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Spiteful Suicide

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"Hmm, I feel that they have finally summoned the dragon. Would be a reeeeeeal dick move to die right now... hruuurgh!"
Super Kami Guru, Dragon Ball Z Abridged

The Evil Twin of Heroic Suicide; a character takes their own life solely to have the last laugh over someone else, usually as one final act to make our heroes' lives much harder.

One reason may be that they want to frame them for something. Another reason might simply be because the character is a Jerkass and this is their way of getting the last laugh. The other common reason is that the character wants to avoid being interrogated and does this to deny their captors the precious information. Related to the previous one, if a certain group/person wants them alive for some reason and they know it, then they may kill themselves to deny their potential captors that opportunity.

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Either way, the hero is being royally screwed.

Often done as part of a Thanatos Gambit. Compare and contrast Better to Die than Be Killed, which may overlap with this trope if it occurs as a matter of pride. This can be one of the reasons why characters believe Suicide Is Shameful.

Can overlap with Suicide, Not Murder if the character kills themselves in order to frame someone they hate. Subtrope of Self-Disposing Villain.

As this is a death trope, all spoilers will be unmarked.


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Examples

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     Anime & Manga 
  • Ragyo in Kill la Kill takes her own life rather than surrendering to the humans she looked down on after Ryuko defeats her, pulling out her own Life-Fiber infused heart and crushing it while promising that the Life Fibers will return someday. A single life fiber strand floats off into space.
  • Fist of the North Star: Shin is not in the least bit scared of dying after being beaten by Kenshiro. However, he'd much rather throw himself of the palace walls, than "die to an inferior technique." He falls to his death laughing, as Kenshiro calls out his name in vain.
  • Naruto: In the end of the Deidara vs Sasuke fight, the former chooses to use a Dangerous Forbidden Technique: turning himself into a high yield bomb. Not necessarily to kill Sasuke, mind you, but just to spite him because he didn't take Deidara's "art" (of explosions) seriously.
  • The Promised Neverland: Ray's original plan to help Norman and Emma escape the orphanage was to burn himself alive as a distraction the night before he would be eaten by the demons. He spent his entire life building himself up as the most valuable product that would only be eaten by the demon leadership. Burning himself would destroy all of his value and Norman and Emma's escape meant there would be no replacement. He could have come up with any other plan but chose this one because it screwed over everyone involved in the orphanage. Thankfully, Norman figured out Ray's plan and came up with a new one that only required faking his Self-Immolation and allowed all the kids over four to escape.
  • Trigun: The Gung Ho Guns were created with the express purpose of making Vash suffer, as he was taught that all life was precious, even those that are utterly immoral to boot. A good chunk of them is Not Afraid to Die and more than willing to kill themselves when defeated. Probably the most notable being The Dragon of the bunch, Legoto Bluesummers, who goes out via Suicide by Cop explicitly to prove Vash's Technical Pacifist ideals are wrong by threatening to kill Milly and Merryl if Vash doesn't kill him instead.

    Comic Books 
  • A minor variation in Les Tuniques Bleues: Chesterfield is going around a prison camp to recruit men for the cavalry in exchange for a lighter sentence. He gives the job offer to a man whose neck is already in the noose, who then tells the executioners to get on with it. Chesterfield is then told the man had been sentenced to death for desertion from the cavalry.
  • Top 10: Atoman, a Retired Badass, Superman Expy, and leader of a pedophile ring, is tricked into one when the arresting officer mentions they're going to depower him before throwing him in jail. He kills himself so the cops can't arrest him... which was the plan, because they didn't have the ability to arrest him without tremendous collateral damage.
  • The Dark Knight Returns: After Batman nearly breaks Joker's neck, Joker finishes the job himself after the only witnesses have fled, leaving Batman to be accused of murder.
  • Spider-Man: At the climax of Ends Of The Earth, Rhino deliberately drowns himself and Silver Sable to spite Spider-Man, knowing his Guilt Complex will make him blame himself for their deaths.

