Follow TV Tropes


Villains Want Mercy

Go To

Jack the Ripper: M-mercy, honourable knight! Spare me!
Sir Daniel Fortesque: Nuh-uh. [BLAM!]

Sometimes when the heroes defeat the Big Bad, they go down gracefully. Sometimes they realize they're doomed and demands you stop fooling around. Sometimes they try to take the heroes with him. Sometimes the villain is so badass they just stays defiant and won't stop fighting until they're Deader than Dead and sometimes a villain may rather die than accept charity or mercy from their enemies. This trope is not about those villains.

Smug Snakes, Dirty Cowards, and bad guys who suffer from Villain Decay rarely go down with their heads held high. For all the bravado and confidence they usually project, they are much more likely to get on their hands and knees and beg for mercy. This also serves to contrast them with the hero, as heroes usually don't beg for mercy from the villain in the opposite situation, at least not for themselves. Very rarely, it's the act of a Noble Demon who is consistent about offering his foes mercy and expects the favour to be returned. Depending on where the hero is on the Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism, they might call the villain out on how many people they've denied mercy before sparing them anyway. Others may deliver a "Reason You Suck" Speech and leave the villain alive just to spite him. Or they might just scoff at this and shoot him.

If the hero does grant them mercy, they may perform a Heel–Face Turn out of gratitude. However, it's very common for the villain to attempt to attack the hero one last time, usually while their back is turned. This will rarely work. If the villain doesn't backstab, I Owe You My Life may follow (and because Redemption Equals Death, there's a high chance they'll end up actually giving their life for the hero at some point).

In popular works, such as James Bond and such, where killing the villain is considered standard operating policy, you will rarely, if ever, actually see someone begging for mercy and then be killed by the hero as the resulting Mood Whiplash would be too great and might result in the audience turning against the hero. Of course, there are always Darker and Edgier exceptions, such as with 24 and its licenced-to-kill lead character Jack Bauer. If the villain has been particularly merciless, than the refusal to give the requested mercy can be played up as a heroic moment, as the villain has just proven themselves to be a hypocritical coward who deserves whatever punishment the hero dishes out to them.

When the hero does this, it is Ain't Too Proud to Beg. Also see Please, I Will Do Anything!. Compare I Surrender, Suckers if the villain uses the surrender to trick the hero. Contrast a version of Embarrassing Rescue where the hero offers or attempts to help the villain of his own volition and the villain refuses, preferring to die rather than accept help from their enemy. If the villain begs to be incarcerated to escape someone rather than begging for their life, it falls under Prefer Jail to the Protagonist.

As this sometimes winds up being a Death Trope, unmarked spoilers abound. Beware.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Attack on Titan: Right before being Eaten Alive by a transformed Armin, the Colossal Titan begs the Survey Corps, who he had just tried to kill, to save him.
  • Berserk:
    • Wyald tries to murder Griffith, the one and only person he is absolutely not allowed to kill under any circumstances due to the Godhand's orders, and is promptly attacked by Nosferatu Zodd, who plans to kill him for it. Wyald, who had previously been established as a Serial Rapist and hedonist who unjustly killed countless people and forced his own subordinates to ride into battle without any concern for their own survival, begs for mercy, pointing out that he was just following the Godhand's law of "do as thou wilt." Zodd turns that logic against him by declaring that very law to be his reason for killing Wyald, and rips him in half.
    • Invariably done by many villains when they find themselves at the end of Guts' colossal sword, especially the demonic Apostles in a particularly ironic case of monsters Mugging the Monster. The Apostles are even more terrified of dying because they know what awaits them when they die.
  • Code Geass:
  • Cross Ange:
  • In Death Note, part of Light Yagami's Villainous Breakdown is calling out to someone, anyone to save him; despite having slaughtered countless innocents (alongside the criminals he initially set out to punish), he's absolutely terrified at the thought of dying himself.
  • Digimon Data Squad, in the dub, at least: After Marcus and ShineGreymon manage to achieve Burst Mode, they completely manage to turn the tide against the fused Kurata and Belphemon, the former of whom begins begging Marcus to have pity on him. Marcus replies that "pity's the only thing he has for (Kurata)" before having ShineGreymon finish Belphemon off.
  • Dragon Ball:
    • During the Red Ribbon Army Saga, once Mercenary Tao realizes that Goku is too much for him, he begs for mercy, promising to leave and change his ways. The minute Goku lets his guard down, Tao throws a grenade at him... only for Goku to kick it right back at him, resulting in Tao being blown up by his own grenade. He survives, albeit barely.
    • Raditz pulls this on Goku after being grabbed by his weak point, his tail. After Goku lets him go, however, he hits him in the stomach before pinning him down and ruthlessly breaking his ribs, all while mocking Goku for falling for it. Once Goku has him physically restrained while Piccolo prepares the Special Beam Cannon, Raditz begs for mercy again; fortunately, Goku isn't dumb enough to fall for the same ploy twice, and ensures that Raditz is killed with him.
    • In their second fight on Namek, as soon as Vegeta punches a hole through his gut, Zarbon frantically starts pleading for mercy, even offering to team up with him to overthrow Frieza. Vegeta just fires an energy beam right through Zarbon after outright demanding to know why he should show him mercy, considering the fact that Zarbon had done nothing but insult him and push him around for years.
    • After being cut in half by his own attack, Frieza begs Goku for mercy. Goku gives Frieza some of his own energy so he could escape Namek before it exploded, but not before calling Frieza out on expecting mercy when he didn't show any to the countless people he's killed. But Frieza is too proud to accept that he's been defeated, and uses the energy for one last-ditch attack. Goku just turns around and blasts him, outright calling Frieza a fool for not heeding his warnings and just walking away when he had the chance.
    • Great King Cold tries this when he's mortally wounded by Future Trunks (in the manga, he was killed instantly by Trunks' first God Breaker blast, but in the anime, he clings on long enough to beg despite having a hole in his chest). In the first dub, he tries to tell Trunks that he was kidding about trying to kill him, and that all he wanted was peace. In the original Japanese dialogue and Kai Dub, he instead offers to give him one of his finest planets — or even a solar system — in return for letting him walk away and change his wicked ways. It doesn't work, as Trunks is savvier (and much more ruthless) than Goku about these matters, and he proceeds to blast King Cold into gory chunks.
    • Dr. Gero plotted for years to kill Goku and his friends out of petty revenge, sucked the life out of Yamcha before impaling him, and leveled an entire city to the ground. But when his robotic partner in crime, No. 19, is overpowered by Vegeta and sent running for his life, Dr. Gero begs him to stop as Vegeta prepares to finish No. 19 off; Vegeta rightfully tells him off before blowing No. 19 to pieces.
      Dr. Gero: Enough!
      Vegeta: Don't be absurd! It's enough because you're losing! You've come here to destroy us! Fool! You're going to have to finish what you started!
    • During the Buu Saga, Piccolo has Babidi at his mercy and is about to kill him. Babidi desperately begs for his life, stating that without him, Majin Buu will be completely uncontrollable and destroy everything. Piccolo nonetheless slices Babidi in half, pointing out that Babidi intends to have Buu destroy everything anyway, so the end result would be the same. Babidi manages to cling to life long enough to threaten Buu into healing him.
    • In Dragon Ball GT, Sanxinglong/Eis Shenron pulls this on Goku the minute Goku has him at his mercy; despite having every reason to just kill Sanxinglong considering the fact that among the dirty tricks Sanxinglong pulled during the fight was using Pan as a Human Shield, Goku decides to let him go on the grounds that he give him the three-star Dragon Ball and never show his face again. The minute Goku lets his guard down, Sanxinglong forms a set of icy Wolverine Claws and uses them to blind Goku, bragging about how easily Goku fell for it; unfortunately for Sanxinglong, Goku, unhindered in the slightest by the loss of his eyesight, punches a hole through Sanxinglong' gut before completely obliterating him with a Dragon Fist.
      • In the final battle with Omega Shenron, Goku charges up a Spirit Bomb with the energy of every living being in the universe. When Omega Shenron realizes that he can't just swat the Spirit Bomb away, he drops his smugness and immediately begins begging for his life. Given that Omega Shenron has already killed one of his fellow Shadow Dragons and has declared his intention to destroy the universe, Goku is obviously in no mood for mercy and erases him with the Spirit Bomb.
    • Dragon Ball Super: Throughout the Galactic Patrol Prisoner arc, Moro gleefully kills people and drains their life without a flicker of remorse, destroys several planets, openly declares that he can eat and destroy whoever and whatever he wants, and does everything in his power to kill Goku and everyone on Earth. But when he's overwhelmed by Goku in his perfected Ultra Instinct form and beaten into submission, he completely loses his shit and has the sheer nerve to beg Goku for mercy.
  • Fist of the North Star: Mooks are prone to this, some even planned to put out "I Surrender, Suckers" trick against Kenshiro. Kenshiro usually finishes them off after asking if they ever showed mercy when some of their victims begged them to stop. In contrast, the major villains are often Graceful Losers, and they Face Death with Dignity.
  • In Gun-Ota ga Mahou Sekai ni Tensei Shitara..., the vast, vast majority of villains are cruel, sadistic, and happily brag about their villainy, and how they love to hear the pleas of their victims until they find themselves on the receiving end of Lute's wrath, clearly outmatched. At this point, they shamelessly beg for mercy and make all sorts of promises, trying to save their lives. Lute and his Battle Harem rarely oblige, and the few times they do is because someone with authority over them is the one calling the shots, or the villain somehow survives in spite of Lute's efforts. Given a choice, Lute does not let his enemies live.
  • High School D×D: Raynare spends most of her fight with Issei taunting him over how she killed his friend Asia, as well as laughing at Issei when he spills out his lingering affections toward her, mocking him as completely unworthy of being boyfriend material. When she is defeated by a righteously pissed Issei and left at his mercy, she begs for her life, pulling such cards as reminding him that she was her girlfriend, claiming she was Just Following Orders, blaming her own actions on Azazel and God, and going so far as to show him the armband he bought for her as a cherished treasure. Issei isn't fooled for a second but just doesn't have the heart to kill someone whom he shared a precious day of love and happiness with... so he asks Rias to do it for him; Rias has no mercy for Raynare and blows her up on the spot.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure:
    • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders has the villain Steely Dan, who used his Stand, The Lovers, which redirects damage done to him, to hold Joseph hostage in order to force Jotaro to do his bidding. The entire time he's got Jotaro under his thumb, Dan lords over him, forcing him to do menial tasks like shining his shoes and generally acting like a high school bully. The second The Lovers is undone and Joseph is safe, however, he starts begging for mercy, offering Jotaro the money DIO paid him. It doesn't stop Jotaro from laying the smackdown on Dan for three whole pages (twenty seconds in the anime).
    • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind plays with this in the case of Illuso. Rather than beg for mercy, per se, he begs for a death that isn't Purple Haze. Considering what it ends up doing to him, Illuso was absolutely justified in begging for another route to death.
  • Metroid (Manga): In First Battle, Samus takes out several Space Pirates on Jigrad before facing their ringleader P-1. Despite having gleefully sentenced a young Damara to death simply because she was too young to be put to work, P-1 throws himself at Samus' feet and begs for mercy. This only pisses Samus off even more, and she's only stopped from shooting him in the face with a point-blank Charge Beam by hearing the terrified crying of Damara herself at the sight.
  • The Misfit of Demon King Academy:
    • When Anos throws Emilia Lud(o)well to the ground of the arena following the murder attempt on his mother and fanclub who were all hybrid demons, he fatally wounds her and explains to her that she has around a minute to live. She initially does not beg, but he twists his blade which culminates in her begging for mercy as she is bleeding out with Anos telling her to be louder about it. Ultimately, he stabs her to death before reincarnating her into a completely naked Human-Demon Hybrid to humiliate her.
    • When Lay takes his swords, Heine Iorg begs him not to use their Stigma function, despite intending to torture Lay that way earlier.
  • Jirobo in Naruto, after spending his whole fight against Choji insulting and making fun of him, shamelessly tries to beg for his life when Choji has him pinned to the ground and is about to deliver a Megaton Punch to his chest. At this point, having pressed his Berserk Buttons one too many times and way past the Rage Breaking Point, Choji is having none of it.
  • One Piece:
    • In the Laboon Arc, the Big Bad Duumvirate Mr. 9 and Miss Wednesday beg for mercy from the Straw Hats and ask them to take them to Whiskey Peak. It's later subverted when it turns out they were never really evil, and one of them was even The Mole.
    • When Luffy has Wapol trapped and is charging up his final strike, Wapol tries to bargain by offering him a royal rank, a medal of honour, or even being "vice-king". Even if those offers weren't completely meagre and valueless, Luffy wouldn't care either way, due to all the horrible things Wapol did, and sends him flying.
    • Several criminals in Impel Down begged one of the guards to not kill them; he responds by saying they deserved it, asking how many people they had killed before they arrived.
    • Once Kozuki Hiyori has Dirty Coward Kurozumi Orochi at her mercy and he can't defend himself or have any of his guards to help him, he pitifully begs for his life, even claiming he was just acting on Kaido's orders and always respected Oden. Hiyori isn't buying it and if anything, it pisses her off even more he would claim as such. He gets his bravado back when a bit of Kanjuro's fire spirit shows up and orders it to attack Hiyori. But the spirit was told to go where Orochi was, so it does and sets Orochi on fire. With him aflame, Orochi once more begs Hiyori to save him.
  • Pokémon: The Series: Team Rocket frequently begs and snivels once an attack goes wrong. It rarely prevents a comical beatdown from the vengeful heroes.
  • Rosario + Vampire:
    • The minute Keito realizes that Inner Moka is way out of her league, she starts pathetically begging for mercy and trying to bargain with her, offering to keep her "transgressions" secret from the rest of the Security Committee if she lets her go. Inner Moka bluntly tells her to piss off (yes, those are her actual words) before Megaton Kicking her into next year.
    • Kanade Kamiya is a twisted siren with a God complex who goes on random killing sprees to pass the time and clear his head and states outright that his Goal in Life is to create a mountain of human corpses. When San Otonashi proves to be stronger than him and sings a Brown Note that causes him to slowly crumble to dust, Kanade freaks out and begs for someone to help him; nobody does.
    • Gyokuro Shuzen, big time. Upon discovering that she was wrong about Moka's rosary having the power to control Alucard, she begs Moka not to take the rosary back, as it's the only thing keeping Alucard from eating her. She makes the argument that if Moka does take the rosary back, then nothing will stop her flying fortress from crashing down into the human world; it's all an act, as Gyokuro plans to buy time so she can kill Moka and her friends afterward. At that very moment, Touhou Fuhai and the Bus Driver hack into the fortress's controls, preventing it from falling. Gyokuro attempts another plea for mercy, but Moka just yanks the rosary off her, spitefully telling Gyokuro if she wants mercy, then she should ask Akasha; Gyokuro's final moments are spent screaming Moka's name in rage and fear before Alucard devours her.
  • Rurouni Kenshin:
    • As soon as Kenshin manages to bypass his gatling gun, Kanryu goes from gloating about the power of money to desperately begging Kenshin not to kill him. Kenshin proceeds to whack Kanryu across the face so hard that it breaks his jaw and knocks a tooth loose, after giving Kanyru a particularly fitting Pre-Asskicking One-Liner:
      Kenshin: If you're begging for your life, why don't you ask your money to save you?!
    • During the Kyoto arc during Kenshin and Shishio's showdown. As Shishio's body is reaching its limits, Yumi, unable to bear the sight, throws herself between Kenshin and Shishio and tearfully begs Kenshin to have mercy. The minute Kenshin lowers his guard, Shishio uses it to his advantage by stabbing through Yumi to get to Kenshin; either way, Yumi dies happy, because she was finally able to aid Shishio in battle.
  • Dub-induced example in the Sailor Moon anime: As Telulu's giant plant is trying to eat her, she screams for the Senshi to help her. Strays into Nightmare Fuel when she lets out a desperate "I'LL BE GOOD, I PROMISE!!!" as the plant explodes, killing her.
    • Played more straight with her predecessor Mimete, who begs Telulu not to disconnect the dimentional machine she's currently in. Telulu, of course, is more than happy to do it, thus dooming her to a Fate Worse than Death, trapping her in a dimensional void forever.
  • Squid Girl: One episode involves Mini Ika confronting a version of herself with black clothes that had entered the window to the house. A brief chase scene ensues that ends when the black Mini Ika fires rubber bands at Mini Ika. When she tries to do it with a ruler, it flings her out of the window. After Mini Ika saves her, the black Mini Ika begs for forgiveness, revealing she wanted food. In the end, all is well, and Mini Ika and the black Mini Ika say farewell to each other, now being friends.
  • To Love Ru: Darkness: The assassin Azenda the Tyrant, had been using a psyco-controlled Mikan to attack Yami, not caring whether Yami would have used lethal force against Milkan to defend herself or not. Momo is able to paralyze her with plant poison, and summons a cannon-ball shooting alien plant. After a single shot to demonstrate the impact of the flower, Azeda begs for mercy, complete with an "I'll do anything!"
  • Wolfsmund: After finally being captured by the Swiss rebels, Wolfram tells the rebels to release him to his master, Duke Leopold of Austria, who will generously reward them. However, because Wolfram is a liar who never keeps his word, enjoys torturing his victims when they surrender to him, and allows his men to Rape, Pillage, and Burn anyone suspected of helping the rebels, the rebels don't buy it since they know Wolfram will break his word and kill them later, so they proceed to give him an Undignified Death for all of his crimes.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!:
    • Yu-Gi-Oh!:
      • During the Battle City arc, Insector Haga/Weevil Underwood convinces a kid, who he later double-crosses, to sabotage Jounouchi/Joey's deck before dueling him, giving Haga a pretty serious advantage. When Jounouchi proceeds to win anyway, and demands Haga's two Locator Cards and Insect Queen, Haga begs for mercy, to which Jounouchi remarks that he should've thought of that before he cheated.
      • Dark Marik is the Big Bad for Seasons 2 and 3, taking control from his good counterpart to sadistically torture everyone in his way...until Yugi and Rishid/Odion help Good Marik regain control. Once it's clear that Dark Marik is on the verge to disappear forever, he begs Good Marik to spare him. It fails.
    • Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS: A weakened Lightning crawls over to Bohman and begs for mercy, to the point of offering to be assimilated within him. Despite his previous actions up to the conclusion of his Duel with Revolver, Bohman accepts. He reaches out to Bohman with the last of his strength, who then assimilates the former within himself.

    Comic Books 
  • Batman: Black and White: In "Monsters in the Closet", Batman discovers the lair of a mad scientist creating monstrous creatures. The scientist starts out smugly confident that Batman can't touch him, but switches to pleading for mercy when the creatures escape his control and one of them turns on him.
  • Disney Ducks Comic Universe:
    • DuckTales: After he falls off the clock tower trying to kill Felina, Papa Bruto is seen in a later panel begging for someone to get him down from the flagpole on which his uniform caught.
    • Paperinik New Adventures issue 11: "Trauma". The titular villain puts Donald Duck as Paperinik through physical and mental hell, but when Paperinik fights back through sheer courage, turning the tables AND terrifying Trauma, he instantly begs the hero for mercy... which he grants... only after snarking how pathetic Trauma's being.
  • At the end of the first arc of the second volume of The Darkness, villain Cousin Paulie uses various attacks and manipulations to get Anti-Hero Jackie Estacado as his superhuman enforcer. Once Jackie figures out a way to remove the threats, he promptly blasts his way through all of Paulie's minions before trapping him in his room. When the lights go out and Jackie's darkness-based powers come to full bear, Paulie begs for mercy. Jackie's response?
    Jackie: It all happens in a bad dream. Paulie's life collapses like a house of cards in a tornado. The Darkness shows it to me in detail. I see dead pigs an' bloodstains. I see mass suicide and bubonic plague and Ebola and SARS and Russian roulette. I see dead people hanging by a thread and screaming for a lifeline. And Paulie Franchetti, he sees it a million times before he dies.
  • Double Dragon (1991): When being sealed in a new dragon statue, Nightfall; who was in disbelief at this; pleads with Miranda, whom the Lee Brothers freed from the And I Must Scream fate he subjected her to, for mercy which goes ignored once he becomes a Sealed Evil in a Can.
  • Superman:
    • All-Star Superman, Superman vs. Solaris:
      Solaris: Mercy.
      Superman: You'll live. (Megaton Punch)
    • At the end of Who is Superwoman?, Supergirl and Superwoman square off. The latter gloats over framing the former for her own murders after killing her. When the Girl of Steel proceeds to pummel her, Superwoman pleads for mercy. Supergirl replies - rightly - that she doesn't deserve any and keeps bashing her.
      Supergirl: You're asking for mercy? Like Agent Liberty got?! Like poor Mister Henderson!? Like my father!? You don't deserve mercy, you deserve a beating!
    • In 2003's Superman Vs Darkseid: Apokolips Now one-shot, Superman goes solo against Darkseid to save John Irons (Steel). This Superman has his power limiters removed and is a little closer to his Silver Age days, so he crushes Darkseid and blinds him with a single punch. Darkseid asks for an end to the beating:
      Darkseid: Quarter. I am blind—I can no longer resort to the Omega Effect...You have blinded me.
    • Who Took the Super out of Superman?: Solarman goes from gloating over the rush he is getting from "beating" Superman to plead for help when his special suit catches fire due to a power overload.
      Solarman: My solar receptors— smoldering like a campfire! Hey— I'm in big trouble! HELP ME! Superman— Save me! I didn't really mean any harm, right? I mean, you knew all along— it was a joke—?
    • In The Unknown Supergirl, as soon as the self-called "The All-Seeing Eye" tyrant gets overthrown, he falls to his knees and cries for mercy.
    • The Killers of Krypton: After being defeated by Kara, Splyce -Harry Hokum's chief enforcer- begs for mercy. Supergirl is sorely tempted to use Rogol Zaar's axe to hack that child murderer into pieces, but Kara reminds herself she is not a killer.
    • Superman vs. Shazam!: When Supergirl snatches the Ibistick -a magic wand- away from Black Adam, he begs her to not use it on him. Kara ignores him, uses the Ibistick to revert him back to his powerless form, and demands answers... or else.
    • The Hunt for Reactron: When Thara transforms into Flamebird and crushes Reactron, the villain grovels for mercy right away. Flamebird angrily replies there will be none for a lecherous bully, domestic abuser, and mass murderer.
      Reactron: Stop... Please...
      Flamebird: No. Murderer of my people. You deserve no mercy.
    • Day of the Dollmaker: Subverted. Dollmaker stammers that Supergirl has to let him go, making Kara believe he is another cowardly villain who resorts to groveling when he cannot win. Then Dollmaker clarifies he is threatening to kill his hostages if she does not let him go.
      Dollmaker: "Y-you can't stop me! You have to let me go!"
      Supergirl: "Figures. Like all villains, once you're left standing alone, you're begging and cowardly. You tortured three little kids. Why should I let you do anything?"
    • Let My People Grow!: When Brainiac starts shrinking without control after being hit by his own shrinking ray, he begs both Kryptonian cousins to save him. Even Superman pleads with Supergirl, but she puts her foot down: they have only two shots left to enlarge her cousin and Kandor, and she is not squandering one of them on Brainiac. Hence, the Coluan is out of luck.
      Supergirl: I did nothing, Brainiac— You've done this to yourself!
      Brainiac: Please, Supergirl— You've got to help me!
      Supergirl: (coldly) I'm sorry, but there isn't enough energy left in the enlarging ray to save Superman— Kandor— and you!
      Brainiac: Can you be so callous— So cruel? I beg you— Don't let it end like this!
    • Supergirl (1984): At the climax of the story, Supergirl throws Selena and her assistant Bianca into the Phantom Zone. Before disappearing through a dimensional portal, Bianca -falsely- claims she was just following her tyrannical boss' orders and begs to be saved.
  • Spider-Man: Spider-Man goes through this a lot, with villains who want - but don't deserve - to be spared:
    • Prior to The Clone Saga, Spidey goes gunning for the Chameleon, who had used synthetic androids disguised as his parents to find his identity, causing him to sink into a horrible Heroic BSoD when he finds out. When he finally corners the victim and is about to crush him (ironically, with the tombstone Kraven had placed on the grave where he had been buried alive years earlier) the Chameleon begs for his life. For a few tense seconds - for both of them and the readers - Spidey pauses, then tosses it aside, clearly deciding he wasn't worth it.
    • When Spider-Man first fights Morlun, an immortal who fed on the life force of Animal Themed Superbeings like Spidey, Spidey eventually gains the upper hand against him by injecting himself with a massive dose of radiation, which only weakens him due to the radiation already in his blood, anticipating that Morlun couldn't feed on it. Indeed, Morlun absorbs the radiation with every punch Spider-Man throws at him, and when he starts to disintegrate from it, he frantically begs Spidey for mercy, insisting that he was only doing what was necessary for his survival and it was Nothing Personal. While Spider-Man debates on whether or not to let Morlun walk free, the choice is taken from him when Dex, Morlun's former minion, arrives and shoots Morlun dead.
    • During the climax of the Grim Hunt story arc, Spidey has embarked on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge against the Kravinoff family for everything they put him and his "spider family" through, at one point using his Wall Crawling powers to tear a handprint-shaped mass of flesh clean off of Sasha Kravinoff's face. When Sasha frantically begs him to wait, Spidey hatefully asks her if she "waited" when she killed Kaine, Mattie Franklin, and Madame Web.note 
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 10: D'Hoffryn, having been elevated to Big Bad status, gets hit with this when Buffy and the Scooby Gang corner him and are about to kill him for his actions throughout the series, including killing the Magic Council, stealing their powers, and nearly killing Xander using the spirit of Anya as a slave. He begs them for mercy, offering to grant them all one wish if they let him live, but the Scoobies refuse, knowing that there will always be a catch; Buffy proceeds to chop his head off.
  • The Ultimates: Some of them do, anyway. Abomination Ain't Too Proud to Beg, but the Colonel refuses to give Captain America the satisfaction.
  • Ultimate X Men:
    • When Professor X gets into his head and makes Magneto turn his own powers against himself, Magneto begs and pleads with Charles to let him go, even saying he'll "think whatever [Charles] wants." Charles doesn't budge. Though it eventually turns out Charles was pulling the wool over everyone's eyes anyhow. But afterward, Erik never does this again.
    • While they're part of Weapon X, Jean Grey is sent to "recruit" a terrorist scientist, but orders change to kill. As Jean refuses, Wraith summons Cyclops and then forces her to choose: obey her orders, or Cyclops dies. Knowing that under those terms he has no hope, the scientist begs for his life. It's no use.
  • Wonder Woman Vol 1: The Sky Riders immediately say that they're just like the Amazons and beg for forgiveness and to live on Paradise Island with them after their defeat, despite having been planning very vocal about their desire to murder every woman and child on the island just seconds before. Hippolyta responds that of course she'll forgive them, and even let them become Amazons, once they've actually proven their remorse and been judged reformed as she's having the lot of them imprisoned on Reformation Island.
  • When The Smurfs are holding Gargamel's life on the line, he will drop down on his knees and beg pathetically for his life while crying like a baby.
  • Zatanna (2010):
    • Fuseli begs for mercy after being defeated by Zatanna, and she settles for sparing him for a favor, though she still seals him in her hat in the meantime, to his humiliation.
    • Benjamin Raymond, having made a deal with Mammon to help him collect souls in exchange for extended life, tries and fails to sacrifice Zatanna. This causes his own soul to be forfeit to Mammon, and he has the nerve to ask Zatanna to help him. She can't stop Mammon from claiming him, but takes pity on him and transforms him into an inanimate lump of gold so he won't suffer.

