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Violence Is the Only Option

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That button with the smiley seems pretty convincing.

"I don't even call it violence when it's in self defense; I call it intelligence."

Fights are dramatic. There's no question about that. That's why most action-based series will inevitably end with a fight. After all, what fun is it if The Hero and the Big Bad resolve their differences with an armistice, a few kind words and a handshake? Even the most idealistic of All Loving Heroes will have to beat the evil out of them first before they can Save the Villain.

For that very reason, whenever the heroes try to resolve their situation through diplomatic or other peaceful means, things will inevitably go wrong. Either it's a trick by the villains to lure the heroes into an ambush in a vulnerable position, or negotiations will break down and make violence the only option. Even if by some miracle peace is achieved, it's only because an even more evil threat forces both sides to ally against it.


Despite the Reality Ensues, this can lead to the Hard Truth Aesop that Violence Really Is the Answer.

In Video Games, this often becomes Stupidity Is the Only Option as the villain goes "Oh, let's try diplomacy, why don't you come to the heart of our kingdom surrounded by our armed guards and we'll talk! Be sure not to bring weapons." This trope also frequently overlaps with Action-Based Mission.

In most Tabletop RPGs, players can use diplomacy skills, though this is subject to DM fiat. The DM may still fudge the rolls or veto the outcome if he wants a certain situation to end in violence. Sometimes some factions can't even be negotiated with.

Contrast To Win Without Fighting, Talking the Monster to Death, and Sheathe Your Sword, and compare Sedgwick Speech, RPGs Equal Combat. Not to be confused with Murder Is the Best Solution, where violence is the first resort, without considering other options.



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    Anime and Manga 
  • Most Shonen Jump manga have this as the only real and sensible option to most every problem. Bonus points if the hero tries to talk the villain over before resorting to ass-kicking.
  • Acid Town provides an example of violence properly applied being the best solution in the circumstances. The only problem being that it wasn't, due to the Technical Pacifist holding the Idiot Ball Yuki failed to kill the man that raped him and sold him into being a Sex Slave both times, as well as his associate/False Friend who wanted him for himself. If he had just taken the loaded gun he was offered and shot both Ashiei and Wang, he would have avenged his rape and years as a slave, saved himself from being raped again, and singlehandedly ended a brewing Mob War.
  • Lyrical Nanoha:
    • For Nanoha the solution to any problem is to blast whatever-it-is in the face with powerful magic attacks. Want to bring your opponent to the light? Trounce her and make friends! Trapped in a Lotus-Eater Machine? Manifest a huge beam sword and blow the illusion away! Need to save someone who's possessed by an evil book? Go all out and it'll work itself out. Then blow up the book. Is your adoptive daughter magically powered up, desperately confused, and on a rampage? Eh, blast her. Your weapon can't kill anyone anyway. This is actually Nanoha's way of achieving a peaceful solution: Try to talk it out, and if they refuse, blow the hell out of the enemy so they're in no condition to do anything but talk it out.
    • This trope is subverted because violence is actually Nanoha's final solution to the antagonists during the first two seasons. She tries to talk to them and find out why they are doing the things they are doing, and would offer a compromise if only they'd talk to her. It's just that the antagonists are not interested in a discussion, so Nanoha has to subdue them first. The third season, Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS plays it straight during the final battle, when everyone and everything from the antagonists' side that stood between Nanoha and her brainwashed adopted daughter Vivio got obliterated and also because there was no other way to undo the mind control.
  • In Angel Densetsu, while the protagonist is a bit scary, he's an All-Loving Hero. In contrast the two normal-looking, cute girls that got a crush on him deal with more or less anything via high kicks to the face. Lampshaded when Yuji tries to get Kitano out of trouble by the only way he knows how: beating people up (in that case, the trope was averted, finesse was actually needed). And again when Leo makes a mess and forces Kitano and Ikuno to fight, right until the end the trope seemed averted, but then it actually works and it's played straight.
  • Negima! Magister Negi Magi: Negi really does do his best to talk all his opponents down first. Even the demon lord who turned his village to stone. The two most notable, however, are Chao and Fate. One is the Big Bad. The other is suspected to have refused to talk it out or reveal their motives in order to prepare Negi for the other, who despite his anti villainy of later chapters is rather quiet about how 'destroy the world' and 'save the world' fit onto the same schedule properly.
  • Freezing: Satellizer doesn't really care about morals or insubordination. Her response to arrogant upperclassmen and pandoras is to simply beat the crap out of them, especially if they mess with her limiter. It's explained that she has a psychological need to fight, due to some issues.
  • Deconstructed in the first season of Gundam 00 where the Celestial Being seems to embrace this trope since they realized that the endless conflicts throughout the history needs to be forcibly eradicated with their own weapons.
  • Dragon Ball Super: During the Future Trunks Saga, Gowasu goes to Future Trunks' timeline to try to reason with Goku Black and Future Zamasu and give them a Last-Second Chance to redeem themselves by using the Super Dragon Balls to fix the damage they've done. Instead, Goku Black and Future Zamasu, after revealing that they destroyed the Super Dragon Balls once they had their own wishes granted, try to blow Gowasu up, and he's only saved by Goku and Vegeta's intervention.

    Comic Books 
  • Comics in general use violence because it tends to make for exciting stories. The whole situation is summed up in an episode of The Young Ones, where Vyvyan points out how boring most comics would be in a world with no conflict:
    Vyvyan: Exciting new story: "Batman gooses The Joker's crack!"
  • Subverted in an early storyline of The Authority comic: after confronting the Mad Scientist who devasted several major cities with his army of supers, the Authority reaches a compromise with him and enlists him in the reconstruction effort (the reader, of course, never sees him again). Supposedly a metaphor for how Western democracies cut deals with vicious third world dictators.
  • Over and over again in World War Hulk. Absolutely nothing deters Hulk from his rampage except overwhelming force. The characters who look for some nonviolent solution and/or appeal to The Power of Friendship get nowhere and suffer just as much as the ones who go on the offensive from the very beginning.
    • Averted in World War Hulk: X-men where, after three issues of Hulk pounding on the entire X-family, Mercury, a member of the New X-men junior squad, shows Hulk the graves of all the mutants killed just in the short time Hulk was off planet. In the end, Hulk accepts her plea to leave them alone, concluding that Xavier is in his own, personal hell already.
  • A common thing in the Brazilian comic Monica's Gang (bordering Invincible Hero) is basically every villain being defeated by the protagonist — specifically, her beating him to a pulp, usually with her plush bunny.

    Fan Works 
  • In The Keys Stand Alone: The Soft World, the four spend a good deal of time trying to avert this trope. Which, ironically, sometimes results in violence being employed against them, not that it works too well.
  • Kingdom Hearts 4: New Light: Ryo repeatedly advocates a peaceful solution and insists that everyone can be reasoned with, only to be faced with this trope again and again. It comes to a head when he tries to peacefully negotiate with Jazzy and Rodia, and gets near-fatally stabbed in the chest as a result. Even then, it takes a session of Training from Hell at Vanitas' hands for Ryo to finally accept that sometimes, violence is necessary.
  • Subverted in the Persona 4 fanfic The Truth, the Whole Truth and Nothing But the Truth by Shadow Dojima, who is accepted by the real Dojima without a fight. It helps that unlike the other characters, A. he is a just shy of 41-year-old adult with a far firmer grip on his own personality flaws, and B. he goes into the encounter knowing exactly what he's in for.

  • Subverted in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides when Jack Sparrow suggests to the crowd of pirates and marines to sit back and watch as Barbossa and Blackbeard duke it out, as they're the only ones who really want the other dead. Both captains then demand their crew fight it out.
  • Used in most of the Star Trek movies, except I and IV.
    • Parodied in the comedy song, Star Trekkin. Sing it in your best Kirk:
    "Ah, we come in peace!/shoot to kill, shoot to kill, shoot to kill, men!"
    • VI has this as part of its theme. Specifically, that violence has been the only option for so long between the Klingons and the Federation that there are people on both sides willing to violently betray their own leadership to keep it that way.
  • Enforced in 6 Days. The UK government (especially one Margaret Thatcher) makes it clear to all the top brass involved in handling the Iranian Embassy Siege that they will flat-out refuse any option that would allow the terrorists any sort of freedom through negotiations or outside influence. Despite all negotiations, the whole ordeal ends with one hostage getting executed with another getting killed during the ensuing S.A.S raid. All but one terrorist were also killed in the aftermath.
  • Star Wars:
    • The Phantom Menace
      • Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon are sent to Naboo for negotiations. The Trade Federation floods the negotiation room with poison gas and sends a half dozen battle droids.
      • Padme Amidala tries to go before the Senate to stop an invasion/genocide taking place on her planet. When they want to put it off for a committee to examine, she votes the Chancellor out of office and returns to take Naboo back by force.
    • Attack of the Clones
      • Padme Amidala attempts to negotiate with Dooku to free Obi-Wan. Instead, she, Anakin, and Obi-Wan are all thrown into an arena to be killed for the entertainment of the masses. They get away, of course, but this ended up beginning the Clone Wars that would go on for three years and would end with the rise of The Empire we all know and love.
      • Anakin lampshades the Jedi propensity for violence with the Unusual Euphemism of "Aggressive Negotiations", i.e. negotiations with a lightsaber.
    • The very premise of the Clone Wars has the Senate voting to give the Chancellor "Emergency Powers" to declare war on the Separatists. There is no mention of attempts at diplomacy, and neither the Separatists nor the Republic seem to actually want anything other than to go to war. That's because The Man Behind the Man keeps fanning the flames of war.
    • Palpatine directly mentions that he was involved in negotiations with the CIS. Given that he wanted them to formally secede from the Republic and start the war, those negotiations obviously failed. From the perspective of the Jedi, the negotiations failed because the CIS was preparing for war despite said negotiations.
  • The War Of The Worlds (1953) film. Humans try twice to establish peaceful contact with the Martians: three men waving a white flag, and a priest carrying a Bible. They all end up the same way: reduced to dust by a Martian heat ray.
    • One of the few things the film shares with the original story, as the first people to be killed by the Martians were a group of people attempting the same "peaceful contact" thing, only to receive a face full of Death Ray.
  • Mars Attacks! parodied this three times. Bonus points for translation machines saying "We come in peace!"
    • During their initial landing, the Martians massacre most of the humans present to greet them.
    • When they appear before the U.S. Congress "to apologize", they wipe out everyone present.
    • During a meeting to discuss peace with the French government... yeah, you guessed it.
  • Avatar. All negotiations fail before they even begin, and the only solution is to have a big battle scene (which doesn't even work until Gaia's Vengeance arrives). The movie is set decades after first contact though, and initial peaceful relations had more or less completely fallen apart before this story begins.
  • Independence Day and Rambo (2008) both use this as their main point in dealing with a world full of bad people.
    • During the climax of the latter, Michael (who had previously been a complete pacifist) picks up a rock and uses it to bash in the head of a Burmese soldier.
  • The ending change for the 2007 movie I Am Legend (based on the reaction of test audiences) demonstrates that people like this trope.

  • Deconstructed in Animorphs.
    • Is violence really the only option? At first glance, it seems that it is: Yeerks are stealing bodies by force and the kids have to stop them. But as the kids learn, Yeerks need bodies to properly live, and it's possible for the Yeerk and the host to have a symbiotic relationship. The problem is most hosts would resist infestation, which necessitates taking hosts by force. Cassie often tries to convince Yeerks that symbiotism is the best solution — and it works sometimes.
    • For a straight usage of the trope, there is one book where the Animorphs need to retrieve a tiny Plot Coupon from a heavily guarded enemy base. The room where the device is stored is pitch dark and spiderwebbed with alarm tripwires, so they morph bats to navigate it. But once they make it to the device, they realize one of them will have to hold it in their mouth to escape, which will disable their echolocation and make navigation impossible. So they decide to switch to their battle morphs for a fighting escape, instead of trying to carry the thing out with their feet.
  • Played with in Dragon Blood: The king's men come to take the protagonist to an insane asylum. He willingly goes with them to avoid bloodshed, knowing that he will be freed by his allies. They indeed try to do so, by magical, violence-free means, but it doesn't work. So the only option is to ... thwart the king's plans by proving to the public that the protagonist is indeed not stupid. This is difficult, as the king's mage keeps him drugged and tortures him to make him go insane. Thanks to the protagonist's resilience and some unexpected help from the gods, this works flawlessly, but the king is now literally after the protagonist's blood, and that of his family, so violence is the only option in the end.
  • Isaac Asimov's "The Mayors": Sef Sermak wants to stop appeasing the Four Kingdoms and start building a Navy to fight off foreign powers. At the beginning of the story, Mayor Hardin tries to explain why Violence Is Not an Option, advocating subtle action and manipulation instead. Sermak is not persuaded by Mayor Hardin's arguments, until the climax, where Seldon confirms that the use of a Scam Religion to make the Four Kingdoms dependent on Terminus was All According to Plan.
    ”Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent."Mayor Salvor Hardin
  • Subverted in Rainbow Six. After three confrontations with terrorists that refuse to negotiate or surrender, resulting in a Kill 'Em All for each group of baddies, the fourth one manages to end with some of them being talked into giving themselves up rather than having to be gunned down.
  • Lee Child's character Jack Reacher often gets into situations where violence is the only option. Just as well: he's six foot five, built like a brick shithouse, well-armed, and has no sense of remorse, really.
  • In C. S. Lewis' The Space Trilogy, Ransom is forced to physically fight with a man possessed by Satan after weeks of debating and arguing have failed, in order to save Perelandra from becoming a fallen world like Earth. Ransom is initially appalled by the idea and uses it only as a last resort. He also knows he has a very good chance of dying in the attempt.
  • The Star Wars Expanded Universe is a gigantic franchise, with dozens, if not hundreds, of books, comics, and video games. The number of stories in which everything is resolved by peaceful negotiation is in the double digits. At most. Presumably, this is for Rule of Drama purposes-let's face it, there are Jedi who do nothing but negotiate treaties all the time, but that's not going to be very interesting for most of the audience, is it?
    • (This franchise is called Star Wars, not Star Peace. It's pretty much a given that 90% of all conflicts in this universe are going to be solved through violence and not negotiation.)
  • In the Christopher Ruocchio's The Suneater, the Sollan Empire, (a quasi-religious imperialist human faction and humanity's largest contingent). and the alien Cielcin gather for peace talks in the 2nd book "Howling Dark". The talks would be overseen by a neutral party, the legendary hero Kharn Sagara who's long abandoned humanity to become a Transhuman cyborg and has trade relations with the Cielcin. The Empire was so eager for peace, they even offered 5000 humans to become Cielcin slaves. It all was for nought as the cruel Cielcin's only vocabulary for peace is submission and the Empire does a treacherous attack during negotiations to successfully cripple the Cielcin.
  • As one would expect from the series title, this happens frequently in Warrior Cats. Of note, the side book Battles of the Clans has a short story focusing on this idea, where a leader asks the other Clans to stop stealing prey from his starving Clan instead of fighting back. This only serves as an invitation to them since they know they'll be unchallenged; in the end, the spirit of his lost mate appears to him in a vision and convinces him to let his Clan fight.

