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Legacy Seeker

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"Legacy is all you leave behind in this world. Look at this place. Look at all these places. When you die, the only thing you leave behind is what you did in this life... and, for me, I haven't kept friends, my enemies will eventually move on to something else... I think... my legacy is Las Nevadas, and that's why I care for it so much. Legacy is all you leave behind."
Quackity, Dream SMP

Everyone wants to be remembered for what they've accomplished in life, though even for the most successful people on the planet, it's not always a guarantee that they'll go out of their way to ensure that their works outlive them.

However, for a hardcore few, it's not enough to merely hope that they're remembered fondly; for them, all competing passions, interests, and objectives are secondary to the need to leave their mark — regardless of whether their lasting contribution takes the form of a family, a masterpiece, or an empire. Creating a legacy is the focus of all their energies and ensuring its survival is worth literally anything.

This can be a trait for both heroes and villains, though the reasons for this vary: a sense of inadequacy, a fear of being forgotten, a need to erase a shameful past, or maybe simple narcissism — whatever the reason, the character wants to be remembered at all costs and will do everything in their power to leave their mark on the world. Villains will seek Fame Through Infamy. Even in cases in which the character is already famous, it's not uncommon for them to obsess over leaving a legacy in the form of a final triumph — their Magnum Opus.

It's not uncommon for the character to be old, nearing retirement, or about to die, thus increasing the pressure to secure their legacy before time runs out. It's also not uncommon for legacy seekers to lose what they already have in the process of making their mark on the world, and even if they are remembered, their legacy might be quite unlike what they intended. For this reason, obsession with a legacy is often a character flaw.

Related to Immortality Seeker — and indeed could be what an Immortality Seeker becomes after coming to terms with their mortality and deciding to "live forever" via their deeds instead, as is the case with the Ur(uk)-Example, The Epic of Gilgamesh.

Compare and contrast Glory Hound. See also Villainous Legacy, a logical result of more successful examples from the darker end of morality. Often overlaps with Immortality Through Memory, due to it being common for people trying to leave behind a legacy to do so specifically because of this belief.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Ill Boy, Ill Girl: Knowing he's terminally ill from a rare disease, the Boy makes it his mission to immortalize himself through getting the disease named after him — and making sure the equally as ill Girl doesn't die of it first, as her more eye-catching talents and backstory would make her a much more likely candidate for the naming, and him little more than a footnote.

    Comic Books 
  • In Batman: Dark Victory, Julian Gregory Day, aka the Calendar Man, tries to trick Alberto Falcone into committing suicide by pretending to be his late father's voice. When Alberto wises up and exposes the truth, Day confesses that, with the rise of super-criminals in Gotham, his own legacy as a Serial Killer is rapidly disappearing: "The Calendar Man is being forgotten." His attempts to prevent this end up getting him severely beaten.