    Fairy Tales 
  • In "The Three Snake Leaves", the princess falls to her knees and begs for forgiveness when it is revealed she murdered her husband, whom she literally owed her life. However, the king refuses to be merciful.
    When the woman saw her husband, she was thunderstruck, and fell on her knees and begged for mercy. The King said, "There is no mercy. He was ready to die with thee and restored thee to life again, but thou hast murdered him in his sleep, and shalt receive the reward that thou deservest."

    Fan Works 
  • Authors Note: After he fails to burgle Sonic and Knuckles' wallets, Steve Jobs swears he'll change as a man if he's given another chance. Sonic refuses.
  • Child of the Storm has Reynolds a.k.a. the Void beg for mercy in the sequel, after being comprehensively pummelled. Superman's willing to spare him and help him. Harry being Harry, he immediately and correctly expects a backstab. Lo and behold, Reynolds pounces the moment Clark drops his guard... and immediately gets skewered by Harry.
  • In Horror Classic after Shadow Puppet was left to die by her former allies, she tearfully begs them for help, reminding them of their past friendship. It doesn't work.
  • the Mortal Kombat fanfic In with the Old, Out with the New has Kano beg for mercy after Sonya beat the ever-loving shit out of him. Seeing as how Kano had kidnapped, tortured, and raped Cassie as payback for what had happened in the Refugee Kamp, Sonya kills Kano without any mercy whatsoever.
  • Mortality: A criminal does this after playing a part in Holmes's whereabouts. Guess who doesn't listen and is pissed off about what happened? Yeah, that's right. Watson doesn't listen and coldly murders the idiot.
  • In The Immortal Game, both General Esteem and Nihilus end up begging for their lives when defeated. Twilight Sparkle doesn't listen.
  • In The Night Unfurls, begging for mercy is a common act amongst thugs or Black Dog mercs on the receiving end of a Trick Weapon, especially when Kyril is involved or they are being interrogated. Generally not granted.
  • During the Final Battle of the Pony POV Series Chaos Verse, Nightmare Phobia begs for her life when the tide is turned against her. The heroes know it's a trick and she'll just stab them in the back if they do, so they finish her off.
  • Queen of All Oni: When Left and Right rescue Jade from Lung's fortress, Right chases him as he tries to flee, and cuts him off (rather literally) just before he can get to his escape boat. Lung begs for mercy from the Shadowkhan and doesn't receive any.
  • Time Lords and Terror: Hydia fakes doing this when the Doctor and Mane Six confront her, in order to activate her backup plan for summoning the S'Muz. The S'Muz itself ends up begging and pleading with the Mane Six not to destroy it. They do it anyway.
  • In A Gun to Love's Head when Mello threatens L and Light, Light is the first to crack; mostly because L believes Mello won't really shoot them and Light (with his healthy aversion to guns) has no such illusions.
  • The Pony POV Series:
  • In The Dear Sweetie Belle Continuity, Feather Duster consistently goes very quickly from Evil Gloating to begging his would-be victims to spare his sorry hide. It only actually works once, but he turns out to be very hard to get rid of.
  • Ace Combat: Wings of Unity's eighth chapter ends with four unnamed Exile pegasi (who are the only survivors of an entire army group that was wiped out by Celestia and Luna) getting brutally Curb-Stomped by a mysterious grey pegasus. The last one frantically begs for his life—and gets a Neck Snap in response.
  • At the end of the Judge Dredd short fan film Judge Minty, the last member of the Cursed Earth outlaws who tried to take Judge Minty's head begs Minty to spare his life, claiming that the gang leader forced him into it. Minty dispatches him anyway.
  • Tirek Gets A Righteous Beatdown: By the end of the titular beatdown, Tirek is literally begging to go back to Tartarus.
  • At the end of Book Three of The Last Son, Superman and the rest of Earth's heroes are forced to make a very elaborate plan to take down General Zod. When Zod loses control of Battlestation Sentrius and Fort Rozz, Superman is still willing to offer him one last chance to turn himself in peacefully. Instead, Zod goes into a full-blown rage that forces the heroes to lead him into a trap to cut him off his supply of yellow sun energy to depower him. At this point, Superman has had enough and seems willing to finish off Zod himself, but before he can follow through with it, General Lassider of S.H.I.E.L.D. sends out a Kryptonite-loaded nuke toward them (even after the President himself orders him not to). When the other heroes escape, Superman remains behind and has Sentrius open up a Phantom Zone singularity. Zod tries to plead with him on the grounds that he's his godfather and one of his people. Superman coldly replies that Zod is not his godfather or one of his people, and gives him the choice: either he returns to the Phantom Zone to survive, or stays to let the nuke kill him off. Superman then flies off and leaves him to his fate.
  • Referenced in How the Light Gets In, after Damien Darhk murdered Laurel. Dean, her husband, admits to her after her resurrection that he tortured Darhk and made him beg for his life before executing him. He also muses it was disappointingly easy to do so.
  • In the Brightburn fic "Dies the Fire", Brandon now calls himself 'Brightburn' and has spent fifteen years tormenting the world, referring to humans as 'grubs' and mocking every attempt humanity might make to stand up to him. However, when his old crush, Caitlyn Connors, confronts him in a suit of exo-armour equipped with grenades that generate radiation based on that generated by his old ship, as well as blades capable of cutting him, he's reduced to begging for mercy when he realises that he's facing an enemy who can actually hurt him for basically the first time ever, although he musters enough strength to mock her before Caitlyn delivers the killing blow.
  • At the climax of Loved and Lost, the Big Bad Jewelius is cornered by all the heroes. He pathetically begs to be spared, making promises and claiming that he was brainwashed to commit his villainous actions. The heroes aren't fooled at all, knowing full well from his previous Evil Gloating that he did everything by his own choice. Then Queen Chrysalis appears with her Changeling army, and Jewelius begs for help from the Changeling Queen he used and double-crossed to claim Equestria's throne. Chrysalis laughs and takes her revenge by having her Changelings eat Jewelius whose heart has no love for them to feed on.
  • The New Adventures of Invader Zim: At the climax of Season 1, Norlock is impaled against Project Domination, which starts to self-destruct from the damage. As everyone is fleeing, Norlock begs Zim to save him. Obviously bitter over being betrayed, Zim refuses, and leaves Norlock to be vaporized in the resulting explosion.
  • In the Highschool of the Dead fanfic World of the Dead, Shido cuts off the escape of two of his followers to save his own hide, but when he's being grabbed by some of his other zombified followers, he freaks out and desperately begs Rei to save him, shedding tears as he does so. Recognizing them as Crocodile Tears and knowing that he'd most likely throw her to Them to save himself, Rei throws Shido's Social Darwinist views back in his face and walks away, leaving him to be Devoured by the Horde.
  • Several examples occur in the Sword Art Online fanfic series I Will Not Bow:
    • Late in Blazing Revolution, Sugou and his associate Yamato kidnap Dan and lure Kirito, Asuna, and Alicia into a trap for revenge. Among other things, they subject Dan to Electric Torture that leaves him on the brink of death, and when their showdown comes, Sugou gleefully attempts to murder Kirito, boasting that he'll take good care of Asuna after killing him; once the tables turn, Sugou freaks out and begs for mercy, promising to leave and never bother him or his friends again. Kirito, disgusted that Sugou doesn't even have the guts to die with dignity after all the pain he's caused, tells Sugou that he's "fresh out of mercy" for him and cuts him down without hesitation.
    • In the Caged Canaries arc of Blazing Revolution: The Lost Stories, Sugou's men molest Alice on his orders, stopping just short of actually raping her, and use what Sugou himself describes as "extreme methods" to speed up the mind control research, tinkering with her mind and forcing her to attack Ren when he comes to save her next chapter, all while watching and laughing. Ren manages to snap her out of it and immediately turns his attention on them, cutting them apart, leading to the last one standing to beg him for mercy. Ren rightfully responds that he doesn't deserve any and chops him up.
    • In Blazing Generations chapter 19, during a tournament, Rotto uses Luna as a Human Shield against Rin and slowly beats her to a pulp. In the next chapter, Lilly faces off against him in a Roaring Rampage of Revenge, and when he begins losing, panics and begs her for mercy. All he does is end up disgusting Lilly, who uses a fire spell on him repeatedly before chopping off his arms and blowing him up.
  • In Zero Context: Woolgathering, Acutus has just been left helpless in the face of Callista's Cosmetic Moonlight Blaster.note  Believing that she's going to be killed, she mentally screams that she doesn't want to die and opens her mouth to try and get Callista to spare her life. She doesn't get the chance to say anything before the CMB blasts her.
  • Equestria Girls: A Fairly Odd Friendship: After being rendered powerless following the Final Battle, the Dazzlings beg Canterlot High for a chance at friendship. Canterlot High, however, is not in a forgiving mood.
  • The Weaver Option: Omegon has spent millennia pursuing his own agenda after abandoning the Imperium, often to its detriment. But when his own behavior makes him and his men prime targets for Malal, he seeks the Emperor to ask for protection.
  • My Hero Academia: Unchained Predator: A Saber named Marley drops his guns and raises his hands in surrender, begging for the Doom Slayer to not kill him. That he'll turn a new leaf. This only works in pissing the Slayer off even more.
    Narration: The Slayer felt his anger increasing with each pitiful plea that came from the merc’s mouth. After everything this organization had done to Heroes worldwide, one of them wanted to surrender? How many Heroes were gunned down without mercy? How many families did they ruin? How many young Heroes had their lives cut way too short because of them? How many Heroes begged for their lives only to be put down like they were some kind of rare game? The Steel Sabers did not deserve mercy. None of them did.
  • Superman: House of El: Combined with O.O.C. Is Serious Business. As Kara prepares to send a defeated and depowered Faora-Ul back to the Phantom Zone, she begs and pleads for any other fate, including execution. Kal decides to hand her over to the DEO instead. Upon meeting her, Jeremiah declares that Faora is obviously far to proud to beg, but Kal notes that when it comes to being sent back to the Phantom Zone, that is not true.

