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Playing With / Incurable Cough of Death

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Basic Trope: A character with a chronic cough will die by the end of the work.

  • Straight: Bob often stops to cough, occasionally expelling Blood from the Mouth. Later, it's revealed he is dying from a terminal illness.
  • Exaggerated: Bob drops dead after only a couple of random coughs.
  • Downplayed: The cough takes a very long time to kill Bob, or it only seriously damages his health.
  • Justified:
    • Bob has a terminal disease whereof coughing is a symptom, like emphysema or pneumonic plague.
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    • Bob suffered multiple doses of lifetime radiation and slowly dies of acute radiation poisoning.
  • Inverted: Whatever is causing the cough isn't lethal, but is staving off a fatal disease.
  • Subverted: Bob just has a cold...
  • Doubly Subverted: ...then dies from an aneurism.
  • Parodied:
    • Bob tries smoking for the first time, and dies after a minor coughing fit.
    • As soon as Bob coughs everything within a 5 mile radius is instantly quarantined.
  • Zig-Zagged: Bob's doctor diagnoses him first with a cold, then leukemia, then the flu, and so on.
  • Averted:
    • Bob is terminally ill, but coughing is not one of the symptoms he shows.
    • Alternatively, Bob does cough, but doesn't die, or dies from something completely unrelated.
  • Enforced: Bob is dying of lung cancer? He should cough a lot so viewers will know he's very sick.
  • Lampshaded: "What, he died from a cough? That's pretty lame."
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  • Invoked: Alice poisons Bob, causing him to cough and eventually die.
  • Exploited: Alice takes advantage of Bob's impending demise to ask him for his stuff.
  • Defied: Bob visits a doctor after his first coughing fit and treats the underlying problem.
  • Discussed: "Sounds like you've got a bad cough there. You should get that checked out."
  • Conversed: "Ever notice how people on TV seem to die just from coughing too many times in an episode?"
  • Implied: Convenient Terminal Illness, where the reason is not explicitly mentioned.
  • Deconstructed: Characters with chronic coughs are not necessarily suffering fatal, incurable conditions, but everyone else thinks they are, so they're left alone, and the ailments only get worse and kill them.
  • Reconstructed: Characters who are found to have chronic coughs get immediate medical attention, their conditions are accurately diagnosed, and treatments are prescribed for those that can be cured.
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  • Played for Laughs: Bob gives a small cough and then hams up a simulation of what he thinks being about to die is like.
  • Played for Drama: Bob comes down with a chronic cough and the work is all about him spending his last days despondent that he's inevitably going to die soon.

Back to Incurable Cough of Death.