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Turn the Other Cheek

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"You have heard that it was said, 'An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.' But I say to you, Do not resist one who is evil. But if any one strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also; and if any one would sue you and take your coat, let him have your cloak as well; and if any one forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles."

Not to Be Confused with Too Kinky to Torture, this is actually a form of retribution/forgiveness. A character returns cruelty not with anger but with kindness and shows themselves to be the most philanthropic person imaginable.

So that bastard stole your lunch money? Next time he is in desperate need of money, just give him more than he needs. This also counts if Bob has just done lots and lots of horrible things to Alice, but while Alice is pissed, she cannot fully hate Bob for something he has done in the past. A character forgiving something truly horrible can also count, but only when they don't make the other genuflect repeatedly for it. Another version is to put oneself completely at the mercy of someone not-very-nice, basically daring them to prove themselves as unworthy of trust.

The villains' reaction is a very good indicator as to where on the Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism the story is placed. Their reaction can be any of these: A Heel–Face Turn, absolute astonishment, sad rejection, ridicule, a bullet to the head, or a combination of the above. When a character does this repeatedly, it can produce various results and if they keep doing it despite suffering, it shows them as a hero of moral fortitude or a Martyr Without a Cause. Sometimes it takes several tries until the villain is won. Just one Heel–Face Turn is usually enough justification for any number of Turn The Other Cheeks performed by a hero. Even if it causes them only suffering, some heroes become Doomed Moral Victors for doing so. The All-Loving Hero can make nearly anyone renounce their evil ways with kindness — if that happens the author believes that Rousseau Was Right.

When it works, this is one of the few (if not the only) things that can stop the Cycle of Revenge. This makes it a favorite tactic of the Badass Pacifist.

Cynical shows mock the concept by having something very unpleasant and obvious happen to a Wide-Eyed Idealist who tries it. See The Farmer and the Viper for examples of that. The Anti-Nihilist, on the other hand, will call cynics out on the hypocrisy of suggesting that it matters what happens to you as a result of turning the other cheek. On the other hand, a person can appear to be doing this but then suddenly Turn the Other Fist.

A related tactic may be used by a villain pointing out that you can't hurt him without becoming villainous yourself; that's Strike Me Down with All of Your Hatred!.

A form of Start X to Stop X: dare someone to hurt you in order to stop them from hurting you. The exact opposite is Pay Evil unto Evil. See also Restrained Revenge, which might be seen as a way to Take a Third Option. Compare Strike Me Down, when someone dares their opponent to outright kill them.

Not to be confused with Mooning.


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     Comic Books 
  • Played with in a Spider-Man story after J. Jonah Jameson learned that Peter Parker was Spider-Man. They agree to have a meeting to sort out their differences, and JJ comes back from it with two black eyes and an arm in a sling, making it seem like Spidey had violently paid him back for the years of abuse. It turns out that JJ had gotten the two black eyes from some unrelated accidents, and that at their meeting Spidey had actually told JJ to work out his hatred by beating up the unresisting Spidey (who, regularly trading punches with superhumans, had little to fear from a middle-aged newspaper editor). JJ accepted, and beat Spidey so hard he ended up breaking his own hand, bringing it (completely unintentionally,) into Cruel Mercy territory.

    Comic Strips 
  • In MAD, the principal is discussed in one feature of what L'Osservatore Romano's comic strip page might look like. In the Blondie strip, Dithers kicks Bumstead in the backside for making a mistake, only for Bumstead to say how the Lord asks him to turn the other cheek. Dithers kicks him again, and says that's a good idea- he'll kick that "(butt)cheek," too.

    Film - Animated 
  • Frozen (2013): Anna does this to Elsa, where despite being shut out by her older sister for 13 years (done to protect Anna from her powers, which Anna was oblivious to because of Laser-Guided Amnesia), she is still willing to sacrifice herself for her sister and welcome her with open arms in spite of everything she had done. It is because of this attitude that Elsa begins to open up to Anna and the world and finally realizes the key to controlling her powers.
  • Wreck-It Ralph: This seems to be a part of Vanellope's character, as she quickly forgives Ralph for destroying her car to prevent her from racing and Taffyta after all the abuse she'd taken from her, though she elects to have some jokes at their expense first. Granted, she had quite a bit of reason to forgive both, as King Candy had manipulated them into thinking their actions would be good for Vanellope and the game, respectively.