    Films — Animation 
  • Despicable Me has Gru plot to steal the moon to cement his place as the greatest criminal mastermind ever.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Miles Bron of Glass Onion has always expressed a desire "to be mentioned in the same breath as the Mona Lisa," and even as world famous tech billionaire, still obsesses over the idea of leaving his mark on the world. To that end, he's developed a revolutionary fuel source known as Klear, due to be unveiled to the media in a gala event featuring the real Mona Lisa (on loan from the Louvre). He's also murdered his business partner Andi Brand for trying to stop him from promoting the highly volatile hydrogen fuel. In the finale, Miles gets the legacy he was hoping for when Benoit Blanc and Helen Brand destroy his Klear-powered mansion in an inferno that reveals the instability of his wonder-fuel to the world and incinerates the Mona Lisa - ensuring that he really will be mentioned in the same breath as the painting. As such, even if Miles avoids being charged for all the murders he committed, his reputation will be left in tatters.
  • In National Treasure: Book of Secrets, Big Bad Mitch Wilkinson is revealed to have this as his motive, mixed with a healthy dose of envy—he's upset that the Gates family is renowned for their contributions to American history, while his own family lacks such prestige. At first, Wilkinson is satisfied to simply try to claim that Thomas Gates was a conspirator in Abraham Lincoln's assassination, but when Benjamin Franklin Gates sets out to clear his great-great-grandfather's name, Wilkinson follows along in the hopes of getting some credit for whatever secret Thomas knew (it's also implied that Wilkinson's ancestors were genuinely involved in the assassination plot, whereas Thomas was a truly innocent party, meaning that Mitch is also trying to redeem his family's lineage). Eventually, when the heroes discover the legendary Cibola, the Lost City of Gold, Wilkinson pulls a Heroic Sacrifice to stay behind, on the condition that Ben tell everyone about his part in the success: "Tell them I found it!" Ben agrees and, when telling the President what happened, names Wilkinson as one of the people who deserves credit for the find.
  • Pan's Labyrinth: Along with wiping out the rebels, Captain Vidal is obsessed with producing a son — to the point that he likely only married Carmen because she was pregnant with his child. Vidal's own father died when he was a baby, but he clearly reveres the legacy he left in the form of his pocket watch — left so that Vidal would know "how a brave man died" — and wants to leave a legacy of his own: a son that will revere his memory and the new, "clean" Spain that he will inherit. His obsession is so great that he instructs the doctor to let his wife die if it's a choice between her and the baby. In the finale, he gets the son he wanted — only to end up being soundly defeated by the rebels thanks to his own arrogance and sadism. Trying to Face Death with Dignity like his father, he orders Mercedes to tell his son about how he died like a brave man — only for Mercedes to coldly reply that his son won't even know his name. Then Pedro blows his head off.

