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Not Afraid of Hell

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"I reckon I'm goin' anyway."
The Boatswain, The Bottle Imp

Hell is one of the most terrifying experiences imaginable. An eternity of torment at the hands of either hideous demons or the weight of one's own sins is not something anyone should look forward to. You would think those sane enough to grasp the concept would do everything in their power to avoid such a terrible fate.

Except these guys. They're not afraid of hell.

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Maybe they figure it won't be that bad, or that they'll be running it before long. Maybe they think Heaven is too blase or too stuffy. Maybe they're pissed off at God or enamored by Satan. Maybe they get a taste and like it, know it's unavoidable, think they can outwit the gods, decide that it's worth suffering for someone they love, or assume the afterlife isn't real anyway and don't care. Whatever the reason, these characters wouldn't have the slightest problem ending up where nobody in their right mind wants to end up.

Note that this trope can be either speculative or literal depending on the beliefs of the person, meaning it's not just about a person's stance on damnation while alive and unroasting. If someone literally goes to hell and finds he can handle it just fine, that's this trope too. As long as you can say "I'm Going to Hell for This" without feeling bad, you should be good to go.

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Compare with the Hell Seeker, who wants to get into hell by any means; You Are Worth Hell, when someone deliberately decides to endure hell for someone else's sake; and See You in Hell, when somebody has prior arrangements. The Heaven Seeker may contrast this if he only wants to go to heaven to avoid damnation.

This can be Truth in Television for atheists and other non-religious people, but due to the somewhat controversial nature of this trope, No Real Life Examples, Please!.


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Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Hellsing: The Catholic Church's Iscariot Organization, dedicated to battling the forces of evil both mundane and supernatural, has no fear that their methods of doing so will most likely damn their souls to Hell. In fact, that's part of their plan: to show up in Hell en masse so they can overthrow and destroy it.
  • YuYu Hakusho: Toguro the Younger is given multiple options by Koenma as his sentence after he dies in the Dark Tournament Arc. Technically its not Hell, but his choice of Limbo implies this, as his sentence involves an unimaginable period of pain and suffering that even Koenma seems to think is severe given the circumstances.

    Comic Books 
  • Godzilla in Hell has the King of the Monsters finding himself down below.... and continues to destroy everything in his path. He doesn't give a shit about the ongoing Heaven/Hell conflict, he's just wanting to get back to Earth and rampaging normally.
  • Wonder Woman is not afraid of hell, or the less pleasant parts of the underworld excluding it, but is often sad about the fate of those trapped there.
    • Wonder Woman (1942): Di is unafraid of Hades and the shades of Hades, and is frustrated when other Amazons give in to despair when facing said prospects.
    • Wonder Woman (1987): Diana finds Hades and the torturous bits of the underworld on its doorstep pitiable, and fights her way through said realms to free individuals trapped there on multiple occasions.
    • Wonder Woman (2006): D'grth and the hell he originates from do not phase Diana so much as her own willingness to kill does, as she is afraid that she has changed to become someone entirely different from who she started out as.
    • Wonder Woman (2011): Diana is unimpressed with Hell and calm and methodical throughout her time there.

