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Suicide is Shameful

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"The man who kills a man kills a man. The man who kills himself kills all men. As far as he is concerned, he wipes out the world."
G. K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy, "The Flag of the World"

Suicide is a very touchy subject. One character sees it as an option to end the depression or suffering that they feel is too much to handle. But some characters view suicide as a shameful and horrible act, an act worse than homicide. While there are usually characters who will tell the suicidal character that things will get better, there are other characters who condemn the act and even go as far as to condemn the character for attempting it or exacting it.

In one case, they view suicide as an act of selfishness. A character who is contemplating killing themselves will be reminded by others that there are those who care about them (friends, family, and even society as a whole), and if they carry it out, then this means they will leave them behind to suffer the pain and grief that the character has killed themselves. This is especially justified if the character who killed themselves happen to be a parent/guardian of a young child who is dependent on them.

Suicide can also be viewed as an act of cowardice. If a character is thinking of killing themselves, there will be those who will see suicide as a means to escape problems that society expects them to confront. They will assert that "life is a battlefield" or "suffering makes them stronger" and that killing themselves meant that they have "given up the fight" or have "taken the easy way out". Idealistic characters like the Anti-Nihilist will firmly believe that no one should kill themselves just because life is too much for them. Another variation of this category is that a character, usually a villain, will kill themselves to escape punishment for their crimes, much to the disgust of the heroes and the chagrin of the audience who wanted to see the villain suffer a more conventional defeat. An even pettier variation is the Spiteful Suicide, where the character kills themselves as the ultimate "Fuck you!" to their enemies, often in an attempt to frame another character for murder.

Another reason for this trope, which is much rarer in the modern era, is the idea that taking a life is inherently wrong, even if it's your own. Often combined with the idea that life is granted by a higher power, essentially framing a suicide as a murder (or attempted murder) where both the perpetrator and victim happen to be the same person. In some works, the character committing suicide will end up in a bad afterlife.

This trope is often cited as a reason I Cannot Self-Terminate. Invoking it can be a harsh way of Talking Down the Suicidal, but you should be extremely sure that it's going to work when you try this as it can make a suicidal person actually kill themselves. It can also be the cause of Suicide, Not Murder if someone tries to make a suicide look like murder in order to avoid this stigma (and make sure that their life insurance pays out). This can also trigger Suicide, Not Accident. In contrast, the added torture of shame could be a reason for a villain to commit Murder by Suicide. Compare/Contrast How Dare You Die on Me!. Contrast Martyrdom Culture, Better to Die than Be Killed, and Not Afraid to Die. Contrast Heroic Sacrifice. Seppuku, while still suicide, is usually considered heroic and noble (at least in Japan). The opposite of Heroic Suicide. Characters who are against suicide will most likely Speak Ill of the Dead, though not all of them.

This trope is Truth in Television in that there are some cultures that not only discourage suicide, but also outlaw it (English common law termed it the crime of felo de se, falling under the "effectively charged with your own attempted murder" variation mentioned above), although the criminalization of it in Western countries (mostly for the purpose of property forfeiture) has declined (ironically, people who attempted suicide would be hanged under this principle originally, and also ironically, charging someone for attempting suicide would exacerbate their problems and likely give them another reason to attempt suicide again). Despite its reduced criminalization, the stigma still exists, and it's incredibly dangerous because it can cause the suicidal to feel even more isolated from others and thus feed into the suicidal feelings as a result. Because suicide is an extremely hot-button subject, it's best not to list any real-life examples that will lead to a hostile editing war.

As this is a Death Trope, unmarked spoilers abound. Beware.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • At the start of Bakuman。, Moritaka Mashiro recalls the life of his manga artist uncle Nobuhiro, who produced one successful hit, but died of overwork trying to get serialized again. Moritaka is rather skeptical, wondering how Nobuhiro could have died of overwork when he didn't have a job for years, and assumes he committed suicide out of despair. When he brings up his theory, his mother(Nobuhiro's sister-in-law) is shocked, and Moritaka retracts his theory. After seeing all the storyboards Nobuhiro made between the end of his serialization and his death, Moritaka realizes the truth, then calls his father(Nobuhiro's brother), who says Nobuhiro "wasn't a gutless coward who'd think about killing himself," seemingly offended that Moritaka thought otherwise.
  • Hellsing: Alucard is absolutely disgusted and furious when the last survivor of the SWAT team he just butchered chooses to shoot himself rather than face his wrath.
  • How Not to Summon a Demon Lord: Alicia betrays the others. After her plan is stopped and she explains her motives, she decides to atone by stabbing herself with a knife. Diablo makes the knife disappear with magic and angrily calls her a coward. He tells her to atone by living a better life, which she takes to heart.
  • In Noragami, Yato is disgusted by suicidal individuals. He sees them as wasting their lives, a Shinki (dead person soul turned into a weapon of god) could only have wished to live.
  • The Rebirth of Buddha: When Sayako is taken to witness Kanemoto's spirit trial, the three judges in charge of his case lambast the guy for "wasting the one life God has given him" on top of writing accusatory and derisive articles against religion and God. According to Happy Science, those who commit suicide live on as earthbound spirits for the time their bodies should have left living. Thereby, these spirits bring desolation to their loved ones, seeking to possess living people and kill others, often in the same way they took their own lives.
  • In an early chapter of School-Live!, Kurumi is annoyed when she finds the body of someone who hanged himself instead of trying to survive the Zombie Apocalypse. However, it's been suggested that Kurumi herself has given thought to shooting herself if either things get really bad or she begins to zombify (hence why she made a Mercy Kill Arrangement with Yuuri).
  • After her Interrupted Suicide, Shouko from A Silent Voice gets derided with this. Her childhood bully even tells that she should have fallen instead of Shouya (who accidentally fell and ended up comatose after saving Shouko).
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds, Kiryu's guilt after his actions as a Dark Signer makes him suicidal but unable to do it because it's too quick. (He's so close to the Despair Event Horizon because of it, he wants to suffer.) The whole reason for the Crashtown arc is because he figures he'll lose the Absurdly High-Stakes Game (higher than usual, even for the franchise) and die that way.