     Fan Works 
  • Dragon Ball Z Abridged: In the original canon, Namekian leader Guru suffers Death by Despair from the sorrow of his people being slaughtered by Frieza. In Abridged, Guru is given a heaping dose of Adaptational Villainy and Jerkassery, and the context behind his death is changed so that he actually wills himself to die specifically to cause the Namekian Dragon Balls to be rendered inert. This isn't even the most dickish thing Abridged Guru does.
  • Dungeon Keeper Ami: In "Assault on Wemos", Wemos's final death, is used to spite Zarekos, who turned him into a vampire, by depriving him of the resource of his body, through being willingly teleported by an enemy to parts unknown.
  • Jaune Arc, Lord of Hunger: In "Death", faced with the prospect of having her mind enslaved by Darth Nihilus, Cinder stabs herself in the throat to avoid becoming his Slave Mook as well as denying him access to the Fall Maiden's powers, making everything he did in this chapter completely meaningless.
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     Film 
  • The Empire Strikes Back has Luke Skywalker pretty much at a Walk the Plank moment after fighting Darth Vader and losing his right hand. Vader offers Luke a chance to join him and accede to the Dark Side of the Force. Rather than submit, Luke chooses to perish and allows himself to plummet into the near-bottomless shaft. Only the peculiarity of Cloud City's conduit system and a returning Millenium Falcon saves Luke from falling to his doom.
  • This is a What Could Have Been for Fatal Attraction. Glenn Close, the Yandere, kills herself with a knife which has Michael Douglas' fingerprints on it to frame him. Test audiences didn't like it, as it would have made Glenn too much of a Karma Houdini.
  • Towards the end of John Carpenter's Vampires Father Guiteau threatens this to save Jack's life, who's been captured and is about to be sacrificed by a Sinister Minister to allow the vampire Valek to travel in the daylight. Guiteau blasts the minister with a shotgun and taunts Valek about not having a priest to complete the ritual, and when Valek tries to threaten Guiteau into doing it he puts the gun to his own head and says "try and make me!" He knows it's an empty threat since Valek can't kill either of them without foiling his own plan and, with only minutes to sunrise, doesn't have the time to force them via any other means. While he ultimately doesn't kill himself, it's only because Valek wasn't dumb enough to call his bluff — he had every intention of doing it.
  • In Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, the villain jumps to his death in a multi-story automated car garage while holding the Russian nuclear "football" just to prevent Ethan from stopping a nuclear war. Ethan just barely gets down in time by getting into a nearby car and then driving off the lift, sparing him fatal injury when he hits the bottom.
  • A deleted scene from The Lion King II: Simba's Pride reveals that Zira was going to do this to Kiara. After Zira gets stuck hanging precariously from the edge of a cliff over a raging flood beneath her, Kiara offers to give her another chance at fixing her life by making peace with Simba and the reformed outlanders (who had just turned on Zira after a speech Kiara had given earlier). Zira however, being a devoted follower of Scar, chose death over peace, and lets herself fall to her death, all with a smile on her face.

