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, antagonists 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 and full of Emotional Torque. The tougher sort of stoic may hide it so thoroughly that only his Bad Dreams show any of it. 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 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.
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 denying themselves and others any kind of earthly pleasure or silliness in life.
Characters of this type include:
- Aloof Big Brother
- Aloof Dark-Haired Girl
- Emotionless Girl
- Extreme Doormat
- Ineffectual Loner
- Nerves of Steel
- Perpetual Frowner
- Proper Lady
- Red Oni, Blue Oni (Specifically the Blue Oni)
- Rei Ayanami Expy
- Shell-Shocked Veteran
- Silent Bob
- Stock Shōnen Rival
- Stoic Woobie
- Sugar-and-Ice Personality
- Super-Stoic Shopkeeper
- The Quiet One
- The Spock
- The Woman Wearing the Queenly Mask
Other tropes associated with stoics include:
- Did You Think I Can't Feel?
- Emotions vs. Stoicism
- Enthusiasm vs. Stoicism
- Fantastically Indifferent
- Inscrutable Oriental
- It Can't Be Helped
- Meditation Powerup
- Not So Stoic (Sub-Trope)
- Stiff Upper Lip
- Stoic Spectacles
- Tranquil Fury
Note: Just because the person is Stoic doesn't mean that person is a Jerkass or pessimistic.
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.
- Anime & Manga
- Comic Books
- Fan Works
- Live-Action TV
- Video Games
- Western Animation
- Of the thirteen individuals in The Last Supper, 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.
- In Barbie: Mariposa, the fairy in the Cave of Reflection is stoic and to the point.
- Tía Victoria from Coco, probably as a reflection of her strict nature.
- King Malbert from Igor.
- The "I'll make a man out of you" Training Montage from Mulan glorifies stoical attitudes in several places.
- The Warden from Megamind.
- "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!
- 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.
- 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.
- The Nobles of Ascension 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.
- Kyouko Kirigiri of Danganronpa 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 Super Danganronpa 2 follows in Kirigiri'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.
- 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.
- Grisaia no Kajitsu: 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Stoicism, without the deterministic mythology associated with its original forms, is effective both at preventing and treating some forms of depression and anxiety. By teaching the patient that they can always be in control of their own mental state, the patient can use stoic discipline to become resistant to emotional disturbances.
- One ancient Greek Stoic, it was told, greeted the news of his only son's death with the comment, "I was aware I had begotten a mortal."
- The stoics of ancient Greece both were and weren't this trope. They didn't dislike being emotional, it's just that they saw excess emotion as negative because it can control a person's life. They believed using logic and reason to determine their life led to greater happiness.
- Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius Antoninus. His writings, collected into a book called "Meditations" are considered the best introductory book into the Stoic philosophy. note
- In typology tests such as the MyersBriggs, personalities with IxTx-dominant functions (that is, Introverted Thinkers) are often stereotyped under this trope.
- ISFP's can also fit here due to being characterized as gentle and feeling the situation internally.
- In the typology test, Socionics, this is a defining trait of ILI and SLI types (also written as INTp and ISTp) who go to great pains to restrain any emotions that might be expressed and can be easily told from their consistent, stoic lack of facial expression.
- On the Five-Factor Model of personality (which does not assign a definite type, but scores on a continuous scale on each of the personality dimensionsnote ), those who rank low in both Extraversionnote and Neuroticismnote fit this trope.
- Blunted Affect, restricted affect and flat affect are conditions characterized by a significant reduction in emotional reactiveness and display, and is found as a symptom of many mental illnesses as well as neurological disorders such as brain damage. It covers a lack of emotional expression stemming from both a repression of emotion and a true lack of emotion (apathy), since internal psychological processes are difficult to infer. Flat affect takes this Up to Eleven in being the total absence of any emotional reactions.
- Blunted affect is a common symptom of depression. When one is required to suppress their emotions just to get on with day to day living, it's hardly surprising that a blank expression becomes second nature. Depression doesn't always involve feelings of sadness either, and those afflicted by this expression of depression can appear to others, and feel themselves to be, emotionless.
- Of the personality disordersnote , schizoid personality disorder is characterized by detachment, lack of interest in social relationships and a tendency for isolation, emotional coldness and apathy, and a restricted range of emotional expression. Sound familiar? Yes, it does.
- Its one of what are called the negative symptoms of schizophrenianote .
- Admiral Raymond Spruance, USN. He didn't really need bombs, shells, and torpedoes; he could probably look at Japanese ships on a map and a shower of ice pouring from his cold heart would fall on them and sink them. This applied only to his military affairs, however. He was quite fond of his family, dog, garden and greenhouse, the latter of which he often showed to visitors.
- Feodor Emelianenko, the top heavyweight MMA fighter in the world. He has stated that he deliberately clears his mind of emotion before and during a fight. The most expression seen on his face in a fight is quiet determination.
- Russians in general only emote when they are surrounded by friends and/or family. In all other situations they keep a Dull Surprise expression.
- The San Antonio Spurs of the NBA are this trope personified. Long Runner Coach Gregg Popovich, unlike many of his contemporaries who were star athletes before taking on coaching jobs, is a graduate of the Air Force Academy and served a completed tour of duty before transitioning into Basketball. Popovich virtually built the franchise with his military, no-nonsense values, with five titles and nineteen consecutive playoffs appearances giving credit to his "no self-importance, no egos, no showboating, no trash-talk" policy.
- Tim Duncan is well-known for this, rarely showing either excitement or frustration (and has occasionally been referred to as "Spock"). He has said it gives him a psychological advantage because opponents don't know how he's feeling which makes it hard for anyone to affect him with trash-talking or anything of the sort. In fact, the only instance he was ejected from court for "unsportmanlike behavior" is for laughing while at the bench.
- Kawhi Leonard easily fits this trope too. Pictures of him laughing or smiling are often accused by fans of being photoshopped.
- Chilean President Manuel Montt was described by his own followers as "being all cool head, but no heart".
- During the Yom Kippur War "Dado" Elazar specifically ordered that no casualties' names be reported to headquarters unless it was of military importance that they be known. This was because several of the officers present had their own sons in the fighting. In this case it was almost literal Stoicism: it was the sort of order a Roman commander might have given.
- Training one's self to be "deliberately stoic" in order to shunt away emotional reactions can be an effective, non-pharmaceutical defense against anxiety, panic, and phobic disorders. In essence, shoving one's emotional reactions aside (be it gently or forcefully) allows the more calmly rational mind to take over control of the reactions until the episode passes, and can also lessen the chances of the amygdala "hijacking" the brain and causing an explosive activation of the "fight or flight" response.
- Kimi Raikkonen, a Formula One driver, is infamously called "Iceman" because of his Nerves of Steel and his straight "I don't care" face which is deployed even when he gets really angry or really clueless.
- The native people in Finland are this due to living in a cold region.
- Geisha are taught to be this out of politeness. Traditions in Japan are very precise and it takes a strong personality to complete them all. They can finally emote when not on the job but keeping a calm and elegant demeanor is a must for these women.
- Newscasters. Always delivering bad news with a straight face. Except when they finally crack.
- Oddly enough quite a few species of animals deserve a spot in this trope. Among the most worthy are cats, lizards, sloths, snakes, spiders, chameleons, sharks, most bird and bat species. Of course, a lot of that stems from them being physically incapable of expressing anything like humans do, but they can in other ways at times.