- Odette's transformation in the prologue is set to music that's alternately beautiful, frightening, and melancholy as von Rothbart's magic turns her into a swan.
- The music in Act II when Odette and Siegfried dance is heartwarming, but also sad as she tells her story.
- Siegfried's reaction when Rothbart and Odile reveal their deception, particularly in the Paris Opera Ballet version where he repeats the mime for love and crumples in grief, with his mother comforting him.
- Siegfried's mother's reaction counts too.
- The ending, whether happy, bittersweet, or sad. The music makes it.
- The bittersweet endings where Siegfried and/or Odette die.
- This version of the ending has Benno find Siegfried's body and try to revive him, before giving up and carrying him away.
- In another, Siegfried's mistaken pledge of fidelity to Odile consigns Odette to remain a swan forever. After realizing that her last moment of humanity is at hand, Odette commits suicide by throwing herself into the lake. The Prince does so as well. This act of sacrifice and love breaks Von Rothbart's power, and he is destroyed.
- In yet another, the Prince's declaration that he wishes to marry Odile constitutes a betrayal that condemns Odette to remain a swan forever. Rothbart calls her away, and Siegfried is left alone in grief as the curtain falls.
- One has a Hope Spot. Odette forgives Siegfried for his betrayal and the promise of reconciliation shines momentarily... before Rothbart summons forth a violent storm. Rothbart and Siegfried struggle. When the storm subsides, Odette is left alone to mourn the dead Siegfried.
- Another has the Prince drag Rothbart into the lake, where both drown. Odette is left as a swan, cursed and widowed forever.
- Another ending had Odette stand up to Rothbart and shield Siegfried with her body, the act of self-sacrifice breaking his spells.
- One ending has Rothbart win, killing the prince and claiming Odette forever.
- The ending to the Matthew Bourne version is particularly heartbreaking. The swans kill their leader and the Prince is left sobbing inconsolably over the loss before dying of grief. If that doesn't get you, then the Queen coming in and sobbing over her son's body as the younger version of the Prince and the Swan look on from the window, will.
Tear Jerker / Swan Lake