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Revenge by Proxy

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"Actually...I wanted my wife back."
"Dear mister Jane, I don't like to be slandered in the media, especially by a dirty money-grubbing fraud. If you were a real psychic, instead of a dishonest little worm, you wouldn't need to open the door to see what I've done to your lovely wife and child."
Red John, The Mentalist


A character seeks revenge against their enemy by harming someone the enemy cares about. "An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth", as they say.

Who the loved one revenge is taken upon often varies depending on the avenger's motivation, so a character avenging a sister will kill a sister and so on. If the method of revenge isn't murder, Cold-Blooded Torture may also come into play, possibly with a Past Victim Showcase. Particularly horrific when the target is a child, but no matter how horrible the crime being avenged (or how non-innocent the victim is), Revenge By Proxy is often a Kick the Dog moment, since the actual victim is considered only as a means to an ignoble end. Indeed, seeing your loved ones taken away from you, knowing that you yourself caused it, can be a Fate Worse than Death.

Often, the justification the villain uses for this act — and it's pretty much always a villain or an extremely dark Anti-Hero that does this, due to it being very much Moral Event Horizon-worthy even if it is in response to another Moral Event Horizon as mentioned above — is that he or she wants the person to suffer as the villain has suffered as a result of the act, even if the hero caused it accidentally and the villain deliberately. Indeed, the chief harm that the villain is concerned with is not the harm to the wife, who died, but to the villain himself, who lost her; this underscores the selfish nature of this form of vengeance.


Another common justification is if the hero is protected in some way from the villain or if direct punishment or pain would not be satisfying enough. Killing a Death Seeker would not accomplish the level of mental anguish required for true vengeance, for example, but killing one of their loved ones while they live on...

Even worse villains may regard one of theirs as valuable as several of the hero's, and so regard killing several victims as mere even retribution.

Frequently a Bewildering Punishment for the victim, though this trope is more likely than most to have the villain explain the offense to the victim.

In addition to being morally reprehensible, this isn't a particularly practical method of operation, since it runs the serious risk of earning you even more enemies; kidnapping or killing the hero's wife, for example, is a great way to get his otherwise ambivalent in-laws on his side. This in turn is very likely to result in an overall Cycle of Revenge (by proxy or otherwise). If the villain finds himself confronted by the victim's other loved ones, they'll frequently try to shift the blame, insisting that the loved ones direct their anger at the hero instead.


Sometimes the villain feigns this to lure the hero within striking distance. If the villain is feeling particularly sadistic, they won't just torture and kill someone the hero cares about; they'll make the hero watch.

Sometimes the villain justifies it by claiming that the victim profited from the original crime. Wearing, owning, or using something that belonged to the villain, or one of his own, may provoke it — but don't expect him to inquire about whether the victim knew of the provenance of the item. Or to ask for it. Sometimes the character is aware of the tainted source of his good fortune. He may attempt to Buy Them Off, but if he refuses to give it up, this moves out of the scope of Revenge By Proxy.

On some occasions, it may be justified for the heroes to do this toward the villains and their offsprings as long as they are Asshole Victims who are either fully complicit in the wrong or are doing horrible things in and of themselves. See Pay Evil unto Evil for more details.

Quite a few Soap Operas, both US and Hispanic, have this as part of the plot.

Classical Mythology is full of this trope with respect to gods and humans, though it's much more forgiving of it than modern works.

Subtrope of Disproportionate Retribution. Compare Sins of Our Fathers. Note that if the actual wrongdoer is unavailable, the trope is Sins of Our Fathers; to be Revenge By Proxy, the attacker has to be able to attack the original instead and choose a different victim. See also Revenge Through Corruption when the method of revenge is trying to inflict a Face–Heel Turn on someone the character cares about. Threatening to do this is I Will Punish Your Friend for Your Failure or And Your Little Dog, Too!.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In 7 Seeds, Ango wants to make Hana pay for the sadistic, brutal treatment that her father had subjected him and his old schoolmates to, which included a cruel test that resulted in the deaths of his best friend, and by letting his daughter be added into the project simply because she was his child. His revenge ranges from making her work harder, longer, and alone compared to others and even going so far as to try to rape her.
  • In Detective Conan, a suspect poisons his new bride to get revenge on her policeman father, who'd neglected to notice that, while chasing a perp, he had run into his mother and failed to notice her lying there (and she then bleeds to death later). Subverted in that the bride found out that the suspect was the childhood friend she had a crush on and guessed that he'd attempt something like this, so she could have set the poison aside, yet she didn't..
  • In the first episode of Black Jack 21, an Italian billionaire blames the Japanese Medical Board's head for not letting Black Jack operate without a license; he is convinced that Black Jack could've saved his son (and, to be fair, he's probably right). He contacts certain 'associates' ...and the same day, the son of the Medical Board Chairman is gunned down by a mob assassin. The boy survives, but only just barely, with the bullet stopping right next to his heart... and there's only one doctor in the world who could possibly save him. The Surgeon with Hands of God. Black Jack! Cue the Chairman agreeing to release Black Jack, AND pay him an exorbitant fee, for the life-saving operation...
  • Because Haruhi Suzumiya is being too boring in her twisted opinion, Ryoko Asakura attempts to kill Kyon, the person closest to her, in order to get her to react. Thanks to Yuki Nagato, she doesn't succeed in this endeavor.
  • In Judge, this turns out to be one reason for the titular game. The group is composed of the children of people who turned out to be the jury and judge of the trial concerned about Atsuya's killing. The sins of the group themselves were never being judged, they were simply being killed while sadistically forcing their parents to have to watch.
  • In Rurouni Kenshin, the villain Enishi attempts to get revenge on Kenshin by attacking his friends and allies, culminating with killing Kaoru... or so it seems. Except he can't bring himself to actually do the deed because she reminds him of his Dead Big Sis.
  • In Full Metal Panic! TSR, Gauron attempts to do this to Kaname to get to Sousuke (knowing that that would affect him more than if Sousuke himself was hurt or killed). Of course, what Gauron did can either be interpreted as this or Murder the Hypotenuse (in which case he was actually thinking he's doing Sousuke a favor). Or, knowing Gauron, it's possible it's just both, and he can't make up his mind what exactly he wants.
  • In Elfen Lied, Lucy does this to Kurama... repeatedly. Turns out he was responsible for a bullet (intended for Lucy) hitting Aiko, her Only Friend at that timenote  and then told her he could save Aiko if Lucy gave herself up... which leads to Lucy spending the rest of her childhood and her teenage years being a guinea pig while Aiko dies anyway. By the end of the manga, Kurama has watched just about everyone he ever cared about die, appear to die, or be terribly maimed. And it's strongly implied that Aiko might not have actually died.
    • Kurama's capturing of Lucy and other Diiclonius stems from Lucy infecting him with the virus.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam: Char Aznable not only used his best friend in exacting this but also talked plenty of cold-blooded smack to him for good measure.
    Char: "Hey, Garma! Do you read me? Blame this on the misfortune of your birth!"
    Garma: "What?! Misfortune?!"
    Char: "You were indeed a good friend to me. Don't take it personally; you can thank your father for this."
    Garma: "You've double-crossed me, Char?!"
    • He then goes on to betray every member of the victim's family, killing them all in revenge for their father having killed his. The amusing part? Their dad, Degwin, is killed partway through the series by oldest son Gihren, making Char's revenge truly pointless. And to top it all off, there was never any conclusive proof that Degwin actually poisoned Char's father — it's entirely possible that the man really did suffer a fatal heart attack in the middle of a politically volatile speech through a mixture of pre-existing health conditions and chance.
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist, Scar's quest to kill all State Alchemists, in revenge for the Ishvalan Massacre, eventually leads him to attempt to kill Edward Elric, a State Alchemist who is not only 15, but was never involved in Ishval at all.
  • In Naruto, Sasuke has decided to make use of this trope to have his cake and eat it too. While initially Sasuke was after his older brother for killing the entire Uchiha Clan, and then the three elders of Konoha who decided it had to be done to avert a coup, eventually Sasuke just snapped and decided everyone who'd ever heard of the Uchiha needed to die because they weren't aware their lives had been saved by his family's murders. Sasuke's out of touch with reality at this point.
  • One Piece:
    • Don Chinjao decides to get revenge on Monkey D. Garp by killing Luffy, his grandson, as he thinks killing Garp wouldn't be enough punishment for what Garp did to him and wants him to suffer. He also comments to Luffy that, had he known Dragon was Garp's son, Luffy wouldn't have even been born.
    • This happened in Katakuri's backstory. He was constantly bullied for his bizarre looks and eating habits, but he didn't care because he could beat up anyone who tried to make fun of him. Unfortunately for him, the bullies were not above attacking his weaker sister Brulee and permanently scarring her. This is what made him decide to cultivate the image of a perfect, stoic badass so that no one would try that ever again.
  • In My-HiME, Takumi is a target of this from two separate people. Nao enters his hospital room with the intention of harming him because she hates Mai for being well-liked for her persistence despite the loss of her parents. Akira rescues Takumi and escapes, but then gets attacked in the Forest and her Child is destroyed, killing Takumi. The perpetrator later turns out to be Shiho, who did it both out of jealousy of Mai's closeness with Yuuichi and under the influence of Nagi.
  • In Rave Master, Haru's dad, Gale, told the Imperial where Demon Card's Headquarters is with the deal of taking King alive as prisoner to end his corrupt ways. To his horror, the Imperial killed all the people inside the Headquarters, including King's wife and son (presumably). As revenge for it, King broke out of prison and killed Gale's wife, Sakura, in front of him. He even put the Dark Bring, End of Earth (which causes another Overdrive), inside him, which forces Gale to be away from his children and facing eternal solitude.
  • In The Heroic Legend of Arslan, Silvermask wants revenge on Andragoras for killing his father, Andragoras' brother so before he kills Andragoras, he wants Andragoras to see his son Arslan's severed head.
  • Leene from Vampire Game plans to do this, but finds that she’s only really emotionally capable of going after her actual target.
  • The Kindaichi Case Files: The killer in "The Undying Butterflies" murdered two of his half-sisters (he failed to kill the third) because his mother got married to the guy who drove his father to suicide. And then he discovered the truth...
  • In Cat-Eyed Boy, Komodo plans to turn the un-moral people his sister knows into monsters, because of the grudge he has for his sister.
  • In The Rose of Versailles, Du Barry tries to take revenge on Oscar— who had sided with Marie Antoinette during their particular feud— by framing Oscar's mother for murder.
  • In Gate Keepers 21, since Shun is unavailable, Count Akuma will go for the next best thing: Shun's own daughter Ayane.
  • My Hero Academia: Dabi's original plan to take revenge on Endeavor was to kill the boy his target had been grooming as a successor. Following All Might's retirement and Endeavor's promotion to number one hero in Japan, Dabi changed plans and began focusing on his actual target, instead. He reveals he's responsible for the villains Starservant and Ending attacking during the Endeavor Internship Arc as part of this plan. As he reveals all of this in person to his target and the successor, Dabi is having his life story broadcast across the internet, which includes revealing that he is Endeavor's eldest son, confessing that he has killed over 30 people in cold blood, and explaining Endeavor's misdeeds in his quest to raise a successor to surpass All Might.

    Comic Books 
  • Doctor Doom's entire supervillain career (and all the death and suffering it causes) is one giant overblown attempt to make Reed Richards' life as hellish as possible in revenge for daring to be smarter than Doom. He's developed a lot of other, smaller motivations partly due to his being a villain, but even all of those can be eventually tied back to his grudge against Reed.
  • Norman Osborn is the master of this and prefers this tactic to make Spider-Man suffer.
  • Ultimate Nick Fury, in a rare "heroic" example, melted down Dr. Octopus' tentacles, to which Octavius shared a mental link, while forcing him to watch as both a punishment for his murderous rampages and a way to neutralize him as a threat. This may sound bad, but the series made it very clear that Doc Ock's monstrous actions and his unrepentant cruelty warranted extreme methods of punishment. A small subset of the things he had done up to this point: Murdering countless civilians, helping to facilitate the escape of the Sinister Six (destroying SHIELD's headquarters and countless lives), and torturing Peter Parker in cold blood by performing actions including, but not limited to, ripping out one of his teeth while he was still conscious.
  • In the first volume of Resident Alien, it's revealed that Ben Maxwell was the one behind the three recent murders. He had committed the murders to take revenge on behalf of his friend Lance Whitehead, as all three of the men Ben murdered had negatively impacted Lance's life in some way.
  • Crops out quite often in Diabolik, either due to Diabolik causing great damage to a mob boss or Ginko arresting a particularly powerful criminal or causing him great economic damage. Averted by Diabolik himself: he may be a ruthless Villain Protagonist, but he always targets the guy against which he has the grudge. The one time he did try this, it was because he believed Ginko had unknowingly ordered Eva's death while trying to arrest the woman Eva was disguised as, so he started making mock attempts at killing Altea (Ginko's fiancé) until he got the chance to kill her before Ginko's eyes, at which point Eva (who had actually been captured and replaced by a henchwoman of a mob boss rival of the father of the replaced woman) arrived and stopped him.
  • In Innocence Lost, Zander Rice forcibly activates X-23's Healing Factor at age seven with lethal doses of radiation, extracts her claws one by one for coating with adamantium at the same age without anesthesia, deliberately leaves her behind to be killed on a mission, and subjects her to 13 years of physical and emotional abuse. Why? Because Wolverine killed his father during his escape from the Weapon X program. He's doing all of this to a child, whose only involvement was being created by Rice's team with Logan as her genetic parent. Rice even takes the time to tell her why he's doing these things to her.
  • Superman:
    • In one story, the villainess Anguish knows that she's not powerful enough to kill Superman, so she'll get revenge on him (for accidentally breaking the locket that was the only memento of her dead mother during their first fight) by attacking his family. Unfortunately, since a sleazy tabloid reporter wrote an article claiming an ordinary salary man named Spence Becker is Superman's secret identity due to their slight resemblance, she targets his family.
    • In The Death of Clark Kent, Conduit systematically stalks everybody connected to Clark Kent to punish him for being preferred by Conduit's own father.
    • Supergirl's villain Reactron wanted to get revenge on Kara Zor-El, so he killed her father at the beginning of New Krypton, and in Who is Superwoman? he confirms he murdered Zor-El to punish her for beating him down and wrecking his radiation-containment suit.
  • This was General Karpov's motivation for Project Winter Soldier. His Teeth-Clenched Teamwork with Captain America during World War II ended with a Russian village burning down and a lifelong grudge against the Americans, so when his team found Bucky floating seriously injured in the English Channel a few years later, well...
    Karpov: (to Captain America) You do not understand. You cannot... You and the Germans, you have your super-soldiers, your secret weapons. But we Russians, we have nothing but our winter.
  • Batman
    • Batman himself is more or less a Deconstruction of this trope, his parents were killed by a criminal so he chose to go to war with criminals.
    • In "How Many Ways Can a Robin Die?", a villain who's mad at Batman kidnaps Robin and torments his mentor by "killing" dummies of him all over the city. Ultimately, he tries to guillotine Robin in front of Batman, dismissing the hero's pleading to punish him instead. Unfortunately for said crook's scheme, Batman is faster than he anticipated.
  • Wonder Woman:
    • Wonder Woman (1942): One of Paula's victims tries to get revenge by kidnapping Paula's toddler-aged daughter to hand over to the Nazis to torture to death for Paula's "betrayal" (she was only working for them in the first place because they were holding her daughter captive).
    • Wonder Woman (1987): Medusa seeks revenge on Athena and her ancient champion Perseus for her beheading centuries ago by attempting to kill Athena's current champion Diana.
    • Wonder Woman (2006): Pele comes after Diana for her father's murder at Zeus' hand, considering it to be Diana's fault because she renounced the Olympians and became Kāne-Milohai's champion, a condition which Zeus arrogantly thought she'd immediately transfer to him. In the end, Diana transfers her loyalty to Pele after being nearly killed by the grieving goddess.

    Fan Works 
  • Serves as the sole motivating force in too many Hurt/Comfort Fic stories to even begin to list.
  • In Power Girl fanfic A Force of Four, Wonder Woman's old enemy Badra and three Superman enemies join forces to get revenge. Superman is dead, though, so the three Kryptonian criminals decide to get revenge on Kal-L by killing his cousin. As for Badra, she manages to capture both Wonder Woman and her daughter Fury. Badra hits Fury every time she wants to punish Diana and vice versa.
    "Fury, this is Badra," Wonder Woman said. "One of the great one-shot wonders of my career."
    Badra stepped forward. Fire was in her eyes, and Fury was certain that her mother hadn't been wise in her choice of words. "Hold it right there, bitch," said the young Amazon. "If you want to pick on somebody, make it me."
    The Hatorian woman looked at Fury with a smile of great maliciousness. "Oh, don't worry. I will. What I do to her will resonate doubly in your soul. That's how these mother-daughter things tend to go. Isn't that right, Diana?"
  • In the Firefly fanfic Forward, Adelei Niska kidnaps River and Jayne and tortures them specifically to get at Mal.
  • Very common in Naruto fanfics, when either young Naruto is nearly beaten to death by villagers or Iwa is out for his blood because he looks like the Fourth Hokage.
  • Seems to be Trixie's motivation for becoming the prosecutor in Turnabout Storm; it's an opportunity to get payback against Twilight by having one of her friends sent to the Moon or the Sun for murder.
  • The Immortal Game: After the Mane Six and the Loyalists manage to retake Canterlot, Titan sends Terra to destroy Ponyville. As Luna points out, it's not about gaining any strategic advantage, Titan just wants to punish them for defying him.
  • In The Ghost Map, Colonel Moran gives Sherlock Holmes a Sadistic Choice as his revenge: commit suicide, or Moran will murder Mrs. Watson. In the process of Holmes's attempt to talk him down, Moran decides for him and gives him a cocaine overdose.
  • Nightmare Phobia, the Big Bad of the Chaos Verse, wants to take revenge on Celestia by targeting all the ponies close to her.
  • In The Lord of the Rings fic An Eye For An Eye, elf lord Cornallar was driven mad with grief at the death of his son Tinard at the hands of orcs and blamed Elrond for causing it. He waited hundreds of years for a chance to kidnap one of Elrond's sons and succeeded in capturing Aragorn. But things got worse once Cornallar discovered Aragorn was a descendant of Tinard's human friend who Cornallar also blamed for Tinard's death. Then he decided to make Elrond watch his son, as well as Isildur's heir, die.
    Elrond: Please, Cornallar, he is just a boy. He has nothing to do with all this, let him go."
    Cornallar: [mockingly] Oh, he has everything to do with this, my lord.
  • For His Own Sake: Kagura actually wants Nagisa to get together with Keitaro specifically so she can hurt her by hurting him. What's particularly messed up is the History Repeats aspect: in the past, Kagura murdered Takeru, Nagisa's childhood friend, and got away with it.
  • The Emergency! fic Eye For an Eye has Roy accidentally hit and kill a man who stepped in front of the squad. He couldn't stop in time, and it wasn't his fault, but the guy's brother gets intent on killing John, to take Roy's "brother" from him.
  • In The Vinyl Scratch Tapes, most of Blueblood's plans for attacking Vinyl revolve around Octavia.
  • In Eroninja one of Tsume's detractors who tried to overthrow her as Alpha of the Inuzuka clan (only to get completely crushed) deliberately baits her son Kiba into challenging him then beating the hell out of him. It almost works, since an Inuzuka can't challenge anyone they beat previously, until Naruto challenges him.
  • In Ranma Saotome, Chi Master Qiáng Wang wants revenge on the guru who destroyed his organization. But since he's not strong enough to take on her, he decides to target Ranma, her apprentice.
  • In Saetwo's Story, the entire reason the Fleens are after the Zoombinis is revenge for their parents' generation kicking them off of Zoombini Island.
  • Poseidon threatens this in The Unrelenting Frozen Seas: The Journey when Zeus discovers his daughter Rhode's existence: Poseidon invokes an image of Zeus's own daughter Thalia and declares the Sky Lord will join him in grieving if he ever does anything to Rhode.
  • The Greek Gods are kinda big on this trope in general: when Hades learns how Zeus tried to kill his son Harry by crashing the plane he was on in Prince of Death, he immediately unleashes the Furies against Thalia as retaliation and succeeds to destroy her... more or less.
  • In Black Skys spin-off, Parenting is not a Varia Quality, Pyr is furious to learn his partner Mainomai's entire bloodline was cursed to Tragedy by Hephaestus because their ancestress was the god's wife's adulterous offspring. Fortunately, he manages to dispel the Curse by claiming his partner and the partner's unborn child as his family, erasing their link to the adulteress via adoption.
  • In My Love Has Two Lives, Nero blames Spock for the death of his wife, so he very deliberately inflicts as much pain on Jim as he can, ensuring that each time, Spock is Forced to Watch and unable to do anything about it. He goes so far as to separate them in what might be the most sadistic way possible - Spock is deposited on Delta Vega to watch his homeworld implode whilst Nero intends to keep Jim as a prisoner until they reach Earth, at which point he will be killed along with everybody else on the planet, thus forcing Spock to feel the crippling pain of a broken bond whilst not even being able to be present for his husband's final moments. He claims he’s doing all this so Spock will feel what he felt when his wife died, but, as Jim notes, their situations aren’t all that similar.
  • Defied by Prince Oberyn Martell in Death has no Master but Life has Servants, who's irate when three guards try to beat a young Harry Baratheon, assuming the Prince would want some kind of payback for his sister Elia's gruesome demise to the Baratheon rule. Oberyn does seek revenge, but he's no Lannister: he refuses to blame a child for his brother's sin, and he certainly won't raise a hand against him.
  • At the climax of Heart of Ashes, Andraya lures Kathryn, Smaug's Love Interest, to the clutches of Fankil, both to get back at Smaug for killing Andraya's daughter Freyja and to gain from Fankil a spell required to resurrect Freyja.
  • Fates Collide:
    • Guinevere hates Arturia and wants to kill her, but she tells Arturia that it is not enough to just kill her. First, she wants Arturia to suffer by killing everyone she loves, namely everyone in the Kingdom of Apocrypha.
    • Penthesilea attacks Ruby Rose and says it's to hurt Ruby's sister Yang Xiao Long, whom she has a grudge against.
  • Marinette Dupain-Cheng's Spite Playlist: After Ladybug chooses a new bearer for the Fox Miraculous, Lila convinces the heartbroken Alya that she did so because Ladybug and Lila got into an argument, and Alya was just unfortunate enough to get caught in the middle. In reality, Ladybug and Lila were never friends — she's a Consummate Liar and is manipulating Alya. She even admits to Marinette later on that part of the reason she's stringing along Alya and her other friends is to hurt Marinette by proxy!
  • More Than Meets the Ear: The Dazzlings, furious after having their magic taken away, decide to go after Vinyl to get revenge on the Rainbooms. Unfortunately for them, Vinyl happened to have a really good friend nearby.
  • Subverted in Dance with the Demons. Batman suspects Ra's Al Ghul attempted to get Catwoman assassinated to get back at him, but Ra's finds the notion of it stupid.
    Ra's Al Ghul: "Your wife stood against me, once and only once. It is true, you gave me a death in that adventure. A quite painful death. But it was not permanent. Thus far, my deaths have been but trifles. One renewal in the Lazarus Pit and I am reborn. Her discomfiting of me was substantial but not as great as your own. No, her death would add but little to my power, and no profit. If I wished redress for my many hurts at your hands, then have no doubt, Detective: I would kill you."
  • In the Alternate Tail Series, Edolas captured Magnolia and turned it into a giant lacrima for two reasons. One, like in canon, the Fairy Tail guild had many powerful wizards that would provide more magic. Two, Fairy Tail was the guild of Mystogan and Pantherlily, who spent years stopping Edolas from stealing magic from Earthland.

    Films — Animation 
  • Syndrome attempts this in The Incredibles; however, Jack Jack isn't an ordinary baby.....
  • Tangled:
    • While Mother Gothel was at first was content to send Flynn to his execution with Rapunzel being ignorant of it, once that fails, she freely tells Rapunzel what she did to him, which carries overtones of this, as does stabbing Flynn in front of Rapunzel. Gothel does not state such a motive clearly, which would hamper her style of manipulating Rapunzel — instead she blames Rapunzel for it.
    • The Stabbington brothers also go after her when she was with Flynn.
  • In Shrek Forever After, after defeating Rumpelstiltskin, Fiona and Shrek murder his goose right in front of him for absolutely no reason, and then laugh about it. Well, ok, it was kinda an accident; no one considered that Fiona's "Party Trick" would affect the goose too. Still mean though.
  • Ice Age has the main villain, Soto, lose all sympathy once he makes clear that his intentions were to eat baby Roshan as payback for what his father and the rest of the tribe did to their pack. It doesn't help that he is ready to vent his frustration to his second-in-command for failing and that he doesn't really seem to care for the rest of his gang.
  • Revolting Rhymes: After Red Riding Hood killed his nephews Rolf and Rex, the Wolf decides to get even by sneaking into her home and eating her children. After bonding with her children, he ultimately can't bring himself to hurt them. Instead, when Red comes home, he leaves her with the knowledge that he could have killed them at any time, then leaves.
  • Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp's Adventure: Buster hates Tramp for supposedly abandoning him. He decides to get his revenge by letting Tramp's son Scamp into his gang and then trying to trick him into either getting himself killed or getting caught by the dogcatcher.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In the Lon Chaney silent West of Zanzibar, the antagonist steals Chaney's wife away and leaves him a paraplegic to boot. Chaney retaliates by getting hold of the antagonist's infant daughter and raising her to be an alcoholic prostitute.
    • The sound-era remake Kongo follows the plot pretty much exactly.
  • Nero in Star Trek (2009) goes overboard doing this to Spock, though not for destroying Nero's home planet (accidentally or otherwise), but rather because Spock's miraculous solution to a natural disaster was too late to save it.
  • Part of Killmonger's plan in Black Panther (2018) involved killing his cousin T'Challa, partially to usurp the Wakandan throne, and for revenge as T'Challa's father killed his.
  • The Dark Knight, in Two-Face's crossing of the Moral Event Horizon:
    "Not my son. Punish me, instead."
    "I'm about to..."
  • In The Punisher (2004), Castle had one of these inflicted on him as revenge for causing the death of Howard Saint's son in a drug bust.
  • At the beginning of The Replacement Killers, Wei, a Triad mob boss, loses his son to a police shootout. He then sends a hitman to kill the police officer's eight-year-old son in revenge. Unfortunately for Wei, the hitman (played by Chow Yun-fat) has a heart and won't go through with it. Not only does Wei decide to take out a Contract on the Hitman, but he also goes further by trying to hunt down and murder John Lee's family to punish him for defying him.
  • Kill Bill Volume 1 touches upon this trope when the Bride confronts Vernita, one of the first targets of her Roaring Rampage of Revenge. Vernita tells her that she has every right to want to get even for what she and her partners did. The Bride tells her that in order to be truly even, she would have to kill not only her, but her husband and her daughter as well (since the assault on the wedding had claimed both of those numbers on the Bride's side though her own daughter turned out to be alive), but in a subversion of this trope, The Bride makes it clear that she's not interested in killing Vernita's innocent family.
  • El Indio, the Big Bad of For a Few Dollars More, establishes himself as a vicious monster in an early scene when he avenges himself upon a man who took money to put him behind bars. The man in question used said money to start raising a family, including an eighteen-month-old boy, and because of this, Indio feels that said family is "partly his." So Indio orders his men to take the wife and the baby outside and shoot them while he is Forced to Watch. He makes him listen to the pocket watch that he always carries — later sadistically setting up a duel with him using that same pocket watch: "When you hear the music finish, begin. Or do you think you can?"
  • Billy Bedlam's Disproportionate Retribution on his cheating wife in Con Air. He left her alone and killed her entire family.
  • In Highlander: Endgame, this was the MO of Jacob Kell, the film's Big Bad. Kell, to avenge the death of his priest father figure at the hands of Connor MacLeod (and perhaps the fact that he became aware of his immortality and it destroyed his faith due to Connor), targets all those nearest to Connor. Later, after Duncan takes Connor's quickening and thus a piece of his soul because Our Souls Are Different, Kell intends to target Duncan this way too, announcing that Duncan has just inherited Connor's curse.
  • In The Italian, after Corrigan refuses to help Beppo and Beppo's son dies as a result, Beppo sets out to kill Corrigan's little daughter. However, when he finally comes to the girl's sickbed, he can't bring himself to do it.
  • After being unmasked as the villain he is by Batman, The Penguin in Batman Returns sets in motion a plan to kidnap and murder all the first-born sons of Gotham because he was abandoned as a child long ago by his own parents. It's unclear whether he planned this from the beginning (as evidenced by the lists of the names he took down while searching for his parents) or because he was pissed at the Gothamites for turning on him, but the plan is foiled by Batman before it can get too far. It seems he was planning it from the start, but then backed off the idea when Corrupt Corporate Executive Max Shreck convinces him to run for Mayor as part of his own plan, and when he turns out to be fairly popular with the public due to his tragic backstory, which he milks for all its worth.
  • Superman: The Movie: General Zod vows to do this to Jor-El:
  • Freddy Krueger in A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), a child killer who was killed vigilante-style by the parents of Elm Street, decides to get revenge on them through their still-living children through their dreams.
  • The conflicts in the Star Wars films (especially the prequels) are basically caused by the Sith getting revenge on the Jedi by destroying their order and taking over the galaxy for their devastating defeat a thousand years before the events of the films (and many more wars and defeats thousands of years before that). Of the four Sith seen in the movies, two were never Jedi or wronged by a Jedi (that we know of) and of the two Sith who were Jedi, one voluntarily left the Order out of ideological differences, while the other had More Than Mind Control worked on him by one of the non-Jedi Sith (though to be fair, Anakin thought the Jedi were holding him back from saving his wife). A few Sith we've seen in the Expanded Universe have personal grudges against the Jedi Order or a Jedi in particular, but for most of them, their dogma insists they do everything they can to make the Jedi miserable because Sith Hate Jedi and the Jedi tend to stand in the way of their galactic conquests. One notable example in the films is Anakin's slaughter of the Tusken Raiders that tortured his mother to death, which included the women and children of said tribe that likely had nothing to do with his mother's death. He didn't care.
    • In a specific example, during the climax of The Rise of Skywalker, Palpatine takes extra care to spitefully throw Ben Solo into a pit as revenge for Darth Vader/Anakin doing the same to him years ago. Nevermind that Ben never did a single thing to Palpatine personally other than try to help Rey, nor that Anakin is long dead; Palpatine wants payback and he will damn well get it, even if he has to settle for Anakin's grandson.
  • Loki's plot to take control of Earth in The Avengers is largely driven by jealousy and resentment towards his adoptive brother Thor, as well as rage at being deceived about his true ancestry. He wants to subjugate the entire population of Earth — a planet that Thor treasures and protects — thereby wiping out many of the people that Thor cares about. In addition, Loki feels that he was cheated out of his rightful place as the ruler of Asgard.
    Thor: So you take the world I love as recompense for your imagined slights?
  • Dark Shadows: Angelique has spent the last two hundred years systematically destroying the Collins family in revenge for Barnabas refusing her love.
  • 102 Dalmatians: In order to get even with Dipstick for preventing her attempt to make a coat of him and 98 other then-puppies, Cruella altered the design to include a hood made of three other puppies and planned to make the hood of now-adult Dipstick's three puppies.
  • In Guardians of the Galaxy, Drax wants to kill Gamora as she is a relative of Big Bad Ronan.
    Drax: He killed my family. I shall kill one of his in return.
  • In The Hunt (2012), someone kills Lucas' dog in an attempt to get even for Lucas having (allegedly) molested children.
  • Code of Silence: Mafia guy Tony Luna kills members of the Comacho cartel to steal their drugs, then flees to Michigan to lay low. The Comachos respond by killing Luna's family, who have nothing to do with his criminal dealings. This is because Tony killed the younger brother of the Comacho's leader in the robbery.
  • In The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2, President Coin wants to force Capitol kids into one final version of the Hunger Games. Johanna Mason adds that President Snow has a granddaughter. Katniss, seeing that this makes Coin no different from Snow, ends up killing Coin.
  • In Felon, this is John Smith's backstory: gang members murdered his family, so instead of just going after them he killed their relatives as well. The jury was sympathetic enough to give him life without parole instead of death (though he didn't want that).
  • Similar to the novel, I, Frankenstein starts with Adam (the monster) killing his creator's bride as vengeance for attempting to end the creature's life. Adam feels no remorse for that action even to this day.
  • In the thriller Malevolent (2002), the Ax-Crazy bad guy has a grudge against a psychiatrist who tried to put him away. He takes revenge by murdering the man's wife and stalking his grown-up son, an L.A.P.D. cop (Lou Diamond Philips) who initially has no idea who this guy attempting to ruin his life even is.
  • In the James Bond film Licence to Kill; The main villain, Sanchez, who runs a massive Latin American drug cartel, gets revenge on Bond's friend Felix Leiter, for getting Sanchez arrested. He doesn't simply off Leiter, he sends his goons to attack Leiter and his new wife on their wedding day, rape/kill the wife and have Mr. Leiter's leg chomped off by a shark. While Felix was indeed directly attacked, the fact that they went after his wife as well counts as this Trope.
  • Bram Stoker's Dracula: The Count goes berserk when Mina rejects his love and decides to marry her fiance Jonathan. He proceeds to target Mina's best friend Lucy and drains her dry.
  • In John Wick, the protagonist is grieving for the death of his wife and harboring tremendous anger. He copes by taking care of a puppy she left as a posthumous gift, but a petty criminal called Iosef breaks into his house, steals his car, and kills the dog. We then learn John is really a world-renowned assassin, and that all hell is going to break loose until he exacts his revenge. Once he does, Iosef's father Viggo ambushes and executes John's friend Marcus for how the sniper protected John despite being hired to kill him.
  • Left for Dead: When Blake refuses to confess to the rape of Michelle, Mary Black declares "An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, a rape for a rape", and orders one of her followers to rape Blake's wife Clem. However, the arrival of Implacable Man Mobius Lockhardt interrupts proceedings before the rape can actually occur.
  • In Breaking Point (1976), the leader of a criminal organization wants revenge on Michael for testifying against his underlings, so he orders attacks on everyone close to Michael so that when he finally dies, he will be wracked with guilt.
  • In Delta Force 2: The Colombian Connection, McCoy's partner and best friend Bobby physically attacks drug kingpin Roman Cota in the courtroom after the Delta Force worked hard to capture him, only to see him get a slap on the wrist. Cota responds by going to Bobby's house when he's not home later that night and then killed his wife and son before heading back to Columbia. And this happens after telling Bobby in the courtroom that he held no grudges for the assault.
  • In Hot Spur, Carlo kidnaps O'Hare's wife Susan and forces her to endure all of the things that O'Hare had inflicted upon his sister.

  • Animorphs:
    • See Pay Evil unto Evil. Jake is pretty pissed that Visser One has gleefully slaughtered the Auxiliary Animorphs, so he's willing to massacre seventeen thousand Yeerks, who just happened to be completely defenseless and harmless.
    • Also, after they learn the kids' true identities, the Yeerks attack their houses, managing to enslave Jake's parents.
  • Frankenstein: The Doctor's monster decides to get revenge for his mistreatment and wretched existence by making Frankenstein suffer. The monster kills Frankenstein's youngest brother, followed by his greatest friend, and then on Frankenstein's wedding day, the monster strangles his bride.
  • In Lloyd Alexander's The High King, when Eilonwy is captured by a bandit and he realizes her connection to Taran, he tells her that he has a grudge with Taran, and he will get his revenge now. He is interrupted by a wolf.
  • Lois McMaster Bujold Vorkosigan Saga examples:
    • Shards of Honor: Vorrutyer gloats over what he can do to Aral Vorkosigan (his ex) by torturing Cordelia (Aral's new love interest).
    • The Warrior's Apprentice: Count Vorhalas threatens to let Miles swing for treason because Aral did the same thing to Vorhalas's sons. Vorhalas eventually backs down, though, when threatened with Miles's mother. This case is especially interesting as Barrayar shows that one of Vorhalas's sons was executed because of an accidental example. After Aral let one brother be executed, the other attempted to assassinate Aral in revenge. A pregnant Cordelia was caught in the attack, which led to Miles being born disfigured.
    • In the short story, "The Mountains of Mourning", someone tries to slit the throat of Miles' horse, because they couldn't get at him, in what Miles calls an "attempted retroactive infanticide by proxy."
  • In Charles Dickens's A Tale of Two Cities, Madame DeFarge is out for revenge on not only the innocent son of a man who had wronged her family, not only his innocent wife, but also on their little girl.
  • In Andre Norton's Scarface, at the end, Captain Cheap reveals that Justin Blade is the son of his old enemy Sir Robert Scarlett, and now he has his Revenge, having assured that the boy would hang as a Pirate. At which point it is revealed that Justin had already had his case remanded on new evidence, and won't be executed.
  • In Jim Butcher's The Dresden Files:
    • Grave Peril: the Big Bad goes after Charity, Michael's wife, and their unborn child in revenge. This allows Michael and Harry to make some deductions about who it is. Mostly because the apparent villain is, while intelligent, lacks an understanding of humans and how revenge by proxy is just as harmful to have done that.
    • Summer Knight: Mab comes to Harry with a deal that will free him of faerie influence, in exchange for him doing three favors for Mab. Dresden quickly adds on some more conditions, which include "Not hurting Harry because he refused to do a favor," and "no telling someone else to hurt Harry." This doesn't work; she then hurts him simply out of spite, which was not covered by the terms.
    • Dead Beat: Mavra the vampire threatens Murphy to get Harry to do what she wanted him to. Harry does it, then informs her that if she ever threatens Murphy or his friends again, he would, "kill you so hard your last ten victims would make miraculous recoveries." The villain hasn't come back since.
    • In Changes, the Red Court Vampire Ariana kidnaps Maggie Dresden, Harry's daughter he didn't even know existed to get at Harry for all the harm he's done to the Reds in the War. Somewhat subverted when it's revealed that Maggie is the focus of a bloodline curse that actually will kill Harry (Harry's pain over what's happening to his daughter was just a bonus), and further subverted when it turns out Harry isn't the direct focus of the revenge, he's another bonus. Ariana's true target is Harry's grandfather Ebenezer McCoy, who was Harry's mentor and never told him the truth of their relationship. McCoy killed Duke Ortega, Ariana's husband, a few years back by a Colony Drop.
    • It seems The Fair Folk will do this through several layers; it's mentioned in Cold Days by Sarissa (a human woman living under Mab's protection in the Winter Court) that she is very careful not to draw attention to any mortal friends or family she might have because killing the loved ones of "Mab's pet mortal" would be a sufficiently indirect insult (not to Sarissa, but to Mab), as to leave the Faerie Queen unable to easily retaliate.
    • Nicodemus Archleone, a roughly 2,000-year-old villain who has had a Fallen Angel inside his head working to do many great and evil things, loves this concept at times. As one who leads a cadre of Fallen Angels trapped in simple silver coins and any who is unlucky enough to touch their bare skin to the metal can be possessed by the Fallen who will work them over until the person gives in, he has aimed to taint the children of his enemies. The action can be as simple as throwing a coin near a toddler hoping the child would take up the coin and force the parent to become the enemy of the child. He has also killed whole families of the Knights of the Cross but left one corpse outside the burned ruins of the home making it clear this one was forced to watch as the others died.
  • In Simon Spurrier's Night Lords novel Lord of the Night, the priest kills Cog, a Gentle Giant utterly loyal to Mira, who is unconscious, before he turns on Mira. This is a mistake.
  • In the Honor Harrington novels, the People's Republic of Haven practiced this as policy for officers who failed the people, shooting whole families for it. Also, Lord Pavel Young kills Honor's beloved Paul Tankersley, with a professional duelist, in order to hurt her. It works, but he soon sees what a bad idea it was.
  • In Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird, after Atticus Finch defends a black man whom Bob Ewell's daughter accused of raping her, Ewell is infuriated and attempts to punish Atticus by attempting to murder the latter's children. This revenge makes even less sense than the trope usually would since the man in question was innocent — Bob Ewell himself was the one who beat up his daughter — and Atticus actually lost the case due to a racist jury.
    • The case still exposed Ewell as the scum of the earth, and he probably wanted revenge for humiliation. He likely didn't go after Atticus himself only because Atticus is a Badass Bookworm, and his kids were an easier target.
  • In Edgar Rice Burroughs's The Gods of Mars, John Carter is particularly horrified to learn that Issus has Dejah Thoris prisoner and knows that she is the wife of John Carter and the mother of Carthoris — the two men who dared raise their hands against her.
  • Happens now and again in the Star Wars Legends continuity.
    • In the Hand of Thrawn duology, a corrupted copy of the Caamasi Document surfaces. The document details Palpatine's successful plan to raze the planet of a species of Actual Pacifists who were almost universally opposed to him, and as it turns out, he used Bothan agents to lower the planet's shields. The document doesn't actually say specifically who these Bothans were, Bothan authorities deny any knowledge, and the issue acts as a Conflict Ball between peoples who want the names coughed up or, failing that, want revenge on the Bothan people, and peoples who think that revenge on the Bothan people is a terrible idea. In many cases, the Bothan issue is no more than an excuse for rivals to war over.
      • There's a smaller example when a station containing twenty-two Bothans is shot down because of one particular species who believe that the punishment for a murder calls for either the death of the murderer or ten innocents related to the murderer for each person killed - two of those people had been killed in a skirmish earlier. Rogue Squadron is furious at this concept of justice, but those people also sabotaged their X-Wings so that they can't interfere.
    • In Shadows of the Empire, Prince Xizor wants to shame Vader and kill his son for two reasons. One, because that would leave him that much closer to the Emperor. Two, because the Empire set up a biological weapons lab on his homeworld and when some particularly nasty disease escaped, Vader ordered that the region around the lab, for about a hundred kilometers or so, be bombarded from orbit to sterilize it, and Xizor's family was in that region.
  • In Sir Apropos of Nothing, after Apropos's mother is killed, he vows to get revenge on her killer. Not by killing him (by all accounts, the guy who did it is a giant of a man who'd tear Apropos apart like tinfoil), but by killing his mother. Our protagonist, everybody.
  • In the Agatha Christie novel Pocket Full of Rye, this was Ruby MacKenzie's original plan. Because Rex Fortescue left her father to die of a fever on an expedition to Africa, when Rex's son Percival comes down with pneumonia, she gets herself assigned as Percival's nurse, intending to let him die of neglect. She couldn't go through with it, however, and chooses a different revenge: she marries Percival so that in time she will inherit the money Rex Fortescue scammed out of her father.
  • In Twilight series book New Moon, Victoria chases after Bella because Edward and his family had killed her mate in the previous book. This continues into Eclipse as well with an epic battle. It ends when the Cullens team up with the werewolves to kill Victoria and her band of infant vampires.
  • In the Magic: The Gathering short story "The Theft of Bayende, Heart and Soul" featured in the Tapestries anthology, both of the protagonists do this. The wizard Noranda-Zang has spent ten years searching for Thane, the man who killed him in battle (He Got Better obviously). When he finally reaches Thane's home, he discovers Thane's pregnant wife Bayende. He and his pet shade then brutally murder her and leave the ruined corpses of Bayende and her unborn child for Thane to find. Thane then spends twenty years searching for Zang. When he finally reaches Zang's home, he discovers Zang's son. Thane drains the life from the young man and leaves his body for Zang to find. Zang does so just as Thane is leaving the scene, and his anguished screams fill the air. The ending makes it clear that resolved nothing, and that both of them would continue to fight each other for the rest of their lives even though both of them had lost what they cherished most.
  • In Andy Hoare's White Scars novel Hunt for Voldorius, Nullus reports that killing a thousand people for each revolt is stopping the resistance. Later, he uses the threat on Malya to get her to serve as Voldorius's equerry.
  • In Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian story "A Witch Shall Be Born", when Cold-Blooded Torture no longer hurts Taramis, Salome brings her the head of her faithful councilor, Krallides.
  • In P.D. James's Original Sin, the killer's goal is revealed to be this.
  • The Dragon Rises by Adrienne Martine-Barnes has this codified as law: "we are a culture with strong bonds of family. We now hold that the suffering of the guilty party's family is a deterrent to crime. Few persons are so dead to family feeling that they would wish to endanger their innocent wives or husbands or children. This, at least, is the theory."
  • The demon in Running with the Demon was attracted to a young Evelyn Freemark because of her magic and wild nature. They ran together for a while, but when she discovered his true nature, she rejected him. The demon waited until Evelyn had grown up, married, and had children before putting his plan into motion. Seducing Evelyn's emotionally fragile daughter, Catelyn, he impregnated her, then revealed the truth to her and her mother, driving Catelyn to suicide shortly after giving birth. Fourteen years later, he came back for the last time, seeking to both collect his daughter and kill Evelyn in the process. Bastard.
  • The John Sanford novel Sudden Prey features a criminal named Dick LeBeau whose wife and sister were killed in a shootout with the police. LeBeau decides to get his revenge by killing the families of the cops involved.
  • In Death: Eve Dallas works hard to take down Ava Anders in Strangers In Death. When Roarke asks her why she's treating this one like a competition, Eve admits that Ava reminds her of Magdelana from Innocent In Death. Ava and Magdelana have Bitch in Sheep's Clothing in common. Roarke says "Revenge By Proxy", because Eve wanted to take down Magdelana in her own way, and she didn't get it. She figures that taking down Ava will have to do. This example is treated a lot more sympathetically than a number of other examples in this article.
  • Sisterhood Series by Fern Michaels: In Home Free, Owen Orzell reveals to the Vigilantes that he had worked with CIA director Calvin Span and Big Bad Henry "Hank" Jellicoe. Jellicoe has already been captured and is currently rotting away in a federal prison. Span is dead because sometime after he was forced to resign from his job as CIA director by President Martine Connor, he was shoveling snow off his driveway and died of a heart attack. Orzell points out that Span knew better than to do that because he had heart surgery a few years ago, and that he had clearly become a Death Seeker. Orzell asks if they're going to punish him in Span's place, and the Vigilantes say yes. Now this example is treated sympathetically, because the president had essentially enlisted the Vigilantes to take down Orzell, and Orzell's hands are just as dirty as Span's and Jellicoe's.
  • In Tolkien's The Children of Húrin, Morgoth punished Hurin for defying him by cursing his children and forcing him to watch as their lives are slowly destroyed.
  • Mockingjay: President Snow tortures and hijacks Peeta Mellark in order to hurt Katniss. At one point, one of the other characters outright states that Snow will do to his victim whatever it takes to break her. Made even worse when you realize that when Snow wanted Katniss to convince him she loves Peeta in Catching Fire, it's not in order to preserve peace in Panem, as Katniss believes at the time, but because the stronger Katniss feels for Peeta, the more effective it will be for Snow to torture him.
  • In John Milton's Paradise Lost, the point of tempting Adam and Eve to sin is that it hurts God.
  • Quiller: In "The Ninth Directive", a female agent shows Quiller the gun she intends to use to avenge her dead lover, a fellow agent. She doesn't know who his killers were or even what side they were on, so kills a mook who's about to kill Quiller as an acceptable substitute, throwing the gun away afterwards.
  • The Count of Monte Cristo: The Count has no problem with goading his archenemy Morcerf's son Albert into a duel he knows he'll win. Only Mercedes' intervention saves him, having figured out what he's up to, and though the Count goes to the duel perfectly ready to die, Mercedes explained the situation to Albert, who calls off the duel and apologizes.
  • The Saga of Arrow-Odd: When Odd's arch-enemy Ogmund realizes he cannot bring Odd down, he murders Odd's blood brother Thord Prow-Gleam only to punish Odd.
  • The Saga of the People of Vatnsdal: Ottar of Grimstunga is angered by Ingolf Thorsteinsson carrying on an overly intimate relationship with Ottar's daughter Valgerd. When Ingolf refuses to stop his visits to Valgerd, Ottar twice hires an outlaw to kill Ingolf; when the assassins find Ingolf is too much on his guard, they go for his brother Gudbrand instead. The second time, the plot is successful.
  • In Pan Tadeusz, ever since Jacek Soplica has killed his beloved master and run for the border, Gerwazy hunts and duels (or kills) people named Soplica.
  • In Wolf Hall, Cromwell warns his son Gregory about this trope while he's in the process of putting Anne Boleyn and five rather popular gentlemen through a Kangaroo Court that will end in execution—people who know Gregory for Cromwell's son might try to get retribution on his father by attacking him.
  • Journey to Chaos: In the second book Annala finds herself in the crosshairs of someone with a grudge against her mother and Honorary Aunt, Hasina. Nulso Xialin seeks to enslave her because he can't attack his true targets directly.
  • In A World Less Visible, to get back at Adam, Sima manipulates Wren into forcing Adam to kill his best friend.
  • This is a major reason why monsters constantly attack demigods in Percy Jackson and the Olympians. They often want to get revenge on some god, but that god is too powerful to attack directly, so they attack their children instead.
  • Warrior Cats:
    • In Moth Flight's Vision, Willow Tail blames Red Claw for the accidental death of their fellow rogues, and the only way she can think to get revenge at this point is to cause a war against his current Clan and have him see his beloved Clanmates hurt.
    • In Mapleshade's Vengeance, Mapleshade first intends to get revenge against her ex-mate by killing his new mate. When he takes the fatal hit meant for her, Mapleshade vows that she will get revenge against the pair of them by haunting their bloodline; in Crookedstar's Promise we see her following through with this by tormenting their great-grandson Crookedstar throughout his life.
    • In River of Fire, Sleekwhisker blames Rowanclaw for the death of some of her Clanmates because he didn't deal with Darktail, and she plans to kill his mate Tawnypelt in revenge.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The first season of 24 involved the first scenario — with a daughter too. One was a guy called Jack. Jack enacts this in the final season when he sets out for revenge against the entire Russian government. At one point, he murders Dana Walsh primarily because she had been working with them, even though she had nothing to do with the crime that set him off.
  • Daniel Holtz of Angel gets back at Angelus - who is now the souled Angel - by kidnapping his baby son and raising him in a hell dimension to hate and kill his father. Centuries before Angelus also killed Holtz's wife and daughter — the latter in the most horrible fashion, by vamping her so that Holtz himself would be forced to finish the job (by throwing the girl into sunlight). In a final desperate attempt at revenge, Holtz kills himself, framing Angel so that Connor would kill his own father. Connor instead does the next-worst thing, locking Angel in a steel box and sinking it in the Pacific for four months — Angel cannot die this way because he is a vampire, but the hunger drives him half-mad.
  • After the Centauri conquer Narn in Babylon 5, the list of policies they enact on their newly defeated foes is that any crimes committed by resistance forces will result in disproportionate retaliation against the Narns, starting with the perpetrator's family.
  • Boardwalk Empire: After Jimmy Darmody ordered an unsuccessful hit on Manny Horvitz, Manny broke into Jimmy's house intending to kill him. He found Jimmy's wife Angela and her lover Louise instead.
    Manny Horvitz: [to Angela Darmody, before shooting her in the head] Your husband did this to you.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • Angelus makes it clear that he intends to kill everyone Buffy cares about to get back at her for making him feel human.
    • A non-fatal example in "Homecoming": Faith knows all about Scott Hope dumping Buffy, so after seeing him with another girl, she pretends to be an ex and claims she's getting over the various sexual diseases she got from him, sabotaging his efforts to put the moves on the girl.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • Petyr Baelish conspires with Olenna Tyrell to poison King Joffrey because of Joffrey's grandfather Tywin Lannister's part in the murder of Petyr's life-long love Catelyn Stark at the Red Wedding.
    • Karstark murders Willem and Martyn Lannister, two unarmed teenage hostages, just because he wants to do damage to a Lannister, any Lannister, in revenge for the deaths of his sons (one in battle, the other at the hands of the Kingslayer).
    • A double feature of this trope appears in the Dorne arc. First, as revenge for the death of Oberyn Martell during a trial by combat against Ser Gregor Clegane (arranged by the Lannisters, with Oberyn defending Tyrion after the latter was accused of King Joffrey’s murder), Oberyn’s lover Ellaria Sand eventually murders Myrcella Baratheon (the daughter of Cersei Lannister) with a poisoned farewell kiss. It doesn’t take long for Cersei to figure out who killed her daughter and how, and when Ellaria and her daughter Tyene are later captured by Euron Greyjoy and brought to Cersei as a gift, Cersei has them both imprisoned in the same cell facing each other, then proceeds to inflict the exact same poisoned kiss on Tyene that Ellaria had used to kill Myrcella, even making sure to use precisely the same type of poison. Ellaria is left alive so that she will be Forced to Watch Tyene die from the poison and then watch as her body decomposes; for good measure, Cersei arranges for Ellaria to be force-fed if she tries to starve herself to death, and orders the guards to change the torches every few hours to make sure that Ellaria doesn’t miss a single detail of Tyene’s death and decomposition.
  • In Heroes, Matt Parkman nearly kills Danko's innocent girlfriend (despite knowing that she knows nothing of what he's doing) in retaliation for Danko killing Daphne, but he can't bring himself to do it.
  • Ben on Lost wants to do this to Charles Widmore — off Penny because Widmore's men offed his (stolen) daughter.
  • Merlin:
    • In the pilot, the mother of a wizard Uther executes puts it this way. Fortunately, Merlin is able to stop her.
      Mother: An eye for an eye! A tooth for a tooth! A son for a son!
    • The irony is that this is really just the circle of revenge going full circle. Uther started his crusade against wizardkind after his wife died by a spell that allowed her to be pregnant with Arthur. So Uther's crusade falls under this trope, in a bizarre way.
    • When Uther dies and Arthur becomes king, Morgana immediately shifts her goals towards Arthur. This is at least partially justified, as pointed out here:
      Arthur: You can't blame me for my father's sins.
      Morgana: It's a little late for that, isn't it? You've made it perfectly clear how you feel about me and my kind.
  • In the second season of Sleeper Cell, the protagonist's girlfriend is killed by an underling of Faris al Farik, so he has Farik's wife killed.
  • In one episode of ER, a man that Kovac had treated ended up with his right arm paralyzed. After that, his life went from bad to worse, eventually getting divorced by his wife, losing his children, and getting fired from his job. So to get back at Kovac, he had Kovac break his own hand and wanted to take Kovac's life for ruining his.
    • A child's father obviously wanted to do this. Greene had noticed some heavy implications of child abuse on the man's son and the child was taken into protective custody and away from the father. After the father has been spotted around the area where Greene lived with his wife Elizabeth and their daughter, he got worried that he would try to harm them for taking his son away. Ultimately leads to nothing, as the father is brought to the ER as a patient, suffers cardiac issues when he's alone in an elevator with Greene, and Greene denies him proper treatment, the father dying.
  • Criminal Minds:
    • The villain, Henry Grace, of "Masterpiece" blamed Rossi for ruining his life and for the loss of his family (as Rossi caught his brother William, a notorious serial killer who was later executed, which disgraced Henry and caused his fiancé to break off their engagement), so he attempted this by trying to kill Rossi's own "family" (the other members of the BAU) in return. However, due to both Plot Armor and Rossi being a badass, it didn't work.
    • The Reaper does this to Hotch's ex-wife Haley in Season 5 since he knows that doing that would get to Hotch more than if he did anything to Hotch himself.
    • One unsub targets the people he considers responsible for his best friend's suicide. He directly targets the school principal and substitute teacher he feels weren't strict enough on the bullying (debatable Misplaced Retribution, but at least direct), but since the main bully himself had joined the military and is out of the country, he instead targets the bully's girlfriend's parents.
    • The unsub in "The Anti-Terror Squad" got revenge against his and his friends' bullies by killing every member of their immediate families except the bullies themselves (until he starts devolving) under the logic that he wants them to suffer, and they won't be suffering if they're dead.
    • In general, the concept of surrogates is this. The killer can't or won't directly attack the true object of their rage, so they target people who remind them of that person in hopes that it will be enough to satisfy their anger. Of course, it never works.
  • In season three of True Blood, Eric kills Talbot and is willing to put several others in danger because Russell was responsible for the death of his family several hundred years ago.
  • Oz:
    • William Cudney was so enraged by his wife's decision to abort his child that he got revenge on the doctor who performed the abortion — by killing his son.
    • Tobias Beecher and Vern Schillinger arrange the deaths of the others' family members as part of their series-long vendetta.
  • In the Cold Case episode "Sabotage", one man went after the people who indirectly caused his sick daughter's death. His boss who had fired him, making him lose his benefits to help his daughter. The doctor's assistant who did nothing when his daughter was in pain. But the man crosses into Moral Event Horizon when he goes after his brother, who had refused to help him save their parents' old house, his attempts costing an innocent man his arm and leading to him try to kill his brother's innocent wife and daughter. Worse of all was after a bad day, he killed a store manager who wouldn't give him refund on a product without a moment's hesitation.
  • Three Monsters of the Week in The X-Files episodes "The Walk", "Theef", and "Redrum" carry this out.
  • Played for laughs, of all things, on My Name Is Earl - When Ralph learns that Earl accidentally had sex with his mom, his second solution is to in turn have sex with Earl's mom. (His first solution is just to kill Earl.)
  • In one episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, a cop's daughter goes on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge against the loved ones of the people she blames for the hardship that's befallen her father and family. Rollins, the first target, escapes with only a shoulder wound, but others aren't so lucky.
  • In the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Bloodlines", DaiMon Bok declares that he will kill Picard's son because Picard killed his. This sounds difficult because Picard doesn't actually have a son, but Bok manages to find a way around that.
  • In an episode of Highlander: The Series, an Immortal is revived after thousands of years in a sarcophagus; when an Immortal who was first her lover and then her enemy at the time tries to make peace with her, she takes revenge by killing his totally innocent mortal wife. She blames him for her Queen's suicide. After killing his wife, she says "an eye for an eye".
    • The recurring villain Kalas repeatedly attempted to kill or disgrace protagonist Duncan's friends as revenge for Duncan having upended his life centuries ago.
  • In the season five finale of Desperate Housewives, Dave attempts this against Susan as revenge for accidentally killing his wife and daughter in a car crash by setting up a trap that'll kill both her husband and son, Mike and MJ. He ends up letting her MJ out of the car when he realizes what he's become...and then tries to kill Mike anyway, and fails.
  • Breaking Bad:
    • Besides for his own gain, this is why Gustavo had Hector's grandchildren killed. The man wouldn't care much if he himself died, so Gus went for his family, which is all he really cared about.
    • Also why Todd killed Andrea to punish Jesse for trying to escape.
  • In Sinbad, Lord Akbari kills Sinbad’s brother, right in front of him, because Sinbad accidentally killed Lord Akbari’s son in a fighting competition.
  • An interesting variant in Single Father. Sarah cheats on her boyfriend Matt with Dave, so Matt sleeps with Dave's daughter (she's 18, it's okay) to punish Dave.
  • Arrow: This is the strategy of Season 2 Big Bad Slade Wilson; through his minion Brother Blood, he intends to destroy everything Oliver cares about, without harming him directly, in what he sees as retribution for Oliver being unable to save Shado (whom they both loved) back on the island.
  • In The Adventures of Superman, "The Perils of Superman", the Villain of the Week lampshades this, saying that while he can't hurt Superman physically, he can "strike at him through his friends." To this end, he ties Perry to a log in a sawmill (and Lois to the train tracks), uses acid on Jimmy's brakes so that he'll crash when he has to take a twisting road, and lowers Clark into an acid bath.
  • In the backstory of Kamen Rider Drive, Prof. Banno went to a young businessman to get a research grant, but the businessman turned him down due to the morally questionable nature of the work. Enraged, Banno had one of his Roidmudes imitate the businessman's appearance and used it for this trope by beating it to a bloody pulp. This kicked off the plot of the series in two ways: Banno's partner Krim Steinbelt found out about this and ended their partnership (which also lead to his creating the Drive System), and the victimized Roidmude (who would later adopt the name Heart) turned on Banno before plotting to wipe out all humanity.
  • Sons of Anarchy: In the season 4 finale, Tig unwittingly killed the girlfriend of another gangster during a Drive-By Shooting when he was aiming for the gangster in retribution for another crime (his culpability for which had been fabricated by Jax). It turns out that the girlfriend was the daughter of Damon Pope, the undisputed kingpin of black crime in Oakland. His retribution for Tig's stupidity is to burn Tig's daughter alive.
  • One episode of El Chavo del ocho centered on Doña Florinda ordering Don Ramón to take his pants down from the communal clothesline, when he refused, she told El Chavo that Don Ramón gave him the pants on the Clothesline. When Chavo tells Don Ramón of that fact, Don Ramón retaliates by stealing Quiko's sailor suit from the clothesline and putting it on.

  • A variation occurs in "The Watchmaker's Apprentice." After being fired by the watchmaker, the eponymous apprentice breaks into his master's shop in the middle of the night; wanting a more satisfying revenge than burglary or vandalism, he spends the entire night constructing a very special pocket watch. A week later, a customer buys the watch — only for it to explode "at six on the dot," killing him instantly. As a result, the watchmaker is arrested for manslaughter, his business is left in ruins and his reputation obliterated. Meanwhile, the apprentice gleefully slinks off to the seaside, knowing that the whole plan has worked out like clockwork.

    Myths & Religion 
  • In The Epic of Gilgamesh, when King Gilgamesh rejects the sexual advances of the goddess Inanna/Ishtar, she sends the Bull of Heaven to wreak havoc on his whole city, no doubt killing loads of totally innocent people (not that rejecting Ishtar was wrong, considering her Death by Sex theme). Enkidu and Gilgamesh kill the Bull, and then the gods decide that one of them must be punished for this transgression. They choose Enkidu.
  • Norse Mythology:
    • When Loki tricks Odin's son Hodur into killing his other son, Balder, Odin responds by turning one of Loki's sons into a wolf, and having him kill his brother. Odin then used the killed child's guts to make chains to bind Loki to a rock, where a serpent eternally drips venom into his eyes. It wasn't so much this as Disproportionate Retribution... unless you've read the rest of the crap that Loki had been pulling up till then.note 
    • King Niðhad enslaved the smith Völundr and cut his hamstrings to keep him from running away. Völundr killed Niðhad's sons and made jewelry for the queen from their bones. Then he raped the king's daughter and flew away on the magic wings he'd built. Unusually for this trope, Völundr is the hero of his story.
  • The Bible: This appears to be Satan's motive in dragging as much of humanity as possible down to suffer with him in Hell; revenge against God.
  • Classical Mythology:
    • Hera constantly gets revenge on her philandering husband Zeus by harassing and trying to kill his mistresses and illegitimate offspring. She even punishes women who Zeus raped, which overlaps with Victim Blaming. Considering that he's the King of the Gods and far more powerful than Hera, this is more or less the only revenge she can take; she cannot take revenge directly on Zeus. She did lead a conspiracy of the gods against Zeus and only shifted to indirect methods when that failed.
    • The best-known example is probably sending two serpents to kill Zeus's half-human baby son Heracles. The baby won. Hera continued to torment him, eventually driving him temporarily insane and making him slaughter his wife Megara and their children. His famous Twelve Labors were expiation for this blood-guilt.
    • She forced Leto, a minor goddess pregnant with Zeus's twins, to wander the whole Earth while in labor, looking in vain for a land that would let her rest and give birth, while Hera had made all lands refuse to shelter her. She eventually found one island, Delos (or Ortygia), that dared the goddess's wrath and let her rest. Then Hera prevented the goddess of childbirth Eileithyia from visiting Leto, so she went through yet more wretched labor pains until the other goddesses bribed Hera. Finally, Leto gave birth to the gods Apollo and Artemis.
    • Leto herself isn't above this. She ordered Apollo and Artemis to kill Niobe's fourteen children because Niobe had the audacity to claim to be superior to Leto because she had more children than her.
    • In Ovid's The Metamorphoses, Athena does this to her former priestess, Medusa, who had been raped by Poseidon in one of Athena's temples. Athena got pissed that people had been doing it in one of her sacred spots, but she couldn't do anything to Poseidon and was quite the Jerkass Goddess herself, so she took out her anger on Medusa instead by turning her into a Gorgon. (In the actual myth, however, Medusa and her sisters always were sea monsters.)

    Pro Wrestling 
  • CM Punk's threat to murder Allison Danger with a towel while Colt Cabana restrained Christopher Daniels so he would be Forced to Watch was The Second City Saints's proposed revenge, since Punk had already beaten up the Outcast Killahs to show Rob Feinstein he was serious, threatened to kill a member of the ROH locker room if the party responsible for ambushing Lucy wasn't revealed, personally believing it to have been The Prophecy. It wasn't Daniels or any then revealed Prophecy member, though, but BJ Whitmer, who attacked Lucy to get revenge on Punk knocking him out. Whitmer would soon be revealed as another Prophecy member, so they weren't far off, all things considered.
  • Malia Hosaka and Leilani Kai threatening Leah Von Dutch by crushing La Rosa Negra's throat on SHINE 28 wasn't an example of this trope. Ivelisse Vélez taking exception and teaming with Amanda Rodriguez in an attempt to do the same to their stablemate Thunder Kitty, was.
  • Christopher Daniels, believing ROH had set his associates Frankie Kazarian and Kamaitachi up to fail at the 2016 Aftershock, said he was going to protest until their losses were overturned. "Protest" turned out to mean "join with them to beat the stuffing out of Moose". Alex Shelley, in a demonstration he liked Moose more than he let on, and Jay White who had been used by Kamaitachi to benefit The Addiction, ran the three off.

  • In Survival of the Fittest V3, Lenny Priestly kills Gabe McCallum's love interest Viki Valentine. Later on, Gabe gets his revenge on Lenny by shooting dead his twin sister Elizabeth, who'd had nothing to do with the death.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Magic: The Gathering, Sorin Markov didn't show up as promised when the Eldrazi broke free and threatened his friend Nahiri's home plane of Zendikar, and, just to make it worse, brushed off her concerns as insignificant. She decided to call one of the Eldrazi to Sorin's home plane of Innistrad, causing the death or horrific mutation of thousands of innocent people. She either didn't know or didn't care that Zendikar wasn't destroyed. The fact that Sorin locked her in a stone prison for several centuries likely didn't do wonders for her mental state.

    Video Games 
  • In a sidequest of the Baldur's Gate series, the red dragon Firkraag will frame the player character for murder. When confronted on why he'd do this (since the player had never even met him before, much less slighted him,) he will explain that he once suffered a humiliating defeat at the hands of the player's foster-father Gorion. Since Gorion is already dead and beyond Firkraag's reach, he'll make do with tormenting his foe's child.
  • In the first episode of Bioshock Infinite DLC "Burial at Sea," Elizabeth sacrifices Sally, a Little Sister, to a cruel death by immolation to punish that timeline's version of Comstock for what he had done before starting a new life. The second episode is about her subsequent guilt over letting a young child die for her own revenge, and going back to the timeline to save her.
  • Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood reveals that in Hingashi, this is the law. If a criminal cannot be punished, their entire family will be made an example. In the Samurai job questline, Musosai was held responsible for the crimes of his pupil Ugetsu when he used the swordsmanship he learned from Musosai to murder government officials. Later, it is also revealed that Ugetsu's parents were executed for his crimes, and a similar fate would've befallen his younger sister Kagetsu/Makoto if not by a small stroke of luck.
  • In Disgaea 3, Mao decides that ravaging the human world would be a better revenge for his father's death than going after Aurum, the one who caused it, reasoning that as a super hero, and one of said world's defenders, it would cause him far more pain than his own death. However, Aurum actually wants him to attack the human world, as it'll give another chance to display his heroics. Whether Mao actually goes through with it or not depends on what ending you get.
  • In Xenosaga, Albedo torments Momo so that he can get to Jr. by proxy.
  • Subverted in the sequel to No More Heroes... sort of. Travis is confronted by an Emergency Transformation form of Letz Shake, the well-known Bait-and-Switch Boss of the first game who was killed by Henry before Travis could get to him. Travis points out that it was Henry who killed Shake, but it turns out that he had already gotten to and beaten Henry, and just wants to take down Travis too, just for the hell of it.
    • This is also what kicks off the plot of the sequel. Remember the assassination gigs in the original game? Remember those gigs to kill the CEOs of Bizza Butt? Apparently, Jasper Batt Jr., the youngest child of the family, didn't like it very much. To get back at Travis, he stages the assassination of Bishop Shidux. He even recruits other characters craving revenge against Travis in the game to help him achieve this, like Skelter Helter, brother of Helter Skelter from the original game.
  • A Human Noble can threaten Howe with this when you finally confront him in Dragon Age: Origins. He laughs at you and taunts you even more.
  • Reality-On-The-Norm: The game Revenge of the Chicken involves the protagonist (a chicken) assassinating the brother of the man who killed his, the Chicken's, brother.
  • The Dominion of WildStar declared unconditional sovereignty over the Aurin of Arboria for sheltering and supplying the Exiles. Without so much as offering them a chance to surrender, forsake their friends, and evacuate, planet reapers were sicked onto the poor things.
    • It should be noted that the Exiles tried their best to keep Arboria out of the Dominion's knowledge by making speedy, stealthy runs and never staying on the planet for more than a couple of days, maybe a few weeks, max.
  • Done twice in Saints Row 2 as part of an Escalating War between the 3rd Street Saints and The Brotherhood. The Brotherhood leader Maero kidnaps one of the Boss' lieutenants and has him dragged to death in retaliation for the Boss scarring his face, and the Boss hits back by stuffing Maero's girlfriend (a Grade "A" Asshole Victim, it must be noted) into the trunk of her car and leaving it to be unwittingly crushed by Maero at a monster truck rally.
  • In Ghost Trick, the Big Bad Yomiel does this to Detective Jowd not once but twice, blaming him for chasing him into the park ten years ago, which resulted in Yomiel being hit by a meteorite shard. This not only killed him but imbued his spirit with certain powers, effectively making him immortal. First, he subtly modifies Kamilia's Rube Goldberg Device to kill Jowd's wife, Alma, instead of setting off party poppers for her birthday. This traumatizes Kamila, and to protect her from the blame, Jowd frames himself for Alma's murder and goes to prison. Second, on the day of Jowd's execution, Yomiel frames Detective Lynne for his own murder by meeting her at a junkyard and then controlling her to shoot him, making sure that the event is caught on camera. This digs at Jowd again because he had rescued her from Yomiel taking Lynne hostage in the park, and it's a second example of revenge by proxy being enacted on Lynne herself.
  • God of War II: Zeus utterly annihilates Kratos' home city of Sparta in revenge for the latter's campaign of bloody conquest. It's noted that at this point, Kratos has been stripped of his godhood and no longer represents a threat to Zeus. He still attacks his people for no other reason but to spite the God of War and punishing them for worshiping Kratos.
  • Futaba's uncle in Persona 5 always felt like The Un-Favourite compared to his sister, and began abusing her daughter as revenge after she died. He even goes as far as to harass her adoptive father Sojiro and file a false report to protective services once he can no longer torment her directly.
  • This is important in the backstory of Tales of the Abyss Guy originally came to the Fabre Manor with the plan of killing Duke Fabre's only son in front of him due to him being responsible for the deaths of his entire family. Then Luke got kidnapped and came back a complete amnesiac innocent dependant on him. Cue one Heel–Face Turn and Guy developing Undying Loyalty to Luke; who returns it even during his Spoiled Brat days as he insists repeatedly that Guy isn't his manservant but his "best friend".
  • It is possible to do this in the Playable Epilogue of Red Dead Redemption, in which Jack Marston can choose to kill the family members of Edgar Ross, the man who had his father executed. Of course, the game does not actually tell you to do this and it is all up to the player's choice.
  • Stranglehold: James Wong orders the death of Tequila Yuen's wife Billie as payback for Tequila killing his son Johnny in Hard Boiled. The kicker? Billie was his own daughter.
  • Viktor Reznov in Call of Duty is on two sides of the trope. In Call of Duty: World at War he is in the "having revenge against someone else than the ones who directly wronged me" one, viewing the Soviets' bloody rampage and destruction of German territories and civilians as vengeance against the ones Russia suffered at the hands of the Nazis, and in Call of Duty: Black Ops, he is on the "use someone else to get revenge because I personally can't" by brainwashing protagonist Alex Mason to send him after Dragovitch, Kravchenko and Steiner, the three men who killed Reznov's friend and ruined his life.
  • Yes, Your Grace: This is a factor in Lorsulia and Dusty's deaths, as their killer holds someone who cares about them as responsible for the murder at the end of the first act.

    Visual Novels 

    Web Animation 
  • RWBY:
    • The White Fang doesn't tolerate defectors and will kill them when they track them down, but Blake's defection is deeply personal for Adam. He's not content to simply kill her. He's absolutely determined to destroy everything she's ever cared about. That includes the people she cares about. He cuts off Yang's arm as soon as he realizes Blake cares about Yang. When he finds out Blake is in Menagerie, he explodes with rage. His rant that Blake's family is the bane of his existence culminates in him issuing an order to kidnap Blake and murder her parents, a decision that makes the Albain brothers conclude that he may be too unwell to remain functioning as White Fang leader for long.
    • Salem's current motivation. Protecting humanity is what matters the most to Ozma, and the Gods are testing humanity to see if they're still worthy of living. Being a Psycho Ex-Girlfriend who wants to Rage Against the Heavens, she wants to destroy humanity by having them fail the test because this is the best way to hurt Ozma and the Gods for hurting her.

  • The Order of the Stick:
    • here. Months after the party kills a young evil black dragon, the dragon's mother hunts down and subdues one of the protagonists. But rather than killing Vaarsuvius, she expresses her intention to take it out on V's children, instead:
      Mother Dragon: After I am done speaking, I am going to teleport directly there, and then I will eat them alive. Slowly. Feet-first. I will then bind their souls to me with two necromantic scrolls that I acquired for this purpose. And I will disappear. I will leave this plane of existence, and you will never find me. I tell you all of this because it is not enough for me to simply kill you. You have taken my baby from me. I demand that you suffer the full measure of pain that I feel. As a parent, I am sure you understand.
    • And then it's used even more drastically on the mother dragon, when Vaarsuvius uses a single spell to instantly kill at least several dozens of creatures who are directly related to the dragon — though that one is less revenge and more overblown preemptive strike, as Vaarsuvius's justification is not wanting anyone like that dragon to threaten the family again.
      • Unfortunately for V, wiping out a full quarter of the black dragon population of the world has royally pissed off Tiamat, the goddess of vengeance and evil chromatic dragons.
      • It gets worse. It turns out that one member of that dragon's family bred with a human, giving birth to the Draketooth clan, the only people who know where Girard's Gate is, and how to get past the powerful illusions guarding it. Since the clan all possess the blood of that black dragon, the spell killed every single one of them, too. Moral of the story: revenge leads to bad things.
  • In Chisuji, a cop decides It's Personal and sets out to kill the super-strong man who killed his wife and sent his daughter into a coma. After giving him "the same mercy you gave her", he notices the killer's girlfriend holding the daughter's plush toy... cue Discretion Shot.
  • In Oglaf, the strip "Ulric" shows this against a devil-bear who took a man's wife.
  • In Kevin & Kell, some coyotes who don't like Bruno's "trans-diet" operation attack his best friend Rudy, as it is implied that they could not defeat Bruno himself. They later come back with a larger pack and attack Bruno himself, though.
  • In Sequential Art, Hilary's done this as well as a direct attack.
  • In Dragon Mango, Bleu Berry's father, unable to hurt her because he needs her to have grandchildren, threatens her classmates.
  • In The Adventures of Dr. McNinja, the Big Bad, King Radical, attempts to cause The End of the World as We Know It in order to save his own world. When the Doctor manages to damage his plans beyond repair, King Radical decides to utterly break and destroy the Doctor and murders an innocent child with poison gas right in front of him as part of his efforts to do so.
  • In El Goonish Shive, Pandora gets revenge for a werewolf killing her husband by eradicating werewolves from the world.
  • In Schlock Mercenary Colonel Pranger gave orders to his mercenary company that in the event of his assassination they were to kill the assassin, and their entire family, and all their friends, and publicized those orders to discourage anyone going after the bounty on his head. In the original timeline, Tagon's Toughs learned this the hard way when Pranger was killed as collateral damage in an op gone fubar and even after Captain Tagon was vaporized Pranger's Bangers hounded them until they accidentally picked a fight with a battleplate.

    Web Original 
  • Graven Hunter Files novel Death by Demon Andvari Nagelfar curses Kyrie and all of her ancestors for killing his son. Protagonist Sye receives the curse and has to convince Andvari to drop the curse so that Andvari can pass on to the afterlife.

    Web Videos 
  • In Sockb4by, Doug Jones poisons Ronnie. His explanation: "Your real father killed my real son. So I'm here to return the favor!"
  • In The Nostalgia Critic's Matrix Month, Black Willy Wonka tells him that Tamara and Malcolm got brainwashed because he trusts them, even though he treats them badly.

    Western Animation 
  • In Sky Dancers, Sky Clone cannot get revenge on his brother Skyler for taking away his ability to fly because Skyler died trying to take him out. So he decides that the only way to make things even is to destroy his brother's wife.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • Ozai may not have been responsible for the death of Iroh's son, but he was quite callous about the fact that it had happened and tried to use the tragedy to get Iroh's birthright transferred to himself. Then-Fire Lord Azulon ordered him to kill his own son as punishment for his disrespect. At least, that's the story Ozai and Azula tell.
    • Also hopefully suggested by the man who killed Katara's mother, since his mother is at best unpleasant. Katara doesn't go for it.
  • Eric Cartman's scheme in the South Park episode "Scott Tenorman Must Die". To sum it up: Scott Tenorman tricked Cartman into buying his pubic hair. In revenge, Cartman constructed an elaborate plot (after several failed attempts) that resulted in Tenorman's parents being shot to death by an irate farmer, ground into a fine chili, and fed to Scott at a public event, after which, Radiohead (Tenorman's favorite band) arrived on Cartman's request to mock him mercilessly for crying about it. It's little wonder that many South Park fans consider this Cartman's supreme act of evil.
  • After Batman: The Animated Series gave Mr. Freeze a redemptive send-off in the movie Sub-Zero, he returned in the revamped series determined to make others suffer as he had by taking away whatever they valued most since his condition has destroyed his body, leaving him nothing but a head that can connect to his suit. He feels he can't return to his wife looking like this. And figured if he can't be happy with what he valued most, then no one else should.
    • First he targeted a paleontologist who spent years reconstructing a dinosaur skeleton by shattering it. Then he destroyed a prominent artist's latest and greatest painting — and the artist is too old to make another one. Then he targets Bruce Wayne by attacking his surrogate family:
      Mr. Freeze: Perhaps the surrogate son? [points freezegun at Tim Drake] No. Better the surrogate father. [freezes Alfred]
    • Finally, he targets Batman by attacking what he values most: all of Gotham.
  • Superman: The Animated Series: Subverted in "Superman's Pal". The leader of a group of thugs gloats that he's going to kill Superman's pal in revenge for Superman sending his to prison. Turns out, he was part of a test on Tina's part to make sure that Jimmy would make an effective hostage.
  • Wheeljack does this in Transformers Armada. He ends up taking Sideswipe hostage to get back at Hot Shot for supposedly abandoning him.
  • Zombozo forms an alliance with several other villains to attempt this on Ben in Ben 10: Ultimate Alien after the hero's identity has been made public. This backfires spectacularly when he pushes it too far by trying to sadistically murder Ben's mother while his cousin Gwen is watching, causing Gwen to go One-Winged Angel and scare the crap out of him for the second time (the first time being Ben in the original series).
    • Captain Nemesis attempted to combine this with Sadistic Choice on Ben by kidnapping Julie with another girl everyone thought Ben was dating. He learned the hard way that using this method against Ben was a damn bad idea.
    • One episode revolves around an alien attempting this on human colonel Rozum as a revenge for imprisoning him inside Area 51 for years, leading to the alien's family's death.
  • In an episode of The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius, the Yolkians return to Earth claiming to be coming in peace. Unsurprisingly, Jimmy suspects they are up to no good and thinks they are plotting to take over the world. As it turns out, King Goobot just wants revenge on Jimmy for humiliating him and intends on doing it by feeding his friends and the rest of the town to Poultra.
  • In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic season 6 episode, "No Second Prances", Trixie manipulates a recently redeemed Starlight Glimmer into spending time with her and avoiding her friendship lessons just to annoy Twilight Sparkle and try to beat her at something for once. That is, until Trixie realizes she has developed friendly feelings toward Starlight and decides to turn into a genuine friend for her.
  • Yellow Diamond from Steven Universe tries to get revenge on Rose Quartz for shattering Pink Diamond by destroying Earth and having all other Rose Quartzes decommissioned and bubbled. She would have shattered them, but Blue Diamond insisted on keeping them alive. Ironically, the Rose Quartz that rebelled wasn't an actual Rose Quartz, but Pink Diamond in disguise, meaning that Yellow Diamond would have exterminated an entire gem type to avenge someone who wasn't even dead to begin with.
  • The Simpsons: In "I Love Lisa", after Lisa breaks up with Ralph Wiggum on national television, his dad Chief Wiggum gets even by getting Homer a ticket for a busted tail-light... one that Wiggum busted himself.

    Real Life 
  • Polish author and artist Bruno Schultz, who was forced to live in the ghetto at Drohobycz during World War II, was under the protection of German Gestapo officer Felix Landau, who admired his work, and was shot and killed by another officer in revenge for Landau killing the officer's "personal Jew."
  • In the Code of Hammurabi of ancient Babylonia, the punishments for certain crimes are examples of this (as well as Values Dissonance).
  • For some crimes, ancient Egyptian law heavily punished both the criminal and their family.
  • In ancient China, the Nine Exterminations provided for the execution of the criminal, and his entire family within eight generations, from second-great-grandfather (father side) to second-great-grandson, including the siblings, cousins, and offsprings of each generation.
    • Averted with women as well as young children below sixteen. Women (usually) will not be executed unless they are the criminals themselves. The wives, unwed daughters, and young children of executed criminals are usually only demoted to servants, while married women are considered part of their husbands' families, thus will not be punished for the crime of their own family.
  • Specifically prohibited in The Bible. The Avenger of Blood is only permitted to kill the convict. Killing anyone other than the convict, or killing someone for something that was not a capital crime (like manslaughter if the killer was abiding by the terms of their exile) made the Avenger of Blood a murderer, and he was to be put to death.
    • This prohibition stuck very firmly and spread to the later Abrahamic religions (i.e. Christianity and Islam) and entrenched themselves in the cultures they touched. It wasn't perfect — folks everywhere get into blood feuds and vendettas no matter what religion they are if the laws or the government don't have a strong hold on them — but the principle was accepted in law. Thus you find a derivative codified in the American Constitution, specifically Article III, Section 3's prohibition on "corruption of blood": that is, no punishment or penalty can be placed on a convicted person's family for the convict's crimes.
      • Which is small comfort in some cases, as the stigma of being related to certain kinds of criminals can actually be worse, and that only prevents the legal system from doing so. More than one criminal's family has been targeted by the families of victims, if not the victims themselves, sometimes with the tacit sanction of local authorities.
    • On the other hand, there are several instances in the Bible where an innocent relative is punished instead of the culpable, such as when God killed David's newborn son to punish him for inventing the Uriah Gambit.
  • This is (mostly) the modus operandi of many Mexican drug cartels, especially for avoiding possible future revenges against them by the successors. Likewise with The Mafia, especially in Sicily where vendetta is a tradition.
  • Christopher Dorner's manifesto threatened to stalk and murder the children of those he regarded as his persecutors. "I never had the opportunity to have a family of my own, I’m terminating yours. XXXX, XXXX, XXXX, and BOR members. Look your wives/husbands and surviving children directly in the face and tell them the truth as to why your children are dead."
  • Those Wacky Nazis did this to those who opposed them many, many times. E.g., since they could not directly attack the very popular Catholic mystic Therese Neumann despite how she openly criticized them, they went after her friends and family instead.
  • Also done by communist regimes. A parent spoke against the government? Sure, now the kids can forget about ever being admitted into a high-school. In fact, they'll be soon taken to the office of the principal who informs them he decided they should become coal miners or factory workers right after graduating elementary school.
    The older family members might lose their jobs or be moved out of their homes to cheaper, smaller flats.
  • This is the basis of North Korea's "Three Generations of Punishment" rule. Not only will your entire family be imprisoned with you, but your children and grandchildren will be as well (providing you live long enough to have any).
  • In Albania, it is a very old tradition that if someone kills a man, his relatives will kill him-or if they can't, any of his male relatives. Though illegal, it still occurs in rural areas, with the male relatives of (alleged) murderers having to go into hiding even now sometimes.


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