    Literature 
  • The Hercule Poirot story "Wasp's Nest" has a man named Harrison plot to destroy a romantic rival's life by committing suicide and making it look like a murder (Harrison has terminal cancer anyway). Fortunately, over the course of a conversation with him (having anticipated the plot), Poirot is able to switch out the poison with baking soda, ending with the would-be murderer tearfully thanking Poirot.
  • Atlas Shrugged: Eric Starnes, one of the three siblings who ran the 20th Century Motor Company into the ground. As described by a character in-universe:
    "... He needed love, was his line. He was being kept by older women, when he could find them.
    Then he started running after a girl of sixteen, a nice girl who wouldn't have anything to do with him. She married a boy she was engaged to. Eric Starnes got into their house on the wedding day, and when they came back from church after the ceremony, they found him in their bedroom, dead, messy dead, his wrists slashed... Now I say there might be forgiveness for a man who kills himself quietly. Who can pass judgment on another man's suffering and on the limit of what he can bear? But the man who kills himself, making a show of his death in order to hurt somebody, the man who gives his life for malice—there's no forgiveness for him, no excuse, he's rotten clear through, and what he deserves is that people spit at his memory, instead of feeling sorry for him and hurt, as he wanted them to be... Well, that was Eric Starnes. ..."
  • Sherlock Holmes: This is the solution to "The Problem of Thor Bridge" — the victim killed herself in such a way as to frame her rival in love for the murder.
  • A similar scenario to "Thor Bridge" is considered as a possible solution to the mystery in The Law and the Lady — that Sara Macallan killed herself and framed her husband for the murder.
  • Margaret Allingham's Albert Campion novel Police at the Funeral takes this to an extreme, with the solution that the first victim not only killed himself in such a way as to fake it as murder and disrupt his family's lives with an investigation, but also filled the house they all shared with booby traps that killed or injured several of them.
  • In G K Chesterton's Father Brown story "The Strange Crime of John Boulnois", a man commits suicide and makes a crude attempt to frame another man, purely out of rage that the targeted man failed to notice that he was trying to anger him.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Arrow: In the Season Five finale, Adrian Chase holds Oliver’s son hostage, while he himself is tied to a Dead Man's Switch that is rigged to cause the island (which Oliver’s friends are on) to blow up if he dies. He forces Oliver to make a Sadistic Choice, save his son by killing Chase which will cause his friends to die, or let Chase kill his son and save his friends. Oliver tries to Take a Third Option and knock Chase aside. Chase does not accept this and proceeds to shoot himself in the head to set off the explosions, all to spite Oliver one final time.
  • In an episode of CSI, a man is investigated for the murder of his wife, who was found chained to their bed and force fed two tubes of fluoride toothpaste. At the end, it's revealed that she tried to frame her husband for murder, and when the evidence is presented, the husband says that he was a successful real estate banker that lost everything when the recession hit. Having practically no money at all and swimming in debt, they couldn't afford to get a divorce and were stuck living together in a house they couldn't sell.
  • CSI: Miami: In the episode "Whacked" a condemned prisoner gets a stay of execution when key evidence used in his conviction is thrown out on appeal. After Horatio and the team still prove his guilt through other evidence, the prisoner requests a peanut butter and jelly sandwich as his last meal. He then dies of anaphylactic shock in his cell, as he was deathly allergic to peanuts.
  • Doctor Who: At the end of "The Last Of The Time Lords", a fatally-wounded Master refuses to regenerate and lets himself die solely to make the Doctor suffer as the last Gallifreyan, his last words simply being "I win" as the Doctor begs him to live.
  • An episode of Forever Knight has the investigation of a black woman's murder culminate in the arrest of a white supremacist who'd previously had run-ins with Capt. Joe Reese. While he's awaiting trial, the man hangs himself. His suicide note, written on the wall of his cell, simply reads "No justice, Joe."
  • Law & Order:
    • In one episode a man commits suicide solely in order to frame his unfaithful wife and her lover for the crime.