    Live-Action TV 
  • An example of "trick by the villains to lure the heroes into an ambush": The 1970s Battlestar Galactica series. After a thousand year war, the 12 Colonies sent off their entire fleet of Battlestars to a diplomatic meeting with the Cylons, leaving the Colonies completely defenseless. The Council insisted that the fleet not prepare for combat in any way, leaving it defenseless as well. Naturally, the Cylons take advantage of this grotesque stupidity to wipe out both the Colonies and almost all of the Battlestars.
  • In the pilot for Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, Earth is slowly rebuilding and gladly accepts Princess Ardala's offer of peace and gifts. Eventually, this trope comes into play, as she is preparing for an invasion.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer pulls this off in "Pangs." After all the hand-wringing about dealing with Hus in light of the atrocities his people suffered, Spike points out that Hus simply doesn't care about their White Guilt; he's angry and vengeful and just wants them all dead. And even if Hus was willing to talk, there's very little the Scoobies could actually say that would make up for said atrocities, their inaction isn't helping the situation, and if they want to survive they've got no choice but to fight Hus and destroy him no matter how bad they feel about it.
    Spike: It's kill or be killed here. Take your bloody pick.
  • Memorably subverted in an episode of Star Trek: Voyager, "Year of Hell". The two-parter starts with Voyager running into a suicidally overconfident alien ship which demands they turn around without any explanation. Voyager easily destroys the ship, and heads deeper into the territory to figure out what's going on. When the Reset Button is pressed at the end of the second part, the scenario plays out again- except this time the alien ship greets them pleasantly, warns them that a war is going on, gives them a map of the disputed territory and they leave on amicable terms. Considering how comparatively easy that was, it's a little strange why violence seems to be the first resort for most species in the Delta Quadrant.
  • Appears in Toku, but special mention goes to Kamen Rider Faiz, where any attempts to solve the conflict the protagonists have with each other must happen through a fight. Overlaps with Conflict Ball.
  • Farscape Peacekeeper Wars runs on this. The heroes try to run away, then they try to help the bad guys negotiate, but finally, despite all of Crichton's protests, the only way to force the bad guys into an armistice is by launching a wormhole weapon that threatens to destroy the entire universe (getting as far as destroying all the bad guys' warships before it's stopped.)
  • The trope can be summed up in three words: The War Doctor. This is the man who saw no other way but to steal and detonate The Moment, and watch as Gallifrey burned to ash. Except...we later find out that he froze the planet and tucked it away in a pocket dimension.
  • In The 100, after the first few violent confrontations with the Grounders, the 100 try to set up peace talks to bring an end to the fighting. It's supposed to be a meeting between Anya, leader of the Grounders, and Clarke, unofficial leader of the 100, and neither of them's supposed to bring weapons or other soldiers. However, neither Anya nor Clarke trust each other, so they both have some of their people hiding in the woods nearby with guns or bows. When the snipers in the woods spot each other, all hell breaks loose.

  • The original legend of King Arthur and Medred (commonly, Mordred) at the Battle of Camlann involves Arthur's and Medred's armies poised on the field. At first, it seems that the two leaders will be able to negotiate a peaceful resolution... then an adder spooks a soldier on one side into drawing his sword to kill it; thus causing a chain reaction that leads to everyone on both sides drawing swords, and they end up going to war.
    • In the "finalized" Le Morte d'Arthur of Sir Thomas Malory, the justification is that due to the mutual lack of trust, both Arthur and his son, Medred / Mordrednote , had given orders to their army to attack "at the sight of a naked blade."
      • Bear in mind also the symbolic meaning of the serpent to the (almost invariably) Western, Christian reader of the original...
    • This also occurs in "The Tale of King Arthur and Emperor Lucius", where one of Arthur's knights beheads a Roman knight during peace talks. And it was the Arthurian knight's fault in the first place.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Subverted and justified often, as the easiest solutions to most problems are to A: Fire the offender in question. B: Offer money and or some special perk to the offender in question. C: Quit and go to another promotion in the event you do not have the power to do so. The problem facing general managers in wrestling is that violence is often the most lucrative solution. Those pay per views aren't going to pay for themselves! Thus, when a GM does take the easy option, he is often overruled by a higher authority and forced to book a match.
  • On the opposite side of the spectrum, sometimes heel wrestler actions go so far outside of the realm of cheating and poor sportsmanship that they end up being plain criminal and deserving of at least a trial. The baby faces will, 9 times out of 10, decline to press charges, preferring to simply get a chance to defeat their tormentors in the ring.
  • And sometimes, the answer to the non violent solution to some is violence, such as when Eddie Gilbert tried to run over Jerry Lawler in a parking lot after his brother Doug had been "fired" from the promotion. Nope, just firing Eddie as well wouldn't be enough.
  • Rikishi tried to run over "Stone Cold" Steve Austin for The Rock. Their solution, beat up Rikishi. This one was a little better than most, as it turned out Triple H was behind it, but since no one knew ahead of time, nor simply put Triple H in jail, it still fits.
  • Cibernético tried to kill Muerte Cibernética for good by dumping his casket into an active volcano! After somehow escaping, Cibernética was content to just keep wrestling for AAA.
  • Samoa Joe made more progress toward breaking up Special K by simply talking to Hydro than everyone else in Ring of Honor did by fighting them.
  • Ultimately, OVW dealt with Boogeyman by simply giving him a spot on the roster, after everything else they tried to keep him away failed. Here it was more like "setting aside time for him to do violence" was the only option.
  • So you're being accused of fathering a child out of wedlock with a drunken crackhead. While most people would just get the paternity test, AJ Styles's first step to rectifying the issue was to challenge one of his accusers in a match and then take the test if he won, that is he'd admit to charges of being the father if he couldn't beat Christopher was TNA.

