The Hedonist

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Life is short; When you're done, you're done.

We're on this earth to have some fun.

This character is strongly motivated by a desire to be happy and experience various kinds of pleasure. Unlike an Ethical Hedonist, however, the character isn't mature enough to sufficiently consider even his own long-term needs, much less the (short-term or long-term) needs of others. Personal instant gratification is the goal here. Sometimes Flanderized so that the pursuit of pleasure becomes the character’s only defining trait, doing whatever feels good without any thought of the consequences. Such a childish mentality is often justified by the character actually being a child. If the character is adult, he might be a sex maniac… lovable or otherwise.

While usually Played for Laughs, this kind of character is sometimes played as a Strawman Political against Ethical Hedonists or people with a Hedonistic Lifestyle. Unlike these real hedonists, a childishly hedonistic character is not prone to consider other people’s happiness, or even his own long-term happiness: Instant gratification is gold. If it feels good right now, do it! Why waste time on thinking? Thinking isn’t fun! Unless you are thinking about how to get what you want as quickly and effortlessly as possible, that is.

It's original to compare this general viewpoint to the original hedonists, who believed you should basically do the opposite; true happiness is the opposite of desires, which cause pain. So you shouldn't do anything you really want. You can imagine any of the characters on this page laughing ruthlessly at the idea.

Compare Protagonist-Centered Morality (for this trope played sympathetically). For Happiness is another related trope.

No Real Life Examples, Please.

Examples of The Hedonist include:

Comic Books[edit | hide | hide all]

  • The main theme of the Wanted Comic Book. The hero is happy when he becomes a supervillain and begins randomly insulting and murdering people at will. Oddly enough, the villain also believes this exact same creed—he's frustrated that the current Masquerade prevents appropriately powerful supervillains from simply causing worldwide pandemonium.
  • Part of what makes the Purple Man such a Complete Monster. He's been abusing his Mind Control powers for sex since the Comics Code Authority would allow it (and just For the Evulz for way longer than that).


Fan Fic[edit | hide]


Film[edit | hide]


Literature[edit | hide]


Live Action[edit | hide]

  • Maryann on True Blood
  • One key difference between Faith and Buffy was this. Faith lived life every second like she wanted to... and when accidents happened (like the murder of an innocent) that knocked Buffy for a loop, she merely "took care of the body" and went on as if nothing happened.
    • Except she was obviously feeling guilty as hell. And while she clearly enjoyed being able to do what she wanted, when she wanted, what she truly desired was a life more like Buffy's and, if she couldn't have that, make Buffy become more like her to ease the jealousy.
    • Early Faith is a Nietzschean, not a Hedonist. Being a Slayer (she thinks) means you are Above Good and Evil and can do whatever you want. Saving x lives means you can kill any number of people less than x, since you will still be in the plus column.
  • The future version of Castiel in Supernatural episode "The End."
    • Gabriel (also known as the Trickster) appears to be this, tormenting others for his entertainment, creating women out of thin air, gorging himself on chocolate and other desserts. Then of course it's revealed that, although he does enjoy it, he actually means some of the lessons he claims to be trying to teach and seems a little miserable under his Trickster persona.
    • Then there's Balthazar (funny how all of these are angels). His reaction to the good guys derailing the Apocalypse is to grab a bunch of valuable weapons, fake his own death and start doing whatever the hell he wants on Earth ("This morning I had a menage a...what's the French for twelve?"). When Castiel catches up to him, he insists he's just following the example Cas set. "You showed me we could do anything, so I'm trying everything."