    Film - Live-Action 
  • Barbarella: Pygar has the philosophy of not ever holding grudges, which is encapsulated by his line "An angel has no memory." So he says smilingly that it doesn't matter that the Sogoites blinded him, and at the end, he saves the Black Queen even though she tried to rape him and then kill him (this is when he says the aforementioned line).
  • In The Bells of St. Mary's, little Eddie cites this lesson from Sister Benedict as the reason why he made no effort to resist his bully. Sister Benedict, who is upset now that Eddie has a busted-up face, reverses her decision and gives him a Boxing Lesson.
  • Subverted when Megan Davis, in the The Bitter Tea of General Yen, asserts that if General does this with the treacherous Mah Li, she will change for the better. But things gradually get worse...
  • This is the whole plot of The ButterCream Gang: Pete used to be a member of the titular gang, dedicated to good deeds, but at one point got influenced by bad company and became a delinquent. Pete is by His best friend Scott adopts a non-aggressive attitude whenever he's threatened by physical violence by Pete, and the town's local store owner outright offers him money when he tries to rob the store, just so he couldn't say he robbed him. This leaves Pete absolutely confounded, not understanding why someone would do that instead of defending themselves or seeking revenge, and in the latter case causes him to resort to outright trashing the store, demanding someone retaliate against him. When no one does, he runs away.
  • In Cinderella (2015), the title character gets the ultimate revenge on her evil stepmother by simply (and sincerely) saying, "I forgive you" before she leaves her house forever, proving once and for all that she never lost her kindness, despite all the abuse. She also forgives her stepsisters when they apologize. The stepsisters are both relieved when they gain Cinderella's forgiveness, but her stepmother enters a Villainous BSoD.
  • Subverted in the 1992 sci-fi movie Freejack, where a nun who helped the hero is being slapped around by corporate goon Mr. Michelette.
    Nun The Good Lord always says to turn the other cheek.
    [She kicks Michelette in the groin, making him double over in agony.]
    Nun: But He never had to deal with dickheads like you.
  • Friday the 13th (2009): After Lawrence is brutally murdered, Jenna comforts a traumatized Bree, even though she slept with Jenna's boyfriend and was a Smug Smiler afterward.
  • In a Better World: Discussed Trope. Claus advises doing this, talking about the futility of the Cycle of Revenge, saying "where does it end?" Anton does this literally, going back to the mechanic who hit him in the park, allowing the mechanic to slap him twice more in the face, and telling the kids that the mechanic is nothing more than a bullying creep. It backfires with Christian, who perceives his friend's father as weak.
  • In My Country: The whole purpose of the hearings is for perpetrators of atrocities during Apartheid to confess (albeit often insincerely) and be confronted by their victims, while the government chooses to avoid mere vengeance. In one hearing, a police officer who admits to killing a young boy's parents gets down on his knees, begging for forgiveness. The boy grants it to him in the form of a hug. Anna must herself attempt to gain forgiveness from her husband by admitting her affair with Langston.
  • In Princess Protection Program, Rosie does this to the Alpha Bitch who just humiliated her, calling it the responsibility of a princess. Carter, on the other hand, points out that she is not a princess and dumps a cone of frozen yogurt on the head of said Alpha Bitch's accomplice.
  • In Mortal Engines, the inhabitants of London evacuate their ruined city to find themselves confronted by the armed inhabitants of Shan Guo, who have suffered massive casualties from the attack. Fortunately their governor orders his men to lower their weapons because they believe that they should only kill when necessary.
  • Steve Rogers does this in Captain America: The Winter Soldier to Bucky, refusing to fight or get the opportunity to defend himself, instead preferring to let Bucky as the Winter Soldier continues kicking Steve while he's down by continuing to punch him.
  • Sierra Burgessisa Loser has a protagonist with this approach
  • Hustle (2022): The hardest part of Bo's training involves running up a very tall hill in the road in less than a minute and 45 seconds. At first, Bo struggles to get up the hill at all and goes way over the time limit. By the end of the training, he does it with a few seconds to spare, and then runs all the way up the staircase at the top of the hill, which he didn't have to do.
  • The Trial of Billy Jack has Billy, in the midst of a vision quest, instructed to punch three people who represent the three stages of human development. First he punches a large man, who punches him in return (the first stage, violence with violence). Then he punches a Straw Liberal, who starts screaming at him (the second stage, violence with anger). Finally, he punches Jesus Christ in the face, who simply turns the other cheek (the last stage, violence with peace).
  • The Quiet: Dot never shows the slightest dislike of Nina for her cruel jokes and treatment. Once she learns Nina's being abused by her dad she rescues Nina from him in fact, and they bond.

  • Bazil Broketail: Lagdalen never seems to hold a grudge, as evidenced by her behaviour towards Relkin and Helena of Roth. Helping the former resulted in ruination of her career in the clergy, yet they remain good friends for the whole series. The latter was bullying Lagdalen, but when she is attacked and injured by Thrembode, Lagdalen actually visits her in order to find out whether she's okay, surprising Helena greatly.
  • Older Than Feudalism:
    • This is one of the stories told by Jesus in the New Testament, telling someone that just got slapped on the right cheek to offer his slapper his left cheek. The Trope Namer, obviously. Jesus then goes on to show us how to do it by saying "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do," as he was being tortured and crucified. Nothing like begging your divine father to spare the ones who kill you.
    • Another explanation of "turn the other cheek": if a man considered someone to be inferior and he decided to strike him, he'd use the back of his hand; if he considered him equal, he'd use his palm. Jesus was saying that if someone gave you a backhander, turn the other cheek to force him to use his palm. Force the person who has slapped you to treat you as an equal.
    • There is also the interpretation that offering someone the chance to slap you again is a way of showing them that the original insult didn't work, and the slapper has failed in his attempt to embarrass the slappee. As this is usually the fastest way to take the wind out of a bully's sails, turning the other cheek is probably a much better idea than slapping back. Certain Christians interpret this as an endorsement of nonviolent resistance (i.e. civil disobedience).
    • Another facet to this: in that period, the left hand was still looked upon as unclean, and one could only slap anyone, even the lowest of the low, using the right hand. Turning one's other cheek was essentially to dare them to slap you using the unclean hand, which, being unthinkable, left only one other option, to take it as a dare to backhand the victim, which arguably would be just as big of a shame tainting the aggressor if he "accepted" the unspoken dare. It was essentially a wordless taunt of "go ahead and hit me again. Show everyone watching what a cruel monster you are." So in some regard, it's simultaneously an endorsement of nonviolent resistance/civil disobedience and a display of being a Badass Pacifist. Cool!
    • There are possibly elements of peaceful protest against the Romans in the words written in the New Testament. For example, a Roman soldier can conscript a civilian to carry things for one mile—no more. Carrying beyond one mile can get the soldier in trouble.
    • The cloak line is also about shaming the person who is suing you; public nudity was a huge taboo and considered shameful. A person who is so poor would have nothing but their coat and cloak, and would therefore be sued for their coat. However, giving them the cloak as well would result in the person being naked and was a way to say "Look what this person's greed has brought."
  • The climax of The Deed of Paksenarrion, where Paks is subject to Cold-Blooded Torture by a cult of Liart and in calmly refusing to react or fight back prompts the majority of the rank and file of the cult to have a My God, What Have I Done? moment and disband. Bonus points for the villain's previous efforts to discredit Paks actually aid her in this; hard to think yourself great when you are honestly just torturing a sheepfarmer's daughter.
  • A similar sentiment is expressed by the writer of the Book of Proverbs, "If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat, and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink, for you will heap burning coals on his headnote , and the LORD will reward you." Proverbs 25:21-22.
  • The Bishop of Digne at the beginning of Les Misérables. Jean Valjean has stolen his silver, and when the police catch him and bring him to the bishop, he confirms Valjean's story that it was a voluntary gift and adds his even more valuable candlesticks on top of the silver. True to trope, Valjean does a Heel–Face Turn as consequence. Valjean then does the same for Inspector Javert, but Javert can't handle it and commits suicide.
  • Harry Potter, after being bullied and berated all his school life by Draco Malfoy, Harry proceeds to save his arch-rival when he was about to be burned to death in the Room of Requirement. Harry saves Dudley's life at the beginning of the fifth book. It doesn't even endear him to the Dursleys because they don't understand what happened and naturally blame Harry. Much later, it's revealed that Dudley, at least, is properly grateful.
  • In To Kill a Mockingbird, Atticus Finch barely flinches when Bob Ewell spits in his face, though he does afterwards express disgust regarding the tobacco content of Mr Ewell's saliva. Ewell later goes on to try to kill Atticus' children and is killed by Boo Radley.
  • In Dan Abnett's Gaunt's Ghosts novel Ghostmaker, Major Rawne attacks Gaunt in the field, intending to make it look as if he died in the fight. Gaunt knocks him unconscious and then, in spite of his own wounds, carries him to safety. This did not cure Rawne's resentment, but after a later situation where Rawne weighs killing him and does not, Rawne does not try to kill him again.
  • Parodied in the P. G. Wodehouse short story "The Exit of Battling Billson", where a boxer converts to Christianity and decides to apply this philosophy during a match - fortunately for the characters betting on him, he didn't fully understand the meaning of the phrase. After being hit on both cheeks, he thought he had done what was necessary and proceeded to beat his opponent easily.
  • It didn't work in a Harry Turtledove story where Britain had been conquered and after some tough fighting the Germans had defeated the British Army in India. Non-violent protest proved not to work so well when attempted with an occupying power whose officers are willing to order the machine-gunning of your protest march and whose superior officers and government regard that as a fine method to deal with civil disturbance.
  • The second variation is played with in Discworld's Small Gods. When the god Om gets his powers back, he and Brutha have a minor disagreement over some new laws. Om comments on how he can simply blast Brutha into a little smear on the floor, and Brutha cheerfully agrees that he could, couldn't he? And how Brutha would have absolutely no way of defending himself, whatsoever. Om grumbles that it's not right for someone to use defenselessness as a defense. Later on, Brutha is being tortured by Vorbis, but is aware Vorbis is about to die via act of god (to the face)... and he still forgives Vorbis.
  • This Zen parable: A thief entered the house of a priest who was meditating and threatens him, the priest tells him where the money is, asks him to leave enough for the priest to pay taxes and makes sure the thief thanks him when he leaves. A few days later the thief is arrested, but when the police ask the priest to testify against him, the priest tells them that he gave the thief the money and the thief thanked him. The thief still goes to prison, but when his sentence is over he comes back to learn Zen under the priest.
  • Subverted heavily in Aesop's fable "The Farmer and the Viper". The titular farmer shows compassion to the snake, but his good deed comes back to bite him. The moral? "Kindness is thrown away upon the evil."
  • Schooled: Cap grew into a patient pacifist thanks to his hippie upbringing. Despite being subjected to every cruel prank possible by Zach and the other bullies at Claverage, they simply can't get a rise out of him.
  • In Jane Eyre, Helen Burns is a staunch believer in this trope. She patiently accepts and forgives all the abuse she receives at Lowood School and encourages the angry young Jane to do the same. Jane never becomes as self-effacing as Helen was, but she does ultimately take her friend's belief in forgiveness to heart, most noticeably when, as an adult, she forgives her abusive Aunt Reed at the latter's deathbed.