    Films — Animation 
  • In Batman: Mask of the Phantasm, the Joker angrily and ironically calls Batman crazy when the bat grabs hold of Joker's jetpack causing them to fly out of control, and if he doesn't let him go they'll likely both die. Shortly after that, he tries to surrender to the ruthless vigilante killer who wants revenge on him, personally, after Batman had beaten him up and the bombs in the base are still on the verge of going off. But when they do go off, the Joker, being The Joker, goes gleefully Laughing Mad as everything explodes all around them in a fiery inferno while the vigilante killer teleports them both away to kill him. She lets him go, offscreen.
  • The Lion King (1994): The minute Simba corners Scar, the latter pathetically starts begging him for mercy, going to such lengths as pulling the family card and blaming the hyenas for his own actions; Simba doesn't buy any of it for a second, but ultimately decides not to kill Scar because he doesn't want to stoop to Scar's level, instead opting to banish him. Scar starts to walk away, but then flings burning embers into Simba's eyes and attacks him viciously. When he loses the fight and is thrown down to the hyenas who heard everything, he desperately tries to reason with them and insist he didn't mean what he said, but the hyenas will have none of it and, as vengeful as they are starving, attack him en masse, mauling and devouring him off-screen.
  • Beauty and the Beast: During the showdown between Gaston and the Beast, the Beast eventually gets the upper hand and is dangling Gaston off of the roof of the castle, threatening to drop him to his death. Despite having attacked the Beast first and egged him on to fight, Gaston panics and desperately begs the Beast not to hurt him; the Beast ultimately gives in and spares Gaston, ordering him to Get Out!. As the Beast is going to reunite with Belle, Gaston spots them reuniting and, in a fit of jealousy, sneaks up behind him and stabs him In the Back while smiling nastily... only to lose his footing and fall to his demise.
  • Peter Pan: During the final showdown, Peter steals Captain Hook's sword and threatens him with it. In response, Hook tearfully begs for mercy, stating he'll do anything Peter says. Peter agrees to let him live, on the grounds that he admits to being a "codfish" and agrees to leave Neverland forever, which Hook does. As soon as Peter's back is turned, however, Hook goes for one last attack, using his hook now that he no longer has his sword, but Wendy sees what's about to happen and calls out to Peter to look out. Peter jumps out of the way in the nick of time, causing Hook to lose his footing and fall into the sea, where the crocodile promptly chases him into the horizon.
  • The Super Mario Bros. Movie: After he's defeated by Mario and Luigi in the climax, Bowser falls in front of Peach and pathetically tries to beg her for another chance. She naturally is having none of it, and shoves a Mini Mushroom into his mouth, shrinking him down and putting him inside a jar.
  • Toy Story 3: Lotso begs Woody and Buzz to help him survive at the trash dump after he had been actively screwing them over for most of the movie, as well as being responsible for them being there in the first place. How does he repay them? He proceeds to leave them to die at the hands of the incinerator after he is given an opportunity to stop the machinery carrying them down there, taunting Woody in the process with the pivotal line "Where's your kid now, sheriff?" Fortunately, karma catches up to him, while Woody and his friends are saved from fiery doom in the nick of time.
  • The Transformers: The Movie: After losing the fight with Optimus Prime and staring down the barrel of his recovered rifle, Megatron spots a gun just beyond his reach and out of Prime's line of sight. Megatron then begs Prime for mercy as he starts to shift his way towards it. Optimus calls him out on it ("You, who are without mercy, now plead for it? I thought you were made of sterner stuff.") Unfortunately for Prime, Megatron is able to snatch the gun and then Hot Rod jumps in trying to wrestle the gun away, which distracts Prime from getting a clear shot and lets Megatron shoot Prime repeatedly, ultimately providing the fatal wound that kills him.
  • Pocahontas II: Journey to a New World: During the final showdown, John Smith manages to overpower Ratcliffe and pin him down, to which Ratcliffe begs Smith not to hurt him and claims he was just doing his duty. Smith orders Ratcliffe to sheathe his sword, and Ratcliffe does... only to pull a flintlock pistol on him. Before he can kill Smith, however, John Rolfe uses the mast to knock him overboard. Ratcliffe survives and makes it back to shore, only to be met by King James and his guards, who, now knowing that Ratcliffe tricked them, promptly have him arrested.
  • The Princess and the Frog: When Tiana destroys his amulet and his "friends" show up to claim his soul, chanting "Are you ready?", Facilier spends his final moments desperately begging them for mercy and more time to pay off his debt. None of it works, and he's ultimately dragged off to the other side, screaming all the while.
  • Wreck-It Ralph: When Vanellope jokingly claims she will execute the Sugar Rush racers for being bullies, they immediately grovel and tearfully beg for mercy.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Bacurau: Kate begs for mercy after being horribly wounded in self-defense by one of the villagers and says "I don't know?" when asked why she came to kill them in the first place. They do take her to a doctor, but she dies from blood loss.
  • Hercules (2014): It's revealed that King Eurystheus is not only in league with Cotys, but is also the one who murdered Hercules's family. When an enraged Hercules breaks free and confronts him, Eurystheus tries everything from lying that Cotys twisted his mind to pathetically begging the hero to forgive him. Hercules's response?
    Hercules: You want forgiveness? Ask my family for forgiveness.
  • In Robin Hood: Men in Tights Prince John tries to beg his way out of trouble with King Richard.
    John: It's not my fault. I got a lot of bad advice from Rottingham.
    Merry Men: (cough) BULLSHIT!
  • Dr. Frank N. Furter tries desperately to get Riff Raff and Magenta to take pity on him in The Rocky Horror Picture Show. It doesn't work, and Riff Raff kills him.
  • At the end of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Caesar and Koba's duel ends with the latter hanging from the top of a skyscraper, begging Caesar for help by reminding him "Ape Not Kill Ape" (which is a shocking bit of hypocrisy given what he did to Ash earlier). Ultimately, Caesar decides to drop Koba to his death, telling him "You are not ape."
  • Both Megatron and Sentinel Prime try this on Transformers: Dark of the Moon. Doesn't work that well, as Megatron was carrying a loaded shotgun while asking for "truce" which would have consisted of him ruling over the remaining Transformers. Seeing right through him, Optimus Prime denies the offer with his trusty axe. Immediately afterwards, Sentinel, who had killed Ironhide, ordered the deaths of thousands of innocent humans and cut off Optimus's arm, gets executed by Optimus with the aforementioned shotgun.
  • Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters: Muriel begs Hansel for her life when he goes on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge after she killed his Love Interest, Mina. Needless to say, it doesn't work.
  • The fight between Sonya and Kano in Mortal Kombat: The Movie ends this way; after a brutal fight where Kano actually kicks her in the ribs after knocking her down, she has him in a leg-hold and pleading for his life, begging her to "give me a break!" (She obliges, snapping his neck.)
  • The Belko Experiment; the Voice has the nerve to plead for his life when Mike has him at gunpoint. (Mike is the only survivor, meaning the Voice is responsible for the murders of 79 innocents) Mike gives him what he deserves.
  • Absolute Power (1997): A corrupt Secret Service agent attempts to kill Luther's daughter Kate because She Knows Too Much. When Luther foils this attempt by injecting him with a poisoned needle first:
    Agent: Mercy!
    Luther: I just ran out. [Injects fatal dose.]
  • Beauty and the Beast (2017): As in the original animated film, Gaston personally attacks the Beast and eggs him on to fight, and as soon as the Beast turns the tables on him and has him at his mercy, Gaston begs for his life. When the Beast grants said mercy, Gaston shoots him In the Back three times... and karma catches up to him when the bridge he's standing on collapses, sending him plummeting to his doom.
  • Two of these in The Godfather, in rapid succession and contrast to each other, when Michael Corleone, now The Don of his family, is cleaning house of traitors.
    • Carlo gives the standard Dirty Coward version of this trope, even insisting he is innocent, which Michael takes as an insult to his intelligence. Michael eventually tells Carlo that he will indeed get mercy, but this is a fake-out, and he has Carlo garroted a few moments later.
    • Tessio gives a much more dignified instance of this trope, simply asking if they can "get me off the hook... for old times' sake?" He doesn't seem at all surprised when the answer is no, and, saddened but accepting, does his best to Face Death with Dignity.
  • Revenge of the Sith: When Anakin is sent to "take care of" the Separatist Council on Mustafar, the last one left alive is Nute Gunray, who spends his final moments snivelingly begging for his own sorry hide. Of course, Anakin shows him no mercy, and immediately cuts him down before he’s even finished speaking.
  • The pre-title scene of For Your Eyes Only has James Bond tangle with a Lawyer-Friendly Cameo version of Ernst Stavro Blofeld, who is now permanently crippled and has lost all of his fortune. Once Bond hooks Blofeld's wheelchair with the helicopter's landing skid, Blofeld goes from cackling villain and Diabolical Mastermind to a pathetically blubbering wreck bargaining for his life between screams of terror, going so far as to infamously offer to buy 007 a delicatessen — "In stainless steel!" But Bond ignores his offers and obliges his request by dropping him down a smokestack, killing him for good. Blofeld offering Bond take-out food implies that he's really struggling to make ends meet.
  • In Aquaman (2018), David Kane begs Aquaman to help him save his father. Since those two were ruthless pirates who had just murdered sailors and had tried to shoot Aquaman in the back after he spared them the first time, Aquaman refuses to help them.
  • Even Lambs Have Teeth: When Katie and Sloane capture each of their tormentors, all of them (except the Pastor) beg for their lives; promising not to tell and offering the girls money to let them live. It earns none of them mercy.
  • In The Film of the Book of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, when Umbdrige gets surrounded by the angry centaurs she calls out to Harry to tell them that she means them no harm. Harry's response is "Sorry, Professor, I must not tell lies."
  • In Ghost Rider (2007), Ghost Rider is about to kill one of the Quirky Miniboss Squad when he starts begging.
    Gressil: Have mercy.
    Ghost Rider: Sorry, all out of mercy.
  • Sodom and Gomorrah:
    • When the traitorous Hebrew Melchior falls into a burning pool of oil caused by his own sabotage of the Hebrews' defences against the Elamites, he begs Ishmael to save him. Ishmael, who has long suspected Melchior's treachery, pretends not to hear him.
    • When Lot and Astaroth fight a Duel to the Death after it emerges that Astaroth has seduced both of Lot's daughters, Lot soon has Astaroth at swordpoint. Astaroth begs Lot for mercy in Jehovah's name, but Lot is in no mood to forgive his daughters' defilement and plunges his sword into Astaroth's chest.
  • Jigsaw: The movie goes to great lengths to show Halloran as a Dirty Cop and Glory Hound of the highest order, not to mention a perverted Jerkass to boot, and during the climax, he forces Logan to go first in the laser collar trap, which would have killed him had his part of the trap not been fake, to increase his chances of survival. When all is said and done, however, he begs for his life when Logan reveals he set it all up to frame Halloran as the new Jigsaw and makes it clear he plans to kill him anyway, pointing out that he won his game and John Kramer always gave his victims a fair chance to win and a choice. Logan isn't swayed:
    Logan: You have a choice: scream... or don't.
  • In The Bravados, Alfonso Parral, the first of the outlaws Jim Douglass catches up with, ends up on his knees begging for mercy. It does him no good.
  • White God: The trainer at the dog fights recognizes Hagen/Max as he's being attacked by the pack, and calls out his name in a pleading tone. All he gets back from the dog he abused so horribly is a growl.
  • In The Death of Stalin, Beria is initially staunchly defiant against the conspirators, blaming them for their hypocrisy and pointing out the ridiculousness of some of the charges leveled against him. However, once his death sentence is read aloud, and he is grabbed by the officers to be taken outside and shot, the hitherto cold-blooded monster begins to cry and beg for his life. In stark contrast, though we see many people executed by Beria and his men throughout the movie, not a single one of them was seen begging for their lives.
  • At the conclusion of Hardcore Henry, Estelle - revealed to be Akan's wife and collaborator - is knocked out of a helicopter. She grabs the edge and begs Henry to save her, saying, "Listen to your heart". Henry's heart apparently told him to cut her fingers off by slamming the helicopter door on them and let her plummet.
  • In The Earth: The Affably Evil Zach insists that they're too far from civilization to get medical help before cutting off Martin's infected toes with an axe. However, in the midst of a climactic brawl with the protagonists, he gets a medical tool through his eye, causing him to scream like a girl, run to a mirror, try to pull it out, and then start whining, "You have to take me to a hospital!"

