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The Final Temptation

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When the plot (usually courtesy of the antagonist), in a last ditch effort, tempts the hero into abandoning his potentially painful and tragic cause to pursue what would be a fairly ordinary and happy life, especially with a vision or daydream of said situation. The true hero, naturally, doesn't fall for this, or at least acknowledges he has a higher calling.

Occasionally, the dream implies whatever the hero was doing has been done somehow, and they shouldn't worry about it now. Although sometimes the quest still exists but is suddenly someone else's problem.

Different from All Just a Dream in that the audience usually isn't supposed to be fooled by this; not everyone in the "dream" plays along, and usually a friend of the hero or a vision of them appears in the fantasy, outright confirming it's fake.

This might be the fantasy conjured up by a Lotus-Eater Machine, and often fails when it overplays its promise. May be used in conjunction with More than Mind Control, though the villain has the added burden of first convincing the victim the offer is what they want.

The name is drawn from the novel and film The Last Temptation of Christ, in which Satan tempts the dying Jesus with a vision of a long and happy life where he gets to marry Mary Magdalene and raise a family as a simple farmer.

Compare We Can Rule Together. See also "Leave Your Quest" Test, but without a supernatural slide show. Contrast Nightmare of Normality, where the "temptation" element is omitted, and Cuckoo Nest, where heroes are tricked into thinking they're madmen with delusions of heroism. Not to be confused with the last temptation in T. S. Eliot's Murder in the Cathedral.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In the last episode of Angel Sanctuary Setsuna creates a picture perfect world in which there are no angels fighting, Sara is not his sister and mass destruction has not occurred. It doesn't last long, of course.
  • Inverted in Berserk. Shortly before being given the option to kick several loyal and innocent dogs in horrifying and gruesome fashion in exchange for a divinely powerful new form, Griffith experiences a vivid dream or vision of living a quiet, content life married to Casca and raising a child together. Thing is, in the vision he's still crippled, will never attain the greatness he always believed he was capable of, and the child is implied to be Guts and Casca's, not Griffith's. It's not truly an idyllic life, just the best he can realistically hope for without supernatural intervention, and he attempts to off himself rather than submit to it before another option is offered. The vision isn't an attempt to get him to Refuse the Call, but to show him just how screwed he is to tempt him to make a Deal with the Devil.
  • In Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, at the very end of the series, as Muzan accepts his impending death with a newfound hope in forcing Tanjiro to become his successor by transforming him into a demon, the two have a mental world debacle where Muzan tries all he can to convince Tanjiro to inherit his will to terminate the Demon Slayer Corps by appealing to what Muzan believes to be the greatest advantages of being a demon: immortality, even more so in Tanjiro's case since he had overcome their most damming weakness, sunlight. Tanjiro, however, in that mental world keeps his strong human ideals, even if his demon body is rampaging outside, and with the help of all of his living and fallen slayer colleagues calling upon his name Tanjiro is rendered completely immune to Muzan's attempt of corrupting his mind, the fallen demon king is reduced to childishly begging Tanjiro not to leave him alone.
  • The episode where this happened to all of the Digidestined (except Daisuke/Davis) in Digimon Adventure 02 was actually titled "The Last Temptation of the DigiDestined". Daisuke/Davis was actually able to avoid the effects because, unlike the other brooding heroes of the series, Daisuke/Davis was perfectly happy as he was.
    • This example crosses over with Lotus-Eater Machine, as the Big Bad used his powers to trap the DigiDestined in illusions not just designed to distract them, but that were actually based on their deepest desires.
  • Arguably, Ergo Proxy provides an example of this trope as Vincent dreams/conjures/creates a version of Romdeau in which he holds the high position of Head of Security, Real is his fiancée and Deadelus her friendly genius kid brother.
  • In the final arc of Full Metal Panic!, Sofia (the Whisperer) attempts to convince Kaname to willingly go along with her and Leonard's plans to alter history by showing a vision of a timeline in which Sousuke was an Ordinary High-School Student rather than a Child Soldier whose past is full of pain and loss. When normal!Sousuke confesses to Kaname she almost goes along with it...but then she sees that his face lacks Sousuke's distinctive scars and rejects the offer, saying that while normal!Sousuke might be a perfectly sweet guy he's not the same Sousuke who she fell in love with, and she accepts the world for what it is, for better and for worsenote .
  • In Fushigi Yuugi, Miaka is given the opportunity to take the "Kudoku" potion, which would make her forget all about her own world, her conflict with Yui, Tamahome, and all the trouble that being Suzaku no Miko has brought her. She would then live a "normal" life in the book as Amiboshi's girlfriend. She ultimately decides not to do that, because as much trouble as her role has brought her, it's brought her a lot of good things, too.
  • GaoGaiGar has this happen during the TV Series has Gai being shown a vision of himself awakening from a two year coma. He of course breaks free using the power of HotBlood.
  • In the fourth Haruhi Suzumiya novel, Kyon finds himself in a world without any of the former supernatural elements (gods, aliens, time travelers, etc...), and no one else remembers the world being any other way. A Memory Gambit of sorts by Yuki leads Kyon to a one-time opportunity to choose between staying and having ordinary fun with a depowered SOS Brigade and a Moe Yuki (!!!) who has a crush on him... and trying to revert the world. Kyon chooses the latter, showing that he really does like strange and exciting things no matter how he complains. The fact that Yuki wanted to be a normal schoolgirl "free of her old duties" yet gave Kyon the option to change things back means it's somewhat of a Last Temptation for her, too, and he knows it.
  • Whilst not the main protagonist, Fate Testarossa undergoes this in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's. The sympathetic antagonist of the season puts Fate into a Lotus-Eater Machine as an act of mercy, to let her (who has gone through a couple of hells in her life without ever being truly happy) experience a happy family life before she dies along with the rest of the Earth. Fate, being Fate, realizes that any world where she can be this happy is being too good to her and is therefore fake, then proceeds to break out of the illusion and continues to fight. Yes, Fate may not be the protagonist of the series, but if it's the Lawful Good hero you are looking for—that would be her.
  • Martian Successor Nadesico sees the crew of the titular Cool Ship deserting it late in the series and trying to find happiness in the normal lives they had before... only to fail miserably and return to battle like real heroes should.
  • In the anime My-HiME, Mai experiences this at one of her lowest points courtesy of another HiME's powers. Her temptation is an idyllic life free of the many tragedies that have afflicted Mai's thus far but she rejects it for harsh reality. (And mind you, this is not even her last temptation; that would be the temptation to remake the world to her liking, which she eventually rejects as well.)
  • In Naruto, Obito tries to tempt Kakashi by showing him illusions of Obito and Rin as children, saying Kakashi can have all of that again in Obito's illusion world. Kakashi, however, instantly rejects this.
  • Negima! Magister Negi Magi has Evangeline trying to convince Setsuna to give up her swordsmanship in favor of living the life of a normal girl. It doesn't go as planned. Maybe.
    • In chapter 296, Zazie 297 spoiler  appears to be springing a Lotus-Eater Machine version on one or more of the members of Ala Alba, giving them all their greatest desires, and the only way to escape is to reject it. What does Negi experience? He finally gets to be with his parents.
  • The infamous Schoolyard Comedy sequence in the final episode of Neon Genesis Evangelion. It's up for debate whether Shinji's fantasy world was a real possibility or just an Instrumentality-induced illusion, which is probably intended.
  • The main characters of Ojamajo Doremi are faced with one by the Big Bad in the season 2 finale. Onpu has a chance to be with her Workaholic father, Hazuki has a better relationship with her mother, Aiko sees her divorced parents get back together, and Doremi is offered steak. By now, they have grown to the point where all of them refuse the illusion and continue on their mission to cure their adopted daughter.
  • The Solo crew in Space Runaway Ideon are tempted to leave Solo Ship and Ideon behind in Earth or Buff Clan's possession, ending their hopeless and endless Stern Chase across the universe for good. Eventually, they don't and it doesn't end well.
  • This happens to Tenchi near the end of Tenchi in Tokyo, in which the temptation is to be with his girlfriend Sakuya forever in a dream world after she was erased from the real world. This comes after the revelation that Sakuya was created by Yugi for the sole purpose of preventing Tenchi from being able to stop Yugi's evil plan. Ironically, it's Sakuya herself (having gained a will of her own) who gets Tenchi to leave, at the cost of her own life.
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann:
    • One in the form of a Lotus-Eater Machine imposed by the Anti-Spirals. Particularly touching in that it shows Viral (originally a Noble Demon mortal enemy of the protagonists who eventually sides with them out of necessity), who can't reproduce, with a wife and child in the dream world, who he has to leave behind to return to the battle.
      Viral: And I was having such a sappy dream, too.
    • Not to forget Simon, who is with Kamina again, although they're scavengers stealing from the beast men. The real Kamina shows up, and Simon points out that there's two of him (a sniveling, falsely apologetic scavenger, and the Dai-Gurren leader). Kamina just tells him to "choose the one you want." To twist the knife even further on this, after Kamina convinces Simon to reject the temptation, we're given a brief look at all of the potential lives Simon could have had, including one where he's holding up an infant which is presumably his and Nia's potential child. Knowing that Nia does not survive the ensuing battle only makes Simon's choice hurt that much more.
  • In Weiß Kreuz Gluhen, Tsujii offers Yoji the opportunity to have his memory wiped of Asuka's death and all of the other tragedies that he's suffered since joining Weiss. He's in bad enough shape emotionally that the prospect of forgetting is enough to goad him into briefly turning on Aya, but the stalemate is interrupted by an explosion that knocks them both off their feet, and ultimately he chooses to stick with his teammates.

    Comic Books 
  • There's a part in Catwoman in which the titular character ends up in a weird mind-control machine on some other planet somewhere. She's invincible and feared by everyone; it takes a lot for Lex Luthor to get her to snap out of it.
  • In Dark Nights: Death Metal, The Darkest Knight attempts to do this with Diana, offering to give her and her allies and foes a paradise world if she allowed him to murder Perpetua's kind, noting that she has no idea what would happen if Diana stopped him. Thankfully, she rejects him and her actions allow her to rebuild the multiverse better than ever.
  • Defenders: Beyond: Glorian offers the non-team a world where they get everything they want. America Chavez momentarily considers the possibility of a perfect world... but only for a moment, before saying "no". Taaia backs her up, saying Glorian's conjured world is a fake, and rejecting his offer to keep trying, asking what the point would be in a world where the Powers That Be just reboot it over and over again in search of a perfect fix.
  • In Earth 2, the Grey tempts Alan Scott (Green Lantern) with an apparition of his dead lover Sam.
  • Happens during the second arc of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic (IDW). Spike finds Rarity in a lavish throne room, and she offers him a chance to live together as king and queen — all he has to do is forget his past. Suspicious, Spike shows her the fire ruby he gave her to see if she recognizes it. When she doesn't, he refuses her offer, and the room fades, leaving the corrupted Nightmare Rarity in her place.
  • The Alan Moore story For the Man Who Has Everything, in which Superman's mind is trapped in an illusion induced by an evil plant called the Black Mercy, depicting him living a happy life on an intact planet Krypton (though it's gradually shown to be increasingly dystopic and unstable, presumably as a result of Superman's subconscious fighting against the illusion). He later breaks free of it through sheer force of will, then turns his full unstoppable fury on Mongul, the guy who put him into the illusion. This is one of the few times we witness Superman go all out on someone with intent to kill, and it's both awesome and terrifying.
    Superman: Burn.
  • The Legend of Wonder Woman (2016): Zeus tries to temp Diana to accept a position as his champion by offering to reunite her with her mother and people, however due to his complete inability to understand her motivations he also seems to think that informing her he intends to use her to almost entirely wipe out humanity and turn the remnants into his brutally subjugated slaves will help him win her over and she turns him down even knowing she's probably dooming her people to ruin and will never see her mother again.
  • In the final volume of Scott Pilgrim, having lost his girlfriend Ramona, the title character seeks solace when he's summoned by his good friend (and ex-girlfriend) Kim Pine into a wilderness sabbatical. Scott kisses Kim, having realized she's always been there for him. Kim lets her feelings for Scott bubble to the surface by initially reciprocating, but denies him and tells him to fight for Ramona, since that's who he loves. It's an impactful temptation for both of them, but Kim wants Scott to be happy, even if it's not with her.

