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Revenge Tropes

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"And rage sparks the mortal urge for retaliation—that ancient rite of the injured."
Esther Perel, The State of Affairs

I've been waiting for your arrival, troper, because I have something I've been wanting to give you for a very long time, and it's something called revenge!

Just to let you in on something before I give you what you deserve: "an eye for an eye" has long been the standing policy for many humans, going all the way back to Hammurabi. Perhaps it's related to reciprocal altruism — just as people are prone to repay kindness with kindness, they are also prone to Pay Evil unto Evil. In any case, the concept of revenge works even better in fiction, but in other works, an Aesop on the futility of revenge is frequently featured (naive optimists).


For many avengers like me, revenge is an obsession. Compare Crime and Punishment Tropes, Hatred Tropes, & Morality Tropes. Contrast A Forgiving Index (like hell I'll forgive you!).

These tropes are gonna pay for what they've done!:

  • Revenge: An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. What this index is all about, and that's how you're gonna be dealt with at my hands!
  • Accuser of the Brethren: I don't care if you're sorry and want to make amends! I won't forgive you and I will punish you!
  • Accomplice by Inaction: You did nothing to save me from injustice even though you could. Therefore, I'm gonna end you!
  • Afterlife Avenger: I'm gonna get my revenge, even after you die and run off into the afterlife, you will not escape me!
  • Animal Nemesis: I'm gonna get my revenge against that irritating creature!
  • Attack on One Is an Attack on All: You harmed one of our members of my group, nation, or race. Now all of us are gonna tear you apart!
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  • Author's Retaliation: A character insults the work's production values, so the creators screw with the story/world.
  • Avenging the Villain: You killed my evil leader, and now I will avenge him by hunting you down!
  • Best Served Cold: I'm gonna take my time in paying you back for what you've done to me.
  • Bewildering Punishment: What did I do to you that made you so vengeful?
  • Buy Them Off: Trying to buy off the victim of a crime so they will not seek revenge when they learn that the person has wronged them.
  • Color Me Black: You treated me like crap because I'm from a different race. Now I'm gonna turn you into the very thing you hate, you racist prick!
  • Crusading Widower: The death or murder of their significant other (or the whole family) motivates the character to seek revenge.
  • Cycle of Revenge: You harmed me, and I harmed you... and your friend harmed me, and my friend harmed him... and so it goes on...
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  • Defeat as Backstory: I can never forget how you defeated me, and I demand a rematch!
  • Designated Bullet: I'm crafting a specific special bullet just for you. And it's gonna be the worse feeling you will ever have in your life!
  • Disproportionate Retribution: An "eye for an eye" is too good for you! I want to torture you in extreme and horrific ways! (Hell, the concept of "an eye for an eye" was invented to avoid this!)
  • Do with Him as You Will: I won't punish you, evildoer. Instead, I'm giving that honor to someone you've terrorized so dearly.
  • The Dog Bites Back: You've abused me too many times! Now you're gonna feel my wrath!
  • Dying Curse: In the rare cases where the victim not only wishes, but makes good on their spiteful last words.
  • Escalating War: When one minor slight leads to a situation where opposing sides have to come up with larger and larger schemes to one-up their opponent.
  • Extreme Mêlée Revenge: I'm gonna beat your head in over and over and over... And even when you're a bloody mess, I'm gonna keep on beating you!
  • Familial Cannibalism Surprise: Serving one's enemy a meal consisting of their offspring.
  • Feuding Families: Those families must perish for their crimes against us!
  • Gaia's Vengeance: You tiny humans have abused Mother Nature for far too long! Now you must suffer my wrath!
  • Genocide Backfire: Someone trying to wipe out a people to keep them from destroying oneself will only give the survivors (and there are always survivors) all the reason they need to destroy that person.
  • Gypsy Curse: A curse that is more about vengeance and spite than actual justice. Expect it to be disproportionate.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: Because of my goal for revenge, I've become just like the bastard who harassed me. Good.
  • The Hunter Becomes the Hunted: I'm sick and tired of running away from you bastards! Now it's time I make you run away from me!
  • It's Personal: It sure is. You hurt someone dear to me. Now I'm gonna fucking kill you!
  • It's Personal with the Dragon: It's not the Big Bad I'm concerned about. His right-hand man is what I want to go after. It won't be settled until one of them is dead.
  • Misplaced Retribution: It doesn't matter if you're not responsible for what the offender did to me. Nevertheless, you're going down. After all, you're in the wrong place at the wrong time.
  • No Sympathy for Grudgeholders: How dare you seek vengeance against your tormentors! You're just as bad as they are!