    Tabletop Games 
  • To say that this trope generally applies in the Warhammer 40,000 world is a bit like saying that the sun is hot — it's technically correct, but it fails to convey the sheer magnitude of the situation.
    • Special mention must be given to da Orks, however, an entire species that has this trope programmed into their very biology, who solve everything via liberal use of dakka and/or choppa, and if it isn't solved, well, that just means more fighting. WAAAGH!
    • To elaborate even further, to Orks, violence isn't so much a way of settling differences (but that too) as it is a social skill. Someone giving you lip? Whack him in the head with the business end of a massive axe (he'll survive). Are you having a race? Consider shooting at the other contestants with whatever firearm you have at hand (they nearly always have one), it's pretty much considered polite (don't you dare hit their vehicle, though, that's likely to make them go berserk — they're also likely to survive, regardless of what weapon you have "on hand"). Did a fellow ork make a stupid comment? Crush his entire body in your mechanical claw/backhand him with enough force to knock over a truck (he'll probably survive). An ork that is run over in a race by a multi-ton halftrack is likely to roll around on the ground, writhing in laughter.
    • It's somewhat telling that the Tau are the only major race in the entire setting to avert this in any long-term capacity, being notable for happily employing translators and being willing to conduct negotiations that range beyond "get out of the way, or kill yourself before we do." And, even at their nicest, Tau diplomacy largely consists of aiming a pulse rifle at your head and asking if you are willing to work for the Greater Good. No answer? Sounds like a job for a Fire Cadre to enslave and/or prepare planet for repopulation.
  • Same goes with pretty much every Paranoia game. You're usually playing a member of a Troubleshooter team, and a Troubleshooter's job is to find trouble and shoot it. Oh, and speaking of trouble, see those teammates of yours..?
    • It's been said that the closest thing Paranoia has to an ideal mission end is to be the only survivor. That way, you can assign all the blame to everyone else and no one can contradict you.
  • Averted in 3.5 Dungeons & Dragons with the "Diplomancer" approach, which takes advantage of the flat difficulties set for Diplomacy checks to reduce someone's hostility towards you — a high-level bard can make anything completely indifferent to his presence quite rapidly. A properly tweaked Diplomancer can turn any hostile intelligent being in helpful friends just as quickly, or even into a fanatical follower willing to sacrifice their life at the mere word of the diplomancer, if tweaking is taken far enough. This is why DM fiat isn't always a bad thing.
  • In Exalted, due to the difference in timescale between Social and physical combat (roughly, one 'tick' of social is equivalent to sixty of actual fighting), the most effective way of countering the Mind Rape abilities of the more powerful Exalts is to draw your sword and get hacking.
  • This is a somewhat easy conclusion to accidentally jump to from reading many tabletop RPG rulebooks in general. After all, while most other challenges are frequently all lumped together and handled with some quick-and-easy general resolution mechanic that may boil down to no more than a die roll or two to get on with the story (arguably the main technical issue with the "diplomancer" approach brought up above), combat traditionally tends to get singled out as somehow "special" with a lot more page space dedicated to its particular set of rules...that must mean it's the main point of the game and preferred way to deal with problems, right?
    • Some games avert this, by handling violent combat exactly the same way as any other conflict between different characters. Golden Sky Stories goes so far as to penalize you for resorting to violence on top of that, encouraging players to find any other way to solve a problem.
    • A discussed and lampshaded trope in Greg Stolze's How to Play Roleplaying Games.
    • Also discussed in the GURPS sourcebook Social Engineering, which was touched on the differing approaches stereotypical tabletop RPGs have towards violence and talking your way out.
  • BattleTech runs on this trope. The setting is kept in a state of near perpetual war because peace is boring (and would stop them from making more sourcebooks).

    Video Games 
  • A number of video game commentators have pointed out that the most common interaction with settings in video games is violence, by far. Even in games where the player's character can't attack entities directly, like LIMBO, the enemies and obstacles usually only ever perform violence on the main characters, and are never seen to do things beyond attacking or preparing to do harm.
  • Suikoden II almost fools you into thinking that it's over after the defeat of the initial Big Bad with an impending peace council. However, you quickly find out that it's not that easy.
  • Averted twice in Chrono Cross. In two battles (one the final boss, the other a bonus mission), it is possible to defeat the enemy by force, but more rewarding if a non-violent method is used.
    • And lampshaded in Chrono Trigger DS. The Bonus Boss of the Dimensional Vortex is the Final Boss of Chrono Cross. Although the only way out of this battle is by force, Schala still returns the party to wherever they came from and berates them for using violence to solve their conflicts, suggesting to use an alternate solution to defeat their foe.
  • Averted in the Neverwinter Nights mod A Dance with Rogues, which gives you minimal XP from killing things, and most of the time ends up being a stealth-based puzzle game instead of a traditional hack-and-slash D&D game.
  • In the Baldur's Gate series, there are numerous confrontations that you can resolve without spilling blood, though there are plenty of encounters where you don't have any other options.
    CHARNAME: Hi! I want to pass through your land!
    Kuo-Toa Leader: Klodg do g'ith dal shaog gossath! Geetaaah!
    CHARNAME: (sigh) This isn't going to end well, is it?
  • Neverwinter Nights 2 contains plenty of diplomatic options, sometimes allowing you to pacify entire factions. But if you side with the City Watch, any criminal you try to arrest will refuse, preferring to fight you to death — Suicidal Overconfidence at its finest. A particularly jarring example is an optional quest in Blacklake, when you need to pass as a merchant and convince some thieves to buy from you. If you botch the bluff and diplomacy checks, then they'll recognize you as a fake and fight you. If you successfully convince them you're genuine, then they'll make the deal and then will fight you when the Watchmen accompanying you try to arrest them. The only benefit from this outcome is some extra XP and gold.
  • Final Fantasy VI does this grandly, with an extensive sequence near the middle of the game that features you negotiating with The Empire. The Emperor will even reward you if you're particularly skilled with your diplomacy. However, this is all just bait.
  • In Final Fantasy VIII, the pacifist residents of Fisherman's Horizon criticize the main characters for solving problems with violence, arguing that all problems can be solved by talking them out. Atypically, the main character doesn't disagree with their outlook, but when the enemy's army shows up and the mayor of FH goes to try to reason with them, the main characters still end up having to rescue him and drive the enemy soldiers out by force.
    • The player can optionally choose to have Squall try to explain his stance after the battle, resulting in a explanation wherein Squall says that diplomacy is great, and he would prefer it, but that not everyone agrees, and as long as the threat of violence remains, it's impossible for everything to be resolved diplomatically. He then apologizes for fighting and walks away.
    • Done again in Final Fantasy IX where the queen attacks Clerya and the residents try to reason with the enemy, only to be killed. Zidane and some residents from Burmecia are fed up that the peace keepers can't fight and vow to slaughter every soldier that gets in the way.
  • Sometimes in Civilization, the only option given to you in diplomacy is to to declare war. Even if you try to remain on friendly terms with everyone, some civilization will inevitably declare war on you even if you have the military and/or technological advantage. They will then proceed to walk their spearmen into your cannon fire. Sometimes, they will win.
  • Played straight, then finally subverted in Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice. Literally the only interaction with non-player characters outside of flashbacks is combat, but at the end of the game, the only way to complete the last encounter is to let them beat you.
  • Star Control II often averts this with the non-evil races whom you can actually be diplomatic to... or you can choose to kill them and get RU. However, there are races that will attack you no matter what you say. Though they usually are willing to chat, often at great length, before they throw down.
  • In Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn:
    • Yune repeatedly mentions that diplomacy will not work on Ashera. Given that the latter is an Ax-Crazy Knight Templar goddess, this more or less makes sense.
    • Some chapters have an enemy that can be recruited by talking to them, averting this trope. This is an especially unexpected option with Oliver. Some recruits like Shinon (in Path of Radiance) are straight examples; you have to take them down before they'll join you.
  • SWAT 2, a real-time tactics game, features a decent interface for diplomacy, wherein you can make or grant demands, depending on your side. Good negotiations can provide a few extra points (and in the terrorist campaign, is once required for mission completion), but the missions can never be properly resolved by negotiations alone. A successful SWAT mission still ends with busting in and killing/arresting the suspects, and the terrorists likewise need to kill all of their attackers or make their escape off-map.
    • For that matter, the ability to arrest suspects rather than just killing them in it and the next two games is an aversion of this, more so in SWAT 4 where there's the "unauthorized use of deadly force" penalty if you kill someone before they shoot at you.
  • Subverted in many of the Shin Megami Tensei games, where you can negotiate with the Wandering Monsters as a vital way to gain new mons/spell cards/info. Different species have different requirements for helping or joining you, such as the player being of a certain alignment or simply giving them an item they want.
  • Beating the hell out of something is the usual solution to the problems that come up in Lost Odyssey, but when the Big Bad uses magic to turn one of your party members into a People Puppet, the best solution is to do anything but attack, since killing your friend results in an immediate Game Over.
  • This can be averted in Fallout — you can play the entire game as a pacifist and convince the Master that his plan is doomed, causing him to kill himself.
    • Frank Horrigan of Fallout 2 is the only sapient Final Boss in the Fallout series that can't be talked into either backing down or committing suicide. However, if you play your cards right, you can convince Horrigan's bodyguards to turn against him and reprogram the automated turrets in his chamber to attack him.
      • First Citizen Lynette of Vault City is a firm believer in this trope. It's easy to break the game if you annoy her, and this is guaranteed if you let her know you helped a settlement of peaceful ghouls fix their nuclear reactor to prevent it from contaminating her city's groundwater, instead of murdering them all and shutting it down. And if you tell her you can regain your citizenship from the one person who can overrule her, she infinity-plus-one overrules that to prevent you from accessing the Vault you need to enter to know what your next destination is. At this point you will have no other option left than to fight your way inside, slaughtering the population of Vault City in your way just to access a computer.
    • The Tenpenny Tower side-quest in Fallout 3. Either kill Roy Phillips and lose karma, turn his fellow Feral Ghouls on the tower and lose karma, or arrange for them to live in the tower only to have them back-stab the residents later.
    • The Caesar's Legion and Mr. House story branches in Fallout: New Vegas require you to blow up the Brotherhood of Steel. Conversely, the non-House quest lines require you to either immediately kill House, or disconnect him from the mainframe and have him die a slow, horrible death from infection. For Birds of a Feather, you have to either kill Cass yourself or have her executed by Jean-Baptiste, precluding the completion of Heartache by the Number.
    • Fallout 4
      • The confrontation with Conrad Kellogg, has him asking the Sole Survivor to talk with him to see if they cannot find a diplomatic solution to their conflict. But there is no possible peaceful outcome of the conversation. It can only ever end in the Sole Survivor declaring their intent to murder Kellogg for what he did, and a boss battle ensues.
      • The endgame requires you to wipe out two of the Commonwealth's four major factions regardless of which route you choose. Supporting the Minutemen or Railroad requires wiping out the Institute and Brotherhood of Steel. Supporting the Brotherhood or Institute requires you to wipe out the other along with the Railroad. There is a way to stay on good terms with both the Railroad and Brotherhood by siding with the Minutemen, but the Institute will still need to be taken down.
  • Ratchet & Clank. When you can just walk into the nearest shop and buy a BFG, corrupt CEOs and Omnicidal Maniacs are on the loose, and The World Is Always Doomed, are there really any other options?
  • Subverted in Iji. You can kill everything in sight like usual, but you'll probably feel sorry for it later on. It's also possible to go through the whole game without killing anything, which leads to a slightly happier ending.
  • The campaign's maps in the Total War series of games pretends to feature political machinations and allegiances, but in the end, everything will either be allied against you or allied to you and in your way (and no-one else's). In Medieval: Total War, this includes rebellions, automatic battle outcomes, and whatever political maneuvering has not yet been tossed aside in favor of constant war. No matter how much cunning you use, the AI (and sometimes the random number generator) will all conspire against you; the only real answer is fighting. Lots of fighting.
    • This is institutionalized in Total War: Shogun 2, in which conquering territory makes the other clans more wary of you (a penalty to diplomatic relations). This penalty slowly resets over time if you enter periods of peace. After conquering 18 regions or taking Kyoto, however, an event called 'Realm Divide' kicks in that automatically lowers all clans' opinions of you by 5 for every turn that passes, more or less ensuring that within the next year or so every other clan in Japan will be at your throat and cancelling all their trade agreements with you, including your vassals and old friends.
  • Golden Sun The Lost Age subverts this when you're able to recover the gem stolen from the town of Madra by the warring Kibombo tribe without engaging any of the Kibombo warriors you encounter in combat.
  • At the end of Atelier Iris 3, the heroes try to talk things out with Uroborus, the Eldritch Abomination that threatens their world, to no avail. They fight it but lose anyway; they are only saved by Iris' Heroic Sacrifice.
  • Inverted in A Force More Powerful, if you want to win. Smart nonviolent action is the only way to succeed against your foes, who all have far more military power.
  • Lampshaded and many jokes cracked about it in Endless Frontier. Many people question the morality of your party due to how quick they are to violence.
  • This can be averted in most battles in Final Fantasy Tactics with the Mediator. In fact, running through the game with a party made purely of Mediators will often lead to convincing the ENTIRE enemy force to defect to your side! When playing such a Pacifist Run, the only enemies which cannot be defeated in this fashion are, of course, the Story-relevant characters opposed to the hero.
  • Played with a LOT in Super Robot Taisen Original Generation Saga where the villains usually don't want to fight but say something to insult one of the heroes, which pisses them off and causes a chain reaction. This has led to the more sane party members commenting on how they feel like they're the villains.
  • Planescape: Torment and Arcanum: Of Steamworks & Magick Obscura are both novel in that neither forces you to fight anyone at all should you wish (not that this manner of playing is easy, just possible). In fact, for both, the "better" endings involve you Talking the Big Bad to Death.
  • Used in an extremely annoying way in Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines. In almost every quest for the vast majority of the game, you have the options of diplomacy, stealth, intimidation, or using your vampire magic before you have to get into a physical fight, so the two sections where you don't have those options can be... irritating, especially if you don't have a combat-focused character build. There's the Nosferatu Warrens plotline, where you have to navigate a long set of mazes while killing some fairly nasty monsters and one tricky miniboss, and the endgame, where you have to kill at least one and usually two pain in the ass bosses. And just to make it worse, chosing an option to skip one of these two bosses will prevent you from getting a good ending.
    • Ditto Alpha Protocol, by the same developers. Though most of the game is tremendously open-ended in allowing for all sorts of different approaches, there are a number of mandatory boss battles that will stymie Player Characters not tuned for direct combat.
  • Deus Ex comes close to averting this, since you can get through most of the game without killing or even attacking anyone. Only a handful of characters have to be attacked and players have found ways of going Off the Rails to avoid killing any.
    • In the prequel Deus Ex: Human Revolution, you do not have to kill any of the mooks. As in the first game, the game gives you a spectrum to work on, either going Technical Pacifist with stun guns or Actual Pacifist by stealthing it up. You only have to kill the four bosses. It just gets harder to resist the urge to start killing once you find out what kind of people the mooks are.
      • This actually brought the game under some criticism. Many people did not like that you have to kill someone. So, when the "Missing Link" DLC was released, they gave players the option of sparing the final boss.
  • Subverted in The Godfather game. While you will have to punch out or gun down a lot of enemy mobsters, as well as use violence on the owners of most of their fronts in order to "persuade" them to give the Corleones control, gaining enough Respect to talk said owners into peacefully giving up actually results in you earning more money. Bribing cops and running from them is preferable to killing them outright if you have a choice. In ending a Mob War, it's easier to run to a FBI agent on the take and drop him $3000 than brave an enemy business to bomb it.
  • Touhou Project: No matter the problem, the response is always pelting the perpetrator with gratuitous amounts of magical bullets (danmaku) until they stop, even if they have to wade through a few uninvolved individuals to even find the person/s causing the problem. Justified in both the games and supplementary material, with the entire massive cast being varying degress of batshit insane and the entirely non-lethal combat viewed mostly as a game.
    • Nobody's suggesting that the violence solves much of anything.
    • It's implied and speculated in supplementary material that the youkai in Touhou are, by their very definition, the opposite of humans, and if they defy their own definition by not opposing mankind, they cease to be. This could make danmaku duels a relatively peaceful solution that's been erected for the sake of youkai: By being able to fight non-lethally, weaker youkai can antagonize humanity without having to fear being Killed Off for Real by the local Miko, and stronger youkai can indulge their nefarious schemes without having to fear wiping out Gensoukyou should they be forced to fight the Barrier Maiden who keeps the place existing. If the speculation is true, then a degree of violence indeed is the only option for humans and youkai to live in (relative) peace and harmony together.
  • The premise of Total Annihilation is a millennia-old war over a fundamental difference in philosophy, and all diplomatic alternatives have presumably been extinguished long ago.
  • Averted in Wild ARMs 2: Diplomacy is actually pretty effective, bringing the three kingdoms together to help you fight the Big Bad. Of course, Figalia being somewhat of a Crapsack World, banding together is pretty much necessary for survival. It still feels really good to be able to make the world a better place, instead of the standard RPG trope of the world getting steadily WORSE throughout the game.
  • Averted in the original Prince of Persia, where you have to Sheathe Your Sword when fighting your evil mirror twin.
  • More or less AdventureQuest, DragonFable, MechQuest and AdventureQuest Worlds in a nutshell. Expect numerous lampshades.
  • This is actually averted in Knights of the Old Republic if you're light side or a clever dark side. Unfortunately, you rarely get XP for avoiding fights. On the other hand, some of the best fun in the game is in finding ways to trick people into attacking you, netting you XP for killing them while staying light side.
  • This trope gets batted all about in the Dark Forces Saga:
    • Averted in In Dark Forces 2: Jedi Knight, with the power Force Grab, which allows Kyle Katarn to snatch weapons from the hands of his enemies with the odd effect of leaving stormtroopers running around shouting "Stand at your post! Stand at your post!", hence one can follow the Jedi principle of conflict avoidance through much of the game, leaving a wake of living but disarmed opponents in Kyle's path. Interestingly, grans disarmed would approach Katarn and try to beat him up.
    • Played straight in Dark Forces: Mysteries of the Sith, where stormtroopers learned to attack Katarn by hand when disarmed. Fisticuff troopers are generally ineffective, but they warrant neutralization, all methods of which are lethal. Most other characters will also suicide-rush Kyle (or Mara) throughout the game, once disarmed.
    • Averted through most of the latter half of Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast, though Raven Software intended this trope to be played straight: Kyle relearns Force Pull note , which can disarm many of the locals, and only the occasional unarmed Gran will try to strongarm a lightsaber-wielding Kyle. Stormtroopers will alternate between surrender (throwing their hands up) and running around looking for a dropped weapon. note  An event starting a duel with a mini-Sith during the Bespin levels requires all the previous enemies to be killed off; if Kyle had been handling foes the Jedi way, he'll have to massacre all the lives he previously spared in order to continue.
    • Averted and played straight depending on each level in Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy. Some levels have Destroy All Enemies as a mission parameter. At the same time, one can very quickly achieve Force Grip level three (ironically a dark-side power) which has the incidental effect of disarming most opponents note  So it is possible to minimize conflict Jedi-style though much of the game. note  Again, though, Raven intended this trope to be played straight.
  • Played straight in No One Lives Forever 2: A Spy in HARM's Way despite itself. The game includes a number of ways to knock opponents out, such as the CT-180 utility launcher and tranquilizer darts. Sadly, knocked out bad guys will not only wake up in short time, but will also magically manifest weapons. The pragmatic response is to stealth-kill by tranq-ing targets from afar, and then finishing them off at point blank with a suppressed handgun. note  While this process makes for excellent grim spy action, it is rather dissonant with the otherwise lighthearted feel of the rest of the game.
  • Until the A Murder of Crows expansions, victory in Sword of the Stars could only be achieved through annihilation of the enemy. Even with diplomacy options being available from then on, you still need violent power on tap if the target refuses to surrender.
    • It is actually possible to win the game without firing a shot. If the Random Number God on a small map pits your Liir faction against mostly other Liir opponents, there's a good chance they'll try to ally right after meeting them. A single not-too warlike race will likely research Liir language quickly, and be able to join in, instantly winning the game. It feels a bit like a Non Standard Game Over though.
  • In NieR, the world is doomed because everyone thinks this trope is true when it really isn't.
  • Subverted in TaskMaker, a Fetch Quest RPG for the Mac. One of the quests given to you by the title character is to bring him the head of a rebel. A player can indeed kill the Rebel and take his head (although this drains a lot of points and some Spirit due to his Good alignment, which is not revealed until after you kill him), but the saner option is to Bestow a gift to the Rebel, who will then give you a slave's head to pass off as his own. The TaskMaker never suspects a thing.
  • In Warlock: Master of the Arcane, the AI will within two dozen turns of meeting you send you a demand for half your money or mana. Your options are ´accept´ or ´declare war´. Accepting several times may let them offer an alliance, but it won´t stop them from demanding half your stuff at regular intervals. In short, when meeting an AI opponent, get ready to rumble.
  • In Wasteland 2, General Vargas examines the idea and rejects it. A quick bullet to the head is a viable solution to most problems, but never a good one, never the first one, and never the only one. Sadly, gameplay doesn't quite support this.
  • In The Wonderful 101, it gets to the point where "Diplomacy has failed!" becomes something of a Catchphrase for Wonder Red. Not that the team ever tries very hard to make diplomacy work.
  • Averted in Epyx's Dungeon Crawling Temple of Apshai — it is possible to converse with some monsters and get safe passage if you leave them alone. However, subsequently attacking them or attempting to steal their treasure will get you in trouble.
  • Averted in Far Cry 4. If you choose to listen to Pagan Min when he tells you to stay put and eat dinner at the beginning of the game instead of choosing to wander off, he will return after several minutes and take you to his daughter Lakshmana, explain several revelations about your family that would have come very late in the game otherwise, and allow you to spread your mother's ashes, completing the game without having to fire a single bullet.
  • In A Very Long Rope to the Top of the Sky, a few villains (Oliver and Darius) seem to attack you for no other reason than because the game needed a boss battle; logically it should have been possible to negotiate with them. This is especially grating in the endgame, where the party's entire goal is to avoid violence and save Raccoon. Of course, once they actually reach him, they're railroaded into fighting, and once the battle starts the heroes have no qualms about turning him into chunky salsa.
  • In The Halloween Hack, the player is confronted at one point with a two-option menu. One is "Kill Him." The other isn't an actual option. However, this is subverted because The Computer Is a Lying Bastard.
  • In The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, Thieves' Guild Leader Gentleman Jim Stacey (as well as the Guild in general) is normally quite averse to violence. When it comes to high ranking enforcers for the rival Camonna Tong, all else (bribes, blackmail, etc.) have failed, so he sends you to kill them as a last resort.
  • This is the idea the Big Bads of Aviary Attorney want to plant and foster in the Rebel Leader. In 4C (Fraternité), they can fail but still manipulate events and bloody up the revolution.
  • Due to the trope's near-omnipresence in video games at one point or another, it's specifically averted in Undertale.
    • For the most part. All monsters you encounter can be spared without dealing a single point of damage, but you still have to fight in the normal final battles against Asgore and Flowey. The former destroys the Mercy button as soon as battle starts, while the latter takes over the entire interface. This is also Played for Laughs in the optional rematch against Undyne, in which you deal a single point of damage before the battle is called off.
    • Trying to spare the final boss of the genocide route, Sans, will get you killed. Your only choice is to... this. Justified in that, because you're on the genocide route, you've killed almost everybody, showing no mercy to anyone or anything and for the most part killing people just because you can. Sans is simply showing the same amount of mercy you did to all of his friends - absolutely zero. Also subverted; after Sans has killed you after you've tried to spare him, he begs you to pick another option available to you aside from resorting to violence: aborting your genocide run.
  • In Undertale's Spiritual Successor Deltarune, this idea comes up again. Ralsei insists that there's always a peaceful solution if you work for it, and as before the player is given the option to take various actions (such as complimenting the enemy or lecturing them on why violence is bad) to end the battle without fighting. However, in some cases all you can do is make them tired so that Ralsei can cast a spell to push them away. And then in the final boss fight, the Spades King cannot be reasoned with at all, and instead plays on Ralsei's idealism to pull an I Surrender, Suckers. You still resolve the fight without killing him, but it makes the point that in some situations, some level of violence is necessary to survive.
  • In the Persona series:
    • In Persona 4, every character rejects their Shadow Self, driving it berserk and forcing a boss fight in order to calm it down. By the time you get to Shadow Naoto, Kanji has become resigned to the fact that a fight is going to have to happen if they want the person in question to overcome their issues.
    • In Persona 5, it's theoretically possible to steal a Treasure without confronting the Palace ruler, but every time you try you are inevitably dragged into a fight anyway. Shadow Futaba is a double subversion, as she turns out to be completely benevolent, but you still have to beat up the living manifestation of her self-loathing as a result of her mother's death.

  • Lampshaded in this The Adventures of Gyno-Star strip: The superheroes deliberately pick fights where violence is the only option, as violence is the only thing they can do. Gyno-Star's request to do something about more abstract injustice is met with confusion — if they can't punch it in the face, they can't fight it.
  • Subverted in this Darths & Droids strip.
  • The main cast of 8-Bit Theater, particularly Black Mage, author of the immortal phrase "I solve my problems through violence".
  • Schlock Mercenary is an interesting case, since most of the cast claim to believe it, but they usually find a solution that doesn't involve killing everyone. Then there's Massey, the company lawyer, and the least-violent member on staff by a wide margin.
    Massey: Violence can't solve everything, sergeant.
    Massey: You're...probably right.
  • In Bob and George, one panel attempt at diplomacy doesn't work.
  • Nebula: Deliberately engineered by Black Hole to make Pluto (who couldn't hear what was said) think that the others were violent killers. Her minion, Ceres, refused to back off through talking/non-violent means and refused to stop torturing the planets, and any attempts made at it were painfully obviously prolonging the planets' suffering. The only thing that stopped Ceres was Sun ripping his hand through their torso.
  • Made into a religious tenet in Kill Six Billion Demons. "Violence is inescapable" is one of the core truths of the the setting's main faith and there are several stories and legends in the complementary material of the series preaching this Aesop. Worst of all, they seem to be right.
  • In The Order of the Stick, this is Roy's completely justified response to the suggestion of diplomacy with Xykon.
    • Once more on similar lines when Xykon tries to do this to Roy. In a somewhat humorous instance, the big bad spends several rounds attempting to talk Roy into leaving to go adventure some more before confronting him, only to be attacked each time.

    Web Original 
  • In Greek Ninja, although there is some form of a discussion first, Sasha and Daichi decide it's the only way to settle their disagreement.
  • Subverted in Hello, from the Magic Tavern when Arnor declares that Arnie must exceed his own feats for the right to call himself Arnie (long story). After hearing about several impressive acts of combat, Arnie tries to suggest that maybe diplomacy might be a better option in some cases. Arnor responds that in fact several of his feats were completely non-violent - in fact, one of his proudest accomplishments was persuading a tyrant to release his numerous slaves with nothing but an impassioned speech.
  • Mahu: In "Second Chance" , several of the galaxy's nations follow this policy when it comes to other races. While peaceful in nature, the Galactic Commonwealth also is ready to use violence, especially when facing a foe they believe they cannot reason with.

    Western Animation 
  • In My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, there are villains like Lord Tirek who have no redeeming qualities, so they can never be reasoned with at all.
  • Minerva learns this lesson in Transformers: Super-God Masterforce.
  • In the Halloween episode of The Angry Beavers with the Oxnard Montalvo, at one point Oxnard is holding off a bunch of monsters, when someone suggests they attempt to communicate. Oxnard says that he is speaking the only language the monsters can understand, namely, fisticuffs.
  • Often played straight in the Justice League, but especially in The Terror Beyond, where Superman, Hawkgirl, and Wonder Woman bust into Dr. Fate's tower, and find him performing some ritual with Aquaman and Solomon Grundy, and immediately decide to attack, while Fate and co. violently defend themselves without a word of explanation. Just a single sentence in the vein of "We're just trying to save the world here, so please butt out for a minute" would have avoided a lot of pain in all sides.
  • This is one of the driving forces behind Aang's character growth in Avatar: The Last Airbender. Being a pacifist monk who was taught to never kill, he's not really suited for being at the head of the war effort, and often tries diplomacy instead. When the time comes to defeat the Big Bad, his friends and past lives point out that he has no other choice but to kill him, even if it's sacrificing his morals. In the end, he gets a spiritual way to defeat Ozai instead of killing him. They still have an epic battle.
    • A potential interpretation of events of the final Agni Kai. Zuko knows by now his father was a terrible person and might have some small clue that Azula was left worse off; but now she's a mad dog aching for a fight with her brother, and words aren't going to reach her.
    • The reverse problem is handed to his successor, Avatar Korra. She’s a Blood Knight in a situation which requires a little more diplomacy and political maneuvering than she’s used to. That’s not to say she shouldn’t use violence — just a little less.
  • Parodied in the Phineas and Ferb episode, "Excaliferb". Carl's attempt to introduce Carl the paladin is actually attempting to hide the fact that the book ends with a very long, dry arms treatise.
    • Normally played straight, but sometimes averted. Several times, Doofenshmirtz will admit that his plan has failed (either through sabotage or his own shortsightedness) and point out that there's no reason to fight, half-heartedly yell "curse you Perry the Platypus", and go to bed.
  • A repeated problem that Jedi have and discuss in Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels. In the former show, the Jedi's inability to reconcile this with their peacemaking beliefs leads to corruption both individually and as a whole, and adds to Anakin's increasing darkness. In the latter, Kanan has difficulty teaching Ezra to be a diplomatic and see violence as a last resort when it's often the only option they have, complicated by Ezra's natural empathy and his vengeful feelings towards the Empire. Ezra eventually finds balance, while Anakin and the Jedi slowly get worse, leading to the events of Revenge of the Sith.
  • One harsh lesson that the title character of Steven Universe is forced to learn during Season Three is that diplomacy and reasoning don't always work and sometimes you have no choice but to use violence against an enemy. For example, Bismuth and Jasper showed a sympathetic side, but that doesn't mean that they'll automatically accept Steven's points. They outright reject and even try to kill him when he extends an arm to them, leaving him with no choice but to subdue them with force. Eyeball was simply a Sociopathic Soldier and trying to reason with her gave her the opportunity to almost kill him, so Steven has to kick her out of the bubble and leaves her stranded in space in order to save himself. The episodes "Mindful Education" and "Storm in the Room" shows that not being able to get the three of them to reform took a really harsh blow to Steven's psyche, because his caring worldview has let him down in those situations. Bismuth was eventually convinced to turn her life around the second time she was freed, though this was mainly due to... a certain truth of Rose Quartz being revealed that recontextualized her actions.

    Real Life 
  • The American Civil War ended slavery at the price of the bloodiest conflict in American history. The moderate wing of the Republican party (of which Abraham Lincoln was a leader) was willing to compromise with the South. It opposed the expansion of slavery into new territories but was content to allow already existing slavery to remain with offers of compensation and graduated emancipation. The South refused even this moderate position (hated by the radical abolitionists) and went in open revolt upon Lincoln's election and eventually dug its own grave. John Brown, abolitonist insurgent, who killed slaveowners noted at the trial after his disastrous Harper's Ferry raid:
    I, John Brown, am now quite certain that the crimes of this guilty land will never be purged away but with blood. I had, as I now think, vainly flattered myself that without very much bloodshed it might be done.
  • This was the central point of Lincoln's famous Second Inaugural Address, which cast the war as inevitable given the irreconcilable conflict between abolitionists and the Slave Power, and suggested it as having been divine judgment and retribution on the nation for the evil of slavery.
  • The view of the Reconstruction era since The '60s, under historian Eric Foner, is that the Ku Klux Klan became a threat because the American government was slow to meet and battle them. They pointed out that the Klan died a quick death when President Ulysses S. Grant sent the army to clamp down and protect the newly enfranchised African-Americans. The 1876 Presidential election led to the Republicans backing out and pulling its forces out of the South as a compromise to get their side in the White House, which immediately led to Jim Crow, electioneering violence, and the rise of lynchings in the South.
  • British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain's determined effort to make "Peace for our time" through diplomatic means. It didn't work, although his efforts did at least buy a little time to rearm the British military. Chamberlain was backed by the French PM Édouard Daladier and both of them assumed that Hitler could be negotiated with, that he had the best interests of Germany at hand and that he could relate to everyone's desire to avoid another World War. Hitler was in fact deceitful and manipulative and really did believe War Is Glorious.
  • Because of its illegal nature, those involved in Black Market transactions, drug trafficking and other illicit operations have no other recourse to settle disputes other than the use of violence.


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