    Fan Works 
  • Child of the Storm: At the very climax of the first book's Final Battle, Chthon tries to tempt Harry into allowing his possession by offering him the power to resurrect his mother and create his perfect world. This ultimately fails, as after a reminder from his loved ones, the tempted character remembers that they've never wanted that kind of power in the first place and he casts Chthon out.
  • Chronomistress: Out of Time: Queen Chrysalis, who traps people in blissful illusions so that she can feed on their emotions, makes one last desperate bid to offer this to the protagonist who is escaping her lair.
  • The Dimensional War: Finn, thanks to Poe's training, manages to fly a ship close to Ganondorf, who had managed to defeat Rey. The Prince of Darkness offers Finn the chance to leave the battle and live happily ever after, reminding him all the times he got abused by people, including his own allies. If Finn shoots him, the two become bitter enemies, and the ex-trooper leads the rebellion that eventually destroys Hell. If Finn accepts the offer, he spends a life in regret after Ganondorf triumphs.
  • In the Empath: The Luckiest Smurf story "Smurfed Behind: Smurfing In Heaven", Ares secretly attempts to have Empath join him by first giving him the illusory promise of being with his fellow Smurfs again in Elysium, until Empath saw through the charade and realized that the Elysium and the Tartarus he was in were both illusions. Ares tries again by promising him godhood in exchange for drinking blood from the Chalice of Conquest, and Empath seems to fall for it...until Hermes rescues him just as he was about to drink from the cup, saying that it would have turned him into another of Ares' demons.
  • The Equestrian Wind Mage: During the final fight with Sombra at the end of Season 1, he casts an illusion on Vaati that shows him gaining everything he's ever wanted (control of Hyrule, Zelda by his side, etc.) if just goes back to evil. And it almost works, until Luna intrudes on the vision and reminds Vaati of the bonds he's made in Equestria, which is enough to give him the strength to fight off the illusion and the temptation.
  • In the JLA Watchtower universe, Hades attempted to persuade Omen to his side, and convince her to let him kill the Titans so that they could go to Elysium, instead of letting her and Troia return to life with them. They would have a life in paradise as innocent children, with Omen taking Persephone's place as Queen of the Dead. Hades also broadly hinted at why heroes get a revolving door at the afterlife...and this was written 4 years before Blackest Night!
  • In Perfection Is Overrated, an example similar to My-HiME happens, only this time, Yukariko is doing it to Natsuki, offering her a world in which not only are her parents and dog still there, but so is everyone else she's met at Fuuka Academy. Natsuki comes to the realization that she can never get back what she's lost, but she can move forward, and frees herself from the illusion. The chapter in which this takes place is even called "Last Temptation".
  • In the MLP fic Rainbooms and Royalty (an AU where Rainbow Dash became Celestia's student instead of Twilight), Nightmare Moon, like in canon, tempts Rainbow Dash just prior to the Final Battle. It is much darker, however, in this story. Rather than offer her the captaincy of the Shadowbolts, Nightmare Moon commiserates with her, pointing out that she too knows how it feels that have one's self and achievements overlooked in favor of another. She tries to plant seeds of doubt in Rainbow's mind about whether Celestia truly cared for her or even understood her, or whether she was just using Rainbow as a weapon. Nightmare Moon then offers all of Rainbow's goals and fondest desires to her, namely a spot on the Wonderbolts and Shining Armor's love. And not just that, but she offers to fulfill all of her friends' wishes as well if Rainbow would proclaim loyalty to her. Finally, she points out that with Celestia gone, she was the only one capable of controlling the sun and the moon, and was thus indispensable to Equestria. Despite heavy temptation and inner turmoil, Rainbow resists with a simple realization: Celestia loved her, and all Nightmare Moon cared about was her own self-gratification.

    Films — Animation 
  • In Barbie & The Diamond Castle, the heroines come across an isolated mansion and are told that it now belongs to them. As it would provide them with more food and dresses than they ever had before, Alexa wants to stay, while Liana feels they should continue on to the Diamond Castle to save the world from being robbed of all music. The two girls split up, but it turns out the mansion was just a trap set by the villain, and Alexa is promptly captured.
  • Dr. Facilier of The Princess and the Frog tempts Tiana with a vision of the restaurant she's been trying to open her entire life, in one of the straightest applications of this trope. Double points for Dr. Facilier's name. "Facile" means "easy" in French. Yep. The villain in this movie is essentially the embodiment of "taking the easy route."
  • Samwise Gamgee's temptation is played up in the animated The Return of the King. It comes in an intense A God Am I fantasy that pulls him within a second of being consumed by the Ruling Ring before his conscience rebelled.
  • In Superman: Brainiac Attacks, Superman has to go fetch some Applied Phlebotinum from the Phantom Zone to save Lois Lane and defeat Brainiac. It seems like he's done it and got back, and cured Lois and revealed his secret identity, and they're officially together now. When she starts talking about forgetting about defeating Brainiac, he realises it's all just a Lotus-Eater Machine that the Phantom Zone is using to keep him from escaping, and breaks free of the illusion.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In the Apocalypse film series movie Revelation, the Antichrist Franco Macalousso through his Digital Avatar tempts Thorold Stone with the promise of being reunited with his wife and daughter in exchange for accepting Macalousso as the Messiah and taking the Mark of the Beast. Stone ultimately refuses to accept, as he knows where his wife and daughter really are.
  • Jesus (1999) has Satan turn up during the agony in the Gethsemane Garden, giving Jesus a vision of the world that is to come through His death and resurrection - namely, people using Jesus as an excuse to execute outcasts, wage wars, and die in vain - and impresses upon Jesus that none of this will come to pass if he just gives up and begs his father (ergo God) to deliver him from his suffering to come. Interestingly, Satan's plea does not involve his own authority, just Jesus derailing the divine plan by conceding to his own human weakness.
  • Jareth does this at the climax of Labyrinth, offering Sarah himself and all her fantasies come true if she stays with him. He is undone with six words: "You have no power over me."
  • Referenced by name in Martin Scorsese's The Last Temptation of Christ complete with the vision of having a normal married sex-life and children. In the temptation vision, Jesus actually meets the apostle Paul who tells him that he will preach the risen Christ regardless of whether Jesus is crucified.
  • The Lord of the Rings: As said in the Literature folder, Galadriel's moment of this happens when Frodo offers her the Ring, reasoning it will be safe in Lothlorien since Sauron can't get there. Galadriel is instead tempted to use it herself, but overcomes it and says that she will remain herself, and go into the West like her other kin.
    Galadriel: In place of a Dark Lord, you would have a queen! Not dark, but beautiful and terrible as the dawn! Treacherous as the sea! Stronger than the foundations of the earth! All shall love me, and despair!
  • Cypher has fallen prey to one in the original The Matrix, before the movie started. He has seen the Crapsack World "Real" world, of ruins and darkness and decided he would much rather live out his life in the computer-generated dream world that is the Matrix. The Machines gladly offer him any status he wants in the Matrix in exchange for a betrayal of his friends in the real world. His role is the same as Judas in the Bible.
  • Star Trek: Generations:
    • The Nexus, which offers to anyone who enters their happiest fantasies come to life. It doesn't work on Picard. He is always at his happiest when on the Enterprise, and the Nexus deprives him of that, giving him the chance to see through the illusion. Even so, the chance to see his beloved (but recently deceased) nephew again and to live with the family his career never left time for is almost enough to tempt him into staying, if lives weren't hanging in the balance
    • It doesn't (permanently) work on Kirk, either, at least not once Picard tells him it's all an illusion. Kirk is enough of a thrill junkie that he needs an element of danger, or at least to believe there is one, in order to be happy.
    • The lure of the Nexus is so powerful that the Big Bad of the film is willing to sacrifice billions of lives to get back to it after having been unwillingly pulled out a century earlier.
  • Suicide Squad (2016) has a scene at the end where the Enchantress tells the Task Force X members she can give them whatever they want, including bringing back dead loved ones, and shows each person present a vision of what they most desire. Harley Quinn seems like she's going to side with her only to say "There's one problem: you messed with my friends!" and attacks her.
  • Zack Snyder's Justice League: Cyborg is plugged into the Mother Boxes, determined to stop them from synchronizing and unleashing the Unity, which will render the Earth into a fiery apocalyptic wasteland and convert all life into more forces for Darkseid's cause. The Boxes try to tempt Cyborg with a vision of his dead parents and his original body being restored, promising him that if he lets them do their work, he can be reunited with them, no longer broken or alone. Cyborg goes Shut Up, Hannibal! to them, asserting that he's not broken or alone.

  • Achilles is told early on that if he does not go to the war he will find peace and have a family of his own but he will eventually be forgotten; if he goes to Troy, his name will last for eternity but he will die there. Guess which one he took.
  • In And Eternity, Satan offers Orlene precisely this type of temptation. In exchange for a small favor merely asking Luna to abstain from a key vote. Luna's response is not relevant to this deal., he offers Orlene her baby. Getting her baby back has been her entire goal through the novel. Jolie even observes "He is Tempting her." Orlene's decision here to refuse seals her fate — she becomes the Goddess.
  • One of the earlier examples is from G. K. Chesterton's book The Ball and The Cross: At the pinnacle of an extended metaphor revolving around the eponymous shapes, "Professor" Lucifer successively tempts the two protagonists (a Catholic and an Atheist) with monarchic and anarchistic utopias, respectively. Both refuse his offer by falling out of the airship, the first trusting in miracles and the second in the fact that he's probably dreaming.
  • In The Belgariad, farmboy-turned-hero Garion is on his way to confront the Dark God, Torak, when he begins dreaming of a life in which he is not orphaned, with the implication that Torak could make it happen if Garion gives up the quest to slay him. Garion sees through it with the help of the Light Prophecy, and delivers a defiant Shut Up, Hannibal!.
  • In Blood Promise, Strigoi!Dimitri offers to turn Rose strigoi so they can be together. She comes very close to accepting.
  • In The Elenium, Azash resorts to this in desperation when his attempts to destroy Sparhawk are ineffective. First giving offers of power, he then creates illusions of gold and beautiful women to distract the knight, but the Troll-gods remove these.
  • In Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Voldemort tries tempting Harry with the promise of bringing his parents back to life if he hands over the titular stone. Harry refuses, and Voldemort reacts as well as you'd expect.
  • I, Lucifer has Jesus being tempted by Lucifer in order to sway him from sacrificing himself. Unlike the bible, Lucifer states he simply showed him a vision of the future in order to see if it would be worth it. The vision shakes Jesus' faith but God strikes the vision with lightning and Christ regains his resolve. Leading Luce to angrily point out God had cheated when aiding Jesus through his test.
  • In Jennifer Murdley's Toad, the Big Bad witch tries a last-ditch effort to persuade Jennifer to hand over her magical toad by showing her a vision of her as a beautiful blonde and telling her that she has the power to give her the beauty she's always wanted. Just to drive the point home even further, the chapter in which this happens is titled "The Temptation of Jennifer Murdley".
  • Nikos Kazantzakis' The Last Temptation of Christ, as detailed above.
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Ring offers one to everyone who holds it.
    • Frodo offering it to Gandalf leads to the latter being aghast and actually quite angry at Frodo.
      "With that power I should have power too great and terrible. And over me the Ring would gain a power still greater and more deadly....Do not tempt me! For I do not wish to become like the Dark Lord himself. Yet the way of the Ring to my heart is by pity, pity for weakness and the desire of strength to do good. Do not tempt me! I dare not take it, not even to keep it safe, unused. The wish to wield it would be too great for my strength. I shall have such need of it. Great perils lie before me."
    • Samwise Gamgee. Being the quintessential hobbit, this is attributed to his "plain hobbit sense." He imagines a garden the size of an entire realm, then realizes it'd be impossible to manage and unfulfilling to have servants do it for him. To reiterate: the Soul Jar of the most utterly evil thing to have ever lived in Middle Earth tries to tempt him, and completely fails. All Sam wants to do is be a gardener and just have a little garden of his own.
      The one small garden of a free gardener was all his need and due, not a garden swollen to a realm; his own hands to use, not the hands of others to command.
    • Frodo's visit to Lothlórien is also The Final Temptation for Galadriel, which is played up in the film as a "Leave Your Quest" Test with ominous lighting effects and a One-Winged Angel appearance for Dark Queen Galadriel.
  • The Science of Discworld: In the second book, the Elf Queen tries to stop Rincewind from assisting Roundworld's humanity by offering him his heart's desire. However, due to a long stint on a desert island, Rincewind's developed some odd ideas about what's tempting and what's not, so his great desire, rather than being the pleasures of the flesh is... potatoes. The Elf Queen is so baffled and outraged by this, she storms off. And Rincewind would've been happy with a humble bag of crisps.
  • Andre Norton's Storm Over Warlock: the telepathic Wyverns put Shann Lantee through a test involving illusions, including reunion with a pet he'd had a few years before — "the only thing Shann had ever known which he could love wholeheartedly...." To pass that part of the test, he had to force himself to recall in detail how his pet died, in pain from an injury Shann was powerless to heal. He was, understandably, in a rather bad mood for some time afterwards.
