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Revenge Myopia

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Mills: I killed your son because he kidnapped my daughter!
Murad: [slaps Mills] I DON'T CARE WHAT HE DID!
Taken 2

It's relatively common that the reason that Alice wants to kill Bob is that Bob killed Charlie. Revenge seems pretty straightforward. But it gets a lot murkier when Charlie was trying to kill Bob first and Bob was just defending himself. They were in a war, it was a fight, Charlie surprised Bob at the worst time, it was an accident, the list goes on. Bob didn't really want to kill Charlie and would have avoided doing so if possible. It's likely Bob regrets it greatly. But all of that doesn't matter to Alice. Bob has to pay for what he did to Charlie.


Supertrope to Avenging the Villain, but there are also other cases that it covers where Charlie wasn't specifically killed for committing and/or trying to commit evil. For example, this also applies when:

  1. Grey-and-Gray Morality is in effect, such as (but not limited to) wars and family feuds where both sides are flawed/justified to an extent at some point.
  2. Charlie is a good guy.
  3. Charlie was Not Himself, being possessed or such.
  4. Charlie was going about his business when a fatal accident happened, even if he was an Evil Empire mook.

A Revenge by Proxy scenario can result. This may be a part of a Feuding Families or Cycle of Vengeance situation. A subtrope of Moral Myopia. Again, if the one killed was a villain, the example goes in Avenging the Villain. Rage Against the Legal System is this when the rager is a genuine criminal.


See also Revenge Before Reason.

Expect angst and drama and unmarked spoilers.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Black Clover, the Eye of the Midnight Sun are usually the ones who instigate the various battles and acts of terrorism they are involved in. When the opposing party attack in retaliation or even in self-defense, Licht treats it as though they were attacking him and his allies first and uses it to justify his Fantastic Racism against humans.
  • One episode of Kino's Journey had Kino meet a woman and the man she had hired as a guard as they were about to set out on a journey. She sat with the man for a while, and learned that he had killed her husband several years ago accidentally while robbing his store, and had been reformed and set free by their justice system, on the condition that he make it up to the woman by mutual agreement. It's made clear that his reform and desire to help the woman any way he can in penance for his crime are genuine. They part, and later Kino is riding through the woods when she hears a gunshot — it turns out the woman wasn't so big on the penance idea after all.
  • Naruto: Sasuke starts to fall into this as his sanity goes off the deep end. At first, his revenge plan is reasonable; he just wants to kill Itachi for murdering his entire family (plus mind raping him). Then Itachi dies, and he finds out that Itachi was a good guy all along, but was pressured into killing the Uchihas because they were going to revolt (and his torture of Sasuke was to make his Face–Heel Turn more believable without having to kill his beloved little brother). So Sasuke shifts his revenge to Danzo, the guy who pressured Itachi to kill his clan, ignoring that the Uchihas provoked it by threatening civil war because they felt mistrusted (Mind you, Danzo was responsible for a lot of other, and even less justified, atrocities and nobody would be all that sorry to see him go, but that's not what Sasuke was thinking about. Danzo even points out that it doesn't matter what he actually did, because Sasuke was on a revenge kick and wanted to hurt someone for the Uchiha massacre.). And once Danzo dies, he shifts his revenge to everyone in Konoha for being happy at the same time his brother was suffering.
  • In Samurai Champloo, Jin killed his master Mariya Enshirou in self-defense. Try telling that to Mariya's other students, who are hunting for Jin throughout the series to avenge him. Particularly notable is Not-So-Harmless Villain Ogura Bunta, who managed to hold his own against Jin when he finally encountered him. The shame of his defeat, however, caused Bunta to be Driven to Suicide, according to Jin's Unknown Rival Yukimaru. For his part, Yukimaru doesn't care about their master, and just wants to kill Jin to absorb the reputation of the thousand man killer.
  • Dragon Ball:
    • Both the Crane Hermit and Tien Shinhan are furious at Goku for killing Mercenary Tao, their younger brother and mentor, respectively. Goku calls them out on it, pointing out that Tao was a Psycho for Hire who was hired by the Red Ribbon Army to kill him and killed one of his friends, and he was only defending himself; neither of them cares. Though Tien later gets over himself and becomes one of Goku's allies.
    • Dr. Gero wants Goku dead because Goku destroyed the Red Ribbon Army and cost him his funding. This is ignoring the fact that the Red Ribbons were an evil group who terrorized innocent people and wanted to Take Over the World, and Gero willingly built killer robots to help them. Later material elaborates that Gero also wanted to avenge his son, who died fighting for the army, but it's still incredibly myopic considering that Gero's son still died for a leader who didn't care and a cause that would've made the world a worse place.
  • Rosario + Vampire: Kuyou's entire motive when he comes back in Season II is to get revenge on Tsukune for defeating and humiliating him. Sure, never mind the fact that Kuyou is a human-hating Knight Templar who abused his status as the head of the Student Police to make everyone at Yokai Academy miserable, and Tsukune defeated him after Kuyou threatened his friends and nearly killed him by burning him alive, purely because he was a human.
  • The Reveal of Kagari's motivations in Puella Magi Suzune Magica puts her schemes well into this territory. Kagari orchestrated the events of the series, from making Suzune Brainwashed and Crazy to kill other magical girls to erasing the her memories of herself and her little sister Matsuri, because she wants revenge for Suzune killing their mutual mentor and mother figure Tsubaki. The problem is that while Suzune killed Tsubaki, it was both unintentional and necessary: Tsubaki had been protecting Suzune and ended up using too much magic, darkening her Soul Gem and turning into a Witch, forcing Suzune to put her down. Heartbreaking yes, but a sad fact of their universe. Kagari seems to think that this makes her justified in forcing Suzune to kill other magical girls who are innocent in this feud before dropping the Awful Truth on her head, which would force Suzune into despair and turn her into a Witch herself so Kagari can kill her and "make Suzune suffer just like Tsubaki did." Of course, Kagari is both insane and a sadist, and freely admits to Suzune she made the plan much more complicated than it needed to be because it gave her a thrill, so some of the myopia was likely intentional.
  • Mazinger Z: When Baron Ashura gets killed by Koji Kabuto, his boss Dr. Hell swears revenge on the heroes. The fact that Ashura had attempted to kill them literally several dozens of times, at the behest of Hell himself, until Koji and his friends had no option but to kill him in self-defence, is easily overlooked.
  • In Rurouni Kenshin, Yukishiro Enishi wants revenge on Kenshin for killing Tomoe's fiancee and destroying her happiness, before killing her (though by accident) and taking away the only person Enishi loved. However, Tomoe never died hating Kenshin but instead tried to protect him. He doesn't realize the truth until he is given her diary right at the end.
  • Suterareta Yuusha No Eiyuutan: Despite bullying Daichi, horrifically, for years, and throwing him into a monster pit to be Eaten Alive, he swears graphic vengeance on Daichi the moment Daichi has him cornered in a dungeon. That is, until Daichi kills him over, and over, and over again, so that he learns how being helplessly bullied feels like.
  • In the anime/manga of The Heroic Legend of Arslan, Zandeh wants to kill Daryun to avenge his father, who didn't even kill him, as Kharlan died when he fell on his own broken weapon. Never mind the fact that Kharlan had betrayed and tried to kill Daryun and Arslan first, both whom he had sworn allegiance to.