  • Animorphs:
  • In Bulldog Drummond, when Drummond reveals at the end that he's turned the tables and his allies are now in control of Lakington's lair, Lakington immediately starts begging for mercy and offering to split his ill-gotten fortune. This just makes Drummond despise him even more.
  • J. K. Rowling rather liked this trope.
    • In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Wormtail begs Ron, Hermione, and Harry to protect him from Sirius and Remus (after he's already begged for mercy, to no avail, from the latter two).
    • In "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire", Barty Crouch Jr. frantically begs his father not to send him to Azkaban, to which his father responds coldly and still sends him to the jail. Changed in the movie adaptation.
  • The Hero Laughs While Walking the Path of Vengeance a Second Time:
    • When Kaito overpowers Princess Alessia in the second timeline and starts pummeling her, she starts pleading for mercy and not too long after when he tortures her by carving a message in her back, she pleads for him to stop. Neither plight is sincere however. When he heals her after making her swallow her own fireball, she flips out in anger over the beatings he gave her and when he finishes carving her back she gives a rant on how horrible a death she seeks to give him.
    • When Minaris catches up to Lucia, her False Friend from childhood, and turns the entire town of Kikkito into a Zombie Apocalypse, so that Lucia can see what it's like to be hunted by people who were once your friends and family, Lucia finally breaks down and apologizes. This does not save her, especially as Minaris lampshades how the apology is insincere.
    • Once Shiura starts tearing the demon apart long after it victimized her village, and it realizes it can't recover, it starts begging for its life. When refused, it responds with one Cluster F-Bomb after another.
    • The moment Minaris starts to trap the trio of carnival con men in ice after they try to retalliate for her intervention in one of their scams, they begin pleading, begging, and offering repentance for their sins. Minaris is not only unmoved, she throws their own threats right back at them, before she makes them "disappear."
    • When Kaito makes Officer Onishi feel, with his own body, how the victims of his evil deeds felt, he begs, pleads, and grovels for mercy and forgiveness. Kaito reminds him how his victims begging for their lives didn't do anything to sway him to spare them.
    • The moment the members of the Transcendance Applicants Cult find themselves facing a Cruel and Unusual Death? They pale in terror, beg for mercy, and plead for their lives. The fact that they ignored their victim's pleas is thrown back into their faces.
    • After Kaito had taken down the lab's Gundam-wannabe, and cut through five layers of tempered glass to get at Maeno, he collapses on the floor and begs to be spared. Well, Kaito does grant him the mercy of a quick death at least.
  • Hungers as Old as This Land:
    • During the climax, Cyril Redstone tortures and kills Esther's father, wiped out a good portion of Grey's Bluffs, threatened to torture her lover and planned on murdering her, Siobhan, Tobias and the rest of the survivors after he claimed the gold in the Hungers, but he still pleads for Esther to spare him. When that doesn't work, he tries pleading with the people of the Hungers themselves, only to find their hungers are beyond words.
    • In the denouement, Gerard Bancroft, who ordered Cyril to conduct the massacre that caused their town to be destroyed and many of their neighbors dead, tries bribing Esther and Siobhan to spare him. When that doesn't work he tells them that killing him will just cause his children and his business partner to hunt them down. They respond with a Vorpal Pillow.
  • J. R. R. Tolkien rather liked this trope.
    • Wormtongue in The Lord of the Rings begs for mercy when his plot with Saruman is discovered and defeated, claiming that he was working for the greater good of Rohan. He's allowed to live, a decision that doesn't change anything as he doesn't reach Isengard in time to warn Saruman and all wrongs that he does afterwards are an extension of his master's will.
    • Also, Gollum begs for mercy from both Frodo and later Sam. Thankfully for Middle Earth, they both grant him it.
    • At both of his defeats in The Silmarillion, Morgoth begged for mercy from his fellow Valar: the first time he was simply imprisoned for three thousand years, the second time he... wasn't so lucky.
    • Tolkien also suggested that this is what Sauron would have done if the Valar came for him, however his actual surrenders to Eönwë and Ar-Pharazôn are less this and more I Surrender, Suckers. To be more precise: Sauron was perfectly willing to surrender and reform after Morgoth's final defeat as faced with irrefutable evidence of the West's superiority, but Eönwë said it wasn't within his powers/abilities to do so. Only Manwë himself could've given Sauron pardon and that's what made Sauron leave.
  • In the Stephen King short story "The Deathroom", when the protagonist is about to kill a villain, he thinks that "In the end there might only be one way to tell the thugs from the patriots: when they saw their own death rising in your eyes like water, patriots made speeches. The thugs, on the other hand, gave you the number of their Swiss Bank Account and offered to put you on-line."
  • In the last installment of The Pendragon Adventure, the Big Bad Saint Dane is defeated. He proceeds to beg the heroes to save his life.
  • In the Paladin of Shadows book A Deeper Blue, an interrogated terrorist attempts this. Mike chews him out majorly, reminding him that he never offered his victims mercy and does not deserve any.
  • In the Sword of the Stars novella The Deacon's Tale, this is the Deacon's reaction to getting a Care-Bear Stare.
  • A very rare example in the James Bond franchise occurs in Colonel Sun when the titular big bad has been defeated and rendered helpless, and Bond kneels in front of him, knife in hand. The villain gives a silent appeal for mercy, but Bond pushes his knife into the man's heart anyway. Notably, this Bond novel was not written by Ian Fleming (who, like the writers of the films, chose to avoid Mood Whiplash), but by another author.
  • One of the two main villains of the first story arc of Magical Girl Raising Project, Fav, spends the entirety of the arc tricking Magical Girls into killing each other for his amusement, all the while smugly believing he's untouchable since the Magical Girls can't destroy him and he can falsely report to the Magical Kingdom they were eliminated through peaceful means. However, when the revived and enraged Ripple stands over his terminal with a weapon that can actually destroy it and kill him, Fav first tries to make excuses for cruelly mocking Top Speed's death, then resorts to pleading for his life when Snow White warns Ripple not to listen. Fav's words understandably fall on deaf ears as Ripple gives him his well-deserved demise.
  • Leodes, one of Penelope's suitors in The Odyssey begs for mercy at the last, but the only mercy Odysseus grants is a quick death. Two other people present (a herald and a bard) are spared (and the bard does beg mercy in much the same way Leodes did), but only because they did not abuse xenia like the suitors did, and indeed were not there to court Penelope.
  • In The Dresden Files fifth book Death Masks, the Knights of the Cross and Harry corner an elite mook of the villain. The Knights, as their job isn't meant to kill these villains but offer them a chance of redemption, must give a pass when the mook surrenders himself and his magical item and asks for mercy. They won't touch him, even knowing without him talking, the Big Bad's plan will go off. The Knights begrudgingly walk away. Harry, being neither a Knight nor hero in his mind, takes a baseball bat to the man's limbs until he talks. He also leaves the guy a quarter to use on a payphone to call for help.
    • It should be noted that Harry knows full well that, at the time the book takes place, payphones cost 35 cents to use. (Of course, he should probably also know that 911 calls are free, but, hey.) Also, the knights are human enough to laugh about the quarter.
  • In Night Watch, all Dark Ones are trained to beg for mercy and compassion if they ever find themselves outmatched in combat with a Light One. The policy is in place because Light Ones struggle, and in some cases die outright, when forced to go against their inherent alignment. More experienced Light Ones develop workarounds however, and the one time a Dark One tries it on page, the protagonist executes them with only minor angst.
  • In the Ranger's Apprentice book The Siege of Macindaw, John Buttle tries to sneak attack Horace during the climactic battle, only failing due to Horace's greater skill and the arrival of Trobar. When Horace retrieves his sword and goes on the offense, Buttle quickly realizes he's outmatched, so he falls to his knees and begs for mercy. Horace punches him out, disgusted by his bullying and cowardice. Ultimately, Buttle tries to kill Horace again after waking up, only to fall victim to an ax-stroke in the back.
  • Reign of the Seven Spellblades: Once Oliver has Darius Grenville at his mercy after using a Dangerous Forbidden Technique to cut off his sword hand, he tortures Darius with pain spells. In rapid succession Darius goes from raging at Oliver about how he won't get away with this, to begging him to stop, to begging for a Coup de Grâce, all while Oliver viciously mocks him about how much more torture his mother withstood at Darius's own hand, before cutting his head off.
  • Starting Today I Work As A City Lord has numerous nobles and merchants who look down on the protagonist and try to exploit, cheat, or murder him only to end up trying to beg or barter for their lives to no avail.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • At the end of "The Gift", Glory, having finally met her match thanks to Buffy using a magic hammer, starts begging Buffy to stop. Considering all of the hell Glory put her through, up to and including kidnapping Dawn and openly threatening Buffy's loved ones and friends, Buffy will have none of it:
      Buffy: You're a god. Make it stop. [Proceeds to beat Glory into a bloody pulp.]
    • In the Season 6 episode "Villains", as soon as he realizes that Dark Willow really does intend to kill him, Warren freaks out and starts frantically begging for mercy, pointing out that Willow isn't a "bad person" like him. His pleas fall flat, and Willow skins him alive.
      Willow: Bored now.
  • Doctor Who
    • At the conclusion of Season 32/Series 6, The Silence decide that their agent Madame Kovarian has outlived her usefulness and trigger a device in her Eyepatch of Power that begins electrocuting her. She knocks it loose and then has the gall to beg Amy for help, but after all she's done to Amy and her family, Amy refuses to help her and actually puts the eyepatch back on her, leaving her to die.
    • In the Series 5 finale "The Big Bang", a Dalek of all things asks for mercy from River Song. It doesn't receive it. Shooting the Doctor right before this probably didn't help its case.
    • In "Genesis of the Daleks," after tricking the Thals into nuking his own people and eliminating the handful of Kaled scientists still opposed to his work, Dalek-creator Davros loses control of his creations and pleads with the Daleks to "have pity" on him and his acolytes. "Pity?! I have no understanding of the word. It is not registered in my vocabulary bank. EXTERMINATE!"
    • In "Remembrance of the Daleks", Davros makes the exact same plea towards the Seventh Doctor, who's just tricked him into launching a superweapon at his own planet. The Doctor coldly replies that he has pity for Davros, then bids him goodbye.
    • In "Dalek", the eponymous creature wants pity from the Ninth Doctor. It isn't coming (at least, not at first).
    • In "Dinosaurs on a Spaceship", episode villain Solomon asks the Doctor to save him right after the Doctor redirects the missiles targeted at the Ark at Solomon's ship. Since he spent the whole episode being a bastard of a level usually reserved for Big Bads, the Doctor leaves him to be blown up.
      Solomon: Whatever you want, I can get it for you. Whatever object you desire.
      Doctor: Did the Silurians beg you to stop?
    • When Missy is facing execution, she Ain't Too Proud to Beg to the Doctor, the person designated as her executioner. She appeals to their former friendship and even promises to learn to be good. However, it takes a postmortem What You Are in the Dark appeal to the Doctor's better side by his deceased wife River Song to convince the Doctor to spare Missy, which in turn causes its own problems — usually when the Doctor decides to Save the Villain they run for it. What do you do when you're stuck guarding the villain for the next thousand years?
  • In the final season of Heroes, Sylar's doozy of psychological issues comes to a head and he seeks out Parkman to have his mind wiped clean again. Parkman, having been tormented by Sylar for most of the season and still reeling from the actions that led Sylar to him, refuses to fall for it a second time. He instead traps Sylar inside an empty shell of a city inside his own mind to wallow in his issues for the rest of his life and then seals up the physically comatose man inside his basement. Then Peter shows up and frees Sylar because of a vision he received of his archnemesis playing a pivotal role in defeating Samuel.
  • True Blood: Debbie Pelt begs Sookie not to kill her in the Season 4 finale. Right after shooting Tara (Sookie's Token Black Friend) with a shotgun. The shot was intended to hit Sookie. Does she really think begging is going to save her in that situation?
  • In the final episode of Breaking Bad, Jack is the last of his gang left alive after Walt's machine-gun trap. As Walt stands over him, ready to finish him off, Jack tries to negotiate, saying Walt will need him alive if he wants to know where his stolen money is. However, Walt no longer cares about the money and shoots him in the head before he can even finish his sentence.
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Two examples in the first season finale, "Beginning of the End": first, when Ward finds himself nailed to the floor by May, he tries to plead with her, only to get punched in the throat, crushing his larynx. Then, when Deathlok breaks free of Garrett's control and turns on him, he pleads with Coulson to make Deathlok stop, only for Coulson to stand by and watch.
  • Arrow: Malcolm Merlyn usually only shows two emotions — smug superiority and violent rage. But when he's captured by the League of Assassins and brought before Ra's Al-Ghul, he pathetically begs for his life and a chance to serve again. Ra's is less than impressed and tells Malcolm to at least try and die with some dignity.
  • In the Supernatural episode "All Hell Breaks Loose, Part Two", after Jake is lying on the ground with Sam aiming his gun at him to finish him off, Jake says, "Please... don't. Please." Sam, having only just come Back from the Dead after Jake betrayed and murdered him, is not moved.
  • In Kamen Rider Drive, Gou defeats Banno, leaving the psychopath damaged and helpless with his body destroyed leaving only his Driver laying prone on the ground. While remaining smug and sure of himself, the moment Gou moves in to deliver a Coup de Grâce, Banno breaks down begging for his life. Unfortunately for Banno, Gou doesn't have any mercy left after everything Banno had done, and obliterates him with a Finishing Move from the Signal Axe.
  • Kamen Rider Ex-Aid: Parado / Para-Dx worked to set everything up for a grand battle between him and Emu / Ex-Aid. He got what he wanted, but Emu had reached (another) breaking point by then and thus ran out of patience and goodwill to give. What followed was nothing short of a Mook Horror Show as Emu tore Parado down both physically and mentally with the same cruelty that he had to endure himself, reducing the Bugster to a sobbing wreck before crushing him. At no point through the fight did he even react to the increasing desperation and eventually tearful pleas in any other way than by snarling a more scalding insult than the previous one.
  • In Game of Thrones, after his crimes and treachery are exposed to a court of high lords and he's sentenced to death, Lord Baelish a.k.a. Littlefinger, a manipulative bastard whose machinations led to multiple deaths and destructive conflicts all over Westeros, gets on his hands and knees, begging and pleading with Sansa to spare his life. Given all the times he betrayed her (and was directly responsible for the deaths of several of her family members), she's completely unmoved and lets Arya slit his throat.
  • Malcolm in the Middle: In "Reese vs. Stevie", Reese has promised a violent beat-down to Malcolm's asthmatic, wheelchair-bound friend Stevie - who makes use of his short grace period to create a powered exoskeleton for himself. Reese tries to back out, without success:
    Reese: Come on, Stevie! I can't walk, this isn't fair! Don't reduce yourself to my level! You're better than this...! AAAAAAHHHH!
  • This is how Red John finally goes out in The Mentalist: already wounded from a bullet, Jane tracks the evil shit down by a riverside, where Red John begs for his life and concedes he's afraid to die. It doesn't do him any good; Jane strangles him and Red John dies with a look of pure fear.
  • VR Troopers:
    • Nearly every Monster of the Week impaled by JB's laser lance surrenders, it doesn't do them a lick of good as they're immediately finished off anyway.
    • Ryan, however, is a little more generous, as when a mutant named Hammerbot surrenders, Ryan spares his life.
  • In Tokusou Sentai Dekaranger, one Villain of the Week happens to be the son of Doggie Kruger's former teacher, who was mad because his father chose Kruger and not him as the inheritor of their swordfighting dojo. When he's on the losing end, he tries to appeal to the promise Kruger made to his father of trying to protect him to make him hesitate and then shamelessly spits on his face to blindside him and get the upper hand. When they face each other again, Kruger regrets not being able to keep the promise to his teacher and finishes him off.
    • Something similar happens in Power Rangers S.P.D., except Cruger and the other guy were rivals for the love of Kruger's wife, whom Kruger had promised not to let his anger get the best of him. When the villain tries to appeal to that, Kruger replies "This isn't anger, it's JUSTICE!".
  • Horatio Hornblower: Horatio and other midshipmen must deal with Jack Simpson who is a nasty bully. During his and Hornblwer's second duel, Jack's gun conveniently "misfires", though probably nobody believes that it was an accident. He thinks he's killed his opponent, but it turns out Hornblower's been shot near his shoulder and will live. When Hornblower's instructed to fire at will, Simpson goes down on his knees and begs him not to shoot him. Hornblower spares him, saying he's not worth the powder.
    Hepplewhite: You must stand your ground and take fire, Mr Simpson!
    Simpson: Don't shoot! No! For the love of God, please don't shoot. Don't shoot me! I beg you!
  • In The Falcon and the Winter Soldier Episode 4, a Flag-Smasher Walker has at his mercy begs for his life. Given that this guy tried to restrain him so another Flag-Smasher could stab him and the would-be stabber killed Lemar for trying to prevent that, Walker's not inclined to give any.
  • CSI: NY's "Prey," a stalking victim kills her stalker, tampers with the evidence in such a way to mask his time of death so she can formulate an alibi, and leaves town. When she's finally arrested, she quietly begs Mac to "just let me go."

    Video Games 
  • Arzette: The Jewel of Faramore:
    • When Arzette corners Daimur while armed with the sword forged with the Jewel of Faramore with intent to kill him for good, he tries to talk her out of killing him by suggesting they can rule together with Wide Eyes and Shrunken Irises in his face. She was having none of it and throws the blade into his chest.
    • When Duke Nodelki is at Arzette's mercy after she fought back, he pleads with her not to kill him but completely gets petrified before he can finish his sentence. Seeing that all he had done after her father shown him mercy before, Arzette wastes no time using her blade to destroy his now made of stone body.
    • After being defeated, Cornrad tries to talk Crowdee out of dropping him to his Disney Villain Death. The crow ignores him as he does it.
  • Dr. Wily does this after being defeated in nearly every Mega Man (Classic) game. Mega Man's strict adherence to the Three Laws of Robots is likely the only reason Wily has survived so long. When the habit started in the first game is the current page image.
    • At the end of Mega Man 7, Mega Man clearly shows he's tired of Dr. Wily's games, and is considering killing Dr. Wily himself before Bass intervenes.
    • Gloriously lampshaded at the end of Mega Man 9. When Wily begs for mercy yet again, Mega Man puts on a slideshow of Wily begging at the end of each of the previous games in the series.
    • It's so iconic that in Super Smash Bros. for 3DS, his trophy depicts him begging for mercy! In the Wii U version, this pose is different, changing that to a pose from one of Wily's artworks.
    • Played with in Mega Man 11, where Wily declares he has a plan B after his defeat and jumps backwards while using the Speed Gear, only to humorously assume his classic begging routine. Subverted when Mega Man calls his bluff and Wily immediately stops.
    • Dr. Wily serves as the antagonist for the Mega Man-themed event titled Chaos Protocol in Dragalia Lost. He fights Mega Man and the other adventurers using his Wily Machine, and he starts begging the moment he is beaten.
  • Marvelous Chester of Dark Souls begs for your mercy right after you kill him.
  • Nearly all FromSoftware games have the recurring Dirty Coward Patches, who loves nothing more than tricking others into his death traps and robbing their corpses of goods to sell. Whenever he's confronted by the player managing to escape, he immediately begs for mercy and becomes a friendly vendor who would never dream of harming his close friend-in-arms. In fact, he has a tradition of always being the one to give the player the "Begging on the ground" emote.
    • In Elden Ring, he's the only boss who will ever ask to be spared mid-fight when he's losing, and not attacking him after that actually will end the fight.
  • The Wand of Gamelon: Duke Onkled.
    Duke Onkled: Please your omnipotence, have mercy.
    King Harkinian: After you've scrubbed all the floors in Hyrule, then we can talk about mercy.
  • The Ripper in MediEvil 2 begs for mercy from Sir Fortesque when defeated. He gets a bullet to the face instead.
  • Happens often in FTL: Faster Than Light as pirates, slavers, and rebel ships will offer resources in return for survival.
  • Ridiculously common in Star Wars games, especially the Old Republic series. Of course, it's up to the player if you go for mercy, Cruel Mercy, or Finish Him!
  • Theodore "Teddy" Lagerfield Jr., the Psychopath representing the Deadly Sin of Sloth in Dead Rising 3, tries to kill Nick with a swarm of helicopter drones when the latter demands he return the armory key he stole. Once Nick manages to break into his basement control room, Teddy immediately begs Nick not to hurt him. Not that it matters anyway, as he dies of a heart attack brought on by fear and his poor health seconds later.
  • Frequently happens with the computer-controlled empires in Star Ruler. When they realize they are losing, and losing badly, they will begin to beg for a cease-fire while bribing the attacking party with all their remaining resources as tribute. Depending on the AI personality, they'll sometime declare war again once they think they've been built up enough, though.
  • Hyrule Warriors: After being beaten by Cia in a failed attempt to betray her, Wizzro is reduced to shamelessly begging for his life. It works the first time, but not the second time.
  • Happens in random battles in the Shin Megami Tensei main series, where enemy demons will offer Macca, items, information, or themselves (as a new party member) in exchange for their lives when they're near death. Of course, it's also possible for them to run away without giving you anything or even pull an I Surrender, Suckers and get a free turn out of it.
  • In Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, Monsoon will frantically plead for his life if the fight is concluded with Raiden not using EM grenades on him or dropping below a certain combat rating.
    Monsoon: Stop! Stop it!
  • In Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, Skull Face, after being trapped under rubble after Sahelanthropus is suddenly activated by Eli, is left at the mercy of both Snake and Miller and begs them to finish him off. Snake and Miller decide instead to shoot off both Skull Face's right leg and left arm as retribution for taking Miller's, using Skull Face's own Mare's Leg, and then leave it and a single bullet just out of his reach, telling him if he wants a quick death, he'll have to do it himself. Of course, soon after they turn their backs, Huey finishes Skull Face off.
  • Toyed with the bosses of Undertale... to a degree.
  • Body Harvest: After Adam's Evil Twin changes back to human once his Final Boss form has been defeated, he tries to convince his brother not to kill him. Adam ignores him.
  • A reoccurring issue in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Bandits will drop to their knees, plead for mercy... and then attack you again as soon as their health recovers a bit.
  • Batman: Arkham Knight:
    • Throughout the game, the Joker's ghost/hallucination constantly taunts Batman over his various failures and gloats about how he'll soon pull off a Grand Theft Me on the Dark Knight. During their Battle in the Center of the Mind at the end, when Bats gets the upper hand and locks him in a prison box within his subconscious, Joker loses his shit and desperately begs Batman not to leave him there.
    • In the Red Hood DLC pack, the Red Hood takes on Black Mask and his gang. Upon defeating him, Black Mask desperately begs for his life, offering him money, drugs, weapons, and swearing to leave Gotham and go wherever the Red Hood wants him to go. In response, the Hood tells him to "go to Hell" before kicking him out a window to his death.
  • Fallout: New Vegas has the main antagonists of the Honest Heart DLC: Salt Upon Wounds, a ruthless warchief of the White Legs, who slaughters anyone in his way, whether they fight back or not. But by the time you get to him, you find out he's already been defeated and captured by Joshua Graham who's preparing to execute him. If you talk to Salt Upon Wounds, he'll pathetically beg for you to talk Joshua into sparing him, leaving his fate in your hands.
  • Fire Emblem Heroes: While Gullveig was a villain herself, she begans her reign of terror by targeting Njörðr first which results in him cowardly trying to talk her out of it. However since he kickstarted the events, it was a fat lot of good it did for him as she proceeds to erase him for good then and there.
  • In the English translation for the Hard Mode Golden Ending of Streets of Rage 3, Mr. X — whose preservation vial was broken, exposing his brain — begs for his life, then subverts it by noting that the protagonists will all die if he dies, setting off his base's self-destruct mechanism before dying. In the Japanese version, he does not beg for his life, only note he is dying, and say they won't escape alive.
    Mr. X: I'm dying... please help me...
    Skate: Are you kidding?
  • Mass Effect: Andromeda: Kalinda, the villain of Peebee's loyalty mission, begs for Peebee to save her even after having been an abusive partner to her, stolen her stuff, been an astoundingly smug jerkass, and not ten minutes prior told her minions to kill and loot Peebee's corpse. Whether she lives or suffers a lava-y death is up to the player.
  • The Disney's Magical Quest series features the Big Bad being King Pete, an alternate reality of Pete as a king. King Pete disappears in a puff of smoke after defeat in the first two games. Does he do that again in the third and final game when Mickey/Donald defeat him? No, after the character that was not used enters, (with Mickey even congratulating Donald for defeating King Pete if Mickey was not used in the final battle) King Pete instead begs for mercy. Donald doesn't believe King Pete, but Mickey and the fairy convince Donald otherwise, revealing that King Pete is upset at always being the Big Bad in the stories. The fairy has King Pete promise to be a good king, but King Pete says the people of Storybook Land will never forgive him for his actions. After being told that he must give an honest apology for the people to understand, King Pete thanks Mickey and Donald and turns good, as shown in the epilogue after the credits roll.
  • A dark variation of this trope is in play in Saints Row 2: Shogo Akuji murdered Johnny Gat's girlfriend Aisha, then crashed her funeral in order to start a fight with Johnny. This gets him a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown from Johnny Gat (after Johnny gave him a chance to simply walk away) that ends with the Ronin captain being tossed into a coffin. Shogo begs for a Mercy Kill instead of being Buried Alive, but Gat and the Boss ignore him and silently bury him.
  • In the Fracture Hills level of Spyro 2: Ripto's Rage!, the same golems who laugh as they stab passersby with axes will reach out pleadingly if jabbed into lava. (There is one sympathetic villain in the series, but she switches sides when she realizes the true consequences of what she's doing, not when the heroes have the upper hand.)
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • Dr. Eggman attempts this in the opening to Sonic Unleashed after Super Sonic has him cornered. In this case, it's just a trick to get Sonic to lower his guard so Eggman can capture him and use his power to kickstart his newest scheme.
      • He has a much more genuine one when Sonic, in his Werehog form, is tearing apart his Ultra-Hyper Prototype 1/Egg Dragoon and is headed to tear the Egg Mobile out of the Egg Dragoon's cockpit slot. Eggman's cries of "STAY BACK!" are ignored as Sonic dislodges the Egg Mobile and literally tears it off the Egg Dragoon's shoulders to sling it away. Eggman can only manage a terrified "No! Don't!" before Sonic sends him flying away.
    • From the moment Eggman Nega is introduced, it's made clear he's the Viler New Villain to Eggman himself, relishing in causing mass destruction even when it isn't necessary and trying to destroy the world outright For the Evulz. At the end of Silver's story in Sonic Rivals 2, he's pinned down by debris following the defeat of the Ifrit, an Eldritch Abomination he himself tried to unleash on the world, and has the sheer nerve to beg Silver and Espio to help him. They refuse and depart, leaving him stranded in the Ifrit's dimension.
      Espio: You reap what you sow, Eggman Nega.
  • Star Ocean: Till the End of Time: The Nobleman enemy that shows up in the starter area has a move "Spare Me!" that he uses if his health falls down to 25% or lower without him dying - he falls to the ground and grovels for several seconds. If allowed to complete it, the fight ends automatically. You won't get the XP that would have been awarded for killing him, but you do get a significantly larger amount of money.
  • The very end of Conquests of Camelot: After the EVIL EVIL EVIL EVIL thief steals the Grail from King Arthur and tries to escape, he fails, and after returning the Grail, the thief then tries to backstab Arthur and fails that as well. The thief then begs for mercy. No matter what you choose, mercy is denied and the thief will be killed, either chopped to bits by Arthur's blade or burned alive by the holy power of the Grail.
  • Pokémon Sword and Shield: After Bede destroys the Stow-on-Side mural with Rose's Copperajah under the pretense that there might be Wishing Stars behind it, Rose and Oleana immediately disqualify him from the Gym Challenge. Naturally, Bede begs them to reconsider doing something so drastic, despite the fact that he's been antagonizing Hop, the player character, and possibly numerous other Gym Challengers beforehand.
  • Every now and then in The Last of Us Part II, some injured mooks may attempt to beg for mercy. It falls flat when they go back to attacking as soon as you turn your back, though.
  • Rise of the Triad does the same thing, with a certain type of mook dropping to his knees when damaged and yelling "No! Don't shoot, please!" over and over. This too is a trick, since if you do leave them be, they'll drop down and play possum for a moment, then get right back up and keep shooting at you.
  • Downplayed with the assassin Daud in Dishonored. He asks for his life upon defeat, but he's calm, composed and doesn't really expect you to spare him. He's genuinely stunned if you do. If you don't, he accepts his fate with dignity.
  • In Max Payne 3, there's a single UFE officer in the 13th chapter who bursts through a door, takes one look at Max's body count, and decides to drop his gun and beg for Max to not kill him.
  • Sleeping Dogs (2012): After he sets up Winston to be murdered, Dogeyes utterly loses his mind when Wei comes after him. His last minutes are begging Wei and Mrs. Chu to let him go. He is promptly reduced to soup meat.
  • Black & White: When you have converted or conquered almost all worshippers of the enemy god Lethys, he surrenders, hands over his Plot Coupon, and begs you to leave him his last village so he won't be banished to the Void. You can spare him or destroy him forever.
  • "Disgaea 5: Alliance of Vengeance", at the end of the game after Majorita (The Dragon for Void Dark and The Heavy) is defeated and has lost a lot of her magic abilities, she pleads for her life fearfully, Everyone seems a little amused at how vulnerable and scared "The Witch Who Controls Death" looks in that moment. When she was asked by Red Magnus why she deserves to be spared after all the horrible things she's done, she didn't have an answer, knowing he was right, but asked for her life to be spared anyway. Usalia then says killing Majorita won't bring her parents back and decides to spare Majorita's life on the condition she make up for all the evil she's done. Unlike many examples of this trope, Majorita is genuinely touched and grateful for Usalia's generosity in this scenario. She's at the end working for Usalia trying in earnest to earn forgiveness and friendship

