Defiant to the End

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

Geoffrey: You chivalric fool! As if it matters how you fall!
Richard: When the fall is all there is, it matters.

The Lion in Winter

Someone has been captured and incapacitated. What do they do, cooperate with their captor or beg to be spared?

Hell, no.

They make it abundantly clear that they have absolutely no respect for their captor. They'd never Kneel Before Zod in a million years, and they're not afraid in the slightest to say so. Sure, Baron Bloodlust could kill them where they stand if he decided to, but you wouldn't know that from the insults. This is done when a defeated character laughs or snarks at the one who beat them, often when they're literally in no position to, such as broken in pain on the floor or behind bars. This could even be for something that has absolutely nothing to do with them. They just can't let the other character get a complete victory.

This can be an important part of the end for the Doomed Moral Victor: if you can't die fighting, you can at least die verbally sparring. Or, failing that, die insulting the villain's mother. They may be down, and they may be out, but they'll still lose with dignity.

By taking that of the person who beat them.

Some can pull this off without dying, with their taunts serving to throw the captor off-balance. Either this angers them into making a mistake that will enable escape, or to distract them to give the Big Damn Heroes time to do their thing.

Note that this isn't exclusive to heroes, as Evil Is Petty, and can't resist doing the same. Nor is this a Death trope. It's the insult that's the most important part.

Compare Hannibal Lecture, I Shall Taunt You, Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu?, You Cannot Kill an Idea. A Last Stand is the military version of this trope, where the heroes and maybe a friendly army will fight against the enemy in a battle they know they can't win. Villainous Valor is a similar trope, but with the villain being defiant to the end. The polar opposite of Ain't Too Proud to Beg. Contrast with Screw Your Ultimatum, where the defiance comes before the fight and where the outcome is still in doubt.

As a Death Trope, Spoilers ahead may be unmarked. Beware.

Examples of Defiant to the End include:

Anime and Manga

  • In Saiyuki, Sanzou is caught by a scorpion lady, and is paralyzed by some sort of spell. Just barely able to talk, he manages to insult the woman enough that she starts beating him up... only for him to turn it around when it turns out the beating dispelled the magic and freed him.
  • Played straight and then Subverted in Code Geass when Kallen is in a Britannian prison, when the door to her cell is opened she goes into a "Do your worst" speech, only to learn that the person she is facing is actually an old friend of hers.
  • Date Masamune does this in the Sengoku Basara anime when Nobunaga is about to poke out his remaining eye.
  • Anti-Villain example: Greed in Fullmetal Alchemist is given the choice to either rejoin "Father" or be boiled alive in oil. Badass to the end, he opts for the latter.
    • Greed isn't much more reverent in the 2003 anime version: When Dante tries to re-seal him he instead opts to commit Suicide by Cop by forcing Ed to kill him rather than go back into stasis (giving Ed the necessary info on how to fight Homonculi in the process).
  • In Bleach, Ichigo Kurosaki continues to fight a hopeless battle against his nemesis Ulquiorra, refusing to ever put down his sword. Ulquiorra kills Ichigo to prove his point on humans; Ichigo gets better...ish.
  • Nia in the last episode of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann responds to the Anti-Spiral's Hannibal Lecture with a taunt of her own: "No matter how deeply you probe my body, you will never understand! He will come. Definitely..."
  • Garma and Dozle Zabi in Mobile Suit Gundam. Garma attempts to crash his ship into the White Base while shouting "All glory to the nation of Zeon"; Dozle actually climbs out of the ruined Big Zam and fires a machinegun at Amuro and the Gundam until the Big Zam explodes, killing him.
  • Naruto: In this second panel, Kakuzu just has to lampshade Darui's Captain Obvious statement.
  • Higurashi no Naku Koro ni: Rika Furude, a normally perky little girl has been tazered and poisoned (with a syringe she'd brought herself, no less) by the local Ax Crazy Yandere, Shion Sonozaki. Then, Shion proceeds to add insult to injury by listing the various ways she intends to torture Rika - when Rika suddenly grabs a huge knife, and states (in perfect adult Japanese) that she will not be staying for said torture. Shion sneers and dares her to act, but instead of attempting an escape, Rika steadies the knife against the wall, and headbutts it sideways several times while Shion laughs hysterically.
    • Rena also faces her certain demise this way later in the series, going as far as taunting her killer's plans, beliefs and aspiration to become a god - said killer puts a bullet in her very fast, suggesting that she really struck a nerve.

Comic Books

  • In the Frank Miller comic The Dark Knight Strikes Again, Batman is captured by Lex Luthor and then proceeds to issue several insults to Luthor even though he's totally helpless. Of course, this is part of the goddamn Batman's plan.
  • A villainous example with Lex Luthor: having been kidnapped by The Joker, he's being tortured for the location of some of the Joker's meaner gadgets. Luthor's response? Tease the Joker about his Foe Yay with Bats.
    • This trope is Luthor in a nutshell. Facing Death of the Endless (DC's cheery, sweet Grim Reaper), he exhausts every trick up his sleeve (bargaining, sympathy, threats). Finally, he simply tells her to fuck off because he won't accept death no matter what. Fortunately for him, he's only having a near-death experience, and she knows that.
  • From Knightfall:

Bane: (about to break the Bat) Beg for mercy! SCREAM MY NAME!!!
Batman: G-go... to hell...

  • Blue Beetle Ted Kord's last words? "Rot in hell, Max." Max was the guy who shot him.
  • In Frank Miller's Sin City when Marv is being executed via the Chair. After surviving the first jolt, he defiantly says to his executioners, "Is that the best you can do, you pansies?" The switch is thrown again and he is soon pronounced dead.
  • An astonishing case of Defiant Past The End, in the Saint of Killers miniseries companion to Preacher. The titular Saint is so full of hatred that when his soul arrives in Hell, Hell freezes solid. Satan himself is unable to drive the hate from him, and only the Angel of Death agreeing to give the Saint his power in exchange for leaving Hell allows things to thaw.
  • In Empowered when Ninjette is captured and about to have her arms and legs cut off: "Fuck You." Of course, Emp and Thugboy pull off a Big Damn Heroes moment at the last second.
  • In Secret Invasion, John the Skrull's comrades acknowledge that this was the only proper way for him to go.

Captain Britain: Oh, no, John. How?
Pete Wisdom: Mocking them.
Captain Britain: Good.

  • One of the contests between Scrooge McDuck and archrival Flintheart Glomgold ended with Flintheart losing the bet between them. But the bet was that if Flintheart lost he would have to eat Scrooge's hat, and at that point Scrooge's hat had been shrunk to toy size- "one small mouthful" as Flintheart smirks.
  • In a Star Wars short comic, Jobin Mothma, son of the famous Rebel Alliance leader Mon Mothma, is stationed on Hoth when the Imperials hit them. After doing his duty to the best of his ability, he falls back to the hangars with his few surviving men, only to run straight into Vader as the Falcon blasts away. While running to another hangar, Jobin is shot in the back. He orders his men to take off without him and proceeds to fire his blaster empty at Vader.

Vader: Tell me where the rendezvous is, and I may perhaps be merciful.
Jobin: Save your mercy for someone else. *spits blood in his face*

  • In Usagi Yojimbo, Usagi had a situation where he was fighting a villain who had stolen his swords, a despicable insult to a samurai, and found himself disarmed and wounded against the villain. The villain suggests he may be merciful if Usagi got on his knees and begged. To that, Usagi stood upright in perfect defiant dignity saying, "Whatever fate I have, I will face it on my feet." Fortunately, he soon got the advantage to win the day.
  • Darkblade, when Malus finally catches up a greater daemon of Tzeentch, takes his soul back by force, and then finds out that an enemy he made on the way there caught up with him, and now even the daemon considers it an utterly hopeless situation.

Tz'Arkan: You know, Malus, what I always really liked about you... you're too stubborn and stupid to know when you've lost.


Princess Leia: Governor Tarkin, I should have expected to find you holding Vader's leash. I recognized your foul stench when I was brought on board.
Grand Moff Tarkin: Charming to the last. You don't know how hard I found it, signing the order to terminate your life.
Princess Leia: I'm surprised that you had the courage to take the responsibility yourself.

C-3PO: But if any of you wish to beg for mercy, the great Jabba the Hutt will now listen to your pleas.
Han Solo: Threepio! You tell that slimy piece of worm-ridden filth, he'll get no such pleasure from us!

  • The Alamo (the most recent one with Billy Bob Thornton): Davy Crockett is about to be bayonetted to death by the Mexicans. His words to Santa Anna: "I'm warning you- I'm a screamer."
    • Even better: With just himself and two other men left, captured and about to be killed by the Mexican army, Davy is asked if he has anything to say. He tell them that if the Mexicans surrender, he'll go easy on them. And then the order to kill him is given, see above.
  • From Transformers: The Movie movie:

"Silence, or you will be held in contempt for this court!"
"I have nothing BUT contempt for this court!"

Macleane: I am guilty of one thing for which I am heartily sorry. Namely cheating my friend and fellow highwayman. A man who has more nobility of soul in his little finger, than any of you bloated bastards have in your entire bodies.

  • The Love Interest in Payback is a hooker who attracts the attention of the guy who betrayed Anti-Hero Porter. He's a vicious monster who's only real value to his bosses is that he's a sadist. He's beating the crap out of her and imminent rape is implied. She keeps taunting him about the fact that he's hitting her only proves that he's powerless. And then there's Porter himself. Late in the movie, The Syndicate thugs catch him and begin torturing him with a hammer, taking out his toes one by one. What does Porter say after they smash his first toe and start lining up a second?

Porter: This little piggy stayed home.
Hammer: [BAM!]
Big Bad: Starting to look like roast beef.

Prince Richard: [In a dungeon, hearing his captor approach] He's here. He'll get no satisfaction out of me. He isn't going to see me beg.
Prince Geoffrey: My you chivalric fool... as if the way one fell down mattered.
Prince Richard: When the fall is all there is, it matters.

Jazz: You wanna piece of me? You want a piece?!
Megatron: No! I want TWO!

    • Sam has one too, more afraid and less badass but still impressive.

Megatron: Give me the All Spark, and you may live to be my pet.
Sam: (While clinging to a statue at the edge of a building) I'm never giving you this All Spark.
Megatron: Oh, so unwise.

  • In 9, this is how 8 goes. While being presented to the Fabrication machine, he manages to send it a Death Glare and growl just before he gets soul-sucked.
  • In A Bridge Too Far (Which was based on an actual WWII campaign), the Germans point out to the cut off and outnumbered Allied troops that many lives could be saved by a surrender. The Allied response? "I'm sorry, but we don't have enough room to take all of you prisoner!"
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End.

Davey Jones: James Norrington, do you fear death?
James Norrington: (stabs him, and then dies)
Davey Jones: I'll take that as a no.

  • Toward the end of Raising Arizona, the bounty hunter from Hell catches up with Hy. It's a serious mismatch as Hy gets the stuffings beaten out of him - when the bounty hunter pulls him up, barely conscious, by the lapels, he defiantly spits a tooth out into the guy's face.
  • In What Becomes of the Broken Hearted, after being caught by the murderous biker leader.

Apeman: Look at me.
Tania: I wouldn't want your face to be the last thing I see.

  • In Bent, Horst gets killed by the guards. But he manages to scratch their face, horrifying them.
  • In The Avengers, this seems to be the set-up for the old German man who refuses to bow before Loki in Stuttgart. However, Captain America swoops in to save the old man before Loki can kill him.


  • Harry Potter in regards to Voldemort.
    • Neville Longbottom towards Voldemort as well.
  • Robert A. Heinlein's Have Space Suit—Will Travel. Several human beings are before an intergalactic court that will decide whether the human race will be destroyed. Two of them (a Roman centurion and and a modern-day teenager) get angry and chew out the aliens for their high-handedness (the Roman uses language that's not fit for polite company).
    • Subverted in that the teenager finally asks, as a favor, to be returned home and share his species' fate if the decision goes against humanity. The human race is given a reprieve.
  • In Michael Palmer's book The Fifth Vial, Natalie does this to the Big Bad for two whole chapters before he's finally distracted enough for her to slit his throat with a scalpel.
  • Happens on a regular basis in Romance of the Three Kingdoms with several Generals telling those who've defeated them to sit on it and swivel.
  • This actually comes up quite often in the Star Wars Expanded Universe; characters often get killed stupidly, but they're always defiant.
    • In the novel Darksaber, General Crix Madine was captured and killed on the bridge of the new Darksaber superweapon. Which turned out to be nonfunctional, making the death of the first (but by no means the last) character with a speaking role in the movies entirely pointless.

Durga: "Any last words?
Madine: "Not to you."

    • A variant in the X Wing Series novel Iron Fist; Heterosexual Life Partners Ton Phanan and Garick "Face" Loran were both taking part in an elaborate plan that had them pretending to be pirates to fool Zsinj; when Phanan got shot down over a Zsinj-controlled world, Face followed him down. Phanan was mortally wounded, but if they surrendered to Zsinj and allowed themselves to be captured, he would get medical treatment. Face proposed this plan and was willing to do it, but Phanan said no, that would blow the deception, and the Wraiths would have to come up with a new one and give Zsinj more time to keep doing what he was doing.
    • In the Fate of the Jedi series, Lawful Stupid Scrappy Kenth Hamner meets his end trying to stop the Jedi Council from launching their StealthXes. As result, he ends up falling off a catwalk and is saved by his opponent, Saba Sebatayne. Instead of accepting surrender, Hamner continues to try and stop the launch, knowing full well that Saba can't support him and protect the StealthXes at the same time. Saba chooses the latter option.
  • Harry Dresden in The Dresden Files has one standard issue response to his villainous captors: lots of snark.
    • At one point he starts mouthing off to a bigger bad guy than usual, and everyone is horrified. He points out that if he didn't, the Physical God might feel left out.
    • This type of behavior was crucial when dealing with the Skin Walker, who gains power from fear.
    • Lampshaded in one of the short stories, when Harry doesn't say anything to the vampire holding him captive. He then spits a load of garlic into her face and says that she should know he's got something up his sleeve if he's not talking.
  • The Aiel, from Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time series, personify this attitude. They have a Badass Creed that says, "'Till shade is gone, 'till water is gone (water is very important to them), into the Shadow with teeth bared, screaming defiance with the last breath, to spit in Sightblinder's eye on the last Day."
  • Roshaun in Wizards at War, after their cover's blown.
  • In the second book of David Weber's Safehold series, By Schism Rent Asunder, Erayk Dynnys, an archbishop, is used as a scapegoat by the Church of God Awaiting for the rebellion of Charis. Though a low-level Sinister Minister throughout the first book, when faced with execution he rediscovered God and, despite being offered a painless death by the Inquisition if he supported their version of events, he instead offered a Facing the Bullet Final Speech denouncing the Church's corruption and was horribly killed for doing so.
    • Soldier-turned-devout-priest Hauwerd Wylsynn in the fourth book, A Mighty Fortress doesn't give the Inquisition a chance to haul information out of him through torture, so he instead chooses to die. He takes at least four armed and armored soldiers with him.
    • The fifth book, How Firm a Foundation shows Charisian captain Gwylym Manthyr about to face the same punishment the archbishop above did. Grand Inquisitor Clyntahn asked if he wanted to deny any of the claims of blasphemy he was charged with, after having had his tongue cut out so he could do no such thing. Manthyr's response: He spit in Clyntahn's face.
  • In I, Lucifer despite being offered a chance at redemption and relief from his constant pain as a mortal, Lucifer instead opts to lead a second assault on paradise before likely facing eternity in the infinite void alone.
  • Lucifer in the Left Behind books. He doesn't give Jesus Christ the satisfaction of calling Him Lord until Kingdom Come when his entire Other Light army has been eradicated in a heartbeat.
  • Stonefur in Warrior Cats. After being held prisoner, Tigerstar him chance to prove his loyalty, by ordering him to kill two half-clan cats. Stonefur completely ignores him, and asks his former leader for orders, since he will not take them from any other cat. When she asks him to follow Tigerstar's order, he still refuses to kill them, and vows to protect them instead. After that, Tigerstar sends his henchman to execute Stonefur, who despite being imprisoned, starved and barely able to stand, manages to defend himself. Tigerstar then sends another henchman, to pin Stonefur down and slice his throat.
  • In one Nightside book, Merlin is confronted by the current Big Bad, Lilith, who tells him that he can live if he bows down and submits. His response:

"There is only one man I have ever bowed to. And you are not fit to polish his armor."

  • Wendy in Peter Pan, upon being captured by Hook.

"So, my beauty," said Hook, as if he spoke in syrup, "you are to see your children walk the plank."
Fine gentlemen though he was, the intensity of his communings had soiled his ruff, and suddenly he knew that she was gazing at it. With a hasty gesture he tried to hide it, but he was too late.
"Are they to die?" asked Wendy, with a look of such frightful contempt that he nearly fainted.

  • In A Town Like Alice there is a weird example in which a character makes bigotry sound magnificent. When the Japanese march through Malaya an old lady in charge of a rubber plantation and her entourage are taken captive by the IJA which doesn't know what the heck to do with them. When they object to sleeping arrangements the officer in charge is perplexed, queen-sized beds not being high on supply priorities. He says that Japanese women are fine with sleeping on the floor. Whereupon the English woman proudly says that Englishwomen do not sleep on the floor like animals-acting for all the world as if she was still lording it over impoverished native workers. Of course it sounds better then because she is the conquered and not still the conqueror.
    • On the other hand, the Japanese officer would have had far stronger reactions at a fit man giving that insult, and she was kind of taking advantage of the fact of being an old woman. On the "other-other" hand not all Japanese officers of the time cared whether an opponent was helpless or not and they were darned lucky to meet one who was an old-fashioned officer and gentleman.

Live-Action TV

Ba'al: You dare mock me?!
O'Neill: Ba'al, come on! You should know. Of course I dare mock you.

    • Teal'c too: if a Goa'uld really has him on the ropes he might get a snarled "I Die Free" out of him, but he'll probably just stick to pointing out that the "god" in question is a slimy parasite.

Jonas: Is it really necessary to further antagonize him? (They are trapped in a pyramid with dozens of Jaffa twenty feet away and a gigantic alien mothership in orbit)
O'Neill: (matter-of-factly) Yes.

  • Firefly Simon in "Objects in Space". Mal in "War Stories".
    • Not to mention Simon in "Safe". The only thing that saved him was Mal and Zoey showing up to become Big Damn Trope Namers.
  • On Lost, Charlie faces capture this way, knowing that he is about to die anyway and that he will have initiated the rescue of his friends.
  • Danny gets a truly incredible one of these in Spooks.
  • The Sarah Connor Chronicles: "I'll never help you get to John Connor."
  • In Doctor Who:
    • Captain Jack's last words to the Daleks' "EX-TER-MIN-ATE"? "I kinda figured that."
    • The Doctor himself gets one in "The End of Time, Part 2", mocking the Master after just having praised him as 'brilliant'.

The Doctor: Actually the most amazing thing about you is that after all this time, you're still bone dead stupid.

  • In the second season finale of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel is brutally torturing Giles for information on how to perform a ritual to destroy the world. When Giles seems just about ready to break, he comes out with this: "You must perform the ritual... while wearing a tutu. Pillock."
  • On The X-Files, Mulder does this while on trial for murder. When a panel of judges finds him guilty of a murder he could not have committed, he has this to say:

Mulder: Yes. I'd like to congratulate you, on succeeding where so many before you have failed. A bullet between the eyes would have been preferable to this charade. But I've learned to pretend over the past nine years -- to pretend that my victories mattered only to realize that no one was keeping score. To realize that liars do not fear the truth if there are enough liars. That the devil is just one man with a plan, but evil, true evil, is a collaboration of men, which is what we have here today. If I am a guilty man, my crime is in daring to believe; that the truth will out and that no one lie can live forever. I believe it still. Much as you try to bury it, the truth is out there. Greater than your lies, the truth wants to be known. You will know it. It'll come to you, as it's come to me, faster than the speed of light. You may believe yourselves rid of your headache now, and maybe you are... but you've only done it by cutting off your own heads.

  • Blake's 7 ended with this. After Avon kills Blake over a perceived betrayal (we never really know whether Avon was right), Federation troops swoop in. One by one, the crew is gunned down. At the end, there's a dozen-odd troops, guns up surrounding Avon. He puts on his best Slasher Smile, straddles Blake's corpse, and raises his gun...
  • Dexter does this as a deliberate ploy when he's caught by the Skinner, using his understanding of serial killers to his advantage. It works.
  • In the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Yesterday's Enterprise", the Klingons, after causing major damage to the alternate-universe Enterprise, orders Picard to surrender or be boarded. Picard's response? Keep shooting.

Picard: That will be the day.

  • Castiel from Supernatural has been captured by the Devil in a ring of holy fire, and Lucifer offers him a job and points out that, having disobeyed Heaven, Cas will be #1 on the hit list if they manage to get rid of Luci. Clearly terrified, Cas just says, "I'll die first". Not as snarky as most examples, but quietly awesome all the same.
  • In 24 Day 5 Agent Aaron Pierce has been taken hostage by corrupt President Charles Logan after discovering Logan's hand in the terrorist attacks and conspiracy for the day. He's ruthlessly beaten down and personally left with the option of either being executed due to his knowledge or keeping the lid on Logan's involvement and being bought off. His response:

Pierce: There is nothing that you have said or done that is acceptable to me in the least. You're a traitor to this country and a disgrace to your office, and it's my duty to see that you're brought to justice for what you've done. Is there anything else, Charles?

Pro Wrestling

  • Shawn Michaels perfectly embodied this trope during the last match of his career at Wrestlemania XXVI. Down, out, and all but defeated, he clawed his way up at the feet of what's probably the most dominant force in WWE history (The Undertaker at WrestleMania, of course). Knowing he was going to lose, but (as is definitely his nature) remaining defiant, Michaels mimicked Undertaker's "Throat cut" gesture. Undertaker didn't respond... so Shawn slapped him across the face. You could see the exact moment that Undertaker went from slightly merciful to TOTALLY PISSED OFF. Cue Super Atomic Jumping Tombstone of Death.

Video Games

  • World of Warcraft. Some might consider Sir Zeliek one of these. Even though he's technically a villain, it's not his choice. He went down fighting and even though he was raised into undeath, he still refuses to give up the belief that righteousness will prevail. Tragically, this is what makes him such a valuable weapon to the very evil he fought so hard, since through him the Lich King can control the force of the Holy Light.
    • Basically every raid boss in the game uses this trope: the most powerful abilities are employed as the boss is getting low on health. However, magnificently subverted in the Lich King encounter, where Tirion shatters Frostmourne and the last 10% of the boss's health is the raid simply beating up the helpless boss.
  • Final Fantasy XII: Balthier's reaction to a sword to his throat?

Balthier: Well at least your sword is to the point.

  • Shirou from Fate/stay night. Practically every time an option like this shows up alongside an Ain't Too Proud to Beg alternative, taking the Defiant to the End option will advance the story and avoid a Bad End. Outside of Shirou, Rin is also a big-time adherent in this trope and continues to spit insults at people even as they've got her cornered. And then there's "Heaven's Feel", where this trope gets subverted quite a few times for both Shirou and Rin.
  • Kratos from the God of War series.

Kratos: A choice from the Gods is as useless as the Gods themselves.
Zeus: Even now as you draw your last breath, you continue to defy me!?

    • Extends to his cameo appearance in Mortal Kombat 9. He never grimaces or shows pain when being hit with X-Ray Attacks or Fatalities.
  • Eddie Pulaski, one of the antagonists from Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas is this after Carl causes him to crash and asks for any last words. Eddie's response? "Can I fuck your sister?"
  • Emile and player character Noble Six of Halo: Reach display this trope rather well. Emile takes it to Dying Moment of Awesome territory when a Covenant Elite impales him with its sword from behind. Without missing a beat, he spins around and stabs the Elite in the neck, taking it down with him. Six displays it early, when an Elite grabs him/her and pins him/her to a wall, Six punches him in the face. It comes to a head at the game's end, when Six stays behind on Reach to help Keyes escape with the Cortana fragment. He/she takes on the swarming Covenant with a vast array of weapons, ending with an assault rifle in one hand and a pistol in the other, and then his/her bare hands, still punching and kicking at them as they deliver the killing blow.
    • Sergeant Johnson in Halo 3. When he was captured by the Brutes, Truth tried to force him to activate the Halos, because only a human can do it. When he refused, the Brutes attempted to force him to do it by physical force. He just punched their chieftain at its face, and then insulted it. Even when Truth himself attempted to force him to light the Halos, he remained defiant, even insulted Truth himself at his face while he's manhandled by the Brutes from behind.
  • The Lone Wanderer invokes this beautifully in Fallout 3. When captured by the Enclave, the Wanderer gets interrogated by Colonel Autumn, and you can defy him in three ways: you can play dumb, you can tell him in no uncertain terms to go fuck himself, or you can tell him a lie. The latter two are extremely satisfying (either from the insult or from hearing Autumn's resultant tirade), considering it's his fault that your father dies. Fortunately, they survive.
  • Combined with Big Damn Heroes and Heroic Sacrifice by Zero in Mega Man X, because he's that cool: In the second Vile fight, Zero went ahead to fight Vile. When X follows, he finds that Zero lost and is locked in an electric cage. An Unwinnable fight ensues. When X gets hit with Vile's paralyzer again, Zero catches Vile monologuing and breaks out, latching on to Vile's Ride Armor. He purposely overloads himself to destroy the Ride Armor, but Vile survives. X is understandably pissed and breaks out of the paralyzer and refills his Hit Points, then proceeds to hand Vile his ass.
  • This is how Aelia meets her untimely end in Valkyrie Profile before you recruit her as an Einherjar.
  • In Persona 3 , Mitsuru Kirijo delivers this line to the Big Bad who is an Eldritch Abomination that is set on bringing The End of the World as We Know It,
    • The Ardat-Yakshi Rila is already half-indoctrinated and barely able to stop herself from attacking her own sister when first awakened. She regains control of herself and, while her sister is dragged away screaming, draws the attention of the approaching Banshees. As one stares into her eyes, Rila seems to be speaking to the Reapers controlling it as she detonates the bomb.
    • Jack, if you fail to evacuate the Grissom Academy in time in Mass Effect 3, will be captured by Cerberus, indoctrinated, and turned into a Phantom, essentially an empty shell of herself. In the endgame, you can find video logs of her final day, showing that she remained defiant in her usual vulgar way until the end.
  • In Dragon Age the Human Noble Warden's defiant response to Arl Howe mocking them for having killed their entire family and claiming their are nothing now that the Wardens are gone as well.

Human Noble: You lie, Howe. To yourself most of all. I am a Grey Warden!
Arl Howe: There it is, right there. That damned look in the eye that marked every Cousland success that held me back!

Web Comics

  • In It's Walky!, Mike used his last breath to hurl taunts and insults at the Martian who was killing him.
  • Thief to Black Mage in 8-Bit Theater: "My only regret is that I didn't hate you more."
  • Ardsley Wooster in Girl Genius. With a Call Back as a bonus: like Gil before (when he gone a bit crazy worrying for Agatha), Lucrezia called him "little man". That time he was intimidated, now it didn't work, even though Lucrezia was in "god mode" — he refused to submit and praised Albia right in her face. She zapped him, of course, it's not like he could do anything about this. Also, with extra drama: he was killed right before the eyes of Ms. Thorpe.

Web Original

  • When Tex makes her return after a two year absence in Red vs. Blue, she immediately starts a huge fight sequence in which she completely curbstomps the combined Red and Blue teams, including Sarge and Tucker, two characters that fans had speculated might potentially be able to match her in terms of combat skill (turns out, neither are even close). Tucker comes out as the most competent in the fight, though, and no matter how much he gets his ass kicked he just keeps making lewd comments to Tex instead of screaming or panicking like the others.
  • This [dead link] from

Western Animation

  • Stinkmeaner takes this trope up to eleven from The Boondocks(its played for laughs). After essentially getting himself into a over matched fight he curses his opponent repeatedly while getting beaten to death. Upon ariving in Hell he refuses to surcome to the torture everyone else is facing and trains up to the point where the point where even the Devil himself is amazed enough to send him back to earth.
  • In Superman: The Animated Series:

Darkseid: People of Earth - I am Darkseid, Lord of Apokolips. Here is your savior... cowed, and broken. I have crushed him as easily as I have crushed all who have dared to oppose me throughout the cosmos. I am power unlike any you have ever known: absolute, infinite, and unrelenting. You have no choice but to prepare for a long, dark future as my subjects... and my slaves.
Dan Turpin: In a pig's eye!

Ichthultu: Speak to me, child of Thanagar.
Hawkgirl: Nothing to say! I have a gesture for you, but my hands are tied.

  • The Question, when captured by Cadmus and subjected to drugs and Electric Torture, responds by raving about nonsensical information of no practical use to anyone. (Alternately, since this version of The Question is a wacky Conspiracy Theorist, he may really believe this is helpful information.)

Dr. Moon: Tell me what you know.
The Question: The plastic tips at the ends of shoelaces are called "aglets". Their true purpose is sinister!

  • In Batman: The Brave And The Bold, Slug captures Wildcat and Batman, and begins lowering them into a pit so they can be eaten by mutant snapping turtles. Wildcat starts insulting Slug, stinging his pride enough to make him pull Wildcat back out so they can fistfight.
  • Princess Sally in the third episode of Sonic Sat AM. When she was captured by Dr. Robotnik, he demanded her to tell where Knothole is located. Sally's response: "Sure I'll. When you get a life".
  • In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Splinter's master Hamato Yoshi was ambushed by the Shredder's men, unarmed, and outnumbered by more than ten to one, but he still wouldn't go down without a fight. And even though he did go down, he was willing to die before he told the Shredder anything, and his last words to the villain were to insult him, saying, "He who lives without honor will die without honor."
  • The Simpsons: Bart Simpson in the episode Bart The Murderer. After he had accidentally ended up in the Springfield mafia's turf, he was taken and interrogated by them, believing that he was a spy. He answered their questions with "eat my shorts" and "don't have a cow". In this case, Bart's insults and tough guy act actually impresses the mafia, convincing themto give him a job as a bartender.
  • Teen Titans has Cyborg, dismembered and completely at the mercy of Brother Blood, giving Brother Blood a Curse Cut Short.
  • Inverted Trope in the 2011 reboot of ThunderCats, when one of a pair of lizards, stuck in the stocks, snaps at his groveling companion not to expect mercy from their captors, and angrily gives heroic Catfolk Prince Lion-O an earful about his motives for stealing the Cats' crops that metastasizes into a Screw You, Elves speech, despite the very real threat of death for confronting the prince of the race who enslaved him. Lion-O's response is to defend the prisoners against an Angry Mob of Catfolk and successfully plead with his father for their release.
  • In this Powerpuff Girls episode, some defeated villains join in laughing at the girls when they are embarrassed publicly by the Professor.

Real Life

  • A surprising amount of early (1st-3rd Century) Christian martyrs in Rome were like this. The same thing applied to a lot of Protestants killed in the Inquisition (and vice-versa, a lot of Roman Catholics killed in Protestant countries), often continuing to preach even while they were being burned at the stake.
    • Likewise, a good number of the women burned in witch trials remained this way, too.
      • In fact, martyrs in general. Grandfather 'em all, regardless of religion.
  • During the Salem Witch Trials, suspected witches could not be tried until they gave a plea of innocent or guilty; if they refused to plead, the townsfolk would tie them up and slowly pile more and more heavy boulders upon them until they pled. If they plead guilty, they were put to death and their property was stripped from their descendants. If they plead innocent, they'd be sent to trial, found guilty, put to death, and their property stripped from their descendants. Giles Corey opted to Take a Third Option and would only call out "More weight!" whenever the townsfolk demanded a plea.
    • Actually it seemed a few of the people put on trial managed to be simply given jail time and eventually freed by simply playing along and giving the court a story they wanted to hear. It's most of the people who put up a fight that went down.
      • And what they wanted to hear were names of other people involved in witchcraft. Corey thought it better to die than commit perjury, and since he'd die anyway, decided to do it the way that let his sons inherit his property.
  • Russian partisan girl Zoya Kocmodemianskaya, caught by Nazis and cruelly tortured before execution, said from under the gallows:
  • Che Guevara.

I know you have come to kill. Kill me if you wish, coward, but know that you can only kill a man.

  • The French Foreign Legion's reputation was first established at the Battle of Camaron, when 65 men fought a force of two thousand Mexicans. When they eventually ran out of ammunition, the last five men mounted a bayonet charge. Beaten to the ground, the two survivors were offered one last chance to surrender. Their response? They demanded the right to keep their weapons and escort their commanding officer's body home. The Mexican commander agreed to their terms. It seemed churlish to refuse.
  • Michel Ney, one of Napoleon's generals said this before he was exectued by firing squad:

Soldiers, when I give the command to fire, fire straight at my heart. Wait for the order. It will be my last to you. I protest against my condemnation. I have fought a hundred battles for France, and not one against her... Soldiers! Fire!

  • During the Spanish Civil War, the Republicans, (no, not those republicans), captured the son of José Moscardó e Ituarte, the Nationalist commandant during the Siege of Alcázar. The Republican forces called Moscardó on the telephone, and demanded he surrender or they would kill his son. Moscardó asked to speak to his son, who he told; "Commend your soul to God and die like a patriot, shouting 'Long live Christ King' and 'Long live Spain.'" His son's reply? "That, I can do."
    • Unsurprisingly, this is something of an Iberian tradition. At one point in medieval Castile, a besieged nobleman's son was taken prisoner, with the threat to surrender or else his son died. Dad's response? To throw down a knife from the battlements for them to kill his son with. Bear in mind; this was his only son. It's quite likely that Moscardo had this story at least partly in mind.
  • When the British were surrounded at Arnhem, the Germans "offered to discuss surrender terms." The British commander's reply: "I'm afraid we don't have the numbers to take all of your lot prisoner, old boy. Was there anything else?"
  • World War II has its share of these stories:
    • When Paris was fully occupied during WWII, the French destroyed the elevator to the Eiffel Tower, for the sole purpose of making life difficult for the Nazis if they decided to raise their flag on the tower. Without an elevator, the Nazis would have to climb hundreds of stairs.
    • Hannie Schaft, aka The Girl With the Red Hair. A member of a Dutch resistance movement who orchestrated many assassinations and sabotage efforts against the Germans, she was eventually caught and shot. As the story goes, two soldiers were tasked in doing so, but the first only wounded her, despite shooting at close range. Supposedly, she told him, "I shoot better than you," before she was killed by his partner.
  • Notorious Serial Killer John Wayne Gacy's final words - before his execution by lethal injection - were "Kiss my ass".
  • Another serial killer who likely counts is Albert Fish, whose ghastly crimes may have been even worse than Gacy's. (For those who must know the details, read the link. If you want an "abridged version", the movie The Gray Man is based on the case.) Before he was executed by electric chair, he penned a statement several pages long that he instructed his lawyer to read to the press; the lawyer refused to do so, stating "It was the most filthy string of obscenities that I have ever read" and later claiming to have destroyed it.
  • Lawrence Russell Brewer was an unrepentant bigot, a member of both the Ku Klux Klan and Confederate Knights of America, who was convicted along with two accompices in 1998 of brutally torturing James Bryd Jr to death, dragging him behind a pickup truck before dismembering and decapitating him and then dumping the remains in front of a black church, an act that prompted Texas and the Federal Government to pass special hate crime laws. Sentenced to die by lethal injection, Brewer thought up a rather unique way to give the finger to the Texas Board of Corrections. For his last meal he ordered the following: two chicken fried steaks smothered with gravy with sliced onions, a triple cheeseburger with all the fixings, a cheese omelet with ground beef, tomatoes, onions, bell peppers, and jalapenos, a large bowl of fried okra with ketchup, a pound of barbecued ribs with half a loaf of white bread, three fajitas, a meat-lovers pizza, three bottles of root beer, a pint of vanilla ice cream, and a slab of peanut butter fudge with crushed peanuts. They fulfilled the request to the letter, but he did not eat any of it. This angered Texas officials so much that they ended their 87 year tradition of providing requested last meals to prisoners.