    Films — Animation 
  • Hercules not only has no fear of Hell (Hades, in the movie), he even willingly dives into the River of Death to save his love. The mythological Hercules also pays a willing visit to Hades — to borrow Hades' dog.
  • The Italian dub of The Hunchback of Notre Dame changes the meaning of "Hellfire" to include this, altering the line "Choose me or / your pyre" to "Ti aspetto / all'Inferno" (I'll wait for you in Hell), implying Frollo knows his lust toward Esmeralda will damn him and doesn't care. He's that far gone.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues: When Wes Mantooth arrives to save Ron and his team from Jack Lime, he pours gasoline around him and Lime's group and threatens to light it. Jack claims that he's just bluffing, only for Wes to retort that he already knows he's going to burn in hell, so he's not afraid to burn on Earth.
  • Dogma: Azrael also inverts this trope—he is very afraid of Hell, despite being a demon, and blames humans for making it that way with their demands to be punished for sin. In fact, he's so desperate to get away from it that he's willing to destroy all of existence:
    I've spent eons privy to the flames, inhaling the decay, hearing the wail of the damned! I know what effect such horrors have on the delicate psyche of an angelic being! I'd rather not exist than go back to that... and if everyone has to go down with me, so be it.
  • Errementari ends with Patxi going to Hell to save Usue from her Deal with the Devil, striking down a demon after weakening him with the sound of a blessed bell, then marching through the Hellgate to rescue his late wife's soul from the clutches of demons.
  • Gandhi: A subversion occurs during Gandhi's hunger strike. A Hindu man throws a loaf of bread at him in an attempt to get him to break his fast. He claims he does not care about being damned for killing a Muslim child in retaliation for his son being killed, but Gandhi counters by offering him a kind of salvation and respite from his grief: raising another Muslim child as his own.
  • Hellboy (2004): Hellboy kills Rasputin for good just before the climax, which unleashes the Ogdru Jahad living inside him and it rapidly grows to titanic size. Rasputin's ally/lover Ilsa Haupstein goes to his body and kisses him, saying, "Hell has no surprises for us," and accepts her own death as the Ogdru Jahad crushes them.
  • Jacob's Ladder plays with this trope, implying that the only thing to fear about Hell (or the afterlife in general) is holding on too tightly to this one:
    Your memories, your attachments—they burn them all away. But they're not punishing you, he said. They're freeing your soul. Relax. So the way he sees it: if you're frightened of dying and... you're holding on, you'll see devils tearing your life away. But if you've made your peace, then the devils are really angels, freeing you from the earth.

    Literature 
  • In The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Miss Watson—the stereotypical "spinster" sister of the much kinder Widow Douglas—tells Huck all about the Good Place and the Bad Place. Huck decides that he wouldn't mind going to the Bad Place because "Tom would be there too, and besides at the Good Place, all you do is play harp."
    • It's also completely inverted in chapter 31:
      "I most dropped in my tracks I was so scared... something inside of me kept saying, '... people that acts as I'd been acting [helping Jim escape slavery] goes to everlasting fire.'"
    • It's his belated conviction of the reality of The Bad Place that creates the impact of Huck's immortal line:
  • In Robert Louis Stevenson's short story "The Bottle Imp", the main character Keawe, in an attempt to save his wife, sells the titular bottle (carrying a curse of eternal damnation for whoever owns it) to a sailor for two centimes. The sailor refuses to sell it back for one, responding to Keawe's warning with the page quote. The reason anyone would want the bottle is that the imp inside it grants your wishes, at the price of you going to Hell if you die with it in your possession; the sailor, certain he's going to Hell regardless, is more interested in having a steady supply of alcohol for the rest of his life.
  • C.S. Lewis's The Great Divorce, double subverts this: while Hell is a rather dreary place that's always rainy and on the verge of twilight, it's not particularly terrible, though there are rumors that, once the sun permanently sets, "they" will finally come out.
  • In Dracula, according to one of the old sailors that frequented the cemetery, one of the tombs was built for someone who was more afraid of his mother than of hell: "I've often heard him say masel' that he hoped he'd go to hell, for his mother was so pious that she'd be sure to go to heaven, an' he didn't want to addle where she was."
  • Arthur Trubshaw from Johannes Cabalthe Necromancer qualifies for this. Essentially described as the most painfully bureaucratic man to ever live, he was originally a bank teller in the Old West who was shot by a robber after informing the latter that he needed a receipt before leaving. The inhabitants of Hell gleefully anticipated breaking his will and desire for order, but found that while they were gleefully planning this, he had written out schedules to best optimize the torture, made a time and motion study for them, and reorganized their underwear drawers. Satan looked at this and decided to make use of his obnoxious skills by converting the entrance to Hell into a gargantuan waiting room where incoming souls have to fill out thousands of pages of cryptically-worded paperwork happily written by Trubshaw.
  • The nineteen-year-old murderer from the start of No Country for Old Men fits this trope like a glove, going to the electric chair without complaint after murdering his girlfriend for no apparent reason:
    Said he knew he was goin' to hell. Told it to me out of his own mouth. I don't know what to make of that. I surely don't. I thought I'd never seen a person like that and it got me to wonderin' if maybe he was some new kind. I watched them strap him into the seat and shut the door. He might've looked a bit nervous about it but that was about all. I really believe that he knew he was goin' to be in hell in fifteen minutes... He was not hard to talk to. Called me Sheriff. But I didn't know what to say to him. What do you say to a man that by his own admission has no soul?
  • Plato's Phaedo makes this trope Older Than Feudalism, and serves as an extended discussion of it. Besides establishing a logical framework for the immortality of the soul, Socrates suggests that punishment after death can be avoided by leading a life devoted to reason and the truth.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the Breaking Bad episode "Buyout", Walter White relays this sentiment to Jesse, claiming that, even if all their bad deeds over the course of the series have earned them their spots in Hell: "...I'm not going to lie down until I get there."
  • Played for Laughs in Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Pimento has no fear of anything as a result of having been undercover with Figgis for years and being forced to participate in horrors. Gina is the only person who's able to one-up him with a Badass Boast.
    Gina: I worked at a sunglasses kiosk at the mall for four years, so not only have I been through Hell, I was assistant manager there.
  • Doctor Who: In "Heaven Sent", when the Doctor is trapped in a bizarre prison, he thinks it may be Hell.
    The Doctor: That's okay, I'm not scared of Hell — it's just Heaven for bad people.

    Music 
  • "Soon to be Dead" by Dismember is about a man who accepts that he's going to Hell as long as he gets to murder Christians "at the end of time".
  • "Going To Hell'' by The Pretty Reckless is about how the singer knows she's going to Hell and doesn't care because she has no interest in being a good Christian girl and intends to marry the Devil.
  • "Hall of Fame" by The Script featuring will.i.am has the following line:
    You can walk straight through hell with a smile.
  • The song "Hell In A Handbasket" by Voltaire is all about how the singer isn't afraid of going to Hell, because to him being an ultra-religious killjoy is far worse than eternal damnation. He has already been through worse things in life, most of the people that are cool to be around will be there, and Hell certainly beats being in New Jersey. Subverted at the end of the song, though, when it's revealed that he doesn't even believe in Hell to begin with.

    Newspaper Comics 
  • The Far Side: One comic shows a man in Hell happily whistling a tune as he pushes a wheelbarrow while everyone else suffers. One devil says to another "You know, we're just not reaching that guy".

    Radio 
  • Old Harry's Game: The Professor and the much later Edith are unbothered by Hell. In the Professor's case it's because he's just too genuinely nice and unperturbable, while Edith remains staunchly convinced she's just in a coma, then later she's just too irritated to be afraid.

    Video Games 
  • In Call of Duty: Zombies, four mobsters are trapped in an eternal purgatory as punishment for their sins in life (and to later serve another purpose for the purgatory's evil master). Mob boss Sal DeLuca, betting man Finn O'Leary, and serial killer for hire Billy Handsome all claim to be this trope. When they begin to realize the futility of their actions and that they're damned no matter what, they begin crowing about how they're not afraid to die. However, Sal and Finn's nerves begin to fail as the weight of their sentence really begins to settle in, and as Black Ops IV later revealed, the former led the group in writing confession letters to try to buy some leniency if not a remote chance of forgiveness to end their suffering. However, by the end of the Alcatraz arc, Billy is the only one who truly embodies this trope as he is bored writing his confession letter and is not seen among the spirits trying to help bring down Brutus at the end of Blood of the Dead, suggesting he doesn't mind where he's going.
  • Darkest Dungeon: Implied by the Abomination's line when facing the final boss' Come Unto Your Maker instakill. Whether what awaits is Heaven, the Hell everyone has apparently told him he's going to, or assimilation into a nightmarish creature, he's utterly certain it cannot be worse than what people have done to him while alive.
    Whatever awaits, it cannot be worse than what I've endured.
  • Doomguy isn't afraid of Hell. Hell is afraid of Doomguy. Literally so, in the case of DOOM (2016).
  • In Helltaker, the titular character willingly descends into Hell because he has a dream of creating a harem of cute demon girls.
  • The entire plot of Planescape: Torment is caused by one man's attempt to deflect death because he knows he's Beyond Redemption and what awaits him won't be pretty. (In this setting, Hell is an actual physical location, and people know for certain that it exists.) His Character Development concerns him getting over his cowardice to become the trope. It helps that he's a Physical God by this point and Planescape's hell is a giant battlefield filled with Asshole Victims. The demons never know what hits them.
  • In the Genocide Run of Under Tale, you can threaten the character Burgerpants. This is all he has to say:
    I can't go to Hell. I'm out of vacation days.
  • World of Warcraft's Sylvanas Windrunner inverts this trope to the point of her entire motivation centering around her not wanting to return to the other side after catching a glimpse of it following a failed suicide attempt. She would rather break the entire cycle of life and death than end up in The Maw - a bleak realm of endless torment that serves as Warcraft's.

    Visual Novels 
  • In Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair, Gundham makes a Badass Boast just before being executed, claiming he will 'fill Hell with true hell'. After the execution, he is ironically being portrayed as going to heaven instead.

    Webcomics 

    Web Original 
  • Web personality dril says:
    dril: IF THE ZOO BANS ME FOR HOLLERING AT THE ANIMALS I WILL FACE GOD AND WALK BACKWARDS INTO HELL

    Web Videos 
  • Dimension 20: In "Fantasy High," Bill Seacaster fully acknowledges he's going to Hell when he dies after his long life of piracy and pillaging, but shows no fear, boldly declaring, "I SHALL LEAP INTO HELL AND KILL THE DEVIL HIMSELF!" Fig thinks this view is too badass for words.

    Western Animation 
  • In The Boondocks, Colonel Stinkmeaner, suiting his massively abrasive personality, is totally unafraid of being trapped in Hell, and in fact he enjoys spending his time there by sparring with demons. He even goes so far as to call the Devil himself a "BITCH-ASS NIGGA!"
  • Played straight in Futurama. Bender's first visit to "Robot Hell" is harrowing, but then Leela arrives and beats up the Robot Devil himself. This disillusions the characters to the point where any subsequent visits to Robot Hell are treated at worst as a nuisance.
    Fry: That could be my beautiful soul sitting naked on [Leela's] couch! If I could just learn to play this stupid [holophoner].
    Bender: Oh, but you can. Though you may have to metaphorically make a "deal with the devil". And by "devil" I mean Robot Devil. And by "metaphorically" I mean 'get your coat'.
  • The Simpsons:
    • The second-season episode "Bart Gets Hit by a Car" sees Bart sent prematurely to Hell, where he and Satan are rather cordial toward each other. He responds to the command "lie, cheat, steal and listen to heavy metal music" with a sincere "yes, sir!"
    • Lisa no longer fears Hell after the fourth-season opener, "Kamp Krusty", because, as she states in a letter to Homer and Marge, "I have been to Kamp Krusty." She then describes the experience, comparing nature hikes to grim death marches, arts and crafts being no more than sweatshops, and – while Bart hangs on to fleeting, false hope that Krusty will come and make things right — pessimism that her letter will be delivered without being censored. (It actually is, but Homer and Marge think she's being hilariously overdramatic and don't take the complaints at all seriously.)
    • In "Treehouse of Horror XXIV", the Fat in the Hat (Homer as a psychotic Cat in the Hat parody) is killed in self-defense by Maggie. As he lays dying, he states that he doesn't fear Hell, just being portrayed by Mike Myers in a movie.
  • The South Park episode "Dead Celebrities" ends with everyone going to Hell, but they're only bothered by the fact that Hell is a tow-in gate.

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