    Visual Novels 
  • Exaggerated in Double Homework. Dennis begs not only for his life but to be the alpha male in a rerun of the experiment (since he was a lowly but belligerent beta male in the original one). Dr. Mosely/Zeta isn't moved.
  • Ace Attorney:
    • Inverted in the good ending to Justice For All. Matt Engarde has two options after his treacherous nature is exposed; he can either go to prison for the rest of his life or go free, but the vengeful assassin whose murder contract Engarde took out, now livid that he had secretly recorded the deed for blackmail purposes, will hunt him down the moment he walks out the door. He chooses the former. Attempting to let him go free will result in him begging to go to prison.
      Matt Engarde: If I get a not guilty verdict, I'll be killed...
    • In the third case of Apollo Justice, when Daryan Crescend realizes he will be exposed if Machi Tobaye accepts a Plea Bargain for a lesser crime he did actually take part in, he starts off trying to negotiate with him, promising him ridiculous things like a house made of pianos in exchange for him to not talk. The only problem is that Machi has no reason to not accept the plea bargain, because he will die if he doesn't. Eventually, he resorts to outright begging:
      Daryan Crescend: (While flailing his head around like a maniac.) Please! DON'T TALK!
    • In the third case of Dual Destinies, when Aristotle Means realizes his goose is cooked, he starts trying to negotiate lesser punishments while sweating profusely with an "Oh, Crap!" Smile. Eventually, he gives up and tries to write the word "Guilty" extremely slowly while looking like he is in actual physical pain. However, as soon as he finishes writing the letter G, his teeth break and he collapses to the ground.