  • Opposites Attract Revenge: When a Love Triangle leads to a vendetta between the two rival love interests.
  • Paranoia Gambit: A Batman Gambit involving the victim sabotaging oneself out of paranoia.
  • Parking Payback: That was my spot you were parking at, asshole! Now I'm gonna kick your ass!
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: It's what revenge is all about. The evil you've done to me, I will do to you!
  • Pervert Revenge Mode: Caught doing something perverted? This person will see immediate revenge on the perpetrator.
  • Petty Childhood Grudge: It may have happened when we were kids, but I still hate you for it!
  • Rage Against the Legal System: The legal system had put me through hell. Now I'm gonna make them suffer dearly!
  • Rape and Revenge: You've raped me/someone I love, and I will kill you!
  • Rationalizing the Overkill: My revenge ended up going too far/causing collateral damage, but it was well worth it!
  • Relative Button: A person finally confronts another over the family members they murdered.
  • Remember the Alamo: A battle cry named for an enemy atrocity; a call for revenge in war.
  • Resurrection Revenge: I've come Back from the Dead to avenge my own death!
  • Restrained Revenge: I'll settle for a lesser form of revenge for your crimes. But, don't worry; I "forgive" you.
  • Reunion Revenge: It's time I go to my Class Reunion and torment all of those assholes who bullied me in the past!
  • Revenge Against Men: Men have caused me so much pain! Therefore, all of the men deserve death or at least a cruel punishment!
  • Revenge Ballad: I'm on my way to get revenge! Time to sing a song about it!
  • Revenge Before Reason: This isn't about common sense! This is about revenge, so get out of my way!
  • Revenge by Proxy: You killed someone I loved, so now I'm gonna kill someone you loved!
  • Revenge Fic: I hate this character and I'm gonna write a Fan Fic where I will make his life a living Hell!
  • Revenge Is a Dish Best Served: What better way to get back at you than to make you eat something so disgusting!
  • Revenge Is Sweet: I finally obtained my revenge and it was worth it!
  • Revenge Is Not Justice: I know they hurt you but this isn't justice!
  • Revenge Myopia: I don't care if you were trying to get even with me or acting out of self-defense! I'm still getting revenge on you for that! I never get even with anybody!
  • Revenge of the Nerd: So you think I'm hot, huh? Remember me? I'm the one you made fun of for being too geeky for you and having bad teeth! So since you mocked me when I looked like a geek, I'm rejecting you to show you how it feels!
  • Revenge of the Sequel: You haven't seen the last of me, hero! We Will Meet Again in the next part of the story, when I shall get my vengeance upon you!
  • Revenge Reveal Story: You want to know why I want revenge against you? Let me explain.
  • Revenge Romance: Romancing someone to get revenge on an ex.
  • RevengeSVP: You didn't invite me to your party. Now I'm gonna pay you a very special visit...
  • Revenge Through Corruption: Villain does Revenge by Proxy or Sins of Our Fathers through corrupting the enemy's loved one(s) — i.e., an engineered Face–Heel Turn or Face–Monster Turn.
  • Revenge via Storytelling: I don't like you, and I'm going to make you look ridiculous in my story!
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Forget plotting my vengeance! I want to get them through raging violence!
  • Sins of Our Fathers: Children must be punished for what their parents have done!
  • Spared, but Not Forgiven: You caused me a lot of pain and for that I'll never forgive you, but I won't lash out at you for it in the name of revenge.
  • A Taste of Their Own Medicine: Someone receives the same bad treatment that they showed/were going to show others.
  • Then Let Me Be Evil: They've treated me like a monster. Guess what? They've created a monster and I will destroy every last one of them until there's no one left!
  • This Is Unforgivable!: What you did is unforgivable, so I'm gonna give you some well-deserved payback!
  • This Means War!: That's it! You've done it now! Time to take you to war!
  • Upsetting the Balance: As someone in the heavens who support balance, we must punish the sinner for ruining the balance maintaining the world.
  • Vengeance Denied: A character wants revenge, but external circumstances deny them that.
  • Vengeance Feels Empty: I've successfully gotten my revenge... now I have no idea what to do.
  • Vengeful Ghost: A character who suffers a violent or unfair death will come back as a ghost to get revenge.
  • Vengeful Widow: I'm coming after the scumbag who killed my husband!
  • Villain-by-Proxy Fallacy: When someone goes after not only a crime's perpetrator, but those who supplied the perpetrator or were otherwise marginally connected to it, whether or not the people involved had anything to do with the actual crime.
  • The Villain Must Be Punished: The villain must pay for their crimes; merely foiling their plans isn't enough.
  • Voodoo Doll: The best way to get back at my enemy is to torture him/her with a doll thst looks just like him/her. I'm gonna enjoy this.
  • Who's Laughing Now?: They've treated me like a joke. Now I will be their worst nightmare!
  • Woman Scorned: You were the love of my life, but now that you've done me wrong, you're gonna pay!
  • You Killed My Father: ...and now I will kill you in return!

How does it feel being a victim like I was when you wronged me, huh?!