremist willing to commit any action, no matter how amoral, to protect her people.
  • Siren: The Drowning, a Chronicles of Darkness fan supplement, has the Flensers, a society of humans who keep themselves immortal by killing Sirens and eating their flesh. And if that wasn't amoral already, they are willing to pollute entire areas on purpose in order to lure Sirens out.
  • Vampire: The Masquerade: Clan Tremere started out as human mages. Once their immortality started fading because mankind wasn't buying magic anymore, they poked at vampires with sticks until they gave up their secrets of immortality. Then, in order to compete with other, older vampires, the founder of the clan diablerized the founder of the Salubri, then spread lies about infernalism so the rest of the clan would be destroyed and he'd get off scot free.
  • The Dark Eldar from Warhammer 40,000 keep their eternal youth by living in Commoragh and enjoying the suffering of others. Their reason for immortality may seem legit, if a little self-centered (Chaos God(dess) Slaanesh eats their souls when they die), until you remember it's their fault Slaanesh exists in the first place, as (s)he was created by their decadence.
    • Also note that the Dark Eldar could keep Slaanesh's hunger at bay through self-control, as their Craftworld Eldar brethren do, rather than through the suffering of others. A few actually have made the transition.
    • Also, in the Ultramarines novel Nightbringer, some Dark Eldar in search of more reliable immortality end up waking up the incarnation of Death itself.
    • The ultimate goal of any follower of Chaos is to transcend the Materium and become an immortal Daemon Prince, and mortal Chaos Champions can live for thousands of years. Given that the best way to gain favour with the Chaos Gods is indiscriminately conquering and slaughtering everything in one's path, inevitably this trope is involved.
    • In the Warhammer 40000 rpg Dark Heresy, there are alien artifacts known as Halo Devices. These artifacts will give the user immortality, but they will slowly turn into a bloodthirsty creature full of evil appetites. A person can also sell their soul to daemons using dark rites, in exchange for longevity.

    Video Games 
  • Advance Wars: Dual Strike: In order to remain alive, Big Bad Von Bolt, the leader of Black Hole, has devised a machine that slowly drains the earth of its energy. The longer he lives, the more arid and uninhabitable Omega Land becomes. This energy is finite and when it runs out he'll probably die. He doesn't care. He wants to stay alive now.
  • This becomes a somewhat Broken Aesop in Age of Empires III, as the villains seek immortality, but other than using the heroes as tools to obtain it, they do not actually do anything evil related to the immortality (though they do plenty of evil things unrelated to it). It goes so far that just in order to prevent the villains from getting immortality, the heroes destroy the only source to it, making it impossible for anyone to ever become it.
  • In Age of Mythology, Gargarensis, the Cyclops Big Bad attempts to release Kronos, the God of Evil and Sealed Evil in a Can from Greek Mythology, whom would cause The End of the World as We Know It in order to make him reward Gargarensis with immortality, as he wishes nothing but to become a god. Gargarensis almost succeeds, but eventually The Hero seals all gates to Tartarus, Kronos' prison, and Gargarensis dies from getting skewered with a trident.
    • Averted with Arkantos, The Hero of the story, as Athena rewards him with immortality in the ending, which is not treated as amoral in any way.
  • In Ancient Magic, the Sorcerer King Jerah used magic to obtain immortality in the backstory. The mages at the mage guild immediately react with horror to this, and when you actually meet him, Lot instantly demands to know how many people died in order to let him live forever. Note that the game never actually says exactly what he did (or whether Lot actually knows); everyone just seems to take it as a given that getting immortality requires doing something evil.
  • Battle for Wesnoth: The protagonist of Secrets of the Ancients, Ardonna, is a mage who wants to find out how to become immortal through necromancy. To that end, she kills people in self-defense or for standing in her way without remorse and experiments with some of them. A fellow necromancer she encountered, Ras-Tabahn, has a similar mindset, only a little more forceful towards the living.
  • Bound by Flame: Supporting party member Mathras is an immortal who takes up residence in one body after another to prolong his life. Vulcan can pursue a line of conversation with him where he describes his experimentation with this trope. You only hear fragments of his bizarre sexual exploits, but Vulcan is clearly fascinated and horrified at the same time. His current body is basically an emaciated corpse, which makes the Squick factor even worse.
  • Bug Fables: It is a recurring theme that most of the immortality seekers in the story are also some of the most evil characters in the setting:
    • The Roach Scientists performed all sorts of horrific experiments on innocent bugs involving parasitic Cordyceps fungi to further their quest for immortality. It didn't end well for them, though.
    • The Wasp King goes through great lengths and comits several horrible deeds on his quest to attain the Everlasting Sapling. He leads attacks on other kingdoms, invades the Ant Kingdom Palace to steal the artifacts that let one obtain the Sapling, sacrifices his mind-controlled troops, and sets fires that threaten to burn the Roach Village, if not burn down the entire Giant's Lair. Upon attaining the Sapling, his first action is to try killing the exploration team sent to stop him and become the grand ruler of all of Bugaria.
  • According to Castlevania: Lament of Innocence, Dracula became a vampire so that he could live forever in defiance of God's decree that all living things must die.
  • Several examples pop up in Dragon Age: Origins, which includes Zathrien and Flemeth - both of whom possess immortality due to dark magic. In Zathrien's case, his life is bound to a self-perpetuating werewolf curse upon the bandits who killed his son and raped his daughter centuries previously and still affects their descendants. As long as the curse remains, so does Zathrien. In Flemeth's case, she simply Body Surfs into her daughters' bodies when her current body gets too old.
    • Alternatively, Flemeth can send an artifact holding a piece of her to a friendly Dalish tribe, who perform a ritual that revives her.
    • Ultimately somewhat subverted during Dragon Age: Inquisition where Flemeth returns. She is revealed to be an ancient Elvhen Goddess or Evanuris, Mythal, whose Spirit survived and possessed a woman and that Spirit was, seemingly, passed down from mother to daughter. Flemeth also suggests that Morrigan was never in any danger and that she would have to accept the 'gift', again suggesting that Mythal is a Fade Spirit and matching the setting's terms of possession; the subject must consent. While Flemeth herself is mysterious and shady in her actions for most of the franchise; sending Morrigan with the Warden to collect the Old God's soul from the Archdemon, never being clear in her motives, threatening to take Morrigan's Son if he possesses the Old God soul, and other dubious choices, it seems most if not all of her actions are born out of a desire to preserve aspects of the magic in the world, and not out of genuine malice or ill-will. However, Inquisition does introduce another example...
    • The two antagonists introduced in Inquisition do apply. The first is the game's Big Bad, Corypheous, who is one of the original Tevinter Magisters who breached the Golden City in the Fade (turning it black) and creating or releasing the Darkspawn upon the world... centuries ago. He is still alive as some kind of human-Darkspawn Hybrid like The Architect in Dragon Age: Awakening. He is freed from his Grey Warden prison during Dragon Age 2: Legacy and comes to believe that the word of the Maker and the Old Gods are nothing but lies. If there is no god sitting on the throne in the Black City, he will claim it and become God of Thedas and restore the Tevinter Emporium, even if he breaks the Veil in the process. And he is given the power to do this by none other than...
    • Solas, also known as the Elvhen God, Fen'Harel. The Elvhen Gods are revealed to be no more than Elves who had extended their lives and power to impossible levels and considered most of the world and its people beneath them, keeping many as slaves. Solas became a Champion of the Elven people, freed slaves, and eventually sealed the Elven Gods, Evanuris, away by creating the Veil and separating the Fade and the mortal world. Solas went to sleep after this action drained him, woke up, and like Corypheus was horrified at the outcome of creating the Veil and began his quest to correct it, even if it meant that the world of Thedas would perish in the process. He tried to manipulate Coryphous into giving him more power, joined the Inquisitor to stop Corypheus when that didn't work, and then left for their own quest once Corypheus was defeated and Solas needed a new plan. He returns at the end of Inquisition's DLC, Trespasser, to explain some of his motives, save the Inquisitor from the Mark they had accidentally gotten from him at the start of Inquisition, and disappear off to complete his quest, setting himself up as the Big Bad for the eventually fourth game in the franchise.
    • Completely subverted by the Temple Guardians at the Temple of Mythal. They have been living away from others for centuries with little interaction outside of defending it from invaders. They aren't immortal so much as isolationist from the outside world and will protect the temple's secrets to the death. The Inquisitior can fight against the Guardians or ally with them during the quest.
  • If the player casts Necromutation in Dungeon Crawl, they can't starve anymore and can live forever as long as they periodically recast the spell. The good gods consider this evil and will excommunicate the player for doing this.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • In Morrowind, this is the case with the Tribunal's initial act of obtaining immortality. The Tribunal, a trio of Dunmeri Physical Gods who used Dwemeri tools to tap into the still-beating Heart of Lorkhan, the "dead" creator god of Mundus, the mortal plane. They (along with Big Bad Dagoth Ur) were instructed by their leader, Lord Indoril Nerevar, to never use the "profane" tools. Depending on the version of the story, they, at the very least betrayed Nerevar (and his Daedric patron Azura) by using the tools on the Heart to achieve godhood. (Vivec even admits directly to this part.) Other versions of the story make them seem even more immoral, with them outright killing Nerevar so that he could not stop them from tapping into the Heart.
    • Skyrim:
      • The Aldmeri Dominion, now under the leadership of the extremist Thalmor, have this going on. The Thalmor play up the Altmeri religious belief that the creation of the mortal world was a cruel trick which robbed their ancestors of their pre-creation divinity and forced them to experience mortal loss and suffering. They've banned the worship of Talos, the ascended divine form of Tiber Septim (and possibly others), with the justification that they do not believe a human could become a god. The real reason is even deeper, though. They (perhaps rightly) believe that Talos is one of the last things keeping the mortal world extant. By depriving him of worship, they hope to "kill" him so that the world will be unmade, and they can return to their pre-creation divine forms. Their rhetoric, backstory, and imagery have a distinct Nazi-ish vibe, and their methods involve large-scale murder of humans and even other elves who disagree with them.
      • In the Dawnguard DLC, Harkon feared death so much that he sacrificed thousands of his own subjects so Molag Bal would make him a Vampire Lord.
  • Fable II introduces Reaver, who sacrifices others to a triumverate of demons so that he can stay eternally young and beautiful.
  • This seems to be an underlying theme in both Final Fantasy IX and Final Fantasy X. Many of the themes of the former game center around the meaning of life and what it means to live, and the attempts by the people of Terra (through Garland) to stave off death and stay alive lead them to commit horrific crimes (the mass murder of the Madain Sari summoners, Kuja being sent to cause more havoc in Gaia), to the point where it's implied that Terra has destroyed several younger planets already in its quest to stay alive. In Final Fantasy X, on the other hand, the efforts of Yu Yevon to keep Zanarkand from dying are responsible for much of the suffering that afflicts Spira, from its religious and racial divisions to the suffering of even many of the citizens of Zanarkand themselves. In both games, the quest for immortality leads its pursuers to inflict no end of misery on others.
    • In addition, the selfish actions of the Unsent, who control the world government/church insisting that the steady hand of the undead is better than the possible instability or even change that might occur if new, living leaders were in charge.
  • In Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings, Feolthanos has stayed alive for centuries by draining the anima of the aegyl.
  • Averted in a deeply morally dubious fashion in Golden Sun. In the first game Babi, the ruler of Tolbi, the largest empire in the world, has a life-extending draught that has kept him alive close to a century and a half. In desperate need of a refill of his draught, Babi enslaves the people of Lalivero to build a lighthouse for him in order to find the location of the island the draught came from. The protagonists are more than happy to strike a deal with this tyrant and accept his offer of a boat in return for your picking up some more draught for him. In fact, they have no moral qualms whatsoever about picking up more of this immortality potion for a dictator. They're off the hook, though: Babi dies in Golden Sun: The Lost Age before they can get back to him, so their mission of aiding the perpetual domination of Tolbi by an immortal tyrant is called off.
    • Averted in a less morally ambiguous fashion with the Lemurians, the inventors of the draught. Their use of the draught doesn't seem to have affected their morality at all. One of them, Piers, even becomes a party member in The Lost Age.
      • Somewhat averted with the Lemurians in generally because they aren't immortal, just long-lived. They gain their longevity from the water spring on the island, which has the same properties as the draught. That's because they stopped making it because of Babi's ambition.