Manga/Anime[edit | hide]

  • Haruhi Suzumiya. Will do anything for her own amusement, to the point where she will use Mikuru as her personal toy.
  • Gauron from Full Metal Panic!. He does pretty much everything For the Evulz, because he gets off on it. Even Kalinin didn't expect Gauron to be such an extreme, insane, depraved pleasure seeker. One ironically humorous moment shows Kalinin thinking to himself that, no matter what, Gauron is a smart pro that would value his life above everything else and would never do stupid things for short term pleasure. And then... a short while later, Gauron is shown getting off on his fight with Sousuke, which culminates in him attempting to commit a double suicide with Sousuke just for the pleasure of it.
  • The apostle Wyald from Berserk. His motto is "Enjoyment and excitement!" The fact that he says this while he is raping a farm girl who helped the Band of the Hawk who he and his Black Dog Knights have been hired to kill pretty much illustrates all we need to know about his nature.
  • Giriko from Soul Eater. He drinks in every other chapter, he's lazy as sin, and he acts touchy-feely with the teenage girl he's attempting to massacre.


Mythology[edit | hide]

  • Dionysos from Greek Mythology was essentially the god of hedonism. Technically he was the god of wine, but he and his followers formed an entire religion that was basically a drinking contest. Being a Greek god, he was also a huge Jerkass to anyone who objected to his followers' debauchery—one king who persecuted Dionysos' flock (whose own mother was a follower of Dionysos) was caught spying on them and was torn limb from limb while they were in the throes of madness. Even worse, his own mother stuck his head on a stick and didn't recognize him until it was too late. Dionysos' creed was basically "Eat, drink, and be merry -- or I'll kill you."
    • On a more highbrow note, Dionysos was the patron of Tragedy—even the name of the genre comes from him (tragedy=trag-oida=goat-song; a goat was one of Dionysos' major symbols). Whether or not this detracts from him being a hedonist depends on perspective: while your average people these days would say that tragedy's Downer Endings are mighty depressing, people who actually understand the Greeks—including the average Ancient Greek—would argue that Tragedy is actually pretty pleasurable.
    • Actually, Pentheus (the king in question) suffered because he wouldn't recognize Dionysos as a god; it was also about revenge. Agave, Pentheus' mother, was the sister of Dionysos' mother Semele. To shorten and simplify the story, Semele's family were mean to her when she was pregnant and wouldn't believe her when she said Zeus was the father and her son is going to be a god. Dionysos specifically wanted to establish his cult in Thebes to prove his mother was telling the truth. The rest of the family suffered grisly fates too like Actaeon (another cousin). Ultimately, the family became extinct and another royal house ruled Thebes.


Tabletop Game[edit | hide]

  • The color Red in Magic: The Gathering is this philosophy to its Tabletop Game conclusion. It has cards that are awesomely damaging to the target...but tends to leave the caster wide open to counterattack (when the spells don't damage the caster, too). Red is passionate and powerful, but the cost of that power is that it doesn't consider the effects and often harms itself. Compare with its allied colors Black, which knows the negative side effects and chooses them anyway, and Green, which is just as primal and wild but is also devoted to the arts of healing. Contrast with opposing colors Blue, which is all about careful thought, and White, which is about order and control (of one's self and others).
    • The (black) vampires on the plane of Zendikar are described as hedonistic. They are also, coincidentally, said to be the most advanced race on Zendikar.
    • Innistrad, a gothic plane, also have vampires, though they are separated into several clans. One clan, Markov, is more hedonistic than the rest.
  • Slaanesh from Warhammer Fantasy Battle and Warhammer 40,000. He- she? it?- is literally the manifestation of all the Squick in the universe, while his followers are to a psychopath in it either For the Evulz or because Evil Feels Good. Lest we find the idea of a cult of hedonists even somewhat non-threatening, remember that this is 40K and their idea of a good time probably starts with "violate your intestines through your belly button" and just goes in whatever random direction they can find from there.
  • In the Dungeons & Dragons setting Planescape, the Sensates are a faction dedicated to experiencing every sensation and act that they can—good as well as bad. Many members take this as an excuse to become hedonists; they are looked down on for indulging one sensation—pleasure—to the exclusion of all others, and to blinding themselves to new experiences. These members are commonly sent to a hold the Sensates have in Arborea, where they get to do nothing but blindly indulge their hedonist ways, over and over again for the rest of their lives without ever experiencing anything new (and before you ask, the door is open. Anyone sent there can leave any time they want. So far, nobody has).


Theatre[edit | hide]

  • Fiyero in the musical Wicked: "Nothing matters but knowing nothing matters... It's just life, so keep dancing through!"
    • Well, at least until he goes through some massive Character Development and some of his frivolous comments and beliefs become painfully ironic.
  • Val in Babes in Arms declares himself to be this (although whether he remains so is unclear, since his ideologies shift constantly).
  • In Antony and Cleopatra, this trait is shared by the Egyptians. Antony has also adopted the tendency due to being in Egypt for so long.


Video Games[edit | hide]

  • Morinth of Mass Effect 2 is a killer afflicted with a condition that makes her kill those she has sex with, which has an addictive effect upon her. She's been spending centuries getting her kicks with either slaughter, music or drugs as well as evading her mother Samara.
  • Shannon of God Hand. Her search for pleasure is never-ending and often involves mortal men being used as her "toys".
  • Isabela from Dragon Age II seems to live for three things: the thrill of adventure, alcohol, and sexual gratification (from men and women both).
  • After only getting two or so scenes in Kingdom Hearts II, Demyx was somewhat fleshed out as this is Kingdom Hearts 358 Days Over 2. He's more interested in writing songs than following orders, and isn't above bribing Roxas to finish his missions for him.
  • Suika Ibuki from Touhou, who has never been seen sober for centuries. Most other characters in Touhou also have various vices that they indulge in. It helps that the majority of them aren't human.
  • In Asura's Wrath Augus has Greed as his Mantra affinity, and it shows. He lives for pleasure above all else: sleeping with beautiful maidens, eating good food, drinking fine wines. Most of all, he enjoys a good fight.
  • Diablo III has Azmodam. Justified because he is the lord of sin.


Web Original[edit | hide]

  • In The Gungan Council, Deagan Hunt and XoChitl Salvaje, as Zeltrons, and Kirk search for the thrills and pleasures in life for their own reasons.


Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • In an episode of The Simpsons a self-help guru gets the entire town going on this motto—specifically, acting like Bart. The whole thing falls apart at the festival celebrating this newfound freedom, the main catalyst being when a handyman decides he didn't "feel like" greasing the Ferris wheel so it wouldn't fall off its hinges and go on a rampage.
  • Hedonism-bot of Futurama. How hedonistic is he? He's so hedonistic, he has his solid gold body smothered in chocolate.
    • The DVD commentary for Futurama stated that he was not simply a hedonistic robot but he was hedonism itself, which is why he is not called "Hedonist-bot". It wouldn't have done him justice.
    • How wonderfully decadent!
    • And he apologizes for nothing!
    • Your tax dollars at work!
  • Beezy on Jimmy Two-Shoes lives his life basically eating, sleeping, hanging out with Jimmy and dating Saffi. He seems to put his happiness first beyond anything. He's still one of the few decent people on the show.
  • General Iroh from Avatar: The Last Airbender pretended to be very much the hedonist, much to the chagrin of his naive nephew who refused to see that the evil empire didn't deserve their loyalty. For Iroh, life's little pleasures are more important than doing his duty... but only when his duty is actually evil, destructive or plain unworthy. Whenever he has a worthy cause to fight for, he's dedicated and self-sacrificing if needed.
  • The Larry 3000 seems to split being The Spock and The Hedonist about 50/50. He gives a good show of being uptight and prissy, and the casual viewer might mistake him for being the Only Sane Man to Tuddrussel's Boisterous Bruiser, but truthfully the a nice chunk of the mission hang-ups happen as a result of him getting distracted and siding with whomever is messing up history if they promise more fun than fixing it would.