  • In The Wheel of Time, Nynaeve finds herself in a world where she and Lan have married, had kids, and settled down to peaceful farm life. Different from many examples in that the temptation is not created by a villain, but is part of a magical test she has to pass to join the Aes Sedai.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In 12 Monkeys, Cassandra faces this during the Grand Finale. Having successfully killed the Witness, she's in position to stop the countdown to the Reality-Breaking Paradox that the Army of the Twelve Monkeys are planning on unleashing to bring about the Red Forest. And having heard for years from the Twelve Monkeys how the Red Forest will be a paradise where she'll able to exist forever in a perfect moment with all the loved ones she's lost, she hesitates to stop it. Then Cole begs her to, pointing that out that happiness without end will be meaningless without loss to remind them how precious it really is. This convinces her shut down the paradox, saving time.
  • Doctor Who:
    • In the second season (2006) episode "School Reunion", the Krillatines offer the Doctor the chance to share in the power of the Skasis Paradigmn, allowing him to bring his people back from extinction.
    • In the third season (2007) episode Family of Blood, the Doctor, before deciding to change back to a Time Lord, sees a vision of himself as a human, marrying, having children, and growing old before dying peacefully in the knowledge that all his loved ones are safe from danger.
  • The Flash (2014): Season Six has a two-parter episode aptly named "The Last Temptation of Barry Allen". In the lead up to Crisis on Infinite Earths (2019) when Barry is fated to perform a Heroic Sacrifice so the Multiverse can survive, he's offered a chance to save everyone and survive by Ramsey Rosso aka Bloodwork. At first Barry seems willing to reject it believing it to be a lie, until the Speed Force informs him that Rosso isn't lying, causing Barry to explode into rage over being denied the chance to live happy with his family. At the end of Part 1, Barry ends up accepting Rosso's offer and lets himself get infected.
  • Game of Thrones: At the end of Season 2. Whether as a result of a Lotus-Eater Machine or simply a prophetic vision of what might have been, Daenerys sees the life she might have had with Drogo had he and her son lived. While visibly shaken, she leaves anyway to rescue her dragons, the only "children" she has left.
  • Good Omens (2019): The original Last Temptation is referenced; apparently Crowley was the one who showed Jesus all the kingdoms of the Earth. Except Crowley didn't intend it as a temptation, he just thought Jesus was a "bright young lad" who deserved to see the world.
    Crowley: Well he's a carpenter from Galilee, his traveling opportunities are limited.
  • On Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, Hades distracts Hercules from his task of rescuing Persephone by presenting him with his late wife and children. When Hercules takes up the task again, Hades disguises himself as Deinara in an attempt to make him look back.
  • Penny Dreadful: During the season 2 finale, Satan attempts this on Vanessa, presenting her a vision of being happily married to Ethan and having children with him, things the devil says she can have if she just gives in and lets him use her power to wage war on God.
  • Scrubs:
    • Not exactly the same sort of temptation, but fitting the trope: A season 1 episode introduces Dr Cox's friend Ben (an avid photographer who likes to take spontaneous pictures, claiming that 'posed pictures aren't real'), who gets diagnosed with cancer. JD takes a liking to Ben, and gets convinced that the diagnosis is wrong - all his friends have complained how important files have been mixed up and the wrong patients sent to surgery and so on, and JD believes that the same thing happens here. After convincing the lab doctor to redo the test, Ben is proven to be healthy, and everything is rosy... and the edges of the frame starts getting kinda blurry... when Ben wants everyone to gather together for a group pic, JD thinks it's odd because doesn't Ben think pics like that aren't real? And Ben replies, "Don't you see? None of this is real." And that's when JD's wishful daydream, which has been going on since just before the second blood test, ends.
    • And in a later episode, Ben visits for Cox's son's birthday party, Dr. Cox blames JD for the death of a patient, and Ben manages to convince Dr. Cox to apologize. Later, Dr. Cox and Ben are on the way to the party, and JD arrives, prompting Dr. Cox to realize that Ben is not there, that Ben was in fact the patient who died and that they are attending his funeral rather than Jack's birthday party.
  • An odd example in Smallville, "Labyrinth". A phantom takes over Clark's mind and tries to bend him to its will. It used an illusion of Lana to persuade him to stay in the dream state and believe it was real, while the phantom maintained control over Clark's body. Fortunately, the unlikely team of Shelby and Martian Manhunter saves him.
  • The spores in the Star Trek: The Original Series episode "This Side Of Paradise" caused the target to be content with living a simple comfortable life, abandoning any greater ambitions.
  • Supernatural, "What Is And What Should Never Be": Dean has to choose between his life as a hunter and an (albeit fatal) Lotus-Eater Machine where his mother is still alive, his father died of natural causes, and Sam finished law school and got engaged to Jessica.
  • Touched by an Angel: In the episode "Netherlands" Monica, an Angel of the Lord, witnesses a domestic terrorist bombing a goodwill shelter killing dozens. This horrific act is enough to have her question her path, and gives Satan a chance to come and tempt her to leave His Work and become human. Satan shows her a vision of being with a man who flirted with her earlier and they have a happy family. Satan even offers to be with her so she won't be alone, while singing a rendition of Sodheim's "You Are Not Alone." Listen here.
  • An episode of The X-Files had Fox Mulder imagining that he'd given up his crusade for a peaceful life. Darkly subverted in that it ends with him dying in bed with only the Cigarette-Smoking Man for company, who then looks out the window to watch an alien spacecraft bombarding a destroyed Earth.

  • In Queen of the Wave by Pepe Deluxé, Zailm undergoes "The Trial of the Crisis" to determine if he's spiritually ready to marry the princess Anzimee, or if he has to undergo another cycle of reincarnation. The Trial involves a demon taking several different form to tempt Zailm in a number of ways; for the final test, he takes the form of Princess Anzimee.

  • Be More Chill: While trying to convince Jeremy to let it accomplish its plans, the SQUIP presents him with a possessed Christine, declaring that they will do "whatever he wants, as I promised" before forcing Christine to tell Jeremy that she loves him. It initially appears to work, until Jeremy has her drink the Mountain Dew Red instead.

    Video Games 
  • In a not-very-Secret Test of Character in Baldur's Gate II: Throne of Bhaal, a figure representing your character's lost innocence tempts you to give up all your power and become this your younger self again. However, you don't even have the chance to acquiesce, and it's not clear how this rewinding the clock is supposed to be possible. When you refuse, "your innocence" will turn into the monstrous avatar of Bhaal you also have the ability to turn into and attack, making for a mildly challenging fight.
  • Bravely Default has the Sage Sidequest, where the Sage sets it up so that the party who have been jumping from Alternate Continuity to Alternate Continuity; are in a reality where their counterparts were killed, but nobody can prove it. They could easily give up their quest and have a happy life taking their counterparts' places.
  • Dragalia Lost has this in Chapter 14. Euden has fought through hell and back to get to his twin sister, Zethia, who has been possessed by Morsayati, aka The Other, and known as Empress Zethia. He tells the party that trying to purge him out will kill her, unless he lets The Other possess him. Euden accepts, much to his friend's shock. That's when their older brother, Beren, appears and swallows the demon mid-transfer, something neither side was prepared for. Zena, Zethia's alternate world clone, reveals it's this decision that dooms humanity in every other timeline she's been to.
  • Echo Night: In each game, the player is offered the chance near the end of whether or not to accept the Soul Stone and claim it for themselves. In the original game, this only happens if you collected all of the Astral Pieces along the way.
  • The Perfect World in Fable II. As a last ditch effort to keep you from stopping his plans, Lucien traps you in a Lotus-Eater Machine that gives back the life you lost. You are a child, living in a beautiful estate, and your sister is alive again. After a day or so of fun and games, you are awakened by the Music Box you bought long ago. As you follow the music, the blissful dream gradually gives way to a nightmarish road littered with corpses. When you finally reach the box, the illusion shatters completely, and you set out to finish the quest once and for all.
  • During the final confrontation with Demon King Goetia in Fate/Grand Order, he asks Mash to join him in incinerating the history of mankind and creating a new universe without death or strife, on the basis that Mash was born with a particularly limited lifespan, but by joining him could live forever.
  • Fire Emblem Heroes has the cast having the power to pull Heroes from The Multiverse as well as go to any world in The Multiverse. Any Alternate Universe out of infinite. Loki wants something with that ability; and tries to get it by offering a child Azura access to her dream world where everyone loves her.
  • Part of the Air Gem tests in the AGD Interactive Fan Remake of King's Quest II. Graham is thrust forward in time to his darkest moment - Daventry is in ruins, the three-headed dragon ravaging the land has demanded Graham's daughter as a Human Sacrifice, and Graham's son was kidnapped by his enemies. That's when the Big Bad (who masterminded the whole thing in a Batman Gambit) shows up to gloat and offer a deal. He will send away the dragon, return Graham's kids, and restore the blighted kingdom in exchange for Graham's crown. It's playable, so you have several options. The one scoring the highest points is telling him that the act of passing on the crown to someone like him would be treason against the principles that Daventry is founded on, and that certain values must be put above oneself and one's family. The fiend ends up being quite impressed with your sense of loyalty.
  • Occurs in Neverwinter Nights (Hordes of the Underdark, to be specific) if you try to oppose the Elder Brain. It's not very tough to overpower the illusion - but fighting off the three big uglies that show up when you do is another matter. (After which the Elder Brain dies almost anticlimactically, since it's... well... a giant brain.)
  • Persona:
    • Persona 3 has an especially twisted and (for some) heart-wrenching variation: It turns out that one of the main character's friends from school, Ryoji Mochizuki, is actually the monster who will bring about The End of the World as We Know It Because Destiny Says So. However, because they've developed such a close friendship, Ryoji offers him the option of killing his physical avatar to erase the team's memories of the Dark Hour, meaning that when the End comes, everyone will die instantly instead of having to live with the knowledge that their doom approaches. In effect, the main character's choice boils down to accepting his fate and killing Ryoji, or letting him live and Screwing Destiny.
    • Made especially painful because everyone involved heavily plays up that Nyx is unbeatable and invincible, a force of nature that cannot be destroyed or pushed back, that to resist is meaningless - merely slow and painful death, complete and total despair as you watch the sands of your metaphorical hourglass tick away in a battle that is impossible to win, instead of a swift, merciful, blessedly unaware death..
    • Not to mention that throughout December, you and your team discuss the choice heavily, and all of them ultimately resolve to face Nyx, no matter how slim their chance. When Ryoji comes to hear their decision, he waits in the Main Character's room, and he or she informs him of the decision to let him live. Ryoji then points out that they are currently alone, and so if the protagonist has a dissenting opinion, he or she can opt to kill Ryoji anyway.
    • Persona 4 Golden has one variation of this if players pursue a specific Social Link: if the player pursues Adachi's Social Link, they have the option near the end of the game of hiding their suspicions about him being the serial murderer from the rest of the Investigation Team, and in so doing, trigger the game's bad ending. Before the ending, however, players can visit Adachi at the police station, where they confide in him the fact that they know he's the killer, but that they are "on his side". Adachi will hand you the threatening letter you received before Nanako was kidnapped and a lighter to test them. If the player burns the letter, their loyalty to Adachi will be confirmed definitively and the Jester Social Link will be maxed out. Unfortunately, in so doing, they become an accomplice to Adachi, who will torment the protagonist for the rest of his life.
    • Persona 5: Near the end of the game, the Big Bad who had been posing as Igor gives the player a choice. He had been manipulating reality as part of an experiment to decide if it should be salvaged or destroyed, putting The Conspiracy the Phantom Thieves had been fighting against into motion. However, should the player so choose, the Big Bad could restore the world back to the way that it was and allow the Phantom Thieves to continue to operate with impunity. In so choosing, however, they would be damning humanity to forever live under the thrall of a manipulative Jerkass God.
  • Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction plays with this right before the final boss fight with Tachyon, by showing Ratchet the dimension the Lombaxes had escaped to, and offering Ratchet a chance to join them, leaving Tachyon unopposed. Ratchet points out that Tachyon still has the Dimensionator and the inclination to use it to become a Multiversal Conqueror, and he would inevitably come for the Lombaxes, so kicking his ass right now is the only rational option.
  • In Shadow of the Tomb Raider, the Box of Ix Chel gives anyone who uses it during the Cleansing the chance to sacrifice themselves to save the world or remake the world as they please, showing them a vision of their desired world. At the end of the game, Lara has a vision of her younger self with both of her parents alive, her ideal world. She turns it away and is prepared to sacrifice herself to save the world.
  • View from Below: At the very end of the Final Boss fight, the Crimson God tells Ash that even if the party defeats him, they will return to their miserable lives in the real world instead of getting a happy ending. He then offers to make Ash his accomplice in taking revenge on the world. If the player chooses to kill the Crimson God, Ash admits that he doesn't know if his life will get better, but he believes that chance is worth fighting for. Otherwise, Ash will let the Crimson God kill Melody and destroy the world.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles 3: The Big Bad, Z, recruits new Moebius this way, by showing people their lives and asking them if they want to continue in this horrible world (that he created) or rise above it as Moebius. He does this after they die, showing all their previous lives in the Eternal Recurrence. And if they deny him, he can just try again and again and again... Moebius N is in fact a version of Noah who eventually broke down and joined in order to save himself and Mio from dying and being separated over and over again.

    Visual Novels 
  • In Melody, with the end of the story in sight and the title character poised to launch a successful career, a slightly drunk Jade visits the slightly sick protagonist in his hotel room. She confesses that she always had a crush on him, and starts coming onto him. If it progresses to sex, Melody will catch the two of them in the act when she comes up to check on him. This leads to the final bad ending of the story.