  • Grim Dawn: Once you meet Uroboruuk, the progenitor of all that is Necromancy, it turns out the secret of his famed immortality was just as malevolent as anyone suspected... and while he was very much okay with the price at first, guilt has a way of eating away at even the most solid wills, and it certainly had the time to do so. Once you finally meet him, he considers not one bit of it was worth it and he's very much okay with giving his life for an actual noble cause, and setting the many captured souls within him free.
  • Haunting Ground: Both Riccardo and Lorenzo are out to gain immortality. Both require the Azoth inside Fiona to achieve this. Both employ heinous methods to harness it:
  • In I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream, one of many inventions produced by Nimdok during his employment in the Nazi death camps was a Youth Serum. According to Doctor Mengele, it took the deaths of many Jewish children to perfect. Ironically, over seventy years later, AM uses the same serum to keep Nimdok and four other survivors of The End of the World as We Know It in eternal agony.
  • Metal Max 2: All the bad things that has happened in the entire Metal Max Franchise was because Professor Brad sought immortality, up to and including keeping humanity technologically suppressed, developing Noah, and the Human Hunts by the Grapplers were all to facilitate his own goals of seeking immortality due to his own pride of being trumped by a disease he contracted while he was alive, it wasn't good enough that he was able to cheat death once via Brain Uploading.
  • Mystery Case Files series:
    • Let's just say that bad, very bad things were done by the Dalimars to achieve immortality in the Ravenhearst arc. The body count is quite impressive, too.
    • Meredith Huxley and her father Harold, in Broken Hour, also murdered people to maintain their immortality via draining the life force out of the guests of Harold's boarding house, which would fuel their Immortality Inducer. Interestingly, they also both despise said immortality.
  • Lazerby of The Pirate's Fate is a slightly unusual example in that he's already long dead by the time he comes up with his plan. Having discovered one of the magic coins and using it to stay bound to this plane, he further finds that all of the coins gathered together will allow for a wish to change the world. He explains his plan as nobody ever needing to die allowing everyone to become a ghost and possess babies the moment they're born. Even when the nightmarish flaws, and the logistics, of this are thought out, he stubbornly insists on it and becomes violent, revealing himself to be a total sociopath who truly does only care about himself and his own survival. (Needless to say, letting him win does not end well.)
  • Planescape: Torment uses this trope in interesting ways. In a setting where immortal angels, devils and other beings of the outer planes are a dime-a-dozen, The Nameless One is considered an anomaly for being a human and a complete immortal whose very mortality was torn from him by a powerful ritual. The game explicitly states that the nature of his immortality is what makes him tormented. Amongst other things his immortality routinely killed his memories every time he died, is implied to slowly kill his mind with every death even in his current state, keeps killing other people across the planes in order to balance Death's books every time he dies, and merely staying alive apparently makes The Nameless One strain the fabric of The Multiverse.
  • Pokémon X and Y, of all things, has this as a background element. The ancient king AZ built a device to resurrect his pokemon companion who died in a war. However, this was accomplished by draining the life from other beings - and as this trope frequently works out, the ratio of sacrifices to beneficiaries is extremely skewed, though he was past caring. AZ promptly enhanced his new ultimate weapon to wipe out both sides of the war, and his pokemon promptly abandoned him out of guilt. 3000 years later, Team Flare tries to reactivate the weapon, though whether the emphasis is on the "make ourselves great" or "wipe out everyone else" components depends on the version (they plan on both either way).
  • The downloadable content scenario Lost in Nightmares of Resident Evil 5 reveals that Ozwell Spencer planned to develop a virus which would reverse his infirmity and make him immortal. This plan involved thousands of human test subjects. Too bad his top scientist ran off with the test subjects and the research data.
  • Zu Zu the Occultist from RuneScape faced a similar quandary as she possesses immortality at the cost of hundreds of sea life; Zu Zu isn't evil herself, but she was hired by an evil empress who employed her skills to discover the method of obtaining immortality and struggles to keep the method a secret while also seeking to reverse the condition.