    Comic Books 
  • In the final part of Bruce Wayne: Fugitive, David Cain is locked up, broken over his estrangement with his daughter Cassandra and hasn't eaten anything for two weeks. Batman comes to him to warn him that Deadshot has been hired to kill him. After David makes it clear that he has no intention of defending himself when Deadshot comes, Batman tells him that he's either a fool or a coward. When David asks what kind of coward would face certain death without hesitation, Batman says "One who knows it's easier to die than change."
  • In Cerebus the Aardvark, this is a deeply-ingrained belief for Cerebus. Thus, the suicide of Ham Ernestwaynote  rattles Cerebus to his core, mainly because he idolized Ham so much and for Ham to die by his own hand says some seriously shameful things about Cerebus in his self-estimation.
  • In Runaways, this is why the Gibborim reject Chase when he offers to give up his soul to them in exchange for Gertrude's revival. They need a pure innocent soul, and apparently someone willing to kill himself doesn't qualify.
  • In an early issue of The Sandman (1989), Morpheus visits Hell and notes that the wood of suicides, where each victim is a tree, as depicted in Dante’s Inferno (see below), has grown from a small grove to a forest in the time since his last visit. As there are at least hints that people mostly only end up in Hell if they think that they deserve it, this implies that there have been a lot of suicides who believed at heart that the act was wrong.
  • There was a Spider-Man one-shot called Soul of the Hunter in which Spidey learned from the embodiment of Death that he and Kraven share a spiritual bond, and that Kraven's soul cannot find the peace it craves because of Kraven's suicide; he can only be saved if Spidey agrees to fight on his behalf. At first, Spidey refuses, given what Kraven did to him, and Death cannot force him. However, eventually, Spidey feels a small amount of pity, and fights Kraven on the Astral Plane, defeating him and letting him rest in peace. Sadly, Kraven wouldn't be allowed to rest in his grave forever; his daughter Ana and son Alyosha used a foul ritual to resurrect him as an undead being. However, according to him, he now can only die by Spider-Man's hand.
  • In the first issue of X-Factor (2006), Wolfsbane tries to talk Rictor out of killing himself by saying that it's a sin and he'll go to Hell.

    Fan Works 
  • Hetalia: Axis Powers fanfic Kanashī, Wütend, Desolato, a What If? for Gankona, Unnachgiebig, Unità: Let's just say Germany and Japan were not happy when Italy tried to commit suicide. Italy's justification for doing so did nothing to abate their anger.
  • In the Empath: The Luckiest Smurf story "Smurfed Behind: Smurfing In Heaven", Polaris Psyche tries to talk Empath out of killing himself when he fears that his fellow Smurfs may have all been killed while traveling through time, with Polaris telling him that suicide will cause him to go to Tartarus instead of Elysium, which is the Smurfs' version of heaven.
  • Discussed in The Confectionary Chronicles when Hermione becomes concerned about the fate of her older sister, Ness, who killed herself after being bullied at school. However, Gabriel/Loki assures Hermione that Hell is only for souls tainted by either deals with demons or the evils they have committed personally, rather than souls in so much pain that they sought their eternal rest early.
  • Hellsing Ultimate Abridged has the Brazil police wiped out in a failed attempt to kill Alucard. But unlike his canon counterpart (who was put in a very ugly mood by the guy deciding to take his own life to escape his wrath), Alucard decided to mock the self-terminator.
    Alucard: ...aaaaand I killed all but one of them!
    Integra: What happened to the last one?
    (the last agent blows his own brains out)
    Alucard: Pussed out like a bitch!
  • Much Ado About Shakespeare: Love's Labours Won: Acting Lieutenant Archie Kennedy of the Royal Navy thinks of his past suicide attempt when he tried to starve himself in Spanish prison with shame and feels guilty. He thinks an officer shouldn't have been that weak in the first place.
  • In Dragon Ball Z Abridged, Freeza chides Goku for choosing to stay and fight him instead of fleeing with his friends, as “suicide is the coward’s way out”. Goku being Goku, the Implied Death Threat goes over his head.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Played for Laughs in Beetlejuice: Suicides get an afterlife as a Beleaguered Bureaucrat working in limbo's social services department, depicted as being every bit as fun as a dead-end (pun intentional) job in the DMV. The woman at the front desk in the afterlife waiting room shows off her slit wrists as proof she made the mistake, clearly regrets it, and wouldn't have done it had she known.
  • Part of the setup of Bram Stoker's Dracula. Vlad Dracula's fiancée Elizabeta, believing Vlad to be dead because of lies spread by his enemies, killed herself. The priests declared her to be damned because of this (since suicide was a mortal sin according to the religious doctrine of the period — see Religion below), which causes a grieving and distraught Vlad to renounce God and become a vampire.
  • Played with in Constantine (2005). For the most part, suicide is enough of a sin that even a failed attempt can mark an otherwise good soul for a place in Hell, a fact that Constantine is all too aware of ever since he tried to take his own life as a child. However, the ending shows that suicidal souls can be transferred from Hell to Heaven with the Devil's permission, and a suicide for completely selfless reasons will be treated as a Heroic Sacrifice and allow a soul entry into Heaven.
  • Cruel and Unusual: Doris is condemned as a murderer for hanging herself. The tattoo on her arm she has in the afterlife says "Ego", showing that she is her own victim (along with her family).
  • Discussed in Dogma. It's mentioned that once Loki and Bartleby are given a clean slate and are considered forgiven for all their sins, the heroes can't kill them or else they'll ascend to Heaven and set off The End of the World as We Know It. When Jay asks what to do if they kill themselves, Bethany replies they won't do that since the entire scheme is dependent on Catholic belief, which considers suicide sinful (see below). Turns out the pair are banking on performing Suicide by Cop.
  • The Rapture: After she kills her daughter, Sharon can't go through with killing herself, no doubt due to the belief she'll go to hell rather than heaven.
  • In Rhymes for Young Ghouls, Anna is given an unmarked grave because her death was by suicide. Her remains lie in an eerie, dense part of a forest cluttered with other disgraced deaths. Even so, Aila and Joseph visit and pay their respects, clearly missing her deeply, and share anger that she has been disrespected in this way.
  • Despite being lectured about the sinfulness of crushes, dancing, and fashion, the protagonist of Stations of the Cross doesn't hear about the wrongness of suicide from her fundamentalist mother or zealous priest, but from her friend, Bernadette. Unfortunately, by this point, suicide is the one thing our hero can think of to avoid insulting God, so she refuses to admit that her desire to die is not good.
  • What Dreams May Come: Suicides end up in hell and none of them can ascend to their version of heaven, quite unlike people who died of natural causes or because of accidents. The only way out that we see is when someone else offers to join them there. It's apparently a Self-Inflicted Hell that they need to be snapped out of by someone outside. Then the person can reincarnate to have another chance.
  • Where the Truth Lies: Maureen's mother is a devout Catholic, so she's distraught at the idea she killed herself, believing that she's in Hell if that's true.

  • Subverted in one of the side stories of Alex Flinn's Bewitching. At the end of the mermaid's tale, she commits suicide by gassing herself with the stove out of despair that she gave up her life for a man who never loved her. When the angels show up to decide whether or not she should be taken to heaven, they note that suicide means that she shouldn't be let in, but handwave it by saying that since she was clearly fumbling with the stove, they'll just say it was an accident. The implication is that the angels feel sorry for what the mermaid already went through and feels she deserves heaven anyway.
  • In Chronicles of Nick, Nekoda gives a long speech in order to dissuade Nick about how suicide is for cowards. He doesn't when he realizes what it would do to his mother.
  • Confessions of Felix Krull is set during the Fin de siècle when this attitude was very much the prevailing one and suicide was considered a sin. So the suicide of Felix's father is disguised as a gun-handling accident by the family. At the muster scene, when he pretends to be over-excited Felix Krull goes on and on that "the shooting-thing went off by itself" and that he can provide documentary proof and witnesses that his father had a church funeral.
  • In The Divine Comedy, Dante portrays the souls of the suicides as residing in the 7th circle of Hell, reserved for the violent. For carrying out violence against themselves, they are entombed in oak trees or strewn across thorny bushes and feasted upon by demonic harpies, and for rejecting God's gifts, they will be denied the chance to regain their human forms come the Day of Judgement.
  • In A Fine and Private Place, as a result of the finding that Michael committed suicide rather than being murdered, his body is removed from the cemetery to unhallowed ground, splitting this couple up.
  • Zig-zagged in the Imperial Radch trilogy. Radchaai have access to physician-assisted suicide as a matter of course; however, one character has a minor family scandal in the form of a relative who killed herself, which suggests something much messier and more personal.
  • Johnny and the Dead: This seems to be the attitude of most of the spirits toward Mr. Grimm; they aren't willing to talk about his death when Johnny asks, and merely darkly mutter that it's not a suitable topic for discussion. Justified by the fact that, of course, it was the prevailing attitude when they were alive. At the time Mr. Grimm died, the newspaper wasn't willing to give it any significant coverage — it takes Johnny until more or less the end to learn the truth — and he was buried with a tiny gravestone that simply gave his name and the dates of his life.
  • The Gethenians of The Left Hand of Darkness view suicide as the most shameful crime a person can commit, being described as "the abdication from option" itself. Genly merely suggesting to a Gethenian physician that Estraven might have committed Suicide by Cop gets him chastised for speaking ill of his friend.
  • In My Ántonia, Antonia's father shoots himself because he was too homesick and couldn't bear the hard life. The Shimerdas are Catholic while other families in the neighborhood are mostly Protestants. Jim's grandparents are sympathetic to the poor family and another Catholic explains to them that for the Shimerdas, the suicide is a terrible blow with an extra layer of suffering.
  • As seen in the page quote, G. K. Chesterton argued in his book Orthodoxy that suicide was exactly as wrong as the annihilation of the universe since they're the same thing from the perspective of the one doing it. A suicide, he argues, has insulted every bird in the heavens and every leaf on the trees by declaring it unworthy of living for. Interestingly, there are hints in his works that he'd considered suicide himself in his pre-Christian days.
  • The Silerian Trilogy: Suicide is anathema to Silerians. When some Silerian men are imprisoned, they find it ludicrous that the Valdani took steps to prevent them from hanging themselves.
  • Two examples from a collection of ballads called the Songs of Silesia. The narrator's sympathy is clearly with the suicide victims, but they are judged harshly by society, and cannot be buried in the graveyard because holy soil is not for them.
    • "Teacher Halfar": Halfar suffers because he wants to teach children in their native language, but it's forbidden. He goes from school to school and has no money. He hangs himself, and the poem ends with a sarcastic statement that he has finally found a position — a suicide's grave.
    • "Marycka Magdonova" tells a tragic story about a girl whose parents die and she has to take care of her younger siblings. They are poor, hungry, and freezing. Marycka goes to steal some wood but she gets caught. She's ashamed to be seen and embarrassed by people, so she breaks free from the policeman and jumps from a rock. The ballad ends by describing her grave behind the graveyard wall "without crosses, without flowers".
  • In Temeraire, Lawrence is facing execution in Japan for trespassing. However, his host offers to let him perform Seppuku in order to preserve his honor (and the host's honor). Lawrence is aghast at the suggestion since as a devout Christian and an Officer and a Gentleman he regards suicide as a cowardly act and (more importantly) a mortal sin.
  • Things Fall Apart: Umofians consider suicide to be a taboo that offends the gods: It is not permitted for villagers to take down or touch the corpse of one who has committed suicide, and they cannot be given burial rites or buried in the graveyard. The reader is only told this after it is revealed that it is Okonkwo, the protagonist of the story, who has killed himself.
  • In Violeta, after Arsenio del Valle is found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot, his son Juan Antonio and Miss Taylor hide the entry wound with a sleeping cap. The family doctor who writes up the certificate of death enters that he died of a heart attack so that Arsenio can be buried in the Catholic cemetery instead of the municipal one.
  • One of the interviews in World War Z is from a German soldier. He was forced by his commanding officer to leave civilians and other soldiers behind to die as part of their version of the Redeker Plan, a world-saving but hideously amoral survival strategy. The soldier later confronted the officer, intending to kill him, but the officer kills himself first. The soldier hates him even more, saying he killed himself to avoid the guilt of what he'd ordered and the hard times ahead.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In 24, Day 3 a devout Catholic CTU agent is dying from a painful virus attack. One of his CTU friends offers him a quick and painless poison to take so he'll go easy, but he refuses on the grounds that suicide is a sin and he'll go to Hell. He dies in agony instead.
  • A Bit of Fry and Laurie: In one vox populi segment, a guy mentions he suffers from depression. His wife apparently says he should kill himself, but he thinks it is a coward's way out. However, he tried to kill himself once.
  • On Breaking Bad, Hank and Marie suggest that Walt has two honorable alternatives: turn himself in or kill himself. Both would be seen as extremely dishonorable and unmanly by other groups.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: In "Get it Done", Buffy expresses this when Chloe, spurred by the First Evil's manipulations, hangs herself. After burying her, Buffy has absolutely No Sympathy for her trauma or struggles, and openly calls her a stupid, weak idiot in front of the Scoobies and other Potential Slayers.
    Buffy: Anyone want to say a few words about Chloe? Let me. Chloe was an idiot. Chloe was stupid. She was weak. And anyone in a rush to be the next dead body I bury, it's easy. Just...think of Chloe, and do what she did. And I'll find room for you next to her and Annabelle.
  • Present in an episode of Cadfael, in accordance with the medieval Catholic view on it. Cadfael believes that a young woman was a murder victim and thus should be given a Christian burial. It turns out that she really was Driven to Suicide because the local priest was an asshole about her being pregnant out of wedlock and she remains in her plain grave... but Cadfael puts a small cross on it anyway. It's a noticeably darker change from the novel where the villagers agreed that it didn't matter and gave her a proper burial anyway.
  • The Confessions of Frannie Langton: It's suggested that one reason (apart from to frame Frannie) that Marguerite's suicide was covered up and fabricated to supposedly be murder is because of the shame having this in the family would bring.
  • In the CSI: Crime Scene Investigation episode "Who Shot Sherlock?", Greg cites the possibility that a relative of the deceased covered up a suicide as a possible explanation for contradictory evidence at the crime scene. In an odd twist, it turns out to be a murder staged to look like a suicide which was staged to look like a murder because of this trope.
  • On The Dead Zone, Johnny's ability reveals that there was more to his grandmother's death than was officially reported, and Reverend Purdy was involved. His grandmother was so distraught over Johnny's coma that she killed herself. Purdy, who had unrequited feelings for her, discovered her body and covered up her suicide to protect her reputation.
  • Dexter:
    • People think Dexter's foster father and legendary cop Harry Morgan died of a heart disease, but it was later revealed he had killed himself (overdose of medication). Harry's superior and friend Captain Matthews felt that suicide would be a serious blow to Harry's reputation and that it would taint his immaculate service record.
    • Dexter is a Serial-Killer Killer who is under federal investigation. He talks to Sergeant Doakes, currently off duty, who suspected there was something off with him since the beginning. Dexter opens up and says that his father (who committed suicide after training Dexter and witnessing his son having dragged home his victim) killed the wrong person. Dexter doesn't consider suicide as a way out for himself, though, thinking it's pathetic.
      Doakes: Morgan, you're not thinking about...
      Dexter: Kill myself? No, that's pathetic.
    • Debra, thinking that Skinner (a serial killer who tortured his victims to death) jumped to his death to avoid arrest, says he 'took the chickeny way out'.
  • Doc: In "Smoke in Your Eyes", Nellie's father learns that his chronic smoking has given him esophageal cancer. After finding out how unlikely he is to beat it, he gives up and asks Doc to turn off his pacemaker after he completes a dollhouse for his granddaughter. Dr. Hebert fights back by taking the dollhouse apart and ultimately loses his patience and chews his father-in-law out for being selfish. He says that as a father himself, he dreads the day that Gracie will see him relatively helpless more than death, but he suspects that Gracie won't feel that way, and Nellie definitely doesn't. This ultimately pulls the man out of it.
  • Doctor Who: In "Extremis", the Vatican seeks the Doctor's help with a Deadly Book called The Veritas it has in its possession. The book was recently translated, and all who worked on the translation killed themselves. As Cardinal Angelo notes, all of the translators were devout Catholics aware that suicide would be considered a mortal sin — and yet they did it anyway.
  • Played with in Downton Abbey, where Thomas's suicide attempt seems to be viewed as shameful by the more old-fashioned Carson but treated with sympathy by the rest of the cast.
  • Foyle's War has this as part of Deliberate Values Dissonance.
    • In "The French Drop", an incompetent intelligence officer gets one of his men killed by sending him on a mission with bad information. To cover it up, the officer stages a scene that makes it appear as though the man killed himself, and the investigation kicks off when the man's father refuses to believe his courageous son would do something that "shameful". Foyle is outraged when he works it out; falsifying the cause of death was bad enough, but faking a suicide is tantamount to slander. Unfortunately, exingencies of the war force Foyle to be complicit in the cover-up.
    • Foyle's goddaughter attempts to drown herself but is rescued. One of the sisters at the hospital tuts over her sin.
  • Guardian: The Lonely and Great God: Wang Yeo realizes at the end of the series that every reaper is a sinner because they committed suicide in their life and they're made into reapers as punishment as well as to make them realize how precious life is.
  • Horatio Hornblower: In "The Even Chance", Midshipman Hornblower gets bullied by Jack Simpson, a sadistic midshipman — and the abuse is so bad that Horatio wants to die and considers suicide. His fellow middie Clayton mentions that suicide is a sin in God's eyes, paraphrasing Shakespeare's Hamlet.
    Clayton: Horatio?
    Hornblower: Death. [long pause] I was thinking on death.
    Clayton: Whose?
    Hornblower: Mine.
    Clayton: Darned unsporting of the Everlasting to fix his canon against self-slaughter, if you ask me.
  • Interview with the Vampire (2022): Louis de Pointe du Lac's family is Catholic, and when his brother Paul kills himself in front of him in the pilot, his mother says Paul must be in Hell now (per Catholic belief at the time) while their priest tries to pass his fall off as accidental instead so they can avoid thinking this.
  • Law & Order: Special Victims Unit: In the episode "Hell", Elijah tries to kill himself in the church, but Theo and Stabler successfully talk him out of it. However, he decides to die on his own terms by pressing others to do the job for him.
  • Legend of the Seeker: The Sisters of the Light believe suicide is an offense to the Creator. Thus the Prelate claims she covered up a Sister's apparent suicide to save her reputation (it turns out that she was actually murdered).
  • In Monday Mornings, one patient of the week is brought badly hurt, and everybody assumes he was a jumper because a witness reported he had seen him fall from a roof. The team are reluctant to treat him, feeling he just sucks money from the system; they might cure him, but he would soon try to kill himself again. He might end up an organ donor but they actually need organs for him. The team's attitude changes when they find out that he had been pushed. Dr. Hooten, their boss, is extremely harsh on them later because suicidal people are and should be considered ill, not losers unwilling to live.
  • The Outer Limits (1995): "Afterlife" has a soldier on death row whose execution is faked who's "volunteered" to undergo a secret experiment. They specifically chose him as he's a devout Catholic, so he won't refuse the offer as the alternative is death, which to him would be suicide.
  • In the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Ethics" and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episodes "Sons of Mogh" and "Children of Time" Klingons' ideas on suicide are discussed. They believe in this trope, except in certain circumstances like paralysis, or loss of honor. Even then, they ask for someone else (usually a son or other family member) to kill them in lieu of doing it themselves. The only self-inflicted suicide that seems to be honorable is one that kills an enemy at the same time.
  • Subverted towards the end of season 2 of Waterloo Road: teacher Lorna Dickie has taken her own life because she has been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, and a creationist who is trying to take over the school by funding a Corrupt Corporate Executive's bid to upgrade it to an academy tries to hijack her memorial service and condemn her suicide as a sin, but deputy head teacher Andrew Treneman steps up to challenge the creationist's views, even going so far as to challenge God to strike him down.

  • The narrative of Sara Evans' "Bible Song" focuses on a suicide, and questions how the dead man's widow can explain "the sorry thing Daddy did" to their children.
  • Avenged Sevenfold's "I won't see you tonight, part 2" is a response to the suicide note song that is part one, with lyrics about the anger and upset the previous author's decision to commit suicide has caused.

  • An episode of The Whistler involves a suicide for life insurance. It is explicitly stated that the policy would pay out even in the event of suicide, but the person in question still goes to the trouble of staging a Suicide, Not Murder scheme (even hiring an accomplice despite being in serious money trouble), solely to spare his family the pain of knowing he had killed himself. It ends as a Happily Failed Suicide.

  • Catholic teaching has long viewed suicide as self-murder, an unforgivable sin which is exacerbated by the person who committed it no longer being alive to answer for it. The punishment is traditionally eternal damnation in Hell. The idea is that only God is allowed to take one's life away. Because this teaching is much stronger in Catholicism than in other branches of Christianity, this is why some works make it a point to show how Catholics are particularly affected when a loved one dies by suicide, believing that they're definitely in Hell for all eternity. But in more recent years, the Catholic Church has been easing away from this. Since the criteria for a "mortal sin" requires that it be committed willingly and with full knowledge of the implications of it, the Church now recognizes that because of such issues as depression and mental illness, not all who die by suicide are necessarily doing so "willingly". They've also recognized that suicide doesn't always lead to instant death, which may allow someone one last chance to ask God for forgiveness before dying.
    Catechism sec. 2283: "We should not despair of the eternal salvation of persons who have taken their own lives."
  • Islam technically completely forbids suicide. However, the definition of "suicide" is narrower than most. For instance, like modern Catholicism, it does not include people who aren't fully aware of what they're doing (including children and the insane) — the idea is that Allah will not hold them responsible for their actions. It also doesn't include suicidally risky behaviour. But interestingly, it technically does include suicide bombers, despite the militant Islamist suicide bomber becoming a pretty well-known archetype who seems pretty convinced he is going to heaven.note  It turns out that martyrdom in the name of Islam, while considered a very worthy death, only applies to death on the battlefield — i.e. someone else does the killing. That's when you realise that the first recorded Islamist suicide bombing was in 1983.
  • Inverted by a few cultures who present suicide as honourable — so much so that it would be shameful not to commit suicide. The Roman Empire and feudal Japan were particularly known for it, especially in cases where one's honour was already impugned and Forgiveness Requires Death. They even ritualised suicide for this purpose (e.g. Seppuku or the Bath Suicide), but any outside of this would be considered dishonorable. Other cultures had a tradition of widows committing suicide, such as the old Indian tradition of sati — in some cases, this was so that the invaders who killed their husbands wouldn't have the chance to finish them. The Aztecs even ensured that the state would take care of the children in such cases. And Mayan culture, which had all sorts of gods dedicated to different kinds of death, had one dedicated to suicide, Ixtab — and they believed that those who killed themselves went directly to heaven.

  • In the play Emilia Galotti by Gotthold Ephraim Lessing, the main character demands her father kill her in the end, and he stabs her. While she lies dying, she argues her father is not to blame because she wanted to be killed, so that he will not be regarded as a murderer afterwards, but he replies by taking the blame on himself and denying that her death was suicide, because if it was suicide, she could not get a proper Christian burial. Technically it might not be deemed suicide, though it's probably suicide by proxy. She is wrong that this wouldn't be considered murder, at least legally, as well.
  • Hamlet:
    • There is Hamlet's famous pondering whether it's better to be alive or dead and how he would kill himself if he weren't afraid it would damn his soul, especially in his "To Be or Not to Be" soliloquy but it appears throughout the play.
      "Thaw, and resolve itself into a dew,
      Or that the Everlasting had not fixed
      His canon 'gainst self-slaughter! O God, God!"
    • A subplot of the play involved trying to decide if Ophelia drowned herself on purpose or not. If it were to be determined a suicide, she would have not been allowed Christian burial rites, which according to the belief of the characters would have denied her soul entry to heaven. Interestingly, Ophelia's burial scene implies that Shakespeare himself did not agree with this view; the priest who buries her does so with the absolute minimum of rites and openly tells her grieving brother that he only did that much because he was ordered to bury the noble-born Ophelia by the king and "for charitable prayers/ Shards, flints, and pebbles should be thrown on her". The brother retorts "I tell thee, churlish priest/ A ministering angel shall my sister be/ When thou liest howling". The priest does not get to reply, allowing this condemnation of the Church's No Sympathy attitude to suicides to be the last word on the subject.
  • In Liliom, the title character is posthumously arrested and sent to a heavenly police court for suicide cases, who are Barred from the Afterlife on account of the Unfinished Business they left when they killed themselves.
  • Weaponized in Ruddigore. The Barons of Ruddigore are cursed so that they must commit a sin every day or die horribly. After being told that his Poke the Poodle acts of evil will no longer count, the current Baron realizes that since not committing a great sin is tantamount to suicide for him, and suicide is a great sin in and of itself, all he has to do to meet the conditions of the curse is nothing. The curse then vanishes in a Puff of Logic.

    Video Games 
  • In Arcanum, the elves of Qintarra ask you to investigate a murder, and one conclusion you can reach is that the victim was insane and took his own life in the hopes of framing one of his enemies. The elves are horrified by this, believing it to be an abomination against nature that will deny his soul any chance of reincarnation.
  • In Bitlife, suicide earns you the Wasteful ribbon. Worst-case scenario: no one bothers to show up at your character's funeral.
  • In Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, using the "Last Stand" perk allows you to survive otherwise-fatal hits by getting knocked down, where you can only use your pistol and die in either a single shot or after ten seconds. Holding the Use button to skip it and get to respawning is labeled the "Coward's Way Out".
  • In Crusader Kings, suicide generates a huge opinion penalty from every single other character in the game. This obviously wouldn't matter, except that half of such penalties are then applied against the character's successor, so the player's next character will have to deal with the stigma of their predecessor (usually father) committing suicide. This makes it much harder to use suicide as a tactical way to manipulate truces and inheritance law and stuff.
  • In Disgaea: Hour of Darkness, Laharl's mother became a Prinny (dead human souls who are placed into the body of stuffed penguins to work off their sins) after she committed suicide to save her son's life. Disgaea D2: A Brighter Darkness revealed that she would have become an angel upon her death because she had otherwise lived a virtuous life and it was a noble sacrifice, but she was pregnant at the time and willingly passed on that right to her unborn daughter.
  • Dante's Inferno has the Forest of Suicides from the poem, where Dante finds his own mother, despite his father's claim that she died of a fever.
  • Implied in The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion's Shivering Isles expansion, which has a location called the Hill of Suicides haunted by the souls of several NPCs. Another character in the Isles suffers from suicidal depression but is terrified of his soul ending up on the Hill, so he decides to try some Loophole Abuse by hiring you to kill him.
  • In Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers, after killing the Four Cardinal Virtues, the barmaid Cyella eventually reveals that she is the Shadowkeeper, The Man Behind the Man who manipulated the Warriors of Light in a series of events that lead to the Flood of Light. Once she's told you her story, she invites you to kill her for her part in the devastation the First had suffered. But like Ardbert in the past, the current Warrior of Light refuses to strike her down, insisting that she needs to live to properly atone for what she did as a servant of the Ascians. Eventually, Cyella sees the truth in it, that dying now would just be her running from her past mistakes.
  • In Grand Theft Auto V, you can take a pill to kill yourself should you get stuck. If done in multiplayer, the game will announce that you "took the easy way out".
  • At the end of the second episode of Life Is Strange, you have to talk down Christian student Kate Marsh from jumping off the dorm building. You have to choose between two Bible quotes and telling her that suicide is a sin that will send her to hell. If you pick the latter, they'll respond that it doesn't matter and will jump to their death.
  • Metal Gear: In Peace Walker, Big Boss refuses to Mercy Kill Chico at Amanda's request for this reason. Also, in MGS4, he commends Solid Snake for not going through with blowing his brains out, remarking there's "no need for [him] to go just yet." Of course, he also ends up switching off Major Zero's life support in the same conversation, but that was to finally put an end to the Patriots, and by that point, Zero was nothing but a brain-dead vegetable.
    Big Boss: Amanda, we gave up our homes. But we're still alive. We're still fighting. And there's always another reason to keep on living.
  • Magi in the Nasuverse must follow the "Grand Order," the highest law of magecraft: to live on and sire an heir to inherit their Magic Crest, a Power Tattoo signifying their bloodline's accumulated years of magical knowledge. This isn't merely a rule, but also a geas inherent within all Magic Crests compelling the magi who owns them from never being able to commit suicide, as defying the Grand Order and willingly ending their bloodline would be the worst possible thing they could ever do. Fate/Grand Order reveals that this ideal was propagated as part of an Ancient Conspiracy. When modern magecraft was created, seventy-two demons were imbued in seventy-two Magic Crests, and the idea that suicide was the worst possible thing a magus could do was enforced to allow these demons to survive three thousand years. As they were compelled to live on for as long as they can, these magical bloodlines became unwitting Manchurian agents for when the time was right to enact the conspiracy.
  • Parodied in The Outer Worlds: In the Company Town of Edgewater, owned by the Spacer's Choice MegaCorp, suicide is treated as "irreparable damage to company property" and your closest living family member will be forced to pay for said damages. And by that, they mean whichever random person was physically closest to you when you died, because you're all part of the Spacer's Choice family!
  • In Vampyr, one of the hints for Mortimer Goswick reveals that he's in hospital because of an attempted suicide. While Johnathon doesn't judge him too harshly, it's noted that it's still a crime in Britain during the years the game's set in, and seeking help for his depression could, ironically, doom him.

  • In a side comic of Dan and Mab's Furry Adventures it's revealed that Matilda was banished from her tribe because she supposedly killed her brother. In reality, her brother had committed suicide and she covered it up by claiming she had killed him to hide the shame.
  • In Jack, suicides go to hell. On average they seem to have an easier time earning reincarnation than most others damned though.
  • In Joe vs. Elan School, Joe downplays this trope towards the end of the webcomic (precisely at Chapter 99: Asia), considering suicide as "A permanent solution to a temporary problem" when it comes to those who've lost their jobs or are going through a divorce. Completely averted when it comes to Elan itself.
  • In Something*Positive, Davan tries to insult his friend Scotty out of his overdose-induced coma. Scotty flatlined. At the open casket funeral, Davan is so furious that Scotty killed himself instead of coming to his friends and family with his problems that he throttles Scotty's corpse.
    • In the years since then the comic has shifted on how Scotty's death is discussed, with characters admitting that they miss him and wish things didn't turn out as they did. A flashback in 2007 deconstructs how his death was originally depicted: It begins with Scotty watching a televangelist call Judas a coward for his death, before showing that not only did he feel too guilty to respond to Davan after months of avoiding him, but that he and Donna were the only people even trying to help in the first place. The story ends with Scotty's father angrily knocking on his door and accusing him of faking depression as an excuse for laziness, unaware his son is dying.

    Western Animation 
  • Final Space: After Avocado, who had died earlier but was brought back to life via Gary time travelling, Confesses to Gary that he wasn't Little Cato's real father and in reality killed his biological parents, he tells Gary that he shouldn't have brought him back. Gary snaps that he doesn't get to take the easy way out.
  • Hazbin Hotel: Alastor actively tries to discourage people from hanging themselves in "The Family Friendly Noose Song",note  along with explaining other practical uses for a noose rather than killing yourself.
  • The Simpsons, "Million Dollar Abie": When Marge hears that Abe wanted to be euthanized, she is quite shocked and says that suicide is a sin.
    Marge: Suicide?! Grampa, killing yourself is a sin. God wants us to die of old age after years of pain and reduced mobility.


Video Example(s):


Daisuke stops Ken

Daisuke manages to talk Ken out of killing himself in an explosion by reminding him of all the people he'd be hurting and how he can't make amends for all the evil he did as the Digimon Kaiser if he's dead.

How well does it match the trope?

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Example of:

Main / LifeSavingEncouragement

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