    • In an SVU episode, the owner of a wine company who was exposed as a tyrant to her employees, gives a spiteful press conference in which she blames everyone else for her downfall before taking out a gun, putting it under her chin on live TV, and pulling the trigger.
  • Sherlock, "The Reichenbach Fall": After Moriarty explains how he's ruined Sherlock's life, there's a Hope Spot where it seems like Sherlock might have a chance of persuading or manipulating Moriarty into fixing things or at least giving Sherlock an opening — which Moriarty deliberately punctures by killing himself. Even worse, Moriarty had sent out three assassins to kill Dr. Watson, Inspector Lestrade, and Mrs. Hudson, who were told only to break off their attacks on Moriarty's orders, or if Sherlock dies. With Moriarty dead, Sherlock has only one option.
  • In the second-season finale of Spartacus, Lucretia steals Ilythia's newborn child and then throws herself over a cliff while holding him, in order to rob Ilythia of the chance to be a mother.
  • Kamen Rider Ex-Aid pretty much ends this way. Masamune/Kamen Rider Cronus, the Big Bad, has a god complex that causes him to think only he gets to judge and decide people's life. After he is defeated in the final battle, he decided to kill himself so that others cannot judge him for his crimes, even implying his suicide as him judging himself to be "free".
  • This is the motivation for the killer in one episode of Diagnosis: Murder: The killer works at a dating agency and begins targeting men who dated a specific woman, murdering them in ways that look like suicides. Once caught she reveals that this is because of her ex-husband. After their divorce he was forced to take out a life insurance policy with her as the beneficiary when he learns about the incontestable clause; the insurance company can refuse to pay out if certain conditions are met, including the subject committing suicide within the first two years, prompting him to wait until the two years have almost paused and then killed himself, just to deny his ex-wife the payout. The killer then committed a series of lookalike killings in hope of getting her husband's suicide declared a murder, at which point the insurance company would have to pay out note .
  • The Charmed (1998) episode "Sin Francisco" deals with this trope. A demon infects people around San Francisco with concentrated representations of the Seven Deadly Sins; when the Charmed Ones and Leo try to stop him, he zaps the four of them with a sin each. Prue is infected with Pride, which manifests as her natural headstrong attitude becoming increasingly worse until she's deliberately putting herself in dangerous situations. Towards the end of the episode, the demon captures Prue and plans to throw her into a swirling vortex that will lead straight to Hell...only for her to jump herself while declaring "You lose, I win!" Thankfully, the others (now sin-free) show up, and while Phoebe and Piper vanquish the demon, Leo manages to save Prue. The trope is then discussed when he, Phoebe, and Piper reveal how they cured themselves of their own afflictions: by committing truly selfless acts. Prue protests that her attempted suicide would have saved the whole city and thus should have counted, but her sisters realize that the real motivation for said attempt was just to spite the demon and make herself look good, thus negating its potential selflessness.
  • One episode of Elementary has Sherlock and Watson investigating what seems to be an open-and-shut murder case, only to discover the victim actually killed herself in such a way as to frame the man she believed murdered her sister. It turns out that she was actually right about the man she was trying to frame, even if the attempted framing was fairly inept. All it accomplishes is getting Sherlock onto the killer's trail.
  • The Young and the Restless' rapist Matt Clark frames his victim's husband for his murder after he's in a car accident, actually yanking out his own intubation tube and shoving it into the man's hand. When the medical staff rushes in at the sound of alarms, they find the man standing there stunned, indeed looking as though he pulled the tube out.
  • In the Frasier episode "Ham Radio", Frasier has organised an old-fashioned murder mystery radio drama, broadcast live and starring himself, which quickly goes Off the Rails due to unforseen problems with the rest of the cast.. Niles, who has been roped into playing multiple characters, finally brings the whole thing to an end by having one of his characters grab the gun, kill all the other characters, and finally shoot himself specifically to prevent Frasier's detective from ever figuring out what his motive was.
    Niles: And of course, one final bullet for myself, so that the mystery will die with me. Ha.

    Music 
  • Loudon Wainright III's song Unrequited to the Nth Degree is about a guy who is so upset about a spurned romance that he declares he's going to kill himself to make the other feel bad.
  • Elton John's "I Think I'm Gonna Kill Myself" uses this as a Black Comedy satire of teenagers with First World Problems.
  • The narrator of "Can't Stand Losing You" by The Police, a jilted teenage lover, threatens suicide in the bridge of the song as a means of revenge.
    I guess this is our last goodbye
    But you don't care, so I won't cry
    And you'll be sorry when I'm dead
    And all this guilt will be on your head
    I guess you could call it suicide
    But I'm too full to swallow my pride

    Religion and Mythology 
  • In Classical Mythology, Hippolytus upsets Aphrodite by becoming a disciple of Artemis and swearing off relationships, so she curses his stepmother Phaedra to fall madly in love with him. When he rejects her advances, some versions of the myth have Phaedra commit suicide and use her suicide note to frame Hippolytus for raping her.

    Podcast 
  • Decoder Ring Theatre:
    • Black Jack Justice:
      • In "Justice Be Done", Jack and Trixie attend the reading of the will of occasional client Mordecai Brasseau, which asks Jack and Trixie to determine who poisoned him to make sure his murderer gets none of the inheritance. The catch is that none of the suspects, Mordecai's son, daughter, lawyer, and most recent wife were around him enough to perform the very gradual poisoning that killed him, and for the most part loathed one another too much to work together. The detectives realize that the only one with enough access to Mordecai to poison him was Mordecai himself, that his death was a suicide designed to teach his ungrateful heirs a lesson about how they took him for granted.
      • "A Simple Case of Black and White" sees a man kill himself in an attempt to frame his ex-lover's current husband. The man goes so far as to give himself an Agonizing Stomach Wound to make sure he had time to hide the evidence it was Suicide, Not Murder before dying.
    • Red Panda Adventures: "Empire of Death" combines this with Suicide by Cop with the Red Panda's final confrontation with supervillainess Professor Zombie. The Red Panda is trying to save the Professor from the zombification she's been afflicted with by a combination of injecting her with a cure followed by an electric shock to trigger the drug's processes. Professor Zombie, too far gone by this point to want that, very deliberately destroys the injector, forcing the Red Panda to either kill her with the electric shock or else risk her succeeding in her plans to kill all of Toronto.

    Video Games 
  • At one point in Arcanum, the player character is asked to investigate the death of Wrath, an insane elf wizard who died after drinking from a poisoned wine glass. If you investigate thoroughly enough, you can conclude that Wrath was jealous of Sharpe the apothecary for his happy relationship with Ivory, and decided to invert Murder the Hypotenuse by committing suicide in a manner which he hoped would get Sharpe framed for murder.
  • Ar tonelico Qoga: Knell of Ar Ciel: Kurogane committed suicide right in front of Tyria so that she would be too traumatized to successfully carry out the Planet Regeneration Project.
  • BioShock: Andrew Ryan uses the Trigger Phrase "Would You Kindly" to mind-control Jack into killing him so that Fontaine doesn't get the satisfaction of beating him.
  • Grand Theft Auto V: In the 'Kill Michael' ending, Franklin chases Michael to the top of a generator tower. In the course of their brawl, Michael falls over the railing and Franklin reflexively catches him. At this point, the player can choose to have Franklin either let Michael go or pull him back up. If they choose the latter, Michael defiantly headbutts Franklin, causing Franklin to drop him, and sending him plummeting to his death.
  • Layton Brothers: Mystery Room: One of the cases has the victim make their lover shoot them to death as punishment for their unfaithfulness.
  • Killzone 2: At the end of his boss battle, Colonel Radec shoots himself in the head to deny the main characters the satisfaction of killing him.
  • Uncharted 2: Flynn betrays Drake at the start of the game and works with the Big Bad Lazarevic for most of the plot. At the end, Lazarevic pulls a You Have Failed Me and mortally wounds him. When the protagonists run into him afterward, they try to help. But, being an utterly prideful dick, he refuses their aid and opts to try and kill them with a grenade, taking his own life just to satisfy some shred of his ego.
  • In Red Dead Redemption, Dutch is cornered by John Marston. Rather then let Marston capture him, Dutch jumps off the edge of a cliff so that Marston and Ross can't take him in.
  • In Mass Effect 3 Citadel, the Arc Villain, Shepard's clone, will opt to fall to their death rather than let Paragon Shepard save them because the alternative is admitting that Shepard is better than they are.
  • Final Fantasy VI has Lone Wolf, a thief who the party chases down in Narshe. At the end of the chase, he takes a moogle hostage... who turns out to be too wild for him to keep a handle on. The result is both him and the moogle hanging off a cliff. The party is then left with the choice of rescuing him to get the Gold Hairpin he has (which halves MP-usage), or the moogle. Saving the moogle prompts Lone Wolf to throw himself off the cliff he's on in a straight-forward demonstration of this trope to prevent you getting the Gold Hairpin from him. note 
  • Real Bout Fatal Fury: In Terry and Andy’s endings, Geese Howard is accidentally knocked off his tower during the ensuing Final Boss battle. Terry or Andy try to save him by grabbing his arm, but Geese refuses, wrestling himself free from their grasps and proceeding to laugh at the Bogards the whole way down. The story canon, where the brother that did the deed was Terry, actually doubled the spite: Geese has a neglected son with the name Rock, and he also killed the Bogard family patriarch Jeff, orphaning Terry and Andy. By putting Geese in a position to choose death, he aimed to get the last laugh beyond his death by burdening Terry with the guilt of orphaning Geese's son the same way he orphaned Terry.
  • Dishonored: During the High Chaos finale, Overseer Martin will try to shoot himself purely to deny Corvo the satisfaction of killing him. Depending on your reflexes, he may well succeed.
  • Indivisible: After the heroes defeat Garuda Cruel, he spitefully blows himself up rather than let them deal the killing blow.