  • In Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, no one fits this better than the heretical monks of the Senpou Temple. In direct defiance of the teachings of Buddha, they have rejected the impermanence of mortality and are willing to do anything to achieve physical permanence. Kidnapping and experimenting on children to replicate the effects of the Dragon Heritage (killing most of them in the process — only one child survived), deliberately infesting themselves with centipedes (even more heretical considering that centipedes represent the poison of hatred in Buddhism)...the Seekers will do anything and cross any moral line if it means they can live forever.
  • Sly Cooper:
    • Clockwerk in Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus is so motivated by his hatred of the Cooper family that he was able to live for centuries. The fact that he replaced his entire body with mechanical parts also helped.
    • Arpeggio in Sly 2: Band of Thieves also wanted immortality, but while he wasn't portrayed quite as negatively as Clockwerk, and it seems he didn't have anyone he particularly hated, he still stole Clockwerk's body for himself, and planned to fuel it by driving the entire city of Paris into a drug-induced rage. Neyla also wanted immortality, and was willing to betray everyone and their mother to get it and murdering them if they got in the way.
  • Sonic and the Black Knight: Merlina uses Black Magic and the power of the Underworld to spread darkness in order to make Camelot eternal. While she's a Well-Intentioned Extremist, Sonic makes the argument that a world that goes on forever is no good, while Caliburn asks her if she truly believes that such a world would even function properly.
  • The Sorceress from Spyro: Year of the Dragon plans to make herself immortal via killing 150 dragon hatchlings for their wings. Even worse, as she herself states, she doesn't have to kill them, she doesn't want them wiggling so much. This proves so horrible that her dragon Bianca almost instantly switches sides after learning this.
  • Starcraft II: Stetmann finds out that the way Zerg DNA works, they can't die of old age. However, he completely refuses to start trying to do this for moral reasons (that and the vast majority of Terrans aren't exactly paragons of virtue, and those that could afford it even less so).
  • The Sith Emperor of Star Wars: The Old Republic, like many of the Sith, wanted to find a way to live forever. His method? Murder every living thing on his homeworld and devour their life force. While that extended his lifespan indefinitely and gave him many other powers, he still wasn't satisfied, and his Evil Plan during the game itself involves doing the same thing to the entire galaxy, which would allow him to survive until the end of the universe and into the next.
  • Asakim Dowen of Super Robot Wars Z is implied to have been cursed with immortality as a punishment for a certain sin he committed in the past. He goes all the way, going back and forth crossing the Moral Event Horizon in order to find something that can kill him.
  • In Sword of the Stars, the Suul'ka are functionally immortal. Due to their long-term view they tend to view themselves as gods and mere 'mortals' as playthings or tools at best. To add to this, their immortality came through enslaving their own species and forcing them through a premature industrial revolution just so they could build the life support devices necessary to make the Suul'ka immortal. Their species, the Liir, are naturally immortal but never stop growing so eventually the Square-Cube Law kills them. So they got the idea of teleporting into space where they'd be free from gravity's restraints, but they needed someone to build them spacesuits first.
    • Averted with The Black, the living weapon actually another Liir Elder created to fight the Suul'ka. The only reason it hasn't embraced a long overdue death already is because there are still Suul'ka out there.
  • The Big Bad of Thief: Deadly Shadows was a Keeper who used a secret Glyph to extend her life by killing others (it's implied she absorbs their biomass, which gives her the added bonus of shapeshifting). The game ends with Garrett destroying Glyph Magic itself, both to depower the Big Bad and also to stop future Keepers from becoming like her.
  • The Big Bad of TimeSplitters Future Perfect (and, by extension, the entire series) is revealed to be a scientist who was obsessed with discovering the secret to immortality. In the process he screws things up royal multiple times (leading to various forms of monsters eating all his staff members). By the time he gets the process right (by turning himself into a giant cyborg blob, natch) he's gotten it into his head to wipe out humanity and replace it with his own artificially developed species, the Time Splitters.
  • Touhou almost entirely averts this, most of the characters long-lived or even immortal in some way without any negative judgement towards them, however while it doesn't present immortality itself as a bad thing it can be bad if sought for selfish reasons:
    • Fujiwara no Mokou attained immortality by drinking the Hourai Elixir, which she obtained by killing the man who was on a mission from the Emperor to destroy it; she only wanted immortality in the first place to have an opportunity to enact revenge on Kaguya (who also drank the elixir and had recently returned to the moon, Mokou correctly fearing that a mortal human would be dead by the time she traveled to Earth again). When she finally did reunite with Kaguya the two spent the following centuries repeatedly killing each other. She is also notable for being the only member of the massive cast to not be in the Living Forever Is Awesome camp, the only human with any form of immortality and thus not fitting with either humans or youkai.
    • Kaguya is this trope from the perspective of the other Lunarians who, though "naturally immortal", recognize the Hourai Elixir as as source of "impurity" and banished Kaguya to Earth for its use — though not, interestingly, Eirin for creating it. This is because the Lunarians' immortality is due to them being pure, never having been touched by impurities like illnessess, age or death, and as thus never having been mortals in the first place. Contrast to the Hourai Elixir's immortality, which makes the one who's swallowed it immune to death, even if they are touched by it, meaning that they effectively become a super-spreader for the impurities of mortality and death.
    • Remilia Scarlet is a bit of a grey area, as while she is a vampire who drinks blood from people to survive she always "leaves some on her plate" and doesn't actually kill anyone, so her bark is worse than her bite. On top of that, Word of God has it that Remilia will forever have the physical appearance of a child because "creatures of her kind forfeit their growth and maturity in exchange for eternal life. In other words, she can live forever because she never grows up."
    • Ten Desires introduces Miko and her followers, who followed Taoism solely to gain the immortality it provided and then exacerbated a religious war to ensure that everyone else in Japan would follow Buddhism, intending to use it to suppress the masses while they gained power through Taoism. Special mention goes to Seiga Kaku who was not only the one who mentored Miko and the others in the ways of Taoism but was also the one who adviced Miko to use Buddhism to pacify Japan on top of also being a Necromancer.
    • Learning to stop one's own aging is considered a natural if difficult goal for human mages. Alice Margatroid was fully human once (Patchouli Knowledge may have been as well). Their early characterization suggests that while it isn't precisely immoral, the sheer degree of obsessive study and focus required for a human to attain an indefinite lifespan this way (before dying of old age) may be itself unhealthy. As Marisa's trying for this herself, it remains to be seen if she'll be affected.
      • Marisa wants to become immortal, but her options are limited because she refuses to indulge in any method that would fall under this trope. For example, she doesn't want to become a youkai magician like Alice because she wants to retain her humanity, and Hourai immortality is out because to get it, she'd have to "kill" a Hourai immortal like Kaguya or Mokou and eat their livernote .
    • Played straight in Wild and Horned Hermit though, where it's revealed that immortality is in fact a sin in the Touhou-verse, at least according to the Bureau of Right and Wrong. And since they're the ones in charge of sorting people out into Heaven or Hell or Whatever, they have the final say in these sorts of things. Specifically, Hell sends agents to hunt down and kill people who live too long, such as Seiga. Kasen muses on what this means for the naturally immortal youkai, but the question remains unanswered.
  • Originally, the night elves in World of Warcraft were gifted immortality by the Dragon Aspect Ysera. However, the tree that she blessed in order to give them this gift was destroyed to defend the Night Elf homeland. Fandral Staghelm led a faction of elves who sought to regain their immortality. While they tried appealing to the Dragon Aspects: they refused to bless the new tree, considering the elves no longer worthy. So Staghelm sought his goal by other means, and ended up working for the Firelord Ragnaros: who was very very much an antagonist if not outright evil.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles 3: Moebius is a group covertly extending the Forever War between Keves and Agnus for this reason. Their members pose as "Consuls" advising both sides supposedly so either side's armies can eventually emerge victorious, when in reality the Consuls make sure that there is a never-ending stalemate. This is because the constant dying and rebirths of the two kingdom's soldiers produce a life energy that the Moebius members absorb to live indefinitely.

  • While mostly averted in The Adventures of Dr. McNinja, where Benjamin Franklin and Dr. McNinja are researching a cure for death and the attempt is treated as a positive thing, it turns out to be a case of #1 as Ben was unwittingly receiving "help" from Dracula, and the serum wound up turning Ben into a Headless Horseman. The debate behind this trope is parodied at the end of the arc in this strip.