    Comic Books 
  • The Russians in Judge Dredd tend to fall into this trap whenever they show up after the Apocalypse War. They're driven by vengeance towards Mega-City One for nuking their own home city - and Judge Dredd in particular, who launched the missiles. The fact that they started this war to begin with, and nuked half of Mega-City One to oblivion, never crosses their mind let alone their conscience.
  • Superman:
    • Supergirl villain Reactron wants to kill Kara because she wrecked his healing radiation-containment suit... which happened because she was stopping him from killing her when he assaulted her, completely unprovoked, the first time they fought. So in retaliation he murdered her father in New Krypton, tried to kill and rape her several times in story arcs like Who is Superwoman?, Codename: Patriot and The Hunt for Reactron-, and in War of Supermen he murdered her mother and blew up her planet and race.
    • In Action Comics #544: Luthor Unleashed, Lex Luthor has been living in planet Lexor for a while, where he's hailed as a hero and cherished by his wife and son. Even so, he goads Superman into Lexor and attempts to kill him. During the battle, Luthor's warsuit shoots a blasts which accidentally hits one of his doomsday devices. Lexor blows up, Lex's family dies, and Luthor, who is all but physically unable to take responsibility for his own actions, swears revenge on Superman.
  • Slade Wilson aka Deathstroke has a bad history with this:
    • In his first story arc, Deathstroke blamed the Titans for the death of his eldest son Grant. Except a) the only reason Grant died was because he underwent the same super soldier experiment that gave Slade his powers but which proved fatal to Grant and b) Grant died trying to kill the Titans. And despite not wanting his son to follow the same path as him, Slade chooses to blame the Titans for Grant's death rather than go after H.I.V.E., the organization that performed the fatal experiment on Grant.
    • In Infinite Crisis, Slade destroyed Blüdhaven, the city Nightwing protected by dropping the super villain Chemo, a monster made of radioactive energies, into it. When confronted by Batman, Nightwing and Robin (Tim Drake) Slade goes into a rant about how Nightwing had turned his family against him when in reality Slade had either turned his back on his family or did a good enough job of making them hate him himself. Interestingly Slade did learn a lesson after this, arranging a complex gambit to get his children Jericho and Rose to fully embrace the Titans as family because he felt he couldn't be a good father to them.
  • Master Of Kung Fu had a storyline where an underworld boss tasks his assassins and then an evil samurai with killing Shang-Chi, assuming that Fu Manchu will reward him for it. The samurai screws up by not only dying himself but also accidentally killing his employer's life partner. The villain naturally goes It's Personal on Shang-Chi – who else is there left to blame for her death, himself?

    Fan Fiction 
  • David in the Animorphs fanfic Animorphs Redux; he's determined to get revenge on the Animorphs for their previous defeats of him, which ended in him getting trapped as a rat, completely ignoring the fact that not only did they do that after he tried to kill them, but more importantly, he's now in an alternate timeline where none of the team had done ANYTHING to him before he started trying to kill them.
  • Infinity Crisis: In Of Kryptonians and Queens, Jason Blood accuses Morgana of this, as for all her claims of originally wanting freedom for her fellow magic-users, everything she does now is motivated by a desire for revenge against Merlin.
  • Possibly the best description of the villain's agenda in Harry Potter and the Mystic Force; Ivan Ooze took years to pull himself back together after the Rangers hurled him into the path of a comet, and by the time he was intact again he couldn’t be bothered hunting down and killing the Ranger team who nearly destroyed him as that team had all gone their separate ways by then. Instead, Ooze set up an elaborate plan to gain power for himself by going after the wizarding world, who never knew he even existed until then.
  • Summer Days and Evening Flames:
    • Red Hooves wants revenge on Gilda for arresting his sister, who was in the middle of robbing a merchant blind.
    • After Sherry's Face–Heel Turn and Iron puts out a country-wide arrest order, she pulls her connections to get Iron fired for daring to try bringing her to justice for all of her fellow Guardsman she got killed.
  • Hellsister Trilogy: Nemesis wants to kill Supergirl to avenge the death of his mother Satan Girl, whom Supergirl killed in self-defense because her evil duplicate was attempting to kill her again.
  • In Hero Chat, this is Chloe's fourth category of reasons for Akumatization: You Brought This On Your Own Damn Self, where a person did something bad and got Akumatized over the reasonable consequences (i.e. Lila turning into Volpina because Ladybug called her out for lying).
  • In My Mirror, Sword and Shield, Cornelia and Schneizel acknowledge that they would be no better than Lelouch if they sought out their revenge. They decide to do so anyway.
  • In Kara of Rokyn, Lex Luthor wants to kill Superman, among other reasons, to avenge the deaths of his wife and son. Never mind the fact that Superman is in no way responsible for it since their deaths were due to a planetary hecatomb caused by Luthor himself.
  • In Last Mage of Krypton, Umbridge is out to take revenge on Harry because he showed her up and prevented her from stealing his company off from him.
  • In Superman of 2499: The Great Confrontation, the last descendant of the Joker wants to take revenge on Batman for the death of his son, who also took up the mantle of the Joker. The fact that his son was a criminal whose death was caused by his own stupidity and not for anything Batman did is lost on the Joker.
  • The Rigel Black Chronicles: Lee Jordan has a grudge against Harry for getting him expelled from school. Why was he expelled? Because he tried to brutally maim her and erase her memory of it. And why would he do that? To get revenge for her family pushing his out of the joke-inventing business — except that the real reason for that happening was because his father, finding himself falling behind, turned to inventing Deadly Prank items that caused legal trouble and had to be recalled.

    Films — Animated 
  • The dilemma of Toy Story is set up by escalating (thanks to misunderstandings) cases of this; Woody gets jealous of Buzz's inadvertently becoming the favorite toy of their owner Andy, so tries to knock him under the bed to regain attention, he instead knocks him out the window by mistake. Buzz, thinking he did it on purpose, attacks Woody during a car trip, accidentally leaving them stranded, leaving Woody once again livid with Buzz. This is lampshaded in their Blame Game argument following this:
    Woody: I'm lost, Andy is gone, they're gonna move from their house in two days, and it's all your fault!
    Buzz: My fault?! If you hadn't pushed me out of the window in the first place...
    Woody: [scoffs angrily] Well if you hadn't shown up in your stupid little cardboard spaceship and taken away everything that was important to me...

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Kill Bill: Looked at objectively, none of them can be considered good guys considering their careers; but The Bride's former crew killed her innocent new family, which is reason enough for her to kill them all back. She is in the right for wanting to kill them, she just doesn't see that she is not much better than them.
    Bud: That woman deserves her revenge, and we all deserve to die. But then again, so does she.
  • The Spy Who Loved Me: In the opening scene, James Bond kills Anya's lover, who is trying to kill him at the time. When she finds out about it she vows to kill James. She never goes through with it, giving it up after they manage to foil the villain.
  • Star Trek:
    • Khan in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. Lampshaded even. After Khan explains his beef with Kirk, Chekov says, "Captain Kirk was your host. You repaid his hospitality by trying to steal his ship and murder him!" Khan ignores the fact that Kirk, in simply exiling Khan to his own planet, was more charitable than he had to be given Khan's actions both on the Enterprise and as a fugitive from international justice 300 years ago. Kirk could have easily taken Khan and his people back to Earth and put them in the hands of Federation justice, which might end in a number of ways unfavorable to Khan, his crew, and his girlfriend. Plus, Kirk left them on a very nice planet, and it's hardly his fault it underwent a drastic climate change and Khan's wife died.
    • John Harrison and Kirk in Star Trek Into Darkness. Harrison seeks revenge on Admiral Marcus, and ends up killing Christopher Pike in his attack on the admiral. Pike's death then drives Kirk to swear revenge on Harrison. Both of them thus end up largely playing into the hands of Admiral Marcus and his plans to instigate war, blinded by their personal desires for revenge. Even across timelines, Khan never changes...
  • Taken 2 is driven by Murad wanting to avenge his son Marko, killed in the original by Retired Badass Bryan for kidnapping his daughter in Paris. Murad doesn't care if Marko worked in a crime ring, and destroyed many young women's lives by forcing them into sex slavery (a fate Bryan's daughter escaped just in time). He just wants to ease his pain by killing the man responsible for Marko's death (and his loved ones), and to add salt to the wound, intended to do so by finishing his son's original intentions.
  • In Two Champions Of Shaolin, one of the villains' daughter tries to eliminate the hero Tong Qian-jin on his wedding day, only succeeding in killing Tong's fiancée. Her vendetta is because she intends to avenge her slain father, never mind her father was a ruthless assassin who tried to kill Tong several times, and was killed in a fair fight.
  • The entire plot of Oldboy (2003) in a nutshell. Oh Dae-su wants revenge against the man who abducted and imprisoned him for 15 years. Lee Woo-jin in return wants revenge against Oh Dae-su for indirectly driving his sister to suicide.
  • Triad boss Terence Wei from The Replacement Killers wants the young son of police detective Stan Zedkov dead for Zedkov's own killing of Wei's son. Aside from the messed up sense of vengeance that characterizes this Revenge by Proxy scheme, Peter Wei, the son in question, was a murderous twenty-something Triad lieutenant in the drug trade, and Zedkov had tried to take him alive, even telling him not to go through with trying to kill him and the other cops.
  • In Jason Bourne, The Asset wants to kill Jason because exposing Blackbriar towards the end of The Bourne Ultimatum got him outed and captured. Except that Bourne never would have found out about Blackbriar if the Asset hadn't murdered his father, thereby driving him into Treadstone, Blackbriar's precursor organization.
  • Colonel Packard of Kong: Skull Island becomes obsessed with killing Kong in revenge for the deaths of his soldiers, ignoring that they (albeit unknowingly) started it by bombing the island, and later the revelation that Kong is vital to stopping an even worse threat to humans from coming to the surface.
  • Ghostface's motive in Scream 2. She's revealed to be the mother of Billy Loomis, the first Ghostface, and wants revenge on Sidney for killing him. Never mind the fact that Sidney killed Billy in self-defense after Billy murdered Sidney's mother, framed an innocent man for it, and went on a killing spree murdering five people, three of them by disembowelment. Not to mention her own abandonment of Billy played a lot into his psychosis in the first place. But she's sick of people using that old Blame Game on her. She even attempts to get Cotton Weary in on this, noting Sidney falsely accused him for the crimes her son committed and intentionally framed him for.
  • Black Manta in Aquaman wants to kill Aquaman because Aquaman killed his father. Well, "didn't save" his father. See, Black Manta and his father were pirates who were hijacking a submarine (which involved killing crewmembers), and Aquaman intervened. Aquaman was ready to walk away, when Black Manta's father attacked him, leaving him (the father) pinned and dying as the sub filled with water. Black Manta begged Aquaman for mercy, and Aquaman refused (not unreasonable, considering the father had literally just proven he'd take advantage of mercy). Black Manta not only has all the facts, but he witnessed the entire thing.
  • In the Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • The Maximoff Twins in Avengers: Age of Ultron want revenge on Tony Stark because a Stark missile killed their parents...except that while Tony’s company did make the missile, it wasn’t him who aimed or fired it. Hell, it likely wasn’t even him that sold it, given this happened during the time Obadiah Stane was selling under the table.
    • Quentin Beck in Spider-Man: Far From Home also wants revenge on Tony for stealing his technology, renaming it BARF and firing him... except that if Beck was working for Stark Industries when he created BARF, the tech belongs to Stark Industries, not him, and while the name Tony gives it isn’t great, it does just stand for what the tech does (Binary Augmented Retro-Framing). As for being fired, well, the film demonstrates that he is very unstable and Tony was right to fire him.
  • The Karate Kid Part II: Chozen Toguchi insists that forcing Daniel into a fight to the death by threatening Kumiko will restore his honor in the eyes of the village. His blinkered mindset keeps him from noticing how everyone watching this unfold is clearly horrified by his own behavior.
  • The Loved Ones: Lola informs Brent that, because he killed her father, she will now take revenge by going to Brent’s house and killing his mother and his girlfriend. And the fact that, in order to kill her father, Brent had to break free of his restraints before the man poured a kettleful of boiling water into the hole they had just drilled through Brent’s skull? Lola seems to feel this is no excuse.
  • In Tales of Terror, Morella returns from the grave to take vengeance upon her daughter and husband. Problem is, Morella died from overexertion at a party which she pressured Locke into throwing for her, despite his concerns for her health after the birth of Lenore: an event that'd happened months earlier, so hardly merited Death by Childbirth status. Not that she'd have been justified blaming Lenore for her death, if she had expired from giving birth.

  • Older Than Dirt. In Enûma Eliš, Tiamat does her best to avenge Apsu's death at the hands of the Annunaki, completely ignoring the two small facts that Apsu was actively planning to kill them and that she herself ratted him out to them, allowing a preventive strike.
  • The Book of Mormon recounts how Ammoron wants revenge against the Nephites for murdering his brother. Said brother was leading an unprovoked invasion of the Nephites at the time, conquering cities and slaughtering the inhabitants, on a mission to drink the blood of their chief captain, and was killed in the field. (And why did he want to drink Moroni's blood? Because Moroni's innovative city defences foiled the previous unprovoked invasion.)
  • In David Eddings' The Redemption of Althalus, when working as a mercenary, Eliar kills the ruler of the city state the mercenaries were attacking. He ends up being captured and Andine, the daughter of said ruler, enacts personal revenge. He gets rescued eventually. And she eventually gets over it. They end up married.
  • In A Song of Ice and Fire Lord Karstark wants revenge against Jaime Lannister for killing two of his sons. He does this by killing two of Jaime's relatives who were held captive, killing several men on his own side to get to them. It's pointed out that killing defenseless prisoners and your own allies is not the same as killing an enemy in battle, but the distinction seems lost on him since he's basically half-mad with anger and grief by that point. This also extends to his soldiers: Robb executing Karstark for murder causes them to abandon House Stark, their rightful liege lord, despite their lord having broken the law and been punished accordingly.
    • There are other instances where someone (Balon Greyjoy and the Sand Snakes) acknowledges that the people they spent years plotting revenge against are all dead, yet they still want revenge against their House. It gets rather ridiculous with Balon, who blames Ned for the death of his eldest son due to Ned fighting on the opposite side to Balon, one of them dying in a battle Ned wasn't even present at. Although he was also holding his last son hostage.
    • The Martells are seeking vengeance against Ser Amory Lorch, Ser Gregor Clegane and his liege lord Tywin Lannister for murdering Princess Elia Martell and her children during the overthrow of the regime that she married into. (True, it was a war and the children were in line to the throne, but it was a particularly brutal and unnecessary murder.) Tywin tries to get around it by blaming all the murders on Lorch after their death. Oberyn Martell is granted the chance to fight the Mountain in a duel... and when he loses fair and square, his children, the Sand Snakes, start clamoring for revenge against the Lannisters for HIS death, even though Gregor admitted his crimes and died rather agonizingly of his wounds anyway, and Lord Tywin is dead from unrelated causes (namely, Tyrion finally getting fed up with his father and killing him).
    • Cersei Lannister is also guilty of this after A Storm of Swords, where she loses both her eldest and most beloved son and her father. She is constantly sending people out to hunt Tyrion down, despite the fact that her youngest son was a psychopath who wasn't even killed by Tyrion (instead being poisoned by Olenna Tyrell, who refused to let her granddaughter Margaery marry such a monster) and that her father really had it coming; not only was he about to execute Tyrion under false pretenses because he was The Unfavorite for being a dwarf (and because Tywin's wife died giving birth to him), but Tyrion had just found out that Tywin falsely led him to think that his commoner wife was a whore. It was really just a matter of time before somebody Twyin and/or Joffery wronged succeeded in killing them, but Cersei doesn't see it that way.
  • In Diane Duane's novel Spock's World, the Big Bad is seeking revenge on Spock for the death of a mate. What the Big Bad fails to take into account is that said mate took a suicidal risk to get closer to the Big Bad because the mate thought that said character's brooding over the last encounter with Spock was romantic.
  • In the Honor Harrington series, Solarian Fleet Admiral Rajampet Rajani states, in no uncertain terms, that he does not care how justified the Manticorans believed they were in killing Admiral Josef Byng, and goes on to say he doesn't care how justified they actually were. His biggest concern is the blow to the Solarian League Navy's prestige their actions have caused and the precedents it could set. This attitude is not helped by the fact that the Manticorans keep Curb Stomping his navy.
    • In Shadow of Victory/Uncompromising Honor, when Manticore comes knocking on Mesa's door, Albrecht Detweiler, leader of the Mesan Alignment, kills himself and his wife with a nuke, triggering more nuclear weapons across Mesa, preventing the Manticorans from finding further proof about the Alignment and framing them for the attack. What do their children do? Organize the destruction of Beowulf's three main space habitats, totaling 43 million people - all because their father killed himself and their mother.
  • The Dresden Files:
    • Grave Peril reveals that Bianca's motivation for revenge against Harry (and the entire White Council) is because he caused one of her prostitute employees' deaths back in Storm Front. The sequence of events went like this: Bianca attacked Harry when he came to question her about the case he was on (which she legitimately had nothing to do with), and he defended himself and left. Afterwards, she fed on the prostitute, but was so shaken up that she accidentally killed the girl. Not only does she not acknowledge her role in the debacle, she didn't even know the woman's name (Harry does- her name was Rachel). She may have been manipulated by Nemesis into provoking the White Council to weaken the general supernatural world.
    • In Cold Days, Titania refuses to tell Harry information that would keep Demonreach from exploding- taking out half the Midwest with it- because he killed her daughter. (Her daughter was attempting to commit genocide on the Summer Fae, which would have had apocalyptic consequences on Earth's climate and life as a whole, in addition to letting the Outsiders unmake reality itself.) Titania admits Harry was fully justified in his actions, and for that reason she allows him to live...but she still can't work with him. Even to prevent mass murder on a continental scale. It's Justified in that Titania is a Summer Fae; emotional responses are in her nature, including pursuing a grudge that she knows full well has no logical basis. The level of restraint she managed to show when she appeared was amazing by Summer Court standards, and the result of years worth of therapy sessions with Eldest Gruff.
  • The Han Solo Adventures: In Han Solo and the Lost Legacy, J'uouch goes berserk when her brother dies while trying to kill Han and tries to kill him for revenge. Then she gets attacked by Hasti Forge, whose sister J'uoch killed in cold blood. The fight ends in a Disney Villain Death for J'uoch.
    J'uoch: He killed my brother! I'll kill Solo if I have to blow these mountains apart.
  • In the fifth and sixth Harry Potter books, Malfoy makes it clear he wants revenge on Harry for putting his father in prison, even though his father was arrested for helping his genocidal Evil Overlord master try to attack and/or kill quite a few people, Harry included.
  • In the Maximum Ride series, the reason Ari targets Max specifically during so many of their fights is because he blames her for stealing his father's love (which is not entirely as petty as it sounds - Ari's father leaving to secretly raise Max and her siblings left Ari unprotected to be experimented on by the Whitecoats). Max tries to point out several times that she was a child at the time and had no idea what was going on beyond being rescued from a scary, painful place, but Ari refuses to listen. When faced with the reality that he's going to die soon, in the third book, he finally does admit to Max that he knows she had no more control over the situation than he did. Considering that Ari's mentally and emotionally a child, his reaction is justified.
  • Malazan Book of the Fallen: At some point, Clip gets the idea into his head of taking revenge upon Anomander Rake aka the Black-Winged Lord aka the god the Tiste Andii of Bluerose worship for allegedly allowing them to degenerate and eventually be slaughtered by the Letherii. As far as Clip is concerned, Anomander Rake deserves to die. Never mind that neither had he anything to do with the fate of the Andii of the Andara, they did not even ask him if it's okay to worship him as a god and expect anything in return. It's questionable whether he even knew of their existence.
  • In Imager's Challenge, the D'Ryel family tries to destroy Rhen's family and Rhen himself because he had partially blinded Lord D'Ryel's son in the previous book. This blinding was done in self-defense in a fight that the noble started over something Rhen didn't do, and may not have even happened at all.
  • Killer Species: Series villain Dr. Catalyst feels he's perfectly justified in killing anyone who gets in the way of his plans, which involve creating new predatory hybrid species, designed specifically to kill off all members of an invasive species that are wreaking havoc on the environment. He doesn't care that his creations also attacked the humans, who killed them in self-defense; they destroyed his creations and must pay.
  • In the The Three Musketeers sequel 20 Years After, Mordaunt, the son of the previous book's Big Bad, Milady de Winter, seeks revenge on the Musketeers for the Vigilante Execution they performed on her. When he goes to confront his uncle, Lord de Winter, who also played a role in the execution, de Winter explains to his nephew about how awful Milady was and all the terrible things she did. Mordaunt responds by saying quite clearly that he doesn't care. De Winter and the Musketeers killed his mother, and so he's going to kill them in revenge.
  • In the novel Live Bait by PJ Tracy, all but one of the murders the police are investigating turn out to be the work of a young man who had witnessed his father's murder, and has been hunting down the responsible parties in what he considers "righteous kills". Problem was, his dad was a Nazi war criminal who had escaped justice, and the killers were a vigilante hit-squad made up of Holocaust survivors (the remaining murder was actually another of their victims), making his dad's death a "righteous kill" by his logic. To be fair, he didn't actually know that at the time, but isn't dissuaded when he eventually finds out.
  • In Memoirs of a Geisha, Pumpkin enacts her revenge on Sayuri by trying to sabotage her budding relationship with the Chairman. This is payback for Pumpkin not being adopted by Mrs Nitta back when they were in the okiya and losing everything as a result. Except that Pumpkin never had a chance of being adopted, because Mrs Nitta was savvy that Pumpkin would only be Hatsumomo's puppet - and she chose to adopt Sayuri mainly because she didn't want to have to put up with Hatsumomo (and fears that Hatsumomo would use her influence to have them ungratefully thrown out on the street). Sayuri actually begged Mrs Nitta to adopt both of them in an attempt to save Pumpkin, but that doesn't happen again because of Hatsumomo. And when World War II hit, it was Mrs Nitta who kicked Pumpkin out of the okiya because they couldn't afford to keep her.
  • Carrie has the famous sequence where the eponymous Carrie uses her powers to take revenge on her classmates, and subsequently destroying her entire town. This is revenge for the bullying she has been suffering her entire life, which admittedly many of her classmates did take part in. But the incident that triggers this is the prank that Chris and Billy pulled; no one else at the prom knew about it and, while they laugh at first, it's out of shock rather than maliciousness. Some of the people who get killed in the conflict were actually nice to her, ironically enough. The adaptations play around with this; the 2002 movie has Carrie go into a complete trance when the revenge happens, and she doesn't even remember anything when she comes out of it. The 2013 one has her spare people who were nice to her (such as Miss Desjardin) and actively target her tormentors (in this version, far more people are implied to have been in on the prank).
  • Cradle Series: Common, due to constant use of Asskicking Equals Authority and Moral Myopia. When Lindon was faced with Kral, an opponent far above him, he bowed politely, reminded Kral that the two of them had no real quarrel, and promised to leave. Kral seemingly accepted this, then dropped a poison cloud on Lindon's head when his back was turned. Lindon managed to kill him. Jai Long called this a dirty trick and murder, and Lindon is only saved by Eithan revealing that he is by far the most powerful person in the room. When Jai Long relates this story to Kral's father and Jai Long's sister, he still speaks of it as murder, and in their later duel he repeatedly calls Lindon a coward for using tricks against a stronger opponent instead of just dying.
  • Dungeon Crawler Carl: Frank and Maggie are player-killers who typically spin up a sob story to explain themselves, then kill people when their backs are turned. Carl and Donut manage to escape them, though Carl leaves behind a trap he hopes they might trigger. Later, he meets them again, and finds out that their daughter was injured by the trap, and Maggie had to Mercy Kill her because she was wearing a magic ring that prevented healing. Both of them want to kill Carl for this, even though he was reasonably defending himself and didn't know anyone else was with them. Frank is at least self-aware to know he's a hypocrite, he just wants revenge anyway, but Maggie really does think that everything is Carl's fault, and ruins several other lives trying to get to him.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Angel:
    • Angel falls into it in Season 3, when Wesley kidnaps Connor; it turns out he was tricked by a fake prophecy claiming that Angel would kill his son. Angel acknowledges this, accepts it, and tells Wesley as such... but considering that Wesley's actions led to Connor being taken to a Hell dimension, he still refuses to forgive him for it and tries to kill him with a Vorpal Pillow.
    • And on the flip side, Wesley assumes this position in Season 4, claiming "I had my throat cut and all my friends abandoned me". The reason his friends abandoned him is because when he was reading a prophecy of how Angel might end up killing Connor, he kept it from them and didn't discuss it with any of them - mainly because he was jealous of Fred and Gunn's relationship (having had a thing for Fred that she was oblivious to). Rather than getting help from his friends, Wesley made the poor decision to consult with Holtz their enemy...who was the one that ended up kidnapping Connor to the above-mentioned Hell Dimension. In fact, when Lorne discovered Wesley's plan to steal the baby, Wesley merely knocked him unconscious rather than explain things.
  • Breaking Bad: The cousins travel up from Mexico in order to kill Walt in revenge for Tuco getting killed. Except it was Walt's brother in law Hank who shot Tuco, and they know this, but the cartel has a very strict rule that US law enforcement agents are not to be touched. Still, they have to kill someone.
  • Farscape: In the very first episode, Crichton accidentally crashes into a ship piloted by Bialar Crais' brother, killing him instantly. Crais becomes insanely obsessed with ferreting out Crichton and killing him, an obsession that lasts most of the first season, to the point where eventually Crais loses his job because his priorities are entirely focused on revenge — despite the fact that Crichton continually tries to convince him that it was an accident.
    • In an episode where an Evil Sorcerer brings both of them (or, at least, their minds) into his "temple", he does his best to fuel Crais's desire for revenge. Crichton once actually manages to almost convince Crais that it wasn't Crichton's fault by pointing at simple facts: Crichton's Farscape One pod is nowhere near as advanced as a Peacekeeper Prowler (no weapons, minimal defenses, pitiful maneuverability), so there's no way his brother's death could have been intentional. Unfortunately, Malgus chooses this moment to show an image of his brother burning to death, knowing how Crais will react. After Crais becomes a temporary ally, he admits that his own career was waning, and he was projecting this frustration onto his brother's "killer".
  • Game of Thrones: In a massive change from the books, Brienne of Tarth murders Stannis Baratheon as he is responsible for the death of his younger brother Renly Baratheon. However Renly was trying to usurp the throne which Stannis had more right to, and intended to kill his brother despite Stannis offering to make them his heir. Brienne even has the audacity to call Renly "the rightful King" before she murders Stannis. Unsurprisingly this change has proved very controversial, making Brienne The Scrappy for many viewers.
  • Once Upon a Time:
    • Regina's vendetta against Snow White was because the girl was partly responsible for getting her fiance killed. Except it was Regina's mother Cora who did the actual killing. Snow did reveal the secret she'd promised to keep, but it was mainly because of Cora worming it out of her. Season 2 however started showing more backstory to reveal that Rumpelstiltskin slowly corrupted her over several years (with Regina trying to move past the incident at first), exploiting this for his master plan.
    • This seems to run in the family; when Regina's half-sister Zelena shows up, she wants revenge on Regina for getting everything instead of her. Regina had literally no clue Zelena even existed or that she had a sister. It was their mother Cora who decided to abandon her firstborn so as to not inconvenience her social climbing. But since Cora was first trapped in another dimension and later Killed Off for Real by the time Zelena came to power, Regina was an easier target to focus on.
    • This defined the relationship between Captain Hook and Rumplestilskin. Hook had fallen in love with Rumple's wife, Milah. Rather than leave a Dear John letter, Milah and Hook faked her kidnapping and let the then-human Rumplestilskin and his son believe she had been murdered by pirates. When the current Dark One Rumplestilskin found out about the deception, however, he murdered Milah and cut off Hook's hand. Swearing revenge, Hook vowed to find a way to kill him. However, since Rumplestilskin is near-unstoppable while the Dark One, most of Hook's attempts have involved hurting Rumplestilskin's true love, Belle, who has never done anything to Hook.
  • Revenge: Victoria Grayson wants retribution against Emily for what happened to her family, actual or perceived. Thing is, after what Emily went through, and how much of it for which she was responsible, she had it coming, especially given that her season 3 finale fate of being committed to an asylum was exactly what she did years ago to young Emily.
  • Revolution:
    • "Pilot" starts with a group of militiamen trying to take Ben Matheson into custody peacefully, and he's even willing enough to go; all he asks is a few moments to make arrangements for someone to care for his children, which the militia leader grants him. Unfortunately, his son Danny overreacts and rouses half the settlement to resisting (and dying). The militia may be bad guys, but this particular scene was a pretty clear cut case of self-defense. The heroes don't see it that way.
    • "No Quarter" has one militia soldier guilty of it as well, in a far more blatant and infuriating fashion. Danny Matheson kills one of the militiamen (Templeton) and the friend of this militiaman (Private Richards) gives this speech about how "that soldier had a name and a family", clearly trying to up the guilt for Danny's "senseless slaughter". When Danny coldly points out that said soldier killed Danny's father first, just seconds earlier, as the first shot fired in the battle, the soldier's friend simply chuckles and says, "Well, let's be honest, that was no big loss."
  • Soap: Danny wants to kill Burt, his stepfather, because he killed his father. Burt also feels horrendously guilty over this fact, but it turns out that Burt only killed him in self-defense. Danny eventually agrees with him.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation: In "The Battle", the Ferengi DaiMon Bok wants to avenge his son, whose ship had been destroyed by Captain Picard during the Battle of Maxia, even though Picard destroyed the ship entirely out of defense.
  • The Walking Dead has The Governor get a vendetta attitude about Michonne because she finished off his zombie daughter, even though he had previously sent men out to kill her simply for not buying into his false utopia (without which it is unlikely she would have returned), and even after acknowledging his daughter was already dead.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The dwarves of Warhammer Fantasy keep an enormous Book of Grudges, in which every slight and insult made to a dwarf is inscribed (even those who were not done on purpose or are absurdly inconsequential, such as a kingdom missing twelve pieces of gold out of three wagons full that were promised as payment for a job). These are avenged in blood, which naturally causes more dwarves to be killed, and their names are added to the Book, despite the enormous toll this takes on the population. And this is divinely mandated, too- when two quarreling factions in an outpost realized that no one had any idea how their feud started, they decided to make peace and fight the massive Orc horde outside- only to be smote by the gods for failing to redress their grudges, leaving the Orks to take the outpost.