    Visual Novels 
  • Played with in Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony in that it's a Jerkass screwing with everyone to save them. Kokichi disables the hidden cameras monitoring everyone and forces Kaito to murder him in a press and then hide in an Exisal so that the killer and victim cannot be determined. During the trial, Kaito impersonates Kokichi to further obfuscate his identity and complicate things. The entire point of it was to make the case impossible to solve while simultaneously ensuring Monokuma could not judge it fairly, thereby ending the killing game. While it's possible he was lying, Kokichi stated his reason for doing so was because he hated the killing game and especially the audience watching it, so he wanted to ruin it for everyone.

    Webcomics 
  • Cyanide & Happiness: In one strip, a death row inmate receives his last meal in the form of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich from a prison guard, the latter expressing his desire to personally execute an irredeemable criminal. But the inmate gleefully reveals that he has a peanut allergy, basically committing suicide by peanut butter on the spot just to spite the guard.
  • Belkar in The Order of the Stick tries to get Miko to kill him purely so that she'll lose her status as a paladin.

    Western Animation 

    Real Life 
  • Perhaps the Ur-Example, Cato the Younger killed himself to deny Julius Caesar the satisfaction of capturing him. To clarify, Cato did not fear what would happen to him upon capture, as he was aware Caesar intended to show mercy, but he refused to live under an obligation to his enemy. This episode in history gives us the expression, "the pride of Cato".
  • Hermann Goering committed suicide in his jail cell after he was sentenced to death in the Nuremberg Trials. While suicides were rampant throughout Nazi Germany right before and after it collapsed, Goering was doing it mostly out of spite for being denied a military-style execution, hanging being reserved for common criminals.
  • The Japanese samurai focus on honorable lives and honorable ends led to seppuku being viewed as an acceptable alternative to an ignoble fate, such as living in defeat. However, Matsunaga Hisahide managed to turn the act into one of spite when, after his defeat by Oda Nobunaga at the siege of Shigisan Castle, he committed suicide to deny Nobunaga the gratification of having him executed. On top of this, Hisahide destroyed a priceless antique teapot he owned which Nobunaga greatly coveted and had his son destroy his head so Nobunaga wouldn't even be able to claim it as a prize. Finally, his castle was somehow burned to the ground, so Nobunaga wouldn't even get that.
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