  • The Dragon Doctors had Preston Chang, who turned himself into a parasite known as the Crax so that he could become immortal by infesting everyone. However the Crax eventually determined that his attitude was detrimental to survival and discarded his soul before mutating into benign gut fauna.
  • In Drowtales, a human royal coupled sought immortality by bathing in Elf blood Elizabeth-Bathory-style. It's not explicitly stated whether it really worked against aging, but it definitely didn't work against being killed.
  • El Goonish Shive:
    • Aberrations are humans who have chosen to become monstrous and feed on humanity to extend their lifespans. The process involves giving up any possible empathy for other human beings. Some have traits in common with vampires, and the author has decided that "vampire" is a valid name for them.
    • Immortals themselves (that is to say, a class of magical humanlike creatures who are naturally immortal), have another form of this trope, in that the older they get, the more unhinged and psychotic they become. They also tend to get Stronger with Age, which is not a good combination. The Immortals are aware of this, and consciously decide to "die" every two hundred years or so in order to "reset" their personalities and avoid this fate. They retain some of their memories of past lives, but in the form of pure information, not as actual experiences they can remember. Pandora has been avoiding death for around six hundred years or so, and is very definitely insane by this point. It seems her reason for doing so was she didn't want to lose the love she had for her mortal lover.
  • Subverted in Hanna Is Not a Boy's Name when Hanna turns Conrad into a vampire. Immortality's no cakewalk, and it comes at a price, but Hanna is still portrayed as a sympathetic character who was only doing the best thing he could do at the time.
  • Zig-zagged in Kill Six Billion Demons: there are three species that don't die of old age and seem none the worse for it, aside from some overpopulation issues. On the other hand, the seven Demiurges have varied means of extending their lives, "some more corrosive than others"; Mottom restores her youth with fruit that the mutated corpse of her husband, now a twisted fleshy tree, produces when fed the blood of Virgin Sacrifices. Yeesh.
  • Angel Eye from Rice Boy was formerly on a Mission from God which granted him immortality as long as he continued seeking The Fulfiller. He quit, but didn't want to give up his immortality, so he began drinking the Black Spirit. As the Overside Encyclopedia explains: "Anyone who drinks it is immortal for as long as he drinks it, but it isn't the same life as before. Extended use is thought to make the drinker increasingly warped and evil."

    Web Original 

    Web Videos 
  • After Hours pointed out an inherent downside to immortality even with well-respected historical figures - Values Dissonance would inherently come into play, leading them into conflict with shifting norms.
  • Mocked by The Nostalgia Chick in her Xanadu review:
    Chick: [as Zeus] That's the thing about immortality, it makes you oblivious and stupid.
  • Comes up on multiple occasions in Tales From My D&D Campaign.
    • When the Ytarran race began to die of the Hubris, their Warforged servants had to face the fact that without maintainance that only Ytarrans knew how to do, even their artificial bodies would begin to break down and decay. Some were so unwilling to accept this that they learnt to drain the vitality from other Warforged, or to steal other, less-decayed bodies. In contrast to these "Dark Ancients", however, there are also a small number who found ways to sustain their bodies without having to steal bodies or life to do it.
    • One of the party members is a cleric of Ankou, the setting's demigod of death, and his god condems those who seek to prolong their life beyond its proper span. Elves (who are naturally unaging) are exempt from this decree, and when one of the protagonists accidentally becomes immortal due to a blessing from a magical spring, the cleric of Ankou is uncomfortable but concedes that this is less objectionable than most of this setting's ways of attaining immortality (which usually requires becoming some form of undead).

    Western Animation 
  • Marceline from Adventure Time does have a case of this, as it is flat out stated (well, sang) in her introductory episode that the reason she is so Chaotic Neutral is that she's lived so long she's stopped caring.
    Narrator: [singing] Oh Marceline! Why are you so mean?
    Marceline: '[singing back] I'm not mean, I'm a thousand years old, and I just lost track of my moral code.
  • Ra's al-Ghul from Batman: The Animated Series has this as part of his Utopia Justifies the Means philosophy, and it's shown that the Lazarus Pits that he uses renders the user completely and utterly Ax-Crazy for a brief period of time after using it. In the animated series, he nearly threw his own daughter to certain death (the pits are lethal to healthy humans, and only work on the dying).