    Video Games 
  • In Stranglehold, a sequel to Hard Boiled, James Wong wants revenge on Tequila Yuen for killing his son Johnny, the Big Bad of Hard Boiled. Never mind the fact that Johnny was a psychopathic gangster who was quite willing to murder innocent people just for being in his way. The fact that he orchestrates the death of his surviving child, who is Tequila's wife, just to spite Tequila only makes it worse.
  • In Injustice: Gods Among Us, Harley Quinn's main motivation is to get revenge on Superman for his killing of the Joker. What Harley appears to have conveniently forgotten is that the Joker got himself killed on purpose by tricking Superman into killing his wife Lois Lane and their unborn child, thus activating a detonator the Joker rigged to her heart that activated when she died and detonated a nuke that destroyed the city of Metropolis, then going out of his way to torment Superman over this, which he did purely because he was tired of always losing to Batman and wanted to get an easy win over Superman. Or that she herself was complicit in the Joker's actions. So Superman's actions were entirely justified, while Harley clearly has a bad case of Never My Fault about the whole thing. Which is very typical for Harley's character in general, as far as she and her Puddin' are concerned. By the sequel she's grown out of this and opposes Superman purely for moral reasons while admitting that she has far too much blood on her own hands to expect forgiveness.
  • In Max Payne 3, Anthony DeMarco Sr. wants Max and Raul dead for shooting his son Anthony Jr. He ignores the fact that his son had already threatened Max with a gun simply for not being intimidated by his tough-guy act.
  • Far Cry 5: Judging by Joseph Seed's reaction to his final lieutenant's death, you would think they were innocent godly folk cut down by a savage, inhuman murderer, and not psychotic cultists killed in self-defense by the Deputy. After calming down somewhat, Joseph vows to take revenge by stealing away everything and everyone the Deputy ever loved.
  • In Resident Evil Village, Lady Dimitrescu is all about this. She constantly rants about how you murdered her daughters, and insulted her hospitality after she "invited you into her home", and disrespected her and her family, and this is after she kidnapped your daughter, one of her henchmen abducted you so he and her daughters could torture and kill you, and her own constant attempts at killing you.

    Visual Novels 
  • This crops up a few times in the Ace Attorney franchise:
    • Manfred Von Karma blames Gregory Edgeworth for ruining his perfect trial record so much that he raised his son, Miles, to be a cold, ruthless prosecutor. And, for good measure, it turns out he murdered Gregory and framed Miles for that murder and another. The thing is, the only reason Gregory was able to put a mark on Von Karma's record was because Von Karma brutally interrogated a suspect until the suspect broke down and gave a false confession.
    • Dahlia Hawthorne considers Mia Fey her mortal enemy for catching her over several murders she committed. In revenge, she works with her mother on an overly-elaborate plan that involves her being channeled after her execution so that she can murder Mia's sister... after Mia herself was already dead. Eesh...

    Web Animation 
  • In Mystery Skulls Animated Lewis has come back as a ghost hellbent on getting revenge on Arthur for his murder. Unfortunately he is either unaware or doesn't care that Arthur was possessed at the time and was visibly horrified at Lewis's murder at his own hand. Further complicating matters Arthur seems to have forgotten Lewis's death and is now desperately seeking his missing friend on a visible lack of sleep that may be causing hallucinations meaning he's not likely to recognize Lewis's flaming skeletal ghost and wouldn't be able to even try and explain what really happened if he did.
  • In RWBY, Hazel Rainart sided with Salem because he blames Ozpin for his little sister's death. Ozpin did not kill his little sister, commit Murder by Inaction, kill her in an Uriah Gambit, or anything like that. Ozpin just accepted her application to Beacon (which was presumably at the age that every other student gets there), and she was killed by a Grimm on a training mission. So he's allied with Salem (who commands the Grimm) to take down Beacon, and thus making sure that even more teenagers suffer his sister's fate. He hasn't quite yet grasped the hypocrisy of his actions.


    Web Original 
  • In The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, Lydia frequently insulted Lizzie, making comments about how she would need to change if she wanted a boyfriend. But when Lizzie bluntly told her that she would need to change her ways to have a successful career (something Lydia wasn't interested in), Lydia was offended and remained furious for a long time, viciously criticizing Lizzie and guilt-tripping her about Lizzie's fear of abandonment and lack of people skills.
  • This is implied to be the case the two families that make up SCP-2039. Mabel Pike essentially made a Deal with the Devil that left her family and the Wagner family in an eternal feud, because Blaine Wagner, the family's patriarch, murdered Mabel's girlfriend when they were younger. The exact circumstances are never given though, the feud itself only began because of the supernatural aid of a mysterious entity, and the Foundation report indicates that Blaine suffers from night terrors while frequently murmuring the name of Mabel's girlfriend.

    Western Animation 
  • In American Dad! episode "Escape from Pearl Bailey": Steve get's revenge on a group of popular girls after he finds they smeared his girlfriend in a class political campaign. He later finds out that it was actually his friends who did the smear, and tries to explain this to the now angry popular kids, which doesn't matter as Steve had disfigured one girl and given the other an STD all for a few insults. The kids proceed to beat up both Steve and his friends.
  • In the X-Men: Evolution episode "Blind Alley", Mystique pretends to be Scott's brother Alex, supposedly stuck in Mexico after losing his passport, in order to lure Scott out on his own, knocking him out and leaving him stuck in the middle of the Mexican desert without his glasses to stop his eyes, saying "That's payback!" after Scott let her get captured inside a military base in "Day of Recovery". However Scott did that because she had abducted Professor X and impersonated him throughout the two-part episode "Day of Reckoning", and refused to divulge the location of the real Professor X. Note that when he managed to find his way to the city, she intended to knock him out and do it again, somewhere even more remote.
  • Dan Vs. has a surprisingly low amount of this, as while most of Dan's revenge schemes are pretty petty reasons and minuscule problems that wasn't an issue at first sight, it turns out that he's coincidentally right about many of the targets deserving it. An exception, however, is "Neighbors", in which Dan learns that new neighbors (who are much nicer and Dan never liked to begin with) are now moving next door to him. It takes a pie they baked him to fall on his car to finally take revenge on them, ignoring the fact that Dan was the one who dropped the pie on his own car in the first place.
    • Interestingly inverted in "Telemarketers", where Dan's imposter stalks and tortures Dan via telemarketing as revenge for getting him locked up in "Dan", which was for trying to steal Dan's identity and life in the latter episode.
  • The Dexter's Laboratory segment Mandarker cements Mandark's motive for outshining Dexter, as revenge for destroying his lab (through Dee Dee). But while it does a good job creating sympathy for Mandark, what it fails to mention is that Dexter did that in retaliation for Mandark forcing him to shut down his lab. He curiously doesn't blame Dee Dee (who he has a crush on) even accusing Dexter of tricking her into doing it. A later episode reveals that Mandark's real motive is payback for Dexter making fun of his original name - "Susan".
  • Frizz and Nug were at the constant receiving end of this in The Dreamstone. The heroes thrived on punishing them for trying to steal the title stone and ruin dreams (often far more severely than the crime itself). They never take notice to the fact they are The Drag-Along in every instance, either due to being Press-Ganged by Sgt Blob and Urpgor or because Zordrak threatens to execute them if they don't. It's implied the heroes went through a great few Urpneys in this manner, before Zordrak simply got bored of offing minions. Later episodes try to make the heroes more pragmatic, as well as give them a much better provocation so their vendetta seems more proportionate, though the fact nearly all Urpneys are unwilling slaves is still never remotely brought up between them.
  • In My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, Starlight Glimmer wants revenge on Twilight Sparkle and her friends for taking Starlight's village away from her. She's completely ignorant of that her village was a horrible place to live, that the villagers there were under duress and threatened with imprisonment and borderline torture for any dissent, or that the entire reason Twilight ruined it was in order to free herself and her friends after being kidnapped, imprisoned, and borderline tortured into joining her cult.
  • In Avengers, Assemble!, the Winter Soldier claims to be out to avenge himself on Red Skull, but is willing to murder plenty of innocents in the process if he has to.
  • In Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Boba Fett wants revenge on Mace Windu for killing his father despite his father being a hostile combatant in a live battlefield. Mace's genuinely unsympathetic demeanor towards the boy doesn't help matters.
  • The Shredder from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012) lives by three words: Revenge Before Reason. He possesses a seething, unfathomable hatred for Splinter and all of his reasons for it run on Insane Troll Logic bordering on I Reject Your Reality.
    • While he has a hatred for the Hamato Clan as a whole for being the enemies of his birth clan the Foot, his hatred for his former-brother Hamato Yoshi began when their mutual crush Tang Shen chose Yoshi over him, cementing into Feeling Oppressed by Their Existence when Tang Shen stepped in to take a killing blow meant for Yoshi, the Shredder blaming him for her death.
    • After raising their daughter Miwa as his own under the name Karai, convincing her that she was his daughter and that Hamato Yoshi murdered her mother all to spite Yoshi, he accuses Yoshi of brainwashing her when she discovered the truth and pulled a Heel–Face Turn. When she gets turned into a snake-mutant after he dangled her over a vat of mutagen as part of a sinister plot Gone Horribly Wrong, he vows that he will "avenge" her, blaming Splinter for this happening.


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