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Resist the Beast

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Batman: DON'T TEMPT ME! Get out of here, Alfred— now!
Alfred: But sir, if you need my—
Batman: JUST GET OUT!!

A necessary part of the Tragic Monster is the part where the ordinary person becomes the monster, despite all their resistance to the change.

Our tragic transformer of course despises the thing they become and all the violence and destruction that comes with it, and hate the fact that they hurt people on a regular basis.

Generally, when the change happens (usually by surprise somehow), they'll be with someone they care about, and, resisting the inevitable with all their might, they'll barely have enough leftover strength to growl a pained "get away from me!", and/or run away from anyone they might attack, before the generally painful change happens in full force.

This is a staple of modern werewolf portrayals and characters who have a Superpowered Evil Side that doesn't come out right away. They tend to have this kind of scene at least once, and may have them all the time.

They will stubbornly resist the monster that they are turning into, trying in vain to stay in control of their mind and body lest they go on a terrible rampage. After an appropriately dramatic fight, they fail, and the monster is released.

Occasionally someone might succeed in fighting the change, though it's usually of a "I can't hold it off for long" nature.

See also Fighting from the Inside, "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight, The Mind Is a Plaything of the Body, and Enemy Within. Generally characters who go through this a lot are full of self loathing and may be Death Seekers, or make moves to keep themselves under lock and key, so that they can't hurt anyone anymore. It often accompanies a Face–Monster Turn.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Angel Sanctuary: Rosiel presumably went through this, though he's long gone by the time the story starts.
  • In Claymore, the warriors can gain immense power by tapping into their Superpowered Evil Side, but need to resist its temptations or go too deep in and become a monster themselves. Those who manage to pull themselves back from the very brink of going to the dark side and "Awakening" gain a boost in power and can tap their power more freely than the others.
  • Dragon Ball Z:
    • Goku pulls this off during his first transformation into a Super Saiyan. He's fully aware that he's being overwhelmed by rage and bloodlust, and the first thing he does after transforming is order Gohan to take Piccolo and run before Goku completely loses his mind; at this point, Goku doesn't trust himself not to hurt his own son.
      Goku: Do as I tell you, right now! Before I lose what little sense of reason I have left!
    • Buu does this to Hercule/Mr. Satan after their puppy was hurt. Buu's Superpowered Evil Side is coming out, and Buu warns Hercule to get away before that happens. It works in driving Hercule away, but Buu quickly succumbs, Evil Buu becomes an Enemy Without, and Buu's horrific nature is amplified.
  • Inuyasha: When Inuyasha first assumes his Superpowered Evil Side, one of the first things he does upon killing Goshinki is order Kagome to stay back. On another occasion, he actually pushes Kagome over a ledge as he transforms so he doesn't hurt her.
    Inuyasha: Stay away!! There's no telling what I'm going to do next!
  • School-Live!: In truly horrific fashion. Megu-nee gets turned into a zombie protecting the kids. While she's clawing at that their door she shows a brief lapse of sentience and becomes horrified of what she's becoming. She locks herself away in the basement of the school so she wouldn't hurt the girls, though she later bites a character when they go down there and is Killed Off for Real by Miki.
  • A chapter of Venus Versus Virus has a girl who has been attacked by a Virus coming to Lucia to ask for help with her sibling. She doesn't consciously remember the attack and just thinks a monster is stalking her brother. Subconsciously she knew she was becoming a Virus though and later she's shown trying to resist it. Lucia kills her before she can and she dies as her normal self. Lucia notes this is the first time she has heard a Virus resist automatically transforming.
  • In Shiki, several characters such as Natsuno Yuki, Ritsuko Kunihiro, or, eventually, Tohru Mutuo upon their transformation into bloodthirsty shiki refuse to feed on humans.

    Comic Books 
  • The Incredible Hulk: Bruce Banner is usually lucid enough before he turns into the Hulk to tell innocent people to get away and try to quell his anger before it's too late. On a very good day, he might succeed, only to be set off by an even bigger event.
  • Spider-Man:
    • Doctor Curt Connors, being another character influenced by Tragic Movie Monsters, has lots of scenes like this as he's turning into the Lizard. He failed in the worst way possible when he devoured his own son. Curt effectively died after that, leaving only the Lizard.
    • Morbius the Living Vampire, though always visibly a monster, faces this trope psychologically when his bloodlust hits him at an inconvenient time.
  • Pulled off quite nicely by Doctor Doom in Marvel Zombies. Doctor Doom, out of literally everyone in the Marvel Universe, is the only one who can remain himself permanently while infected through sheer willpower alone. The later sequels have shown Black Panther, the Wasp and Spider-Man achieving this through a prolonged period of essentially starving themselves until the urge to eat goes away, although the success rate for this method was mixed.
  • In the Batman Vampire trilogy, the second book — Bloodstorm — basically focuses on Batman trying to do this as he fights to avoid succumbing to his new desire for human blood, but he eventually gives into his urges in a moment of rage and grief when he drinks the Joker's blood after Joker kills Selina Kyle.
  • In Red Daughter of Krypton, Supergirl's mind is overwhelmed by unbridled rage when she is given a Red Lantern Ring. Even though she can barely think, Kara quickly leaves Earth out of a subconscious desire to not wreck the planet, and bumps into several Green Lanterns. After she has been subsumed by one dozen of Green and Red Lanterns, Kara admits she was subconsciously holding back during the fight because she did not want to hurt anybody and spends the entirety of her stint as a fury-fueled Red Lantern learning how to control and channel her blinding rage.
  • Jack Russell, the titular werewolf in Werewolf by Night, often goes through this during full moon nights. He is capable of delaying his Involuntary Shapeshifting for a little while, but the longer he does so, the angrier his werewolf self is when he inevitably does transform.
  • James Howlett, the eponymous Wolverine, suffers from a form of this. He doesn't transform, but treats his berserker nature in the same way. It's been alternatively described as "the animal", "the psycho-killer", "the demon inside", and "the berserker". This is the main difference between him and Sabretooth, who has the same rages but leans into them instead.

    Fan Works 
  • BioShock: Right Place, Right Time, Wrong Guy: Mark goes through this after he's forced to take ADAM and use plasmids in order to survive, but has to fight the temptation to keep using more so as not to turn insane like the other residents of Rapture.
  • Children of an Elder God: The main characters gain powers when they kill Eldritch Abominations. However, their stolen powers are inherently foul and corrupting. So all of them feel dark urges and desires, and they struggle against them the whole time.
  • Advice and Trust: Kaworu is constantly tormented by The Call to fulfill his secret mission and start Third Impact. He resists it to the best of his ability but constantly worries about it overtaking him. His lust for Rei, and later his love for her, prove most effective in helping suppress his dark desires.

  • The protagonist of An American Werewolf in London tries and fails. His dead friend recommends suicide as the only option.
  • Inverted in X-Men: First Class, when Professor X tells Hank McCoy to "set the beast free." Here, the "Beast" is portrayed as natural instinct, rather than evil.
  • Doc Oc pulls this in Spider-Man 2 at the very end, resisting his robotic arms.
    Doctor Octavius: Listen to me now!
  • 28 Days Later: At the road block, Frank gets a drop of infected blood in his eye. He has just enough time to tell Hannah that he loves her before the rage virus overcomes him, and the assembled guards shoot Frank to keep him from infecting anyone else.
  • Johnny Blaze has this problem in Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance. Since the Rider in this movie would kill for the pettiest sins, he constantly struggles against its influence with isolation or stolen meds.
  • A couple of the characters in Bird Box manage, albeit briefly, to resist the Psychic-Assisted Suicide to save the lives of others. Olympia manages to hand her baby over to Malorie before throwing herself out a window, and Tom manages to shoot one of the psychopaths before turning the gun on himself.
  • Late Phases: Griffin desperately asks Father Roger for help, believing himself to be possessed, and even self-flagellates to drive it out. On the other hand, he—in both human and werewolf form—bites others to make more werewolves.
  • In Turning Red, judging from Mei's words and actions when she is in her room after transforming for the second time, she believes she must not be approached as she desperately tries to change back because she seems to think she's inherently dangerous as a giant red panda.

  • Discworld:
    • Sam Vimes is a rare case of someone who succeeds in keeping the beast locked inside. It's not an actual werewolf-like curse, but his darker nature that's always straining to be released.
    • In Thud!, Vimes gets possessed by a vengeance demon. While he starts going on a rampage, he prevents himself from killing a squad of defenseless dwarves long enough for Angua to take him down. To show how awesome this is, it's noted that if he had done so for just a few seconds longer, his muscles would have torn themselves apart.
    • Vimes also does it with the Gonne in Men at Arms, as opposed to Carrot who is The Immune.
    • Otto Chriek and other vampires in the Uberwald Temperance Movement have forsworn drinking human blood, but often have to struggle to suppress their natural urges (they generally succeed by diverting the urge into some sort of addiction or hobby). Though if one cannot fulfill their new addiction they will go berserk.
    • Angua finds every day to be a struggle with her inner wolf, especially around the full moon. The rest of her family stopped struggling long ago.
  • The Dresden Files:
    • Red Court vampires don't turn into full-blooded vampires after being infected until they give in to hunger and lethally feed on a human being. Some half-bloods are known to have resisted the temptation for centuries.
    • This has been a large part of Harry's life. After touching a one of the coins of the Blackened Denarius in Death Masks and until White Night, Harry has to deal with the temptations of a shadow of Lasciel in his mind all the time. In White Night particularly, we see him giving in without fully being aware of it until it's pointed out to him. From Cold Days onward, Harry has to deal with the the Mantle of the Winter Knight and its inherently violent impulses, which he is constantly having to fight down.
  • Dillon Cole wrestles with his destructive urges in Scorpion Shards, gradually succumbing to them and unwittingly feeding and strengthening the otherworldly parasite corrupting him.
  • The Hunger Games: In Mockingjay a hijacked Peeta spends a large section of the book fighting the urge to kill Katniss, asking the others to kill them, refusing to have handcuffs removed and using the pain of the too tightly wound cuffs to keep sane.
  • In A Wolf in the Soul, this is played straight with regards to Greg's physical transformation - especially the one that begins to take place in front of his mother - but Greg keeps his human mind at all times except for during his out-of-body experiences.
  • Journey to Chaos features this in mana mutation. Once the transformation has begun, it is impossible to stop. All one can do is prevent it from reaching the victim's mind. At that point, they become increasingly savage no matter how they try to hold on to their sanity. In Mana Mutation Menace, both Eric and Nolien struggle to cope with the changes it has brought on.
  • Resisting the beast is the goal for Artemizae in Pareidolia and the Gilded Scar "I can be a real bitch sometimes. Which is a warning to me as much as you. Lycanthropy may be an explanation but it’s hardly any excuse"

    Live-Action TV 
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer
    • This trope plays out a number of times with Oz, a werewolf. Before his status is out in the open he tries to get Willow to leave without telling her why (fearing he's going to be killed after having overheard Buffy say she's going to off the werewolf when she finds it). Later, in "Beauty and the Beasts", he even tells her to get away from him after he's been locked up in a cage.
    • Similarly, Angel is shown having to resist feeding on humans in the episode "Angel" where his vampiric nature is first revealed. Darla attempts to tempt him into feeding on a wounded Joyce.
  • In the Doctor Who episode "The Pandorica Opens", Rory is unable to stop himself from shooting Amy when his programming as an Auton takes over; fortunately, both of them get better in time to help the Doctor save the universe.
  • Forever Knight used this a lot, with Nick trying to resist losing control of himself and killing someone.
  • In the Supernatural episode "Meet the New Boss", Castiel is about to be taken over by the Leviathans, and yells at Dean and Bobby to get away from him.

  • Happens in the werewolf segment of the movie within a movie in Thriller, as one of many send ups to classic horror movies.
  • Monster by Imagine Dragons
    I'm taking a stand to escape what's inside me.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The vampires in Vampire: The Masquerade literally have to resist the Beast, where "Beast" is a lore term for their compulsion to just let loose and feed upon any human within reach (usually breaking the masquerade in the process). To resist it, you have to pass Willpower checks every time the character experiences a particularly traumatic event, such as being exposed to fire or even sunlight. Having high Humanity score also helps. Fail one too many checks and your character turns into a mindless bloodsucker, though. In the spiritual successor, Vampire: The Requiem, the Beast is still present and at war with the Man. However, various vampire groups have developed ways to ease the struggle. The Ordo Dracul have a Coil of the Beast that makes the struggle simpler (at its final level, you can give in for an hour to defeat it for the rest of the night), and the bloodline known as the Kukufuuji have developed a discipline based on restraining it.
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • 3.5 Edition has this for some intelligent undead, describing the dark obsessions that affect their minds, like a wight's instinctive loathing for anything living or a mummy's monomania for guarding its burial site. Some undead have Horror Hungers that will slowly drive them insane if not indulged or resisted.
    • In 5th Edition, Lycanthropes who choose to resist their curse retain their original personality and Character Alignment, but can't change form voluntarily and always lose control of themselves on nights of the full moon.

    Video Games 
  • In Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls, Servant sprinkles pepper over Toko's face to make her sneeze, which would change Toko into her Superpowered Evil Side Genocide Jack. Komaru tries to help, but Toko shouts "Don't come near me! R-RUN!" and tries to resist changing, to no avail.
  • General Pepper is infected with the Aparoid infection in Star Fox: Assault, and has to be fought in a boss battle. The whole time, he tells Fox and crew to just finish him off, ending with "never thought I'd be fighting all of you" before the process takes him over completely.
  • The second Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan game has the teenage werewolf Ooyama Garou try to avoid staring at round objects while on a date, as that is what triggers his transformation. Unlike most examples, this is played for comedy and his trigger are things like balloons, baseballs, and even the shiny bald head of his boss. Assuming the player wins the level, his girlfriend is totally unfazed by his werewolf form because she's a dog lover. And what sets him off at the end? Her eyes.
  • In the worgen starting zone in World of Warcraft, you're sent to talk to this one guy and he growls at you to stay away, then loses control and attacks you, at which point a teammate of yours comes in and shoots him. You shrug off the resulting wound as 'probably nothing', and say nothing about it even when it starts festering and you're feeling quite ill.
  • In The Quarry, Dylan can end up being a werewolf-infectee. Should they end up succumbing to the infection, they have enough sense of presence to realize what's going on and start yelling at Kaitlyn to run away and leave him behind before beginning to turn.
  • In Resident Evil – Code: Veronica, Steve Burnside becomes a hulking brute with an axe. After a bit of hack-and-slash, he manages to resist the murderous impulses of infection, at the cost of his life.
  • Done twice as the plot in the Don't Escape series.
    • The first game has the werewolf protagonist realize he's awoken in a cabin only a few hours before the full moon rises, and must use those remaining hours to figure out ways to restrain and otherwise incapacitate himself, so he won't harm anyone that night.
    • The third game's big reveal is that the protagonist has been infected by a parasitic alien crystal and murdered the rest of the crew, and struggles to destroy all traces of it to keep the incoming rescuers safe from infection or death themselves.
  • In Melty Blood, Vampire Sion/Sion TATARI (Sion who had given in to her vampiric impulses) is a playable character. In contrast to regular Sion's collected and stoic composure, V. Sion/TATARI is more noticeably emotional in her speech - several of her pre-fight quotes are either screams of pain or halting pleas for whoever she's fighting to run away.
  • Conception 2: Children Of The Seven Stars has Alec on Neo-Ether. Fortunately for him, his best friend and combat equal is nearby after the ether starts transforming him. Unfortunately, he can't hold back for long and begs for death before he kills anyone.
  • In Batman: Arkham Asylum, after Batman takes a Titan-filled dart to the chest (which was meant for Commissioner Gordon), he manages to suppress the effect long enough to inject himself with the antidote.
  • In The Sims 4 Werewolves game pack, a werewolf that reaches the runt rank can buy an ability called "The Will to Resist". This enables your werewolf sim to use the "Try to Regain Control" option during a rampage. It has a higher chance of succeeding, the higher your werewolf rank is.

    Visual Novels 
  • In Spirit Hunter: NG, the spirit version of Yuri gives Ami a warning to run away before attacking her and Akira, implying that there's a part of her that still cares about Ami and is trying (and failing) to fight against her own bloodlust.

  • In the same vein, vampires in The Kingfisher risk mindless blood frenzy if they don't drink blood regularly. This isn't the focus of the story so it doesn't come up much.

    Web Video 
  • In the first season of Dice, Camera, Action!, the party's Paladin, Evelyn, is infected with lycanthropy. Her first transformation involves a desperate (though ultimately unsuccessful) effort to hold herself back before her party manages to magically put her to sleep.

    Western Animation 
  • Several times in BIONICLE. Most of the 2005 storyline revolves around The Toa Hordika wrestling with their Beast Man nature. Also, Lewa had to do this during the time he was possessed by a Krana.
  • Happens several times in the Jackie Chan Adventures episode "The Lotus Temple," where a little girl is cursed to become a monstrous guardian for a magic temple whenever someone intrudes. Since she's very opposed hurting anyone, she does this near every time. The heroes manage to find a loophole (being invited doesn't count as intruding), and at one point she does manage to stop herself from going psycho long enough for them to use it. Later on, she's able to focus herself towards the real villain.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003): In the episode "Adventures in Turtle-Sitting," Donatello, having been stung by a mutated bug, starts mutating into a monster while in April's apartment. He's able to resist it long enough to warn April and Casey to stay away from him as he runs out of the room... only to change and attack them.
  • Batman Beyond: In the episode "Splicers", Terry is spliced with vampire bat DNA by Abel Cuvier, and manages to break free and get to the house of DA Sam Young, whom Cuvier plans to assassinate for his opposition to splicing. During the fight with Cuvier's mooks, Batman begins to succumb to the serum, growing fangs, frothing at the mouth, viciously attacking said mooks and nearly attacking Barbara before snapping out of it and flying away. He makes it back to Bruce just as he changes completely, and has just enough control left to beg Bruce to help him before he loses it and attacks.
  • Codename: Kids Next Door: During Operation: Z.E.R.O., Sector Z does their best to resist the brainwashing that will turn them back into the The Delightful Children From Down The Lane, but they ultimately fail, much to Numbuh 1's dismay.
  • In Super Robot Monkey Team Hyperforce Go!, after being forcibly corrupted by the Dark Ones, the Alchemist began to undergo a Viral Transformation into the evil Skeleton King. Fortunately, he managed to hold out long enough and use his remaining time transforming his pet monkeys into cyborg warriors that would combat the creature he would become, with the last entry of his Apocalyptic Log showing the chilling moment when his transformation was complete.
    Alchemist: Now, the Dark Ones...(as Skeleton King) take my soul! (Evil Laugh)