  • This is the motivation of Cohen the Barbarian and the Silver Horde in The Last Hero. They're old, they've been everywhere, they've done everything, so they're going on one last adventure that they don't expect to return from. And to make absolutely sure that this gets remembered in song and story, they've brought a minstrel along with them.
  • In Sean McMullen's short story The Porphyric Plague, protagonist Kubasov was taught that his only route to immortality was through fame or family. After suffering fatal radiation exposure during the Chernobyl disaster, he initially believes he's lost his chance at both — up until he is unexpectedly cured via an experimental treatment; unfortunately, the treatment turns out to be a communicable version of porphyria that leaves Kubasov a scientifically-justified vampire. The project is judged a failure and the luckless test subject is due to be bumped off so word doesn't spread; however, Kubasov is able to escape and resolves to ensure his legacy through infamy, namely by turning his disease into a global pandemic.
  • The Stormlight Archive: King Gavilar Kholin (who we see only in Flashback as he is killed before the main plot starts) seems to be obsessed with leaving a lasting mark on Roshar. To this end, he first unites the kingdom of Alethkar (as the first person in 500 years) and then plans to literally bring The End of the World as We Know It. In one of their arguments, his wife even threatens him that when he dies, she will do everything to tarnish his memory, in this way robbing him of his legacy.
  • The Wheel of Time has a variant in The Chosen One Rand, who's destined to be the Destructive Savior of the world in the End of an Age. Wanting to be remembered for more than just that, he founds institutions of science and higher learning in the nations he conquers, so the new Age can get off to the best possible start.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the 7 Wonders of the Industrial World episode "The Great Ship," Isambard Kingdom Brunel has already made a name for himself as a brilliant-if-arrogant civil engineer, but with his health beginning to falter, he's become fixated on the idea of leaving "a fitting epitaph" to his career. This leads to him designing the revolutionary steamship Great Eastern as one last hurrah for the history books. Unfortunately, construction is plunged into Development Hell, forcing Brunel to devote more and more of himself to the project until his finances, reputation, and sanity hang in the balance. After many disasters, Brunel finally manages to launch the ship... only to suffer a stroke minutes before the maiden voyage begins and die in the days that follow. Tragically, the Great Eastern never lives up to Brunel's hopes, being too far ahead of its time to be put to its intended usage, and while Brunel's legacy remains intact, it's still slighted by What Could Have Been.
  • Breaking Bad: Walter White initially justifies his work in the meth trade by trying to make enough money to keep his family provided for long after his lung cancer inevitably kills him. However, as the show progresses and Walt's darker side creeps into view, it becomes clear that he's deeply embittered over past failures and disappointments, even regarding his descent into crime as the first meaningful thing he ever did with his life; as such, even once he has more than enough money to keep his family afloat for decades, he chooses to continue his career as Heisenberg in order to leave behind a legend in the criminal underworld.
    Season Five Tagline: REMEMBER MY NAME!
  • The Expanse: Esteban Sorrento-Gillis, the UN Secretary-General, is slowly revealed to be this in the third season — while he does have convictions and standards, his desire to leave a lasting impact on history overrides everything else, which makes it very easy for Errinwright to manipulate him. Errinwright finally calls him out as he's being arrested for treason, and Sorrento-Gillis spectacularly fails to prove him wrong.
    Errinwright: He doesn't care about treason. That's just him parroting you because you talked to him last. If he spoke to a janitor, he'd be passionately declaiming about a fucking mop. It's agonizing. I've lost count of how many times I stopped him from blundering into political suicide. And now, we have a chance to assure the future of the Earth, and he's shitting himself because he's afraid the history books won't be flattering enough!
    (twenty seconds later)
    Sorrento-Gillis: (relived) My legacy was going to be a catastrophic war with millions dead. That's all on Errinwright now.
    Anna: (stares at him in disbelief)
  • Tywin Lannister of Game of Thrones is obsessed with ensuring that House Lannister endures long after he's gone. As a result, he will always prioritize the family's prestige over the mental well-being of his children, all three of whom grow up to be dysfunctional adults who simultaneously resent him and crave his approval. Plus, it's clear that Tywin's skill and fearsome reputation are the only things keeping House Lannister afloat. The lack of non-bastard grandchildren with the Lannister name has already left the family's future in question (a fact that Cersei rubs in his face during season 4). Combined with the dwindling competence of Tyrion, Jaime, and Cersei, it's doubtful that Tywin's legacy will survive for long without him. After Tyrion murders Tywin, House Lannister undergoes a swift decline, and several members are killed in a cascade of self-inflicted disasters; by the end of the series, Tyrion is the last Lannister remaining, and not only appears uninterested in furthering the family line but it is implied that he will spend the rest of his life serving the new king to rebuild the kingdom. Ultimately Tywin's abusive treatment of his children while hypocritically saying his cruel actions are for the good of the Lannister family destroyed both his legacy and family.
  • In the third and final series of House of Cards, Prime Minister Francis Urquhart becomes increasingly obsessed with making his mark on history. Initially, he wants nothing more than to beat Margaret Thatcher's record for days in office; then he sets out to reunify Cyprus — both for the publicity and in the hopes of winning offshore oil rights for Britain. It's at this point that Urqhart finally begins losing control over his government, however, and his efforts to maintain his grip only end up making things worse. The situation comes to a head when he deliberately triggers a disaster in Cyprus to arrange some Engineered Heroics — resulting in the deaths of several children and totaling his career in the process. Worse still, the crimes he committed to get this far are due to be exposed. In the end, Urquhart's wife takes steps to secure his legacy by having him assassinated, guaranteeing his reputation as a martyr, intimidating his blackmailers into silence... and allowing Urquhart to beat Thatcher's record by exactly one day.
  • Law & Order: Criminal Intent: Spencer Durning, the Villain of the Week in "Cold Comfort", is a humanitarian who intends to leave his mark on the world. Not only does he want his son to have a bright political future, but Spencer himself even intends to be cryogenically frozen, effectively making himself "immortal". However, Spencer's desperation to cure his son's early-onset Alzheimer's takes him to the point of murder and blackmail in order to acquire the corpse of a man who had somehow managed to beat Alzheimer's by a fluke. In the episode's climax, Goren gives one of his trademark tirades, tearing into Spencer for his obsession with wanting to be remembered over his love for his own son, and that, for all his humanitarian work, he doesn't actually care about people.
  • Leverage: An actually honest politician in "Gimme A K-Street Job", Congressman J.J. LeGrange can't be bought with favors, money, or offers of power. Creating a scholarship in his name to leave a legacy is what finally sways his vote.
  • Star Trek:
    • In the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "The First Duty", cadet Nicholas Locarno is the captain of famed flight team Nova Squadron. He's about to graduate and become an ordinary ensign, so he decides to do something that will ensure his immortality on campus. He convinces the rest of the Squadron into performing a dangerous but spectacular flying maneuver that was banned for killing five cadets; unfortunately, he fails, and one of his teammates is killed... so now his legacy is being the guy who led his teammate to his death.
    • When introduced in the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "Dr Bashir, I Presume," Julian Bashir's estranged father Richard sees his work in landscape architecture as something that will endure after his death — though he believes that Julian is his real legacy. Beyond this, Richard is a bit of an underachiever who inflates his own importance while never really committing to anything and living vicariously through Julian's achievements. In turn, he never takes responsibility for the fact that he ended up ruining his son's life by having Julian undergo highly-illegal genetic augmentation to correct a learning disability, forcing Julian to spend the rest of his life in secrecy for something he had no say in. However, the episode concludes with Richard finally taking responsibility for his actions by handing himself over to the authorities in order to save Julian's career, surrendering his "legacy" and opting to build something of his own in the prison gardens.
  • Succession: Zig-zagged. Logan constantly says that he wants his legacy to outlive him, though Ewan also niggles him with the real consequences of the Roy legacy (e.g. climate change, political populism, etc). In theory, Logan wants one of his four kids to take over his company... but due to a combination of Logan's narcissism, inner problems at Waystar Royco, and his awareness of his kids' flaws, it becomes increasingly clear that Logan doesn't really want any of his children to take over and resents them for even believing they're capable of it.
  • The Thick of It special "Rise Of The Nutters" features the (unseen) Prime Minister is trying to leave a suitable legacy in the form of a new immigration program before he leaves office; unfortunately, thanks to a mixture of backroom politicking and sheer incompetence, it's not long before the whole thing begins spiralling out of control. Among other things, Malcolm Tucker wants to ensure that he remains in a cosy position with the next government in office, so he tries to delay the legacy project in the hope that the PM won't leave until it's done, even resorting to a leak so he can eventually have the program scrapped and replaced so he can buy more time. To his shock, the PM gives up on the whole thing and resigns, leaving Malcolm and the others struggling to gain a foothold in the political chaos that ensues.