     Live Action TV 
  • In Community episode "Comparative Religion", Jeff attempts this ("what would Shirley do?"), but when the bully just keeps hitting him, Shirley changes her mind and tells Jeff to "kick his ass!" Time to have An Ass-Kicking Christmas!
  • Simon does this to Jayne in Firefly a few times, which unnerves Jayne more than a direct threat.
    • Most epically, when Simon and River reveal they know that Jayne tried to sell them out to the Alliance. Jayne was still probably recuperating from getting the crap scared out of him after Mal's threat to space him over the misdeed.
    • The pilot episode has Mal selling his cargo to Patience, who shot him the last time they met. He also seems completely baffled as to why the rest of the crew would find the incident relevant.
      Wash: Didn't she shoot you one time?
      Mal: Everybody's makin' a fuss.
  • The Doctor forgiving the Master at the end of the Doctor Who episode "Last of the Time Lords".
  • The Risans in Star Trek take this to a scary level. Based on one episode of Deep Space Nine, terrorism is apparently okay to them so long as the terrorists are enjoying themselves.
  • Byron, the leader of the telepath community that moved onto Babylon 5, used this against a group of anti-telepath bigots, asking one of them to repeatedly punch him in the face and then asking if it made him feel any better. It unnerved the bigots into leaving.
  • Played for laughs in an episode of M*A*S*H, when Father Mulcahy gets bumped on the backside by the jeep of a visiting general. Said general offers an apology, and Mulcahy replies with the trope title.
  • Done in Kamen Rider Fourze. Ryusei/Meteor kills Gentarou/Fourze after he(Ryusei) made a deal with a Zodiart to revive his friend in a coma in exchange for killing Gen. After being revived by essentially The Power of Friendship, Gentarou being Gentarou instead of getting revenge outright befriends Ryusei, arguing that during his killing blow, Ryusei finally showed his true feelings, his true self, no longer behind a mask. And also that his desire to heal his friend was a damn good justification too.
  • Arthur of the Britons: When Actual Pacifist Rolf the Preacher explains the doctrine of 'turn the other cheek' to Mark of Cornwall, Mark slaps him hard across the face. Rolf's reaction is to turn the other cheek and present it to Mark to be slapped. This impresses Mark enough that he invites Rolf into his fort to discuss his religion.
  • The Jeffersons: George Jefferson accidentally finds himself at a meeting of white supremacists. When the leader has a heart attack, George gives him CPR. (This is uncharacteristically nice of George, although afterwards he says "I should've inhaled."). As the leader is taken out on a gurney, his equally militant son explains what George had done. The man responds "He saved my life? You should have let me die." The son, however, quits the group. Also see Real Life below.
  • The Last Kingdom: In season 5, despite having been tortured and castrated by Brida to spite his father, Young Uhtred refuses to seek vengeance against her, even urging his father to show mercy to Brida when Uhtred departs to confront Brida one last time. His son's refusal to harm a woman who's caused him so much pain, as well as Uhtred's own mixed feelings about Brida prompt him to spare her.
    Uhtred: If my son could find it in his heart to forgive you after what you did to him, then I must do the same.
  • The Boys (2019): After everything Hughie has been fighting for, everything he'd done, he has A-Train on the ground having a heart attack. Even though he knows A-Train will be after him for the rest of his life, he chooses to save his and let him go anyway.
  • Victorious: When Tori and Jade are partnered together to practice stage fighting, Jade makes it look like Tori actually hit her. This gets Tori detention, where she's forced to clean the school's theater. Andre finds out what Jade did and runs to tell Tori. However, Tori doesn't tell the teachers what Jade did and get out of detention. Perplexed, Jade asks her why she would do this. Tori explains that she didn't want to feed into their conflict, feeling that going to school at Hollywood Arts wouldn't be any fun if the two kept fighting.
  • Stranger Things: After being tormented at the skating rink by Angela and her gang, El tries to convince Angela to do this, but Angela just taunts her even more, even going so far as to mock the memory of Hopper who (everyone thinks) died saving the world. Then it gets ugly.
  • The Undeclared War: Saara's brother Saj, who's become an imam (Muslim cleric), preaches that Muslims should not retaliate with violence after multiple mosques have been firebombed, saying this will only breed more violent acts, and cites the Quran in support of his position.
  • First Day: Hannah responds to Isabella's bullying and mocking her not with any kind of retaliation, but only kindness. She even expresses concern on seeing Isabella has been bruised on her arms, realizing that this means she's being abused. Isabella is won over by her compassion in time.


