Follow TV Tropes


Playing With / Thou Shalt Not Kill

Go To

Basic Trope: A character adheres to a rigid code of morality preventing them from killing their adversaries except in extreme circumstances, and sometimes not even then.

  • Straight: Amazing Girl's adversary is a bank robber who committed murder during a robbery. She refuses to kill him, even when given the chance. Instead, she wounds him non-fatally.
  • Exaggerated:
    • Amazing Girl is completely nonviolent; when up against an Evil Overlord who has committed genocide across the galaxy, she refuses to harm him in any way. She instead apprehends him and takes him to the police.
    • Advertisement:
    • Same as above, except Amazing Girl just lets the villain escape. (How she can get anything done at all is a mystery.)
  • Downplayed:
    • Amazing Girl ordinarily refuses to kill criminals but will feel sorely tempted to take matters into her own hands if she fights a particularly heinous and cruel villain. She brutally beats the villain and contemplates killing him, but ultimately lets him live and has the authorities decide his fate.
    • Amazing Girl is willing to kill her enemies, but only as a last resort, and even then, only if the villain deserved it.
  • Justified:
    • Amazing Girl is The Cape and has been instilled with a rigid code of morality that sees murder, no matter what the circumstances, as wrong.
    • Amazing Girl used to kill until she found out several of the "villains" she murdered were innocent. After coming out of her Heroic BSoD, she swore never to kill again.
      • Alternatively, Amazing Girl is a reformed character and The Atoner who in her past life, tried to justify her actions to her targets, only to realize that she was Not So Different from the people she was killing. In order to make her redemption sincere, she swears not to kill, especially since she knows from past experience what it feels like.
    • Advertisement:
    • Amazing Girl believes that killing criminals would mean that they will never have to pay for their transgressions, so she wants to spare them for the sake of letting them experience the pain they themselves have caused on others. In short, she would rather make them suffer.
    • Related to the above, Amazing Girl takes matters into her own hands but prefers torture over the murder.
    • Amazing Girl is religious and her religion forbids killing.
  • Inverted:
  • Subverted:
    • Amazing Girl is allowed only the barest minimum of tolerance from the authorities for her actions, and committing murder would see the authorities pursue her as a criminal.
    • Advertisement:
    • The villain taunts Amazing Girl that he knows she won't kill her... but then she does.
    • Amazing Girl won't personally take a life, but she's got no qualms about recommending that the criminals she catches be given the death penalty.
    • Amazing Girl was been shown to not kill. However, this only applies to normal humans. She is willing to kill people with powers, or non-humans.
    • Amazing Girl at first makes a vow to never kill, but an especially vile villain drives her to break it.
  • Double Subverted:
    • Because the authorities would crack down on her for killing, Amazing Girl merely wounds villains as much as she can without risking their deaths.
    • It was an Accidental Murder.
    • Amazing Girl knows that her country's constitution explicitly bans the death penalty.
    • She is only willing to "kill" Witch Species that can resurrect themselves from the dead.
    • She never breaks her vow again, and emphasizes time and again that this was a special case, possibly for personal reasons.
  • Parodied:
    • Amazing Girl beats the tar out of her opponents within an inch of their lives. She then resuscitates them, nurses them back to health, and continues to beat the crap out of them.
    • Amazing Girl leaves her opponents alive, but permanently hospitalized and writhing in pain, to the point where they can't so much as blink an eye without wanting to scream in pain yet are unable to vocalize or even move. She non-ironically prides herself on not being so sinful and maniacal as to Mercy Kill them.
  • Zig Zagged: Amazing Girl's moral system is...complicated. While she won't kill regular crooks or even unrepentant nutters under any circumstance, she's very willing to mow down soldiers if she's fighting off an invading force. Furthermore, while she thinks Clones Are People, Too and supports the rights of both animals and illegal aliens, Robots, Plant People, and The Undead barely even blip on her moral radar. Furthermore, her perspective on the matter is just one of many among her peers, with some being even more unusual.
  • Averted:
  • Enforced: "This character is supposed to be an inspiration to children, and we certainly don't want to send the message to children that killing people is an appropriate way of dealing with your problems."
  • Lampshaded:
  • Invoked:
  • Exploited: Evulz shapeshifts into a form with very few defences but an incredible amount of killing power, knowing he won't be slain by Amazing Girl anytime soon.
  • Defied:
    • Amazing Girl vows to defeat villains any way she can, even if violence is required because Police are Useless.
    • "I will defeat the forces of evil by whatever means necessary... even if it means killing them."
  • Discussed: ???
  • Conversed: "Everyone knows that the bad guy's just going to break out of the asylum and start killing people anyway. Why doesn't the hero just whack them?" "Because if they did, then they'd just come back to life a few issues later anyway."
  • Deconstructed:
    • From a more cynical Anti-Hero's perspective, Amazing Girl's refusal to kill is a reflection of the outdated, hypocritical and cowardly moral and ethical framework which, in allowing vicious murderers who cannot and will not be redeemed and who will inevitably escape confinement to kill again, makes her directly responsible for any future murders that they will commit.
    • Amazing Girl isn't willing to kill, but she is willing to injure, and never finds out how many criminals aren't surviving those injuries.
    • Amazing Girl preens herself on her moral superiority to teammates who will use lethal force. But she doesn't leave the team. And she never prevents their attack — indeed, she is frequently mysteriously not there when the time comes for lethal violence.
    • Amazing Girl is a psychopath who hurts the enemy as much as possible, making sure that they don't die for the purpose of causing as much pain as possible.
  • Reconstructed:
    • Amazing Girl's refusal to kill is something (and often the only thing) which sets her above the depraved psychopaths she battles; far from it being cowardly, her refusal to compromise her moral code and reduce herself to being no better than those she fights makes her a better hero.
    • The sneering '90s Anti-Hero assumes that only a weak, spineless creature would bind herself. In truth, Amazing Girl is so continually outraged by the evil she sees that the only thing keeping her from a Roaring Rampage of Revenge is her rule against killing; she knows that, like an alcoholic, if she falls off the wagon she will kill more than all her victims.
    • When the '90s Anti-Hero cold-bloodedly kills an innocent on flimsy evidence, Amazing Girl finds he can be stopped only with lethal violence. She does it, much to his shock, and needs a hiatus afterward to recontrol her rage. More people die in this interval because she was not there to stop the villains, but she knows she is too dangerous until she's back under control.
    • Amazing Girl is aware of what a role-model she is and knows that immature superheroes would use her having killed — no matter how justified — as an excuse to go on a rampage.
  • Played For Laughs: Amazing Girl goes to huge lengths and causes large amounts of collateral damage to catch the criminal alive, and they're given the death penalty.
  • Played For Drama: Amazing Girl was given a What the Hell, Hero? speech by her allies stating that by letting the villain live, he's going to escape and continue to commit crimes while the civilians will look down on her as a coward.
  • Implied: Amazing Girl never kills anyone on-screen, but it's not clear that she has a moral opposition to it.

Back to Thou Shalt Not Kill.

Example of: