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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.

Motives vary on this: the avenger may think it would hurt worse, they may think it's a more equivalent crime if someone close to them was hurt, or it may even be something else.

Often, the justification is that they want the person to suffer as they have suffered as a result of the act. Sometimes it's justified by claiming that the victim profited from the original crime. Of maybe the intended victim of the revenge is protected in some way, 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...well, seeing your loved ones taken away from you, knowing that you yourself caused it, can be a Fate Worse than Death

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.

If the method of revenge isn't murder (it's usually 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.

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 a Motive Rant.

Compare Misplaced Retribution and Sins of Our Fathers. 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!. Contrast Trial Run Crime.

Example subpages:

Other examples:

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    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 
  • The plot of Super Xuxa Contra Baixo Astral is kickstarted by the titular Big Bad when he kidnaps the titular heroine's dog in revenge for leading a group of kids to paint the city murals with rainbows and happy images.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • What leads to the major downfall of the hero in the martial arts film, Fearless (2006). The hero, Huo Yuanjia, challenged another martial artist in a Duel to the Death to restore a student's honour, killing his opponent in the process and leading to his opponent's godson to seek revenge - by killing Yuanjia's mother and daughter in retaliation. And when Yuanjia confronts him, the godson kills himself instead, denying him of any revenge.
  • 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. Never mind 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.
  • 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 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 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 adult 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 named 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 kills 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.
  • Snatched (2017): While Emily and Linda are making their initial escape, Emily hits a goon with a shovel, accidentally killing him. The man turns out to be the only nephew of Morgado, who now wants to kill Linda to get revenge on Emily. Emily tries to threaten him with a harpoon gun, which goes off, hitting Morgado's only son.
  • In The Hanoi Hilton, the captors attempt to break Colonel Cathcart by torturing his men.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • Loki's plot to take control of Earth in The Avengers (2012) 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?
    • In Guardians of the Galaxy (2014), Drax wants to kill Gamora as she is an associate of Ronan. Fortunately, Peter is able to convince Drax that Gamora can help him get revenge against Ronan directly.
      Drax: He killed my family. I shall kill one of his in return.
    • In Captain America: Civil War, Tony attempts to do this with Bucky, attacking and trying to kill him in a gruesome fashion, which the directors explained was done not to avenge his parents, but rather specifically to hurt and punish Steve for siding with Bucky over himself, and also for knowing about this and not telling him. Thankfully for Bucky, Steve is able to successfully disarm Tony before he can play this trope straight.
    • Part of Killmonger's plan in Black Panther (2018) involves killing his cousin T'Challa, partially to usurp the Wakandan throne, and for revenge as T'Challa's father killed his.
  • Brick Bardo from Dollman used to have a wife and two kids, who were murdered by Sprug to hurt him.
  • The Amazing Spider-Man 2: When Spider-Man refuses to give his blood to Harry Osborn because he's worried the spider venom in it could either kill Harry or mutate him into a rampaging monster instead of curing his terminal illness, Harry injects the venom into himself anyway and undergoes a Painful Transformation into the Green Goblin. Blaming Spider-Man for making him to resort to it, Harry decides to murder Gwen Stacy after figuring out that his Childhood Friend Peter is Spider-Man, solely to spite him. He succeeds in causing Gwen's death despite Peter's best efforts to prevent it, leaving Peter emotionally scarred.
  • In Eyes of a Stranger: After learning that Jane is the person who harassed him with anonymous phone calls accusing him of being a Serial Killer, and seeing that her teenage sister Tracy lives with her, the titular antagonist waits for Jane to go out at night from her apartment alone - and then passes up following Jane to carry out his vengeance on Tracy.

  • 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 sex/death 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.
  • In the Ravenloft setting, Dr. Rudolph Van Richten was forced to Mercy Kill his own son Erasmus after the latter had been turned into a vampire by Baron Metus. In revenge, Metus murdered Van Richten's wife. This was the tragedy that motivated Van Richten into becoming the famous vampire hunter he is known as, with Metus being his first quarry.

    Visual Novels 
  • Ace Attorney:
    • In Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, Manfred von Karma attempts a convoluted version of this on Gregory Edgeworth, despite having already shot and killed him. He adopted Gregory's son Miles and raised him to embody the exact opposite of everything Gregory stood for.
    • In Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth, Franziska likes to whip Phoenix, Edgeworth and/or Gumshoe for other people's shortcomings.
    • In Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Spirit of Justice's case 2, Roger Retinz is so furious with Troupe Gramarye for kicking him out that, with the rest of the troupe either dead or missing, he takes it out on the sole heir, Trucy, who was only a child at the time of his dismissal.
    • In the DLC case, Turnabout Time-Traveller, Sorin caused a traffic accident that led to the villain's fiancee (Sorin's sister) dying. So he decides to kill Sorin's completely innocent fiancee (though he ends up framing her for murder instead after Larry screws things up) so that Sorin could feel the same thing... despite Sorin having also suffered badly from the accident.
  • In Piofiore: Fated Memories, in Nicola's route, Roberto is filled with hatred against Nicola for taking away Lili whom Roberto is strongly implied to have feelings for. After his first attempt to kill Nicola fails, Roberto then decides to target others who are close to Nicola, starting with an assassination attempt on Dante.

    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. She's also a Death Seeker with Complete Immortality and thinks that making humanity fail the Gods test will be a Curse Escape Clause for herself rather than using the only stated method the Gods gave her to end her immortality (learning and accepting the balance between life and death) because that would mean accepting her own faults to begin with.

  • 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 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 Dragon Mango, Bleu Berry's father, unable to hurt her because he needs her to have grandchildren, threatens her classmates.
  • El Goonish Shive:
  • 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 Oglaf, the strip "Ulric" shows this against a devil-bear who took a man's wife. Unfortunately, Ulric has a peculiar sense of justice, neither slaying the devil-bear nor returning the man's wife, instead kidnapping the devil-bear's wife as a replacement. The man is not amused.
  • 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 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.
  • In Sequential Art, Hilary's done this as well as a direct attack.
  • Unsounded: Will's father sent him, as a young child, to serve in a war in order to punish Will's mother for cheating on him. Everyone figures his father doesn't mean for Will to make it home, and while he does survive he leaves an arm behind.

    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 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.
  • In Sockb4by, Doug Jones poisons Ronnie. His explanation: "Your real father killed my real son. So I'm here to return the favor!"

    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."
  • 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."
  • In 2015, a chiropractic practitioner named Mary Yoder suddenly fell ill and died in upstate New York. An autopsy revealed she had overdosed on colchicine, a drug normally used to treat gout. Because Yoder did not have gout, investigators concluded that she was poisoned. While investigating her friends and family, cops learned that her son Adam had recently broken up with Kaitlyn Conley, who worked as a receptionist at the clinic. It turned out that Conley had given Yoder a drink spiked with a lethal amount of colchicine to get back at Adam for ending their relationship.
  • The Harpe Brothers, a pair of serial killers/bandits active in late 18th and early 19th century frontier America, were quite prone to this trope. In one example, they punished an informant by killing his 13 year old son, and then dumping the boy's mutilated corpse on the family's doorsteps.
  • Mike Tyson's infamous beatdown of Larry Holmes. Growing up a huge fan of Muhammad Ali, he like many was aghast at a then clearly over the hill Ali, showing signs of his Parkinson's, getting thrown to the wolves and savagely beaten during his match with Holmes. A then 14 year old Tyson told the man himself that he'd get big and give Larry a thrashing in revenge. He got his wish in 1988, utterly destroying Holmes in 4 rounds and handing him his only knockout loss of his career.