    Puppet Shows 
  • Thunderbolt Fantasy Season 1 introduces the audience to Juan Can Yun, a cocky young man who aims to leave a lasting mark on the world. Although he is clumsy, he soon proves himself to be a formidable fighter but hopelessly naive and self-centered. It's only after he stops focusing so much on himself that he truly does leave a mark on the world — that is, to help continue to nearly extinct Dan clan traditions alongside Dan Fei.

  • In Hamilton, the title character is driven to rise above his humble origins and make a name for himself. However, the second act kicks this trait into overdrive when Hamilton engages in shady political dealing with Jefferson and Madison in order to "build something that's gonna outlive me," and later publicly confesses to adultery rather than let rumors of financial impropriety spread, all while claiming that "this is the only way I can protect my legacy!" Through this, he manages to prevent his political works from being ruined... but his relationship with his wife is destroyed, his son is provoked to violence in order to defend Hamilton's honour resulting in his death in a duel, and Hamilton is subjected to a major dose of Break the Haughty. In the climax, Hamilton finally accepts the fact that he has no control over how history will perceive him, and he will never see his legacy come to fruition; with this realization complete, he willingly throws away his shot and allows Aaron Burr to kill him.
    Legacy! What is a legacy? It's planting seeds in a garden you never get to see...
  • In RENT, Roger's main focus is to create a song that will outlive him before he dies of AIDS, highlighted in his "I Want" Song, "One Song Glory":
    One song
    One song
    Before I go
    One song to leave behind.