    • And then he takes a flying leap over the Moral Event Horizon in Batman Beyond, when it's revealed that after being wounded too badly for even the Pits to heal, he took over Talia's body, overwriting her mind with his. Talia apparently agreed to this out of sheer devotion (or so Ra's says), but that doesn't make it any less despicable. It drives home the point of his own selfishness; if his daughter was THAT devoted, she surely could have been counted on to continue his life's work, so his only reason for taking her body would have to be his own selfish desire to continue living.
    • Batman taunts him at one point that after all this time and delusions of grandeur, Ra's hasn't mastered death at all; he's ruled by the fear of it.
    • Played with in Batman: Under the Red Hood.
      Jason Todd: Oh, you got to talking with Ra's, huh? Does it make it easier for you to think my little dip in his fountain of youth turned me rabid? Or is this just the real me?
  • Charles Montgomery Burns displays a similar cowardice on The Simpsons. Coming close to a Heel–Face Turn numerous times, he finally doomed himself after a random act of kindness nearly killed him. He then realized that evil was literally the only thing keeping his frail, 104-year-old body alive, and he vows to never reform his ways in order to keep himself alive forever.
  • Count Duckula can conceivably live forever, provided he is not exterminated. If he is, he can be brought back once a century if the resurrection ritual is done properly. In his TV series, it obviously wasn't.

    Real Life 
  • Some commentators, both religious and secular, argue that to "cure" aging would abolish a key part of the human experience. Perhaps the most notable exponent of this viewpoint is Leon Kass, formerly of the President's Council on Bioethics.
  • Presumably, if this were applied on a global scale, it would result in massive overpopulation (and thus, this trope is in full effect in Immanual Kant's system of moral philosophy, which says that you should not do something that would be bad if everyone did it). If only a few people were granted immortality, they would likely acquire disproportionate power and control over the course of their lives, and would never be removed from power by death. So, unless there's Population Control, completely effective contraception, and/or cheap, reliable space colonization becomes available, immortality could be very bad for the human race in general.
    • On an even larger scale, one could argue that immortality threatens all life on earth, via a lack of evolution. Eternally young but experienced creatures will almost always outcompete their own offspring. Thus, any immortal species will stop replacing its individuals with those from a newer generation. This stays true as the environment changes, while some of the young creatures will be slightly better adapted to it by chance, this advantage doesn't outweigh the massive gap in experience. This in turn means that those slightly better adapted individuals can't reproduce and produce (once more by chance) even better adapted ones. The gap between the environment the species has evolved in and the one it's currently living in will eventually become too big, and the immortal species goes extinct (barring magical means that let the animals survive literally anywhere). This could take as long as hundreds of millions of years though, in select cases, and it can be subverted altogether if the immortality is incomplete and enough immortal individuals still die from predator attacks or other causes. Still, this is one reason why we have the lifespan we have; evolution selects against populations with too long an average life. Then again not able to die is probably the ultimate adaptation.
    • The one positive benefit of racial immortality is that it makes space exploration by traveling slower than the speed of light an attractive prospect without using Generation Ships. Living forever would work just fine, so long as humanity adopted an extreme expansionist policy.
  • For a given definition of immortality, people who commit horrible crimes just to get featured on the news so they can live on in infamy forever would count. Including, not least of which (nor most recently) Herostratus. Notably, even back then, the authorities tried to deny him his goal by trying to Unperson him (they made it a crime to mention his name on pain of death). Unfortunately, their efforts were ultimately in vain. Law enforcement agencies and some media outlets have increasingly become aware of this and are starting to make conscious efforts to avoid it. For example, most outlets pointedly refused to air the name of the man responsible for committing a mass shooting at a church in a small town in Texas in late 2017.
  • Elizabeth Báthory supposedly drank and/or bathed in the blood of virgins, thinking it would make her immortal. Obviously it didn't work, as she died anyway.
  • Qin Shi Huangdi had a bunch of "wizards" in charge of inventing a potion to make him immortal. While this alone wasn't evil, him burying alive a bunch of the "wizards" when they inevitably failed to produce such a potion sure as hell was.