Villains Want Mercy

Let me go! Let me go! Please! Don't hurt me! I'll do anything! Anything!
~ Gaston begging the Beast for mercy.

Sometimes when defeated by the hero, the villain goes down gracefully. Sometimes he realizes he is doomed and demands the hero to stop fooling around. Sometimes he tries to take the heroes with him. Sometimes the villain is so bad, he will never stop fighting until he is put down for good. This trope is not about those villains.

Smug snakes, dirty cowards, and bad guys who suffer from moral decay would 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 never beg for mercy from the villain in the opposite situation, at least not for themselves. Very rarely, it is the act of a noble wrongdoer who is consistent about offering his foes mercy, and expects the favor to be returned.

Depending on where the hero is on the Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism, they might call the villain out on how many people they have 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 dispose of him.

If the hero does grant them mercy, they may perform a Heel-Face Turn out of gratitude. However, it is quite very common for the villain to attempt to attack the hero one last time, usually while their back is turned. This will rarely work.

Examples

Anime

  • Iron-Masked Marauder: When surrounded by angry forest Pokémon as they confront him for all the heinous crimes he has committed, the Marauder begs for mercy, but his pleas are ignored, and they tie him up using String Shot.
  • Frieza: After being sliced in half by his own attack, Goku was about to leave Frieza to die until Frieza started begging Goku to save his life.

Animated Films

  • Scar: Begs for mercy when he was cornered by Simba by pulling the family card and blaming the hyenas for his own actions, but Simba does not buy it. When Simba decides to spare him, Scar goes to leave, only to throw embers into his nephew's eyes and attack him. Scar later begs mercy from the hyenas only for them to maul him to death.
  • Gaston: When the Beast holds him by throat and dangles him off of the roof of the castle, threatening to drop him to his death, Gaston pathetically begs the Beast not to hurt him. The Beast gives in and spares Gaston, ordering him to leave the castle for good. However, when Gaston sees the Beast going to reunite with Belle, he sneaks up behind him and stabs him in the back, only to lose his footing and fall to his demise.
    • In the 2017 remake, like the original animated film, the Beast has Gaston at his mercy and Gaston begs for mercy. The Beast gives in, telling Gaston that he (Beast) is not a monster and angrily orders Gaston to get leave. However, upon seeing the Beast reunite with Belle, Gaston shoots him in the back twice and karma catches up to him when the bridge he's standing on collapses, sending Gaston to his death.
  • Dag: Otis raises his fist to punch Dag, just as his father did, but instead he lowers his fist and glares at the evil coyote and demands him to NEVER return, before hitting him with a golf club and Dag soars out into the distance while howling in pain.
  • Shaw: Prepares to shoot Boog when Elliot leaps in front and the bullet hits him instead. This makes Boog enraged and he pins Shaw to the ground and roars fiercely in his face, before tying him up with his own gun. Elliot is then revealed to have survived--the bullet only shot off his remaining antler.
  • Claude Frollo: When Quasimodo stops Frollo from killing him with a dagger and angrily approaches him, Frollo begs for mercy, but Quasimodo refuses as he finally sees the man who raised him as an evil, sadistic monster.
  • Beauty Smith: When White Fang corners him at a shed, Beauty Smith begs for mercy and Maggie orders White Fang to not kill him before he and his henchmen are eventually arrested by Hank.
  • Ernesto de la Cruz: After his true nature and crimes have been exposed, Ernesto is approached and cornered by Pepita. He meekly begs for mercy, but Pepita roars in his face, carries him in her talons, and sends him flying towards a bell tower where he's crushed by a bell after smacking face-first into it.
  • Dr. Facilier: After Tiana destroys his talisman, Facilier is cornered by his "Friends on the Other Side" and begs for mercy, promising to pay them back. But the demons ignore his pleas and drag him to their realm where Facilier is killed.
  • Captain Hook: When Peter Pan traps Hook in a pirate flag and has him at knifepoint, Hook cowardly begs for mercy which Peter accepts by forcing Hook to exclaim he's a codfish and to leave Neverland and never return.

Live-Action Films

  • Koba: When hanging from the top of a skyscraper after dueling Caesar, Koba begs for mercy as he reminds Caesar of the "Ape Not Kill Ape" rule. However, Caesar coldly tells Koba that he's no ape and drops him to his death.
  • Ulysses Klaue: Begs for mercy when T'Challa/Black Panther apprehends him in the South Korean city of Busan and holds his claws at him.
  • Black Manta: Begs Aquaman to help his father who was trapped in some submarine equipment during their fight, but Aquaman refuses as they are ruthless pirates who murdered innocent sailors and tried to kill Aquaman.
  • Alistair Patton: When the black stallion defeats him, Jim Craig threatens him with his sword, but spares him and breaks the sword in half before leaving.
  • Green Goblin: As Spider-Man corners the Green Goblin, the Goblin can't take it anymore and unnmasks himself as Norman Osborn. He begs Peter for forgiveness and to free him from the Goblin persona and "be a son to me now". Peter sympathizes with Norman, but rejects his pleas. Unfortunately, the Green Goblin's hold is strong enough for Norman to attempt to skewer Spider-Man from behind with his glider. Spider-Man ducks and the glider impales Norman instead. With his final breath, Norman tells Peter not to tell Harry about his crimes and dies, leaving Peter in sorrow.
  • Nute Guneray: Nute Gunray is the remaining surviving Separatist leader after Darth Vader slaughters the entire Separatist council on Mustafar. When cornered by Vader, Gunray pleads for mercy, saying that the war is over and that Darth Sidious promised the Separatists peace. However, Vader ignores his pleas and kills Gunray, slashing him across the chest with his lightsaber.

Literature

  • Wormtail: Pathetically begs for mercy when he's confronted by Sirius and Remus; later begs for mercy from Harry, Ron, and Hermione after revealing he betrayed Harry's parents to Lord Voldemort.

Western Animation

  • Bill Cipher: Begs for mercy when he realizes he was tricked into entering Stan's mind and is about to be erased from existence. His only response is getting punched in the face, leading Bill to be destroyed for good.
  • Darth Maul: In Clone Wars episode, "The Lawless," Darth Maul begs for mercy when his former master Darth Sidious defeats him at the end of their duel on Mandalore.

Quotes

(Simba chases Scar up to the high point of Pride Rock. Scar runs up to the edge and sees the sheer drop. He sees he's trapped at Simba's mercy. Simba leaps out of the flames and slowly walks toward his traitorous uncle) (Simba: Murderer!) Simba, Simba, please! Mercy, I beg you! (Simba: You don't deserve to live!) But, Simba, I am, uh...family. It's the hyenas who are the real enemy! It was their fault! It was their idea! (Shenzi, Banzai and Ed are standing nearby. They overhear and back away snarling with fury at Scar's betrayal.) (Simba: Why should I believe you? Everything you ever told me was a lie.) What are you going to do? You wouldn't kill you own uncle? (Simba: No, Scar. I'm not like you.) Oh, Simba, thank you. You are truly noble. I'll make it up to you, I promise. How can I, ah, prove myself to you? Tell me; I mean, anything. (Simba: Run. Run away, Scar. And NEVER return.) (Scar slowly gets up to leave) Yes. Of course. As you wish... [looking down at some burning embers] ...YOUR MAJESTY! (Scar swipes the coals into Simba's face. With a cry of surprise and pain, Simba paws the coals away as Scar leaps and attacks. In slow motion, Simba and Scar deliver powerful blows at each other. Eventually, Scar swats Simba, sending him on his back. Then Scar leaps out of the flames ready to kill Simba. Simba flips Scar off over the edge and Scar tumbles to the bottom. He weakly gets to his feet and sees Shenzi, Banzai and Ed walk up, not looking happy at all.) Ah, my friends! (Shenzi: "Friends?" I thought he said we were the enemy.) (Banzai: Yeah, that's what I heard.) (Scar's eyes widen with horror.) (Both: Ed?) (Ed cackles deviously as more hungry hyenas surround Scar.) No! L-L-Let me explain! No, you don't understand! No, I didn't mean it! I-- No! No! Look, I'm sorry I called you... No! NO! (Camera pans up as the horde of hungry hyenas leap at Scar and maul him to death.)
~ Scar cornered at the mercy of Simba and after a climactic fight, is eventually thrown off the edge of Pride Rock, where Scar is now at the cruel mercy of his own hyena henchmen, who attack their traitorous boss and maul him to death.
(Goku: Well, you might of had this coming. But I've got to say though. I don't think I expected you to fall so hard. One way or another i'll still be able to make my way back home. Meanwhile, you can lie there and think about what you've done as you share the same fate as the planet you've destroyed.) Frieza: Please, help me? I, I beg of you. Don't, don't leave me to die like this. (King Kai: GOKU, DON'T WASTE ANYMORE TIME WITH HIM, YOU'VE GOT TO GET OUT OF THERE NOW!!!) Frieza: Help...Have...mercy...on me! You can't do this! YOU CAN'T DO THIS! (Goku: How many people asked you for mercy? Hundreds, thousands, what gives you the right to expect any, ESPECIALLY FROM ME!?) Frieza: Please! Please!! I beg you!
~ Frieza asking Goku for mercy.
(Quasimodo sobs over the seemingly dead Esmerelda as Frollo slowly enters the room and puts his hand on his shoulder) (Quasimodo: You killed her!) It was my duty, horrible as it was. I hope you can forgive me. There, there, Quasimodo. I know it hurts. But now, the time has come to end your suffering... (He raises a dagger above Quasi. Quasi sees Frollo's shadow holding the dagger above him!) ...forever. (Quasi gasps as he turns and grabs Frollo's wrists. He struggles with Frollo as the evil judge lowers the dagger inches to his face. Quasimodo grabs the dagger from Frollo's hand and flings the mad judge to the wall. Quasi pants heavily with the dagger in his hand as he corners Frollo, who cowers in absolute terror.) Now, now. L-Listen to me, Quasimodo. (Quasimodo: NO, YOU LISTEN! All my life, you've told me the world is a dark, cruel place! [tosses the dagger to the floor] But now I see that the only thing dark and cruel about it is people like YOU!) (Esmeralda: Quasimodo...) (Quasimodo: Esmeralda!) She lives! (Frollo pulls out a sword from his robe) (Quasimodo: NO!) (Quasi grabs Esmeralda and runs out onto the balcony with Frollo close behind.)
~ Frollo at the at the mercy of Quasimodo as the hunchback furiously corners him with his own dagger. He begs for his life, but Quasi nails him with a speech on how Frollo lying to him all his life about the world being dark and cruel.
(Everyone cheers as Celebi is revived and happily flies across the lake. Suddenly, the Iron-Masked Marauder emerges from the lake and grabs Celebi!) (Sam: It's the hunter!) Now I have everything I need to rule the world! (Ash Ketchum: Give Celebi back!) (Ash grabs the Marauder's legs as the evil hunter lifts off on a jetpack. They rise hundreds of meters high!) (Sam: Celebi!) (The Marauder repeatedly kicks Ash trying to shake him off.) Get off me, kid! (Ash Ketchum: Argh! Give it back! Pikachu! Use your Thunderbolt!) (Pikachu: Pika! [climbs up to the Marauder's jetpack]) No, wait! (Pikachu: Pika-CHUUUUUUU!) (Pikcahu electrocutes the jetpack, shocking the Marauder with a huge wave of sparks. The extremely high voltage causes the jetpack to explode, sending all three plummeting several meters towards the forest floor.) (Ash Ketchum: Pikachu!) (They embrace each other and see the huge fall below them and close their eyes. Suddenly, they begin to float. Ash and Pikachu open their eyes to see Celebi used his safeguard to save them.) (Ash Ketchum: Celebi.) (Misty and Brock: Ash!) (Ash Ketchum: [floating with Celebi] Hey!) (Meanwhile, the Marauder continues his long plummet. He lands on a tree branch that snaps, then tumbles down a hill and off a miniature cliff, and finally thuds to the ground. As he gets up, his mask falls off and sees Towa, Diana and Mr. White confront him, looking very pissed.) (Towa: You tried to destroy our forest, mister! And we don't take kindly to that kinda behavior.) (The Marauder finds himself cornered the enraged Pokemon of the forest. He reaches for his Dark Balls.) Scizor! Sneasel! (His vest his empty. The Marauder trembles in terror.) This is all a mistake! A big misunderstanding! (Caterpie, Weedle and Spinarak shoot silk at the Marauder, tying him up.) (Towa: I think the Pokemon understand perfectly! [laughs])
~ Iron-Masked Marauder surrounded by enraged forest Pokemon for his evil actions, and then tied up by the Pokemon's String Shot.
OK, you win. No more eatin' brains for us. We just want to make music video with you now. Sincerely, The Zombies
~ The Zombies surrendered after Dr. Zomboss was defeated and gave the players the credit music video.
(Héctor: Ernesto, stop! [A gold shimmer rushes through Héctor, and he falls to the ground] Leave the boy alone!) I've worked too hard, Héctor! Too hard to let him destroy everything! (Miguel's Tia Rosita points a TV camera at Ernesto. Rosita looks at Tia Victoria, who presses a button on a nearby control board) (Héctor: He's a living child, Ernesto!) (Ernesto furiously points to Miguel.) HE'S A THREAT! [In the stadium, Ernesto holding Miguel captive is cast onto the screens. The crowd watch the broadcast, speechless.] You think I'd let him go back to the Land of the Living with your photo? To keep your memory alive? No! (Miguel Rivera: You're a coward!) I am Ernesto de la Cruz, the greatest musician of all time! (Miguel Rivera: Héctor's the REAL musician! You're just the guy who MURDERED him and stole his songs!) (Back in the stadium, the crowd gasps in shock when they hear this.) (Male audience member: 'Murdered?') (Ernesto grabs Miguel by the collar) I'm the one whose willing to do what it takes to seize my moment! Whatever it takes! (Ernesto remorselessly throws Miguel off the edge of the balcony. The deceased Riveras run towards the edge) (Héctor: NO!) (Back in the stadium, the crowd gasps and screams with horror.) (Imelda: No!) (Ernesto begins to walk to the stage.) Apologies, old friend, but the show must go on. (Miguel continues to plummet to the ground. Dante flies down clamps his teeth down on Miguel's shirt, but it's no use. The wind blows Héctor's photo out of Miguel's hands; he falls toward the ground, but Pepita swoops down and saves him! The photo falls into the water. Ernesto slicks back his hair and walks to the stage in triumph.) Ha-HA! [Instead of cheering, the crowd begins booing him, much to Ernesto's shock.] Please, mi familia! (Man: MURDERER!) (Woman: GET OFF THE STAGE!) Orchestra! A one, a two a one--(The angry conductor snaps his baton in two without a word.) ♪Remember me, though I have to say--♪ [a tomato is thrown at his jacket] Hey! (The crowd pelts Ernesto with more food. As they do, an audience member points to the view screen.) (Audience member: Look!) (Pepita rises above the ledge with Miguel on her back. Miguel slides off her wing and runs to his family. Ernesto stares at the screen in shock, realizing his horrible crimes have been exposed. Pepita walks through the curtains and onto the stage and snarls at Ernesto, her eyes burning with anger, looming over him like a fire-breathing dragon. Ernesto chuckles nervously as Pepita, growling, advances on him.) Nice kitty. [Pepita roars fiercely in Ernesto's face, then tosses him into the air, and snatches him up in her talons! Ernesto screams in terror.] Put me down! No, please! I beg of you, stop! Stop! NO! [Pepita carries the wicked musician across the area. She tosses Ernesto up into the air and swats him out of the arena with her tail, sending him flying towards an enormous bell tower!] Aaaah! NO! NOOO! AAAAAAAAAH!) (CLANG! Ernesto slams face-first into the bell and tumbles to the floor. He looks up and gives out a gasp. With a mighty crash, the bell falls down on Ernesto, crushing him and echoing his previous death. The crowd goes wild!) (Audience Member 2: What did I miss?)
~ Ernesto de la Cruz cornered by Pepita after his horrible crimes are exposed to the entire Land of the Dead. Pepita then grabs Ernesto and tosses the vile musician out of the stadium and straight into a church bell, which falls on top of him.
(Tiana: My daddy never got what he wanted... but he had what he needed! He had love! He never lost sight of what was really important!) Easy with that thing! Careful! (Tiana: AND NEITHER WILL I!) (She throws the talisman to the ground, but Facilier's shadow catches it and hands it to him. Facilier cackles evilly, removes the restaurant illusion and turns Tiana back into a frog.) Y'all should've taken my deal! (Facilier pins Tiana to the ground with his cane) Now you're gonna spend the rest of your life bein' a slimy, little frog! (Tiana: I've got news for you, Shadow Man. It's not slime, it's mucus! (She grabs the talisman with her tongue, then smashes it.) No! NO! [picks up the remains and gasps in horror as purple lights flicker around him. Tiana hides) How am I ever gonna pay back my debt?! [Voodoo masks break out of some gravestones] Friends! (Voodoo Masks: ♪Are you ready?!♪) No! I'm not ready at all! In fact, I got lots more plans! (Voodoo Masks: ♪Are you ready!♪) This is just a minor setback in a major operation. [Voodoo dolls burst out of the ground, carrying drumsticks. Facilier shrieks] As soon as I whip up another spell, we'll be back in business! I still got that froggy prince locked away! I just need a little more time. (The tombstone he was backing against transforms into a huge, demonic mask. Facilier shrieks in terror) No, no, please, no! (a demon grabs his shadow and starts to pull the panicking Faciler toward the mask's mouth.] Just a little more time! (The demons chant and bang on drums) (Voodoo Dolls: ♪Bum! Bum! Bum!) I promise I'll pay y'all back! I PROMISE! AAAAAAAH! (Facilier screams in terror as he is pulled into the mask's mouth along with the other demons. The mask slams its mouth shut. Tiana shields her eyes then looks again. The smoke clears revealing the tombstone with Facilier's screaming face and name engraved on it.)
~ Dr. Facilier begging for mercy from his "Friends on the Other Side" after Tiana smashes his talisman. The voodoo demons ignore his pleas and grab Faciler and literally drag him to the jaws of Hell.
The war is over! Lord Sidious promised us peace! We only want-AAAAAAAAAAAUGH!!!
~ Nute Guneray begging for mercy before he is slaughtered by Darth Vader.

Gallery

NOTE: The limit is for 20 pictures only

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.