  • Girl Genius: When Tarvek reaches his Rage Breaking Point with Zola and starts beating her near to death:
    Tarvek: I have lost my castle! My Muses! My town! My hand is revealed to those BLASTED! UPSTART! WULFENBACHS! You and Lucrezia have done nothing but destroy my life and my plans, and now you're trying to destroy the one bright spot left - AND THAT I WILL NOT PERMIT!
    Zola: All right...I give up...
    Tarvek: Oh, nononoNO, you do not "Give up!" YOU DIE!
  • When a villain in Super Stupor tries to kill his nemesis' girlfriend, she breaks him down into doing this.
    Maven: I don't even wanna beat him anymore! Don't wanna be a villain anymore! I just wanna go home! And maybe wear pants without feces in them!
  • In Weak Hero, Bryce takes sadistic glee in bullying those weaker than him (or can't fight back) just to establish his supposed superiority. When he sees that Gray has brutally beaten Oswald and his lieutenant to pulps, Bryce panics. He gets on the receiving end of a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown by Gray, where Bryce tearfully and pathetically begs Gray not to hurt him. Considering he's the one responsible for Gray's best friend ending up in a coma, his plea is rightfully ignored.
  • In The Order of the Stick, Nale, and later Tarquin, while doing a Literal Cliff Hanger.
  • unOrdinary: John's biggest trigger into Unstoppable Rage is when those who dragged him into a fight beg him to stop since he just wants to live a simple life left alone. Unfortunately his definition of a villain/bully is quite broad. He's willing to see everyone in a school as complicit after three of them ambush him and force him to use his powers, which he had been trying to keep secret. This means that someone begging John to stop beating on an unconscious compatriot just makes him more angry.
  • Unsounded: Glover, part of a squad that attacked Litrya Shrine specifically to enjoy themselves raping and murdering defenseless children and teenagers, cries "No! my soul's not ready!" when he realizes he's about to be crushed into the shape of an urn by another wright.

    Western Animation 
  • In an early episode of Batman: The Animated Series, The Joker is hanging over a pit of molten metal:
    Joker: Batman! You wouldn't let me fry, would you?
    Batman: (Considers it.)
    Joker: BATMAN! (Batman pulls him up.)
    • Though the series isn't consistent on this. Sometimes the Joker is genuinely afraid of dying and will beg to be saved, while other times he goes to his apparent demise laughing all the way. Then again, it is The Joker. Consistency is not exactly a hallmark of the character. For his part, Charlie Collins guesses that the Joker thinks any kind of death outside of an epic battle with Batman is beneath him.
  • Batman Beyond: In the episode "Sneak Peek," when Ian Peek loses control of the Intangibility belt he used to get dirt for his TV show (including Batman's Secret Identity), he calls in Bruce, begging for medical aid in exchange for the only unedited video footage of Bruce and Terry's secret. However, when Bruce discovers that Peek stole the belt from Dr. Taka, who was one of his associates at Wayne-Powers and started the fire that killed him, he just walks away, fully prepared to leave Peek to his fate.
    Peek: You can't leave! You've gotta help me!
    Bruce: Give me one. Good. Reason.
  • In the Ben 10: Alien Force episode "Vendetta", Ragnarok begs Kevin to save him from the collapsing spaceship. Considering that Ragnarok killed Kevin's dad, you can imagine the outcome.
  • Captain Planet and the Planeteers:
    • One episode had Dr. Blight beg the title hero to save her from being trampled to death by a genetically altered steer (that she created) stating, "You have to save me! It's in your hero code!" Cap admits she's right and does save her.
    • In "Bug Off", Skumm begs Captain Planet to get the mutated weevils he created off him.
    • In "No Place Like Home", Dr. Blights latest scheme renders Gaia mortal and almost results in her, the Captain, and the Planeteers losing their powers and their home. After Captain Planet punches a hole in her aircraft, Dr. Blight is standing on one of its wings, until it sinks completely, leaving her stranded in the ocean, rather far from the shore, only clinging to MAL's floating monitor. Cap does save them, though.
      Blight: Hey! What about me?!
      MAL: She means us!
      Captain Planet: Now, I've got a deal for you!
  • The Urpneys of The Dreamstone do this over everything, sometimes even when there isn't anything threatening around. It still rarely works, however.
  • In the DuckTales (1987) episode "Duck to the Future", even with everything she's done to him all episode, when Magica runs out of time-warping magic sand on a soon-to-explode airship, she still begs Scrooge to let her come along.
  • A more subdued version occurs at the end of the DuckTales (2017) opening multi-parter. After being betrayed by Glomgold, the Punch Clock Villains he hired ask if they could bum a ride to safety from the collapsing ruins. Donald sighs in annoyance, but the gang lets them come anyway.
  • Gravity Falls: After Bill Cipher is tricked into entering Stan's mind and about to be erased from existence he frantically begs Stan to let him go and offers him anything he wishes. Stan's response is to punch him in the face, destroying Bill for good.
  • In one episode of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (2002), Skeletor is dangling from a cliff and begs for He-Man to save him. He-Man does, and Skeletor immediately gets a cheap shot in.
  • Justice League: In "The Enemy Below", Aquaman's evil brother Orm plots to usurp his throne and performs all manner of heinous acts in doing so, up to and including trying to kill his infant nephew, forcing Aquaman to sever his own hand to save him. During the climax, when he finds himself dangling off a ledge over a high drop, he has the sheer nerve to beg Aquaman to save him. Aquaman reaches down... and grabs his nearby trident instead, leaving Orm to fall to his doom.
    Aquaman: I believe this is mine.
  • In the final episode of The Owl House, after Belos's attempt to possess the Titan was foiled by Luz and her Titan-powers, he tries to trick her into sparing him by telling her his curse made him do all of the evil things he did, and her ripping him out of the Titan's heart cured him. Then the boiling rain starts, and Belos starts to melt, at first begging, then demanding Luz save him while clinging to her ankle, because them being human supposedly makes them better. Luz does not dignify any of this with a response, and just steps back so Eda, Raine and King can stomp him to death.
  • ReBoot: At the end of Season 3, Matrix has successfully defeated Megabyte and is seemingly about to finish him off with AndrAIa's trident, to which Megabyte insists that he can't do it because it "goes against everything he stands for." Matrix hatefully reminds him that Megabyte ruined his life, destroyed his home, and caused all manner of pain to his loved ones... but ultimately decides to let Megabyte go on the grounds that he's not worth it.
  • The Simpsons: At the end of "Raging Abe Simpson and His Rumbling Grandson in The Curse of the Flying Hellfish", Mr. Burns is cornered by Grampa Simpson (whom he had been trying to kill throughout the episode to claim a collection of German paintings) and screams "Don't kill me!". Fortunately, Grampa wasn't going to kill him anyway.
  • In The Smurfs episode "Smurphony In 'C' ", Gargamel disguises himself as a fairy, and gave Harmony an enchanted horn ( the "Shazalakazoo") claiming it will cure his tone-deafness. Of course, it's a trick, and Harmony realizes his mistake when it sends the other smurfs into a deep slumber that they can't wake up from. When Harmony goes to find the fairy and Gargamel reveals himself, he tries to use the horn against the wizard, but Gargamel merely covers his ears and tries to stomp him - until he unwisely chases him across a log bridge over a chasm and falls. Gargamel is now holding on for his life, unable to cover his ears, and Harmony is right in the position to finish him off. He's about to do it too, but Gargamel pleads and begs for his worthless hide, and Harmony changes his mind, realizing not good to kick somebody when they're down; so he just simply blows his foe a raspberry and runs off. (And would likely regret it later.)
    • Hogatha tearfully begs for her life when she thinks Papa Smurf is going to execute her in "The Fake Smurf".
  • In Spider-Man: The Animated Series when Spidey acquires the black suit, he ends up fighting Rhino and, later, Shocker. He becomes straight-up ruthless and has both of them begging for mercy. With Rhino, Spidey runs off upon realizing what he was about to do, while with Shocker, he refrains from throwing the villain from a bell tower, but then the suit throws Shocker off for him, and Spidey is only narrowly able to save Shocker from becoming a stain on the lawn.
  • In Star Wars: The Clone Wars episode The Lawless, between villains nonetheless. Darth Sidious' former apprentice Darth Maul begs him for mercy once he is beaten. Sidious goes with Electric Torture instead.
    Darth Sidious: There is no mercy.
  • Transformers:
    • Starscream does this all the time. Usually a matter of seconds after trying (and failing) to stab Megatron in the back, although he does beg for it from the Autobots a few times.
    • Transformers: Animated: In "Thrill of the Hunt", Lockdown begs Ratchet, the very same Autobot whom he scarred, mutilated, and traumatized during the Great War millions of years ago, to put him out of his misery with the same EMP generator that Lockdown stole from him when Ratchet has Lockdown wracked with pain and dead to rights. Possibly subverted, as it's implied this was entirely a Wounded Gazelle Gambit.
  • Wakfu: Qilby, the Season 2 Big Bad, does this twice. In his true backstory, he begs for mercy when Yugo's past incarnation seals him inside the White Dimension. In the finale, he does it again when Yugo banishes him to the same void.


Video Example(s):


Jokermingo's Death

In the episode 5 of Microsoft Sam and the Great Final War, while traveling back in the past in the alternative universe, Sam corner Jokermingo and shoot him in the knees. After manges to convince Satan and Devil's Hell Star to be on his side by telling them the truth about Jokermingo's plans, mainly that his invention will killed both of them, Sam then proceed to kill Jokermingo by throwing him into hellfire, while the villain can only begging helplessly as he was burn to death. This action erase him and undo all of his doing at well as alter almost everything that happens in the present day (at least in the alternative universe).

How well does it match the trope?

4.5 (6 votes)

Example of:

Main / AssholeVictim

Media sources: