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WikEd fancyquotes.pngQuotesBug-silk.pngHeadscratchersIcons-mini-icon extension.gifPlaying WithUseful NotesMagnifier.pngAnalysisPhoto link.pngImage LinksHaiku-wide-icon.pngHaikuLaconic

Laconic: A character is angrily berating another, then the latter dares the former to act on their feelings.

People who do nasty things often claim that they're doing what needs to be done, that no one else has the guts to do. One way they demonstrate it is by challenging one who criticizes their actions to stop them. Usually the result is that the character to whom the dare is made is so taken aback that they're unable to act, thus proving the point in the mind of the person who makes the challenge.

It is very rare that the offer is genuine. In some cases, the person making the offer is counting on the recipient to not have the stomache to carry it out. In other cases, the recipient does not have the ability to carry out the offer, and making it is a form of bullying that reminds them of their powerlessness.

I feel bad adding another trope to the workshop when I have two unfinished pages, but I've always been better at coming up with tropes than polishing them.

Examples of If You Hate Me, Then Kill Me include:


Live Action Television

  • House. In the episode "The Tyrant", the team has a brutal African dictator named Dibala as a patient. While they wrestle with the moral implications of treating such a man, Cameron suggests to Dibala's colonel that Dibala may be permanently brain damaged, possibly hoping that the colonel will decide to kill him rather than risk having someone with impaired judgement in command of his country. Dibala finds out about this, and when Cameron is about to give him an injection, he dares her to put an air bubble in his IV.
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 If you want me dead, then pull the trigger. It is not so easy when you have to do it yourself.

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  • In the Star Trek: Enterprise episode "North Star", the Enterprise visits a colony where a race called the Skagarans live beside humans as second class citizens. Deputy Bennings taunts a Skagaran named Draysik about a Skagaran they had executed the previous night. At one point, the deputy offers his pistol to Draysik and invites Draysik to shoot him. It's likely that Bennings was simply hoping for an excuse to kill Draysik.

Movies: Live Action

  • In Sarafina (and possibly the stage musical its adapted from), the titular character yells at a local policeman after she witnesses him beating a student activist in her class. He responds by offering her his club
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 You be the policeman. You beat me, ok? Come on, go ahead. Those kids burning the schools? You let them go free. Those kids driving the stores out of business? You let them go free too. Those mobs running around the streets, looting and killing? Let them go free. Be the policeman. I'm the bad man. Ok, beat me.

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Webcomics

Video Games

  • In Fallout: New Vegas, the player encounters Vulpes Inculcta and some other Legion soldiers after they've massacred the town of Nipton. If the player tells him his actions are unforgivable, he will respond
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 If you feel strongly about it, attack us, and then you won't feel a thing.

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    • Note that, hypocritically, doing so draws the wrath of the Legion just as much as killing legionairres in any other context would.
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