  • The Maze of Dreams in Archipelago is built of Black Bug Rooms for all the characters locked up in it, save one - Raven, who saw Credenza fall to what he thought was her death mere minutes before getting trapped. He gets a realistic (a few glitches notwithstanding) dream of living a normal, peaceful life married to her, and when he works out this is a Lotus-Eater Machine, his dream wife spells it out:
    If you choose to stay here, you'll forget that other world. You can live your whole life here, a true human, a complete man. I know you feel indebted to that world. The friends you made there, after all, you loved them. But I'm not a part of that world anymore. If you leave, this last piece of myself will be lost forever. If there was any chance we could have a life like this in that world, it's gone now. Don't leave me alone. Stay and make this new world with me.
  • In EATATAU!!!, the renegade Dark Angel sergeant Johnson finds a sword belonging to the Primarch Lion El'johnson himself. His Spirit Advisor, Lucypher, tells him that with that sword, he could lead such a crusade that he'd become second only to the Emperor of Mankind himself, showing him visions of becoming Chapter Master, killing Abbadon the Despoiler, and triumphantly returning to Terra (which quite uncomfortably mirrors Horus' temptations). Johnson feels he is unworthy to wield the blade, which Lucypher reveals was a Secret Test of Character and gives him the armor and plasma pistol he wielded in life.
  • In the final arc of Sam & Fuzzy, Sam is offered one by Brain while they're all being assimilated by The Tar. He offers Sam a vision of a future where they've created a new world order with a Broken Masquerade where Sam is able to help everyone he's failed in the past, and claims he will help Sam get there if Sam lends him his mind to control The Tar.
    • When Sam rejects him due to Candice's influence, Brain moves on to Fuzzy and attempts to offer him his lost memories to turn him from Hart's side. Unfortunately for him, he ends up reminding Fuzzy how he abused and discarded Hazel, making Fuzzy realize just how much he hates Brain and using all of The Tar for a Taking You with Me.
      Fuzzy: There's only one thing I want from you.
      Brain: What's that?
      Fuzzy: You're the mind reader, Brain. You tell me.
      Brain: ...oh.
  • During True Believers, Spider-Man is offered the resurrections of Uncle Ben, Richard and Mary Parker, and/or Gwen Stacy if he lets Joe Quesadilla erase his marriage to Mary Jane Watson. He nearly accepts, but Mary Jane asks him to decline. Quesadilla tries to kill her afterwards, but she manages to Retcon Quesadilla's existence instead.

    Western Animation 
  • The Adventure Time episode "Puhoy". On a particularly dagger-rainy day, Finn is bummed out by Flame Princess not laughing at one of his jokes. He overthinks it and decides to go 'fester' his mind under some pillows. Finn then drops into a pillow world and falls in love with one of its local residents. Subverted, however, in that he decides that his new formed family is more important than his old life, and only returns when he dies of old age. Its also unclear whether the events truly occurred or if they were just a dream.
  • An episode of Batman: The Animated Series featured Batman caught in a virtual dream world by the Mad Hatter (who fortunately could not observe the dream itself) living as playboy billionaire Bruce Wayne, with his parents alive and well (and thus he had never become Batman). In the dream he was engaged to Selina Kyle (who was not Catwoman) and the mysterious Batman was someone ELSE who just showed up in Gotham. His friends and family in the dream almost had him completely convinced he had created his real life as a delusion to escape his feelings of not having accomplished anything on his own, but the illusion fell apart when he discovered he couldn't read anything. Suffice to say, he did NOT appreciate the Mind Screw when he woke himself up.
  • This happened to Shipwreck in the G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero episode "There's No Place Like Springfield."
  • Infinity Train: In "The Engine", the Conductor/Amelia offers to make Tulip a train car containing a "perfect life" in which her parents never divorced and are still Happily Married. Tulip shoots her down quickly, pointing out that not only would she always know it's an illusion, but that Amelia repeatedly failed to make a car based on her own "perfect life".
  • Used in The Penguins of Madagascar episode "The Lost Treasure of the Golden Squirrel", when part of the titular treasure causes all the animals to fantasize about what they would use the wealth for if they acquired it for themselves.
  • The Sofia the First movies "The Curse Of Princess Ivy" and "The Mystic Isles" both have Amber being tempted with the potential for unlimited power by Ivy and Prisma respectively. She refuses on both counts, and helps Sofia out.
  • In the final story arc of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Yoda witnesses this as part of his trials with the Five Priestesses.
    • He sees the Jedi Temple untouched by the Clone Wars: Jedi who were killed, like Qui-Gon, are still alive, and Yoda's apprentice, Dooku, never turned to the dark side. However, Yoda ultimately resists and continues the priestesses' trials.
    • In the next episode, he is shown another vision on the Sith homeworld, in which he has a chance to finally unmask Darth Sidious and stop his plans, but would have to let Anakin die to do so. However, he decides to save Anakin, even while being bombarded with Sidious' Force Lightning.
  • In the finale of Star Wars Rebels, Palpatine offers Ezra a life where his family never died (via a portal from The World Between Worlds), allowing him to live a normal life away from the war and loss he's endured. Realizing this would give Palpatine access to the World Between Worlds, Ezra collapses it after saying goodbye to his parents one last time.


Video Example(s):


Dr. Facilier

In a last-ditch effort to keep Tiana from shattering his talisman, Dr. Facilier tries to tempt her into giving up by creating a vision of the restaurant she's always dreamed of opening, offering it to her in exchange for the talisman. But Tiana, having discovered what's truly important on her journey as a frog, throws it back in his face.

How well does it match the trope?

4.96 (23 votes)

Example of:

Main / TheFinalTemptation

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