  • Old Harry's Game:
    • Satan is still a bit annoyed that Jesus did this to him when they met.
    • The Professor does this endlessly. Despite being in Hell, he hardly ever loses his temper, merely trying to philosophise about everything, or psychoanalyse the Devil. Apparently it gets to them so much two demons actually committed suicide rather than put up with it.

     Religion And Mythology 
  • Jesus is the Trope Namer with His saying in The Four Gospels that provides the page quote. Christians generally interpret this as a commandment to be a Badass Pacifist and refuse to respond to evil with violence, insult, or revenge no matter what an aggressor does. However, it is a matter of debate exactly how absolutely the principle is meant to be applied; read more at The Other Wiki.
    • The Jews generally hit someone on the right side (considered the clean side of the body) with the left hand (considered the 'dirty'/unclean side of the body).note 
    • Or, according to another source, only the right hand was used for hitting, and turning the other cheek when you were given a backhanded slap as to an inferior would provoke the person doing the hitting to hit you with a fist like an equal instead since it would be too awkward to use the back of the right hand from that angle. Thus, turning the other cheek would mean refusing to be treated as an inferior, though only in that cultural context, and according to this historical interpretation, it would not be the same thing as accepting evil done to you at all.
    • The same goes for "If someone asks you to walk a mile with them, walk two miles," which may have meant "If a Roman soldier asks you to carry his pack for one mile, which they are allowed to do, you can shift the balance of power in the situation while faking subservience by offering to carry it longer, for which he would be punished."
    • Another example in Book of Proverbs: "If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink. You will be heaping live coals on his headnote , and the LORD will reward you." Proverbs 25:21-22.
    • In Books of Samuel, David has two opportunities to murder Saul when the latter is hunting for his life— once when Saul unwittingly walks into an ambush in a cave, later when David and his spies scout out Saul's camp at night. Each time, David specifically forbids his men from murdering the king, instead taking a piece of Saul's robe, which he shows Saul afterwards to prove he could have killed him if he'd wanted to, so therefore he didn't want to. Saul is duly ashamed and calls off the manhunt for David... for a while.
  • Buddhism has a complicated relationship with this principle. Buddhist texts do state that one should never Pay Evil unto Evil, but on the other hand, they sometimes imply that reasonable self-defense can be justified. Sometimes, intention is the devil in the details: if you fight with intention to harm, you are doing bad, but if you fight in order to uphold justice or Dharma, you are doing good (still not as good as not fighting at all, but nobody's perfect). This kind of interpretations are the origin of the famous relationship between Buddhism and martial arts.
    • Gautama Buddha was technically a trained Kshatriya warrior, but he's never portrayed that way after his enlightenment, his stance being staunchly non-violent. However, whenever he gets attacked in stories, he never lets their opponents harm him either, often doing the good old Break Them by Talking or downright using his Enlightenment Superpowers to deflect physical attacks. On an occasion, his traitorous apprentice Devadatta tries to scratch his legs with poisonous nails, and Buddha answers by turning his legs into rock crystal so the baddie breaks his nails and dies himself when the poison enters the wounds.
    • Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhism are a subversion, having a whole class of gods called "Wrathful Deities" who will actually fight, as violently as it is needed and then a bit more, to enforce Dharma. For those guys, wearing garlands of severed heads of enemies is commonplace, so go imagine. Oftentimes, this iconography is useful for us humans as a metaphor, reflecting the idea that we must be ruthless to eliminate the abstract "enemies" of enlightenment like negative emotions and distractions, but the good ol' idea that there are real gods butchering demons for your sake is sometimes maintained too.

  • Ferrovius in Androcles and the Lion allows Lentulus to strike him on the other cheek so he can demonstrate that he is a true Christian. He then seizes Lentulus and asks him to turn the other cheek when he strikes him.

     Video Games 
  • Darcsens from Valkyria Chronicles tend to stick to this whenever anyone is persecuting them, with only few, like Zeri, trying to pro-actively fight against all the racism leveled against his people. Dahau, Zig, and the Calamity Raven are also included aside from Zeri.
  • Tends to happen a lot for Sonic the Hedgehog. In a similar manner to Goku, many people who try to kill him end up trying to help him in the end, and it always goes without him holding any grudges. The best examples are with Knuckles, who attacked Sonic after being duped by Eggman, Shadow, who tried to drop Space Colony ARK on the Earth to fulfill his creator's revenge, and Silver, who travelled to the past to kill him in order to save the future.
  • During the final episode of The Walking Dead: Season Three, David becomes furious at what he perceives to be Javi's attempts to take his family away from him, since Javi's spent the last few years traveling and bonding with David's wife Kate and children Mariana and Gabe after they were all separated from David during the initial outbreak (resulting in Javi potentially becoming romantic with Kate if the player so chooses) and he begins to viciously beat his brother as Kate and Gabe scream at him to stop. You're given a choice: to fight back or to tell him you love him. If you pick the latter, David is visibly surprised before quickly becoming even more enraged, and you're given the same choice after each blow. Every refusal to defend yourself is met with escalating aggression, culminating in David sitting on Javi's chest, trying to crush his windpipe, Javi insisting with what breath he can muster that he loves his brother. Thankfully, Clementine intervenes and shoots David in the shoulder to break it up.
  • Over the course of his life, Gulcasa has been betrayed by the people most important to him over and over and over. It never stops him from continuing to trust even people who clearly don't deserve it, and no matter how he's been betrayed, he hates fighting his former friends and refuses to kill them. In Yggdra Unison, one of the few games where he and Nessiah actually come face to face after the latter breaks ties with the Imperial Army, they still banter and tease each other amiably, and you even have the option of bringing Nessiah back into the fold (although that last bit strays into another trope just a little).
  • Specifically and childishly averted by Taiga in Duel Savior Destiny. He says that if someone slaps him, he'd tape a thumbtack to his other cheek. This sums up his Slap-Slap-Kiss relationship with Lily rather well.
  • In Undertale, if you're on a "No Mercy" run, an early boss shows up in an attempt to get you to stop killing everyone. Rather than use force, he immediately offers mercy to you, no questions asked. Spare him and you'll become friends with him, ending the "No Mercy" run and putting you back on a neutral story path. Kill him, and in his dying breath he still tells you that he believes that you'll eventually reverse your omnicidal ways.
  • Discussed by Venus and Neptune in We Know the Devil:
    Venus: I feel like I shouldn't get mad though. Like, you're supposed to turn the other cheek.
    Neptune: Ever think people who love to say that just love slapping people?
    Venus: Yeah…
  • In The Elder Scrolls lore, Jurgen Windcaller was the most powerful Tongue (masters of the Thu'um who served in the Nord army) of the 1st Era. Following their ignominious defeat at Red Mountain, Windcaller fell into Heroic BSoD despair and meditated for seven years, determining that the defeat was due to the displeasure of the Divines for misusing the Thu'um. He would inspire the "Way of the Voice", preaching pacifism, non-intervention in worldly affairs, and the use of the Thu'um only to honor the gods. When he proclaimed the Way of the Voice, seventeen other Tongues tried to shout him down. He "swallowed" their words for three days until he fell, exhausted. This caused them to acknowledge his superiority and wisdom in the Voice.
  • The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel:
    • Rean Schwarzer and the rest of Class VII decide to forgive Crow in the second game for betraying them by revealing that he's the leader of the terrorists that they've been hunting for all along because of his Dark and Troubled Past with the Evil Chancellor who he assassinated in the first game.
    • Rean's sister Elise also does this in the third game towards Altina, who kidnapped her and Princess Alfin in the second game. A huge part of this is because during the Time Skip between the second and third games, Altina had been assisting Rean on missions he was assigned. Elise tells Altina that she's grateful for all the help she gave Rean during those missions, leading to her forgiving Altina for the kidnapping.
  • In Persona 5, Ryuji's former teammates blame him for getting the track team shut down by punching Kamoshida in a fit of anger, and so end up giving him a lot of abuse when they cross paths. Despite this, when Ryuji finds them confronting their teammate Nakaoka over having, among other things, disclosed the truth about Ryuji's home life to Kamohsida (who proceeded to spread rumors about it), Ryuji intervenes to protect Nakaoka.

     Web Comics 
  • Parodied in Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal where it turns out this message was actually part of Jesus' now-forgotten lesson of passive-aggressiveness. The point of turning the other cheek wasn't to show mercy or grace, it was to make the other guy feel like a huge dick and hurt him without using physical force. Another one had Jesus' other cheek covered in spikes.
  • Genza in Beneath the Clouds agrees to try to save the Emperor who sent him into exile. However, he does admit to himself that he'd like to refuse "just to see the look in his eyes", before admitting the thought isn't worthy of a monk.
  • Paranatural: Parodied. Johnny the bully tries to interrogate Ed the nerd; Ed casually deconstructs Johnny's behavior, apologizes for being unable to give him the information he wants, and just sits there waiting to be beat up. This makes Johnny very uncomfortable, and The Rant claims that this is weaponized pacifism.
    if you turn the other cheek fast enough you can really get some force behind it and use it for offensive striking purposes

     Western Animation 
  • An episode of Moral Orel is titled "Turn the Other Cheek." After listening to a children's song with that title all night, Orel gets it in his head that he should turn the other cheek at every opportunity. The school bully beats Orel repeatedly until his father Clay tells him that he should be doing the exact opposite. Hilarity Ensues again when Orel preemptively attacks at every possible threat of force, even when his best friend Doughy throws rock in Rock, Paper, Scissors, culminating in him beating his father when he takes off his belt. In a very rare instance, though, Clay admitted that Orel was just doing what Clay advised him to do, and so he won't punish Orel for beating him up, because that would mean admitting that he was wrong.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender has this with Aang and how he treats the Anti-Hero Zuko. His friend Sokka often complains about it.
    • In season 2, Iroh's portion of "The Tales of Ba Sing Se" has someone hold him at knife-point for his money, and Iroh - the resident Old Soldier- quietly talks the mugger down by asking about his life.
    • In season 3, Katara has a chance to confront her mother's killer and becomes consumed by a desire for revenge. Aang urges Katara to do this; in the end, though she nearly ends up killing the man, she refuses. Subverted, though; Katara explains that it wasn't an act of forgiveness but disgust at what a pathetic person he was.
      Katara: I didn't forgive him — I'll never forgive him...
      • She is, however, inspired to forgive Zuko (who helped her track down her mother's killer), finally forgiving him for his betrayal in Ba Sing Se.
    • In the sequel comics, Zuko is also very forgiving of his family in spite of how they treated him: Ozai, despite being an Abusive Parent who disregarded Zuko his entire childhood and then scarred and banished him, is given an all things considered fairly cordial treatment and his mother Ursa, while much more sympathetic, is also instantly forgiven for making a deal with a spirit to forget about her life in the Capital (Zuko included), with Zuko simply asking her to tell her story to him and making up with a heartfelt hug. By far and large, however, Zuko is the most forgiving of his little sister Azula; even though Azula bullied and tormented him for years, manipulated him into betraying his uncle, and nearly killed him just a year before, Zuko shows nothing more than concern for her mental well-being and trying to mend their broken brother-sister bond. This is in part because, in Zuko's eyes, Azula's mental issues are reflective of how he could have been if he didn't have the right people to turn to, and in part because Azula's inability to let go of their past is reflective of the struggles the post-war Fire Nation at large is going through; after all, how can he steer his nation in the right direction, if he can't even help his sister?
  • Parodied in the American Dad! episode Rapture's Delight, in which Stan slaps Jesus, who turns the other cheek... and is punched instead.
  • Throughout the course of Jem, The Misfits have put Jem and the Holograms in situations where the latter group could have been killed, but Jerrica/Jem never calls the police (she likely had her reasons...).
    • The one time Eric Raymond got arrested he was released the next day, citing that lawyers can practically do anything you pay them enough. Chances are even if Jem did have the Misfits arrested Eric would have them out in no time flat.
  • Strawberry Shortcake: All three versions, but especially the first two.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic:
    • This is a defining trait of protagonist Twilight Sparkle, who never holds a grudge and is quick to move on from any mistreatment, no matter how personal or hurtful. She instantly forgives her friends and her mentor for shunning and abandoning her after they were suckered in by one episode's villain. She forgives Trixie for banishing her from her home and turning it into a crapsack Egopolis. She includes the backstabbing Discord as one of the friends she frees by giving up her magic to villain Tirek. Finally, when Starlight Glimmer goes on a personal time-travel crusade to retroactively destroy all of Twilight's friendships (and, unwittingly, turns Equestria into a Crapsack World while she's at it) Twilight fights her to a standstill, talks her down, and... takes Starlight on as her personal student in friendship.
      Starlight Glimmer: I still can't believe you're letting me stay here... as your pupil... after everything I did.
      Twilight Sparkle: Well, I'm not one to dwell on the past, and neither should you.
    • In both "Griffon the Brush-Off" and "The Lost Treasure of Griffonstone," Pinkie Pie is repeatedly yelled at and mistreated by Gilda the Griffon. Yet Pinkie's cheerful optimism never wavers, and she continues to try to befriend Gilda with parties, sweets, and jocularity.
  • You would think The Smurfs episode "Smurf The Other Cheek" is about this trope in action just by the title alone...until you realize what "smurfing the other cheek" really means when you watch the episode!
  • Steven Universe, All-Loving Hero that he is, has forgiven everyone who's hurt him or tried to hurt him at any stage, to the point where he's willing to wish someone a pleasant day after they had just spent the past scene trying to kill him and his guardians. By the end of the season, his willingness to forgive and accept that same character's flaws led her to a Heel–Face Turn. Subverted and deconstructed in the follow-up Steven Universe: Future which forces Steven to look at how many traumatic incidents he's suffered through. The difference is made between forgiving someone and forgiving someone for hurting you, and Steven has a lot of pent-up resentment towards others for how much he's been hurt. When it all becomes too much for him to handle and his shapeshifting powers turn him into a giant monster, nearly all of the reformed antagonists are forced to recognize how much they hurt Steven and didn't actually do anything to make it up to him specifically, even if they atoned for their overall actions.
  • The Boondocks had Huey narrate a story about an Alternate History where Martin Luther King Jr survived getting shot and simply went into a coma, waking up decades later in our present day. When interviewed about the 9/11 bombings, King, as mentioned in the Real Life section, affirms his belief in this trope. Unfortunately for Dr King, this is the bloodthirsty post-9/11 America, which immediately decries him as a traitor, a coward, a communist, and any other word they can come up with, even his own original supporters. This, combined with his disgust at what modern black culture has become in his absence, eventually leads to Dr. King giving a "The Reason You Suck" Speech to the people who deify him while ignoring everything he actually stands for and abandoning the U.S. to go to Canada.

     Real Life 
  • Jackie Robinson. In order to be accepted into the MLB, he had two prove two things: that he was a great baseball player, and a fine gentleman. In other words, he had to have the guts to not fight back when someone hurt him because of his race, and not let loose any sort of curse when someone cursed at him because of his race.
  • Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. are both famous for practicing nonviolent resistance against oppressors. While this didn't make the people that oppressed them pull a Heel–Face Turn, it allowed everyone else to see a clear moral contrast between the peaceful protesters and their barbaric tormentors, which drastically swayed public opinion in their favor.
  • It didn't work for Nelson Mandela in South Africa. When Mandela realised this, he moved to Plan B: sabotaging industrial targets, making sure nobody got hurt. Plan C was to be active resistance against the military, although he was imprisoned before that came to pass.
    • Ditto with Burma: the monks who protested the regime are largely dead now. However, it got better.
    • It didn't work in Northern Ireland either, where protesters were fired on and killed by British troops, leading to The Troubles. Even prior to that, protesters had been attacked and beaten by loyalist thugs.
  • An amusing historical example is told of Governor John Winthrop in the Massachusetts Bay colony:
    On one occasion it was reported to him that a man had been stealing from his store of winter's firewood, and he was urged to punish him. "I will soon put a stop to that bad practice," said the governor sternly. He sent for the offender. "You have a large family," he said to the offending culprit, "and I have a large magazine of wood; come as often as you please, and take as much of it as you need to make your dwelling comfortable." Then turning to his accusers, he said: "Now I defy him to steal any more of my firewood."
  • Saint John Paul II visited Mehmet Ali Agca (the man who tried to assassinate him), in prison and forgave him.
  • This story, in which a young man receives racial abuse, but when the bully suddenly faints, the victim calls for an ambulance and gives CPR to the bully for fifteen minutes.
  • Reverend Wade Watts was able to convert a Klan leader by always being kind even in the face of his overt racism and threats, culminating in this act of badass pacifism.
    Johnny Lee Clary: So we got a bunch of us together, and about 30 of us went in there and surrounded him, and he had this chicken there on the table, at the restaurant. And I walked up to him and I said "Boy, this restaurant's for white people only, we don't want you here." I said "So I'm gonna make you a promise. I promise you that we're gonna do the same thing to you that you do to that chicken. So you think real hard before you touch that chicken." So he looked at me and looked at the Klan, then he picked up the chicken and he kissed it.
  • Sometimes, the best option to deal with an employee who stole from you is to let them go as spending legal fees after them will cost even more than the money they stole. This works in 2 important ways; your business would take a loss from the write-off, which means tax deduction. And second, depending on the situation, it can be counted as undocumented income for the thief, from which the tax office would certainly love to get a cut...
    Reddit thread: This means he owes the IRS $20,000 that he can never escape through bankruptcy or any other means and I have the world’s most vicious attack dog trying to get money from him instead of whatever minor debt collection efforts I could have mustered.


Video Example(s):


Leon, Olivia, and Angelica

After Marie usurped Olivias' role as the Protagonist, the Commoner that attended school on a Scholarship manages to find friendship with the games' Designated Villain Duchess Angelica and Background Character Baron Leon Fou Bartfort.

How well does it match the trope?

4.58 (12 votes)

Example of:

Main / SuccessAsRevenge

Media sources: