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The Stoic

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"...How wasteful... Such emotions are but mere illusions. And, like all illusions, they fade over time until death banishes them forever. That is why I have abandoned all emotions as useless sentimentality."

He can be in the middle of a gunfight, his best friend's bachelor party, or a helpless witness to the death of everyone and everything he holds dear... and he'll show all the emotional reaction of a victim of a Botox overdose. They can be heroes, villains or anti-heroes. On The Team he will contrast the Hot-Blooded. His quiet demeanor tends towards the brusque or outright rudeness, though there are a few polite Stoics. Some stoics may try to give the impression of a lot going on inside, cultivate an air of mystery and confuse other characters with cryptic one-liners.

The Stoic sometimes displays emotion when under extreme stress or in other highly emotional situations, but their usual repertoire consists of mild boredom, detached interest, Dull Surprise or dignified disdain. He may be a Deadpan Snarker, or have No Sense of Humor. If he ever shows true emotion, it's likely to be explosive in its intensity or incredibly subtle. The tougher sort of stoic may hide it so thoroughly that only his Past Experience Nightmares show any of it. Curiously, a Stoic can sometimes visually express emotion through a smile or frown. But don't be deceived, for underneath they will very much be lacking the true intention of these feelings, which isn't always a bad thing. Opposed to Frozen Face, where the emotions appear absent because they do not alter his expression, even in highly emotional situations. A few stoics might calmly pipe up that they have feelings and opinions too, they just aren't effusive about it.

Masculine pronouns are used throughout this trope because quiet women in fiction tend to be the Emotionless Girl or Stoic Woobies. Men who use stoicism to hide their pain are more likely to indulge in mangst. Either way, expect them to be the phlegmatic member of their group.

The Stoic is not necessarily The Quiet One. While the Stoic may be low key, taciturn and quiet, more often than not he's just as talkative as anyone else. Another difference is that while The Quiet One does feel and display emotion (albeit less vocally and regularly, and makes up for it with deeper pathos), the Stoic is so devoid of any semblance of human emotion that he borders on being a true Tin Man. Whether he has emotion or not varies, but he will invariably refuse to ever show it.

Stoics can have all alignments, but if they're not evil but really don't care about anyone and anything, they're True Neutral. They're hardly ever chaotic, however.

There are three types:

  • The Aloof Big Brother type, seen mostly in anime, chooses to act this way either as a personal philosophy or as an outgrowth of his base personality.
  • Some Old West, pulp, and action heroes who are Made of Iron complement physical toughness with stoicism to show mental invulnerability as well. It's cool to be blasé while kicking around Faceless Goons, delivering one liners and foiling the Evil Plan. Watch out for needles, though!
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: Either before the series or during it, the character suffers a particularly nasty case of Heroic BSoD, after which he reboots in Safe Mode and never leaves. The computer's running, but all the games and fun stuff are offline. (Not to be confused with the Heroic Safe Mode trope, which uses the same metaphor to describe something different.)

This last one has real world examples in Flat affect, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and Shell Shock.

The silent warrior has roots stretching back to The Drifter in Westerns and farther back. The Stoics in ancient Greece were philosophers who believed that self-control is the highest virtue, and detachment from strong emotions and passion would give them greater insight in their quest for truth. They also thought that emotional reactions to the inevitable were silly; given that We All Die Someday, what is grieving over death but a judgment that the inevitable was somehow wrong? Stoics would later be criticized for fatalism and apathy. Examples of these tend to be The Spock.

Compare Cynicism, another philosophical movement that advocated detachment from worldly pleasures, but has been criticised so much that it became a synonym for pessimism.

Note: Just because the person is Stoic doesn't necessarily mean that person is a jerkass or cynical.

Contrast/Compare with Loveable Rogue, Become a Real Boy, The McCoy and Gentle Giant. On the far end of Emotions vs. Stoicism. If a person deliberately inflicts pain on himself to show it doesn't bother him, that's Macho Masochism. See Emotionless Reptile for a type of animal often depicted as being this.

Contrast Rage Breaking Point, Drama Queen, Prone to Tears, Large Ham, Nervous Wreck, No Poker Face. If someone attempts to be stoic but fails and breaks up into laughter, that's called Corpsing.note 

Characters of this type include:

Other tropes associated with stoics include:

Example subpages:

Other examples:

    open/close all folders 

  • Oni Embodiments: "Embodiment of 'Um's" name is a reference to its position, being frozen in a contemplative pose.
  • The Last Supper: Of the thirteen individuals in the painting, the only one without an emotional reaction to the upcoming betrayal of Jesus is Jesus himself, who remains calm among the chaos of the scene. Jesus appears to be reaching for the bread in front of him, as if moving on from the matter.

    Asian Animation 

  • "Big Bad John", a 1961 country-pop smash by Jimmy Dean, about an emotionless, quiet loner — all 6-foot-6 and 245 pounds of him — who works in the coal mines. Averted when he comes to the rescue of his fellow miners during a cave in, and sacrifices his life in doing so.
  • Kraftwerk always played up their robotic personas to their fullest, never breaking character. They were less stoic in the early 70's, but this was just Early-Installment Weirdness .
    • Their reputation for onstage stoicism wasn't aided by the long running rumour, that Fernando Abrantes, who was a member for a brief period around 1990, was sacked for being too active on stage.
  • Minimalist pop artist Lorde performs with a cold, indifferent tone in her music, and her attitude especially shines through in her videos.
  • This is the main idea of the Ramones video "I wanna be sedated"
  • Ron Mael of Sparks. The man could have invented this trope. For Sparks' nearly 50-year career, he has remained emotionless and stiff on stage, this being part of what scared so many children back in the early 70s when Sparks made their way onto television. In interviews, however, he's friendly, smiles, and talks just about as much as Russell does.
  • Lindsey Stirling's "orchestra face" is a deadpan, focused expression that she used to use when playing the violin. It's clear that she's gotten rid of that habit, though!
  • The Buggles and Asia keyboardist Geoff Downes hardly emotes in his performances.
  • George Harrison of The Beatles was often known for his quiet demeanor.

  • In The Hidden Almanac, Mord's measured deadpan is unaffected by corporate shenanigans, interference by eldritch abominations, or, on one occasion, being set on fire. Although he has a few berserk buttons, mostly with regard to disrespect for his garden, he addresses them with barely a change in tone.

  • Irene from Dawn of a New Age: Oldport Blues. She has a polite demeanor, a refined manner of speech, and generally restrains her emotions. As a result, she can come off as stiff and robotic. This is especially apparent with her inner thought process, which is very clinical.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • The Dark Angels, a chapter of Space Marines, exemplify this trope, along with The Atoner. They have a long-standing feud with the Space Wolves that stems from their differences in personality inherited from their Primarchs. The two Primarchs did, however, get over their differences and became really close friends. Not many members of either chapter is aware of that fact, but they do put aside their differences when a larger threat is around.
    • Imperial Guard regiments from Valhalla are described to generally be like this, able to shrug off even the largest losses and focus on the objective at hand, not even surrendering until the very last moment, and sometimes not even then. For a good example of this, see Gunner Jurgen, aide to Ciaphas Cain (HERO OF THE IMPERIUM!). Where the majority of the Valhallan 597th Ice Warriors have very differing personalities, Jurgen fits the standard description for Valhallans as described in the Imperial Guard Codex pretty well.
    • In general, stoicism is a very good idea if you're a human in the 40K-verse. Not only will it help you get through the horrors of day-to-day life in the Imperium, it is also the only way to not feed the Chaos Gods.
    • It's not just the humans, either. The Craftworld Eldar are into this big time, and for good reason. On top of being aware that emotions feed the Chaos Gods, the Aeldari in general feel their emotions much more strongly than humans. Thus, those emotions resonate in the Warp that much more intensely, and thus if they express too much emotion, their souls are more easily corrupted by Slaanesh, one of said Chaos Gods. Stoicism is a survival tactic for them.
    • Among the Chaos Space Marines, the Iron Warriors have a reputation for this. Not for them the crazed excess of the Emperor's Children or the maniacal cackling of, well, most other Chaos forces; instead, if they're showing emotion, it's usually murderous anger or deep resentment. Otherwise, they're cold and calculating.
  • Legend of the Five Rings:
    • Samurai are expected to be stoics as a tenet of Bushido, and the internal conflict of a Samurai's emotions and his adherence to Bushido is one of the game's many challenges the Samurai face, with Outbursts happening once the inner turmoil of his emotions become too great to hide behind a stoic facade.

  • Mixels has Mesmo, who apparently won't, if not can't, show expressions at all. Exaggerated in his "Upset" video in Calling All Mixels game where he just says "Meh."

    Visual Novels 
  • The Nobles of Ascension (2013) are this, and the Moon elves are very close. It's not that the Moon elves don't feel anything, they repress their emotions because showing emotions is considered rude in their culture.
  • Danganronpa:
    • Kyoko Kirigiri of Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc is a stone-faced in the presence of crime scenes and corpses, rarely smiling. One of the few instances where she manages to get shaken up are quite serious.
    • Peko Pekoyama of Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair follows in Kyoko's footsteps. Unlike her, however, Peko is much easier to snap out of her stoicism; she has a wide range of expressions when actually, well, expressing herself.
    • Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony has Ryoma Hoshi, whose more extreme emotions only consist of mild shock or tranquil fury. It’s implied that this is because of his depression.
  • Fate/stay night:
    • Saber, generally.
    • Rider. First she's an antagonist that smiles one time at the fact that Shirou isn't as big of a Jerkass as Shinji, then she dies without expressing anything but a mild disdain for Saber's much stronger distaste for her. No part in UBW. HF gives her the emotional range of emotionless (and unnerving to Shirou with it) to mild frown to very slight smile. The strongest reactions are when people are honestly appreciative/complimentary of her where she becomes almost flabbergasted. But then again, she has a backstory that turned Medusa into a woobie, so yeah. Even then she masks it. She's more outgoing in the True End of HF though.
  • The Fruit of Grisaia: Most of the girls take note of Yuuji's normally-taciturn demeanor, to the point that Michiru tries to nickname him "Mr. Standoffish Man." In fact, he's so deeply rooted in this behavior that, when he does finally laugh at something, he bursts into a coughing fit due to being so unused to it.
  • Jake Hunter, who is so dead-serious that his signature frown barely even moves much, even when showing compassion to his clients or innocent civilians. On the flipside, his perpetual calmness helps to solve every case.
  • Mio from Little Busters! has a poker face to rival a grand master's. She begins to let her guard slip once she starts to befriend the others, though.
  • M in Shikkoku no Sharnoth. The only times he displays strong emotions is when he is destroying his foes. He does not really appear to understand emotion in some way.
  • Spirit Hunter series:
    • In Spirit Hunter: Death Mark, Shuuji Daimon's character sprites always have a very emotionally neutral face.
    • Outside of the Judgement system, Akira from Spirit Hunter: NG doesn't emote much, and is noted even by his friend to have a permanent poker face. Ban describes him as having Nerves of Steel, which he proves when he reacts nonchalantly to Rosé breaking into his aunt's bar.

    Web Original 
  • Belkinus Necrohunt: Nathaniel has a habit of intentionally showing no outward emotion. At one point, he convinces himself that he doesn't actually care about an ally's fate when their life is on the line, though it's in order to concentrate on the act that will save them.
  • Dreamscape: This series seems to love this trope.
    • Keela rarely ever shows any emotion and always has a monotone voice.
    • Melissa doesn't shift from her distant prideful demeanor...usually.
    • Kai has a serious, almost commanding tone about him that he never drifts from.
    • Eleenin is a stoic, but not as much as Kai. Its more serene than commanding.
    • Drake's somewhere between Kai's and Eleenin's level.
    • Jenna speaks with a grumpy, uncaring voice.
    • Aseir speaks with a deep, uncaring tone. However, he's not as much of one as Jenna, because he's got a bit of a temper.
  • DSBT InsaniT: Killer always speaks with a deep monotone, and barely emotes.
  • Wyn from the web fiction serial Dimension Heroes seems to slip in and out of this trope: sometimes he feels like talking, and other times he'll simply stand around and look cool.
  • Donut from Dusk's Dawn doesn't emote outside of assertiveness, inquisition and disappointment.
  • The Guild has Vork, although due to it being a comedy web-series, it's more in the vein of The Comically Serious.
  • The description from Mommy implies Toki is this, a Perpetual Frowner, or both, as, she's content being in that picture with her daughter, Orchid, however, she's not expressing it.
  • Vinkle in No Evil rarely talks or emotes beyond a faint smile or a bit of gentle snark; some of the most intense emotion he shows in the series is a Flat "What". In one outtake, his voice actor concludes that Vinkle's reaction to finding Huey in his kitchen cabinet out of nowhere would be "Hand me the trail sauce."
  • Petscop: Despite all the crazy stuff he sees, Paul manages to keep a calm attitude most of the time. Key word being most.
  • Blaire from The Secret Life of a Mermaid life is hard: her mom abandoned her and her dad at one years old and she's used as a personal information guide to the others about her mom, (which is a very tough subject for her). When her dad gets suspicious of her, he bans her from seeing her only friends, which promote her to run away with Terra, probably forever and yet, she goes through all this with no expressions except for a smile!
    • Kelsey is the most level-headed member of the group, although she is sometimes Not So Stoic.
    • Brenna became practically an Emotionless Girl in Wildfire, to the point where Kelsey points this out.
      Kelsey: Okay, first you lash out when we were playing yesterday. Then, you turned all emo. And, now you hair's purple!
      Brenna: [in a monotonous voice] It's purple? [looks at her hair] Huh. Guess it is.
  • Shrooms has Blue Shroom, who is consistently light on emotion, a great contrast to Red's histrionic personality and antics. Which makes sense, as Blue is the only character in the series without animated facial expressions.
  • Bobby Jacks of Survival of the Fittest very much embodied this trope, at least in pregame. During version 3, he has, however, shown emotion a couple of times. On the other hand, most of these occurrences happened either when he was alone or internally - so other characters wouldn't be privy to the same knowledge as readers. The three occasions where Bobby shows real emotion are justified however. Once because he had just been shot, the other two times because his Berserk Button was pushed.
    • Amy Barrows-Shaw from SOTF Mini: TV3 is described as having a perpetual poker face.
  • To Boldly Flee has Sad Panda, who as multiple commentaries note, reacts visibly to absolutely nothing.
  • Greg from The Wolf's Will has his moments of stoicism, but he has absolutely nothing on Free Flower from the same book, or on Beatrice from Demonic Symphony. Word of God has it that the last two are actually incapable of feeling emotion.

Alternative Title(s): Stoic


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