    Video Games 
  • Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown: Besides his fetishistic obsession with death, this is ultimately Matias Torres' final objective. During the Usean Uprising, he was able to hit an enemy vessel from thirty kilometers away in the middle of a raging storm. By the time of the Lighthouse War, he now wants to be remembered for striking the capital of Osea from thousands of kilometers away while killing a million lives, showing that he was never interested in ending the war.
  • In Batman: Arkham Knight, it's revealed that the Joker's only true goal in life is to be remembered as Gotham's greatest villain—largely through a nightmarish sequence where we see the Clown Prince of Crime's greatest fear: only Harley Quinn comes to his funeral, all of the other criminals in Gotham fail to talk about him, and he's eventually nothing but a dying memory locked away in Batman's head, forever forgotten and denied the legacy he so desperately craves.
  • Jackie Welles from Cyberpunk 2077 is obsessed with becoming a "legend" of the Night City — i.e. to accomplish something so epic, that his name will be remembered for decades alongside Morgan Blackhand, Rache Bartmoss, and Johnny Silverhand (all iconic characters from the original RPG). Through his friendship with the Player Character V, he manages to infect them with this obsession, too, although it is left up to the players whether V continues to pursue this goal or abandons it in favor of something more important to them; this is reflected in the game's Multiple Endings, one of which, "The Sun", does see V become a legend.
  • Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade has Niime, a powerful druid from an ancient lineage of dark mages... whose only living descendant can't use dark magic at all. She's very quick to teach Raigh about it even after he was rude to her, suggesting that she's this trope.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom: Calip of the Zonai Survey Team, the group that is researching the Zonai Magitek. He's obsessed with posterity remembering him by name as a brilliant researcher of the past. He even wants landmarks named after him.
  • Mass Effect:
    • Warlord Okeer is monomaniacally obsessed with creating a legacy in the form of the perfect Krogan warrior, believing that it would make the genophage plaguing the Krogan people obsolete and cement his name in history. In the process, he willingly collaborates with the Collectors in order to obtain the necessary materials, allies himself with insane mercenary captain Jedore, and abandons thousands of his creations for not living up to his standards — resulting in numerous deaths when the rejects begin attacking Jedore's troops. It ends up costing Okeer his life when Jedore turns on him, but his prototype super-soldier lives on as a member of Shepard's team.
    • Similarly, Miranda Lawson's domineering father Henry is obsessed with engineering a genetically-perfect bloodline that will excel in his name long after his death, and like Okeer, he's willing to manipulate the lives of his daughters to a frightening degree — even disposing of those that don't measure up to his standards. However, Mass Effect 3 reveals that a genetic heritage isn't the only legacy Henry plans to leave: in order to make a name for himself as the man who "saved" humanity, he's partnered with Cerberus and is conducting experiments on how to control the Reapers — even setting up the utopian Sanctuary on Horizon in order to lure in unsuspecting refugees for use as test subjects.
  • During the backstory to The Secret World, wealthy businessman Nathaniel Winter devoted the last years of his life to building an amusement park on an obscure island off the coast of Maine, sacrificing his reputation, his fortune, and even his relationship with his family for the sake of his "masterpiece." In the present, Nicholas Winter is left baffled as to why his now-deceased father considered Atlantic Island Park important enough to become his legacy, even bequeathing it to Nicholas to restore. The twist is that it's not a legacy at all: Nathaniel Winter actually built the park as a means of seizing immortality, using guests as fuel for machines that would harvest power from the island and imbue him with it. Now transformed into a monstrous Bogeyman haunting the grounds, Winter presumably wants Nicholas to restore the park so that he can prey on the visitors it will receive.

    Web Comics 
  • Freefall: Most members of Sam Starfall's species are sterile, so they try to immortalize themselves in deed instead — in Sam's case, by becoming Famed In-Story as an audacious Lovable Rogue. He then takes on a more ambitious and surprisingly altruistic goal: to find and terraform a suitable planet for future generations of his species to colonize.
    Sam: You're saying no matter how this goes, we're going to be remembered forever? Man, I love a win/win situation!
  • In The Order of the Stick, this is General Tarquin's entire motivation. Being particularly Genre Savvy, he expects that he will one day be defeated and exposed by a hero (likely his son Elan), and that the story of his defeat will be told and passed down through the ages. Which is fine by him, as he will still get to rule the Western Continent in the meantime, and have his name and deeds immortalized after his defeat.
    Tarquin: If I win, I get to be a king. If I lose, I get to be a legend.
  • Unsounded: Siya has been reared from birth to become a human sacrifice at age 22, so she devotes her time to art and writing in hopes of creating something that will outlive her.
    Siya: But the artists who thought [this shrine] up? Built it all? Dead, all dead, but still here. Every day we walk down halls they thought up, under statues that climbed out of their brains and their hands, under mosaics that fell out of their eyes. Making things... you make a thing and it lasts always, forever after you. You live forever. Unforgotten.

    Web Videos 
  • One episode of Defunctland explores how Walt Disney became disillusioned with his work in entertainment and grew obsessed with leaving a more "meaningful" legacy, leading him to design an Experimental Prototype City of Tomorrow as his Magnum Opus in the belief that it would leave a permanent impact on society. However, the impractical nature of the project meant that EPCOT never got beyond the planning stages before Disney died of cancer, and if it had, it would have been a nightmarish False Utopia that might very well have ruined his reputation. His legacy still endures today, but despite his best efforts to become known for something different, his image in history remains that of "Uncle Walt", the beloved animator and entertainer — a professional persona that Disney had come to despise in his final years.
  • Dream SMP: Over time, Quackity eventually develops a desire to leave behind a legacy by the Las Nevadas arc, to the point this is what he teaches Slime in the 12th and final week of the "Lessons" mini-arc in his November 27th 2021 lore stream. The reason behind this is never explicitly stated, but there are implications that it has something to do with him being overlooked, disregarded, and "abandoned" (he wasn't actually abandoned, but rather, it was a result of Poor Communication Kills in his relationship combined with pre-existing abandonment issues and relationship trauma) over months of trauma. His content creator counterpart has also stated out-of-universe that one of the reasons Las Nevadas was founded was to prove everyone who has doubted him or opposed him wrong.
    Quackity: Legacy is all you leave behind in this world. (looks at Las Nevadas and turns to Slime) Look at this place. Look at all these places. When you die, the only thing you leave behind is what you did in this life... and, for me, I haven't kept friends, my enemies will eventually move on to something else... I think... my legacy is Las Nevadas, and that's why I care for it so much. Legacy is all you leave behind.
    Slime: (quietly) Okay. Let's leave behind a good one.
  • Pirates SMP: The Heron faction's primary motivation is to make an impact and leave behind a legacy through discovery. The faction consists of many Bold Explorers, but some of them find their calling in academia and scholarship, in fields like history or science, i.e. exploring the abstract rather than the physical world necessarily.
  • Turtles' ERTLs: In "The Legend of Cora", Proteus wants to be remembered for something like his friends. Specifically, Duke is wise, Smudger is confident, and Bertram is brave. When Cora overhears this, she tells them that if he were a legend, it would mean he wouldn't be around, and she'd miss him, so she advises him to enjoy his life while he still can. Proteus takes Cora's advice, but one winter day, Proteus decides to swap jobs with Smudger to make him feel better; he takes Smudger's slate trucks to the quarry while Smudger takes his passenger coaches to the station. The following night, Proteus tries to make it back home to the sheds, but falls off the Old Iron Bridge and lands in the swamp below, drowning in it. The Manager of the Mid-Sodor Railway holds a special memorial service, saying that Proteus was a kind engine who saw the best in everyone, and asks a friend of his to forge a statue of Proteus. The Mid-Sodor Railway closes before the statue gets completed, so when Mr. Peter Sam, the Manager of the Skarloey Railway comes to buy the engines and rolling stock, Cora tells him about Proteus' unfinished statue, which inspires him to complete the statue, as he's happy to preserve what he can of the Mid-Sodor Railway. Thanks in part to Cora's request, Proteus was never forgotten.

    Western Animation 
  • American Dad!: In "Stanny Slickers II: The Legend of Ollie's Gold", a near-death experience inspires Stan to restart his plans for a legacy that he had to abandon when his kids were born. There are rumors that, during the Iran-Contra affair in the '80s, Oliver North buried a cache of gold bars under what is now Stan's house, the discovery of which Stan believes will be the archaeological find of the century. After he finds the gold, Stan gets caught in a cave-in and has to choose whether he or the gold can go to the surface. He seriously considers the latter, but he changes his mind because he believes that growing up without him will turn his children into huge disappointments who will completely overshadow his discovery. He lets himself be rescued so he can focus on the kids as his true legacy.
  • In the Batman: The Animated Series episode "Joker's Favor," everyman Charlie Collins ends up on the Joker's bad side and forced to help him with a plot to kill Commissioner Gordon. When Charlie takes a level in badass, though, he correctly analyzes the Clown Prince of Crime's motivations: all he really cares about is pulling off an unforgettable crime and then either killing Batman or dying in the attempt, thus immortalizing himself as Gotham's greatest villain. The Joker is so shocked by this accurate reading, and so terrified of being killed by a "miserable little nobody" like Charlie, that he's reduced to a pathetic, whimpering wreck who begs Batman to save him.
  • Bob's Burgers:
    • This appears to be the main personality of the guidance counselor Mr. Frond as he is only interested in his job not for the sake of the children, but to make a name for himself.
    • In "Wag the Song", Tina worries that because she misses picture day every year, there'll be no evidence of her time at Wagstaff. When Mr. Frond announces a contest to write a new school song where the winner will get their name on a plaque, Tina becomes determined to win so that she'll be remembered by "future kids and cool robots."
  • One episode of the The Bluffers begins with the villain Clandestino having a dream where he dies and ascends to the Hall of Fame, where a godly voice declares that he has earned his place among history's greats. However, the voice points out that Clandestino neglected to leave behind a monument or edifice to his greatness on Earth, and thus he will eventually be forgotten. Clandestino awakes and vows that the dream will not come true, and begins building a memorial gallery to himself. Hilarity Ensues.
  • In the Family Guy episode "Blind Ambition", Peter sees his friends recently accomplishing a string of impressive achievements and deeds — Joe being a distinguished cop, Mort rolling a perfect bowling game, Quagmire saving a woman from a heart attack, etc. — and tries to find one himself to be proud of. His first few attempts go bust, with his latest one — attempting to break a world record for "most nickels eaten" — costing his eyesight due to nickel poisoning. However, his misfortunes with blindness ends up with him achieving a proud legacy anyway when he inadvertently rescues a man from a burning buildingunaware that it was on fire, of course.
  • Futurama:
    • In "A Clone of My Own", Professor Farnsworth has a clone of himself named Cubert to continue his work after he's gone. Unfortunately, Cubert has no desire to follow in his footsteps, finding his inventions ridiculous and useless. Cubert eventually changes his mind, however.
    • Bender's motivation in the episode "A Pharaoh to Remember" is to be remembered after he's gone. When the crew is enslaved by an alien civilization based on Ancient Egypt, Bender manipulates himself into becoming their new Pharaoh, and commissions a gigantic statue of himself. Unfortunately, he is betrayed by his followers for being... well, himself, and is buried alive under the statue. Fry and Leela help him escape, but only after they make him apologize for his behavior, and sacrifice the statue during their rescue.
  • The Recess episode "Pharaoh Bob" has King Bob, who's usually a Reasonable Authority Figure, get upset when he realizes that none of the other kids on the playground remember any ruler before him. Bob becomes terrified of being forgotten as well and forces every child in the school to help construct a massive mud pyramid as a lasting testament to his greatness. It backfires horribly when the kids revolt.
  • The Simpsons: In "Ice Cream of Marge (With the Blue Hair)", Marge, after watching a morning talk show, becomes obsessed with creating a legacy (or "lega-she") for herself.

    Real Life 
  • Herostratus, a Greek who is alleged to have burned down the Temple of Artemis (one of the Seven Wonders of the World) precisely to be remembered for it... possibly, since it's considered terribly unlikely one man would have been able to sneak up to the wooden roof's framing while the temple had numerous guards and custodians, and Herostratus only confessed to this vainglorious motive under torture rather than boldly admitting so immediately as one would expect from someone who genuinely wanted that.note  Despite attempts at making him an Un-person, his crime is still known today, and 'herostratic' is an adjective used to describe people looking for fame at any cost.


Video Example(s):


Marina Mniszech's Ambitions

Marina Mniszech intends to seize the Russian throne and entrance her future subjects with her dazzling beauty, so that they would immortalize her in legend.

How well does it match the trope?

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Example of:

Main / ProudBeauty

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