You either die a hero, or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain.
~ Two-face's motto

Cruel Mercy is the term about hero's action in sparing his/her enemy as a punishment to force them to see their errors.

We all know that heroes are rarely had to kill their enemies as means to stop them due to them have an important moral code where one must mindful not to become as worse as villains that they fight against. But the hero also knew that behave too merciful on the villain that already on his/her mercy would resulting enormous loss for his allies and loved ones, so when he/she spare him/her enemy, he/she must give their helpless enemy the lesson in the harshest way possible.

Of course, giving the cruel mercy is mainly apply on the very dangerous antagonists with horrendous villainous records includes act of MEH, causing innocent people suffer, pinned unfortunate individual to the dark side, etc.


Anime and Manga Edit

  • Ken Kaneki: He gave this to Yakumo Oomori in retaliation of the latter's horrific torture on him which merely reinforced his resolve to protect the others with his Ghoul powers after eat the brutal ghoul's kagune.
  • Monkey D. Luffy's method when dealing villainous pirates is Cruel Mercy as he prefer to have them lived to see their heinous dreams that made everyone suffer crumbles into nothingness instead of killed them straight away.
  • Wormmon:

Western Animation Edit

  • Avatar: The Last Airbender
    • Aang choose this by stripped Ozai from his firebending as means both to defeat him and put an end of Fire Nation's tyranny over the world.
    • After heard that Katara's resentment to him was due to her bad history with a firebender whom killed her mother, Zuko decided to help her find the said killer and only suggested to her that cruel mercy is the best option instead of revenge. Katara at first, merely thought about vengeance at least until see how miserable her mother's killer's life now, in which finally convinced her to made him realized the error of his way.

Movies Edit

Animated Film Edit

  • Tarzan snatches Clayton's gun and aims it at him. Clayton taunts him to "be a man" and pull the trigger. Tarzan instead mimics a gunshot then destroys the gun, yelling that he's not a man like him.
  • Boog roars fiercely in Shaw's face and scared Shaw into submission when the latter knocked his friend.
  • Otis preparing to punch Dag, but instead orders him to NEVER return, before hitting him with a golf club and he soars out into the distance while howling in pain.
  • The Beast hoists Gaston over the edge of the roof, and Gaston turns from tough to a complete wuss, pathetically begging for his life.
  • Quasimodo poises Frollo's dagger above him. Frollo begs for his life, but Quasimodo nails him with his speech that Frollo has lied to him all his life about the world being dark and cruel.
  • Simba cornering Scar when he finally admits he killed Mufasa in their final battle and sentenced him into exile. This however, provoked Scar to attacked him when his back turned, ensuing the fight where Simba emerges as victor whilst Scar was devoured by hyenas.

Live Action Films Edit

  • Mighty Joe Young roaring in Strasser's face to save Jill before flinging him onto a transformer, electrocuting him to death. Joe did so not only because the latter killed his parents, but also have seen that Strasser has consumed by vengeance for what Jill's mother done to to him and no longer have any chance to return.
  • In Maleficent film, Maleficent done this by curses Aurora in front of King Stefan as punishment for the latter's action in stealing her wings, but backfires with the king he is far worse that Maleficent herself.


  • In part 5 of the Awakening episode of Gargoyles, Goliath threatens to drop David Xanatos off the castle at the top of his building after Demona, his once love, seems to fall to her death. Goliath says that Demona wanted him to destroy humanity, so he declares he will start with him. Xanatos bravely taunts to drop him, saying that he and the other gargoyles would still be in stone and gathering moss if it weren't for him. Goliath growls angrily at him until Elisa Maza and Hudson persuade him not to kill Xanatos, saying that if he does, he will be no better than Demona, who really does wish to kill all humans. So Goliath spared Xanatos and left the authorities to handle his punishments

Video GamesEdit

  • Cruel Mercy is more or less Corvo Attano's best choice in dealing villains that responsible to frame him and turned him into criminal when they usurped the reign over Dunwall as, in spite of his heroic approach in saving Dunwall, he must deal the villains with some way or another.

Comic BooksEdit

  • Batman tend to give this to criminals and supervillains that he fought as he prefer to gave them for authorities than killing them. This unfortunately, not effective on giving his nemesis, Joker, a lesson as he was too insane to rehabilitated.
  • Ghost Rider's Penance Stare power is meant to be a Cruel Mercy weapon. This because Penance Stare enable the Spirit of Vengeance to force villains whom become victim of this recalled upon EVERY single sins from their actions in wrongdoing the others.


  • After the loss of Andalite-Yeerk war, Esplin 9466 was given life sentence in form of isolation inside a special prison by both Animorphs and Andalites as well as stripped from his host for the rest for his life. Tragically, though he was defeated for good, enormous losses that he inflicted to entire world can never fully healed, given that he indirectly causes death of Tom and Rachel.


Quotes Edit

(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) Murderer! (Scar, nervously: Simba, Simba, please! Mercy, I beg you!) You don't deserve to live! (Scar: But, Simba, I am, It's the hyenas who are the real enemy! It was their fault! It was their idea!) (Shenzi, Banzai and Ed are in the background. They overhear and back away growling at Scar's betrayal.) Why should I believe you? Everything you ever told me was a lie. (Scar: What are you going to do? You wouldn't kill you own uncle?) No, Scar. I'm not like you. (Scar: 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.) Run. Run away, Scar. And NEVER return. (Scar slowly gets up to leave) (Scar: 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.) (Scar: 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 terror) (Both: Ed?) (Ed cackles deviously as more hungry hyenas surround Scar.) (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.)
~ Simba cornering Scar at his mercy and eventually sending him off the edge of Pride Rock, where Scar is now at the cruel mercy of his hyena henchman, who finish the job on their traitorous leader.

(Clayton scans the mossy trees looking for Tarzan. Suddenly, Tarzan jumps on Clayton, making him drop his gun. The two men wrestle each other as they tumble from branch to branch. Clayton spots his gun in some nearby vines, and reaches for it, but Tarzan pulls him back and retrieves the gun himself. He points it at Clayton.) (Clayton: Go ahead, shoot me.) (Tarzan hesitates, Clayton laughs) (Clayton: Be a man!) (Tarzan holds the barrels right at Clayton's throat...and mimics the sound of a perfect gunshot) Not a man like YOU! (smashes the gun to pieces)
~ Tarzan snatching Clayton's gun and aiming it at him. Clayton taunts him to pull the trigger. Tarzan instead mimics the sound of a gunshot, then shatters the gun to a million pieces.

Flint Marko. The man who killed Uncle Ben, he was killed last night. (Aunt May Parker: Oh, my. What happened?) Spider-Man killed him. (Aunt May Parker: Spider-Man? I don't understand, Spider-Man doesn't kill people. What happened?) I, uh... He... he was... I thought that - That you'd feel... He deserved it, didn't he? (Aunt May Parker: I don't think it's for us to say whether a person deserves to live or die.) But, Aunt May, he killed Uncle Ben. (Aunt May Parker: Uncle Ben meant the world to us. But he wouldn't want us living one second with revenge in our hearts. It's like a poison. It can - It can take you over. Before you know it, turn us into something ugly.)
~ Peter Parker was proud that he (Spider-Man) beat Sandman by avenging his Uncle Ben's death, but Aunt May wasn't and told him that Ben doesn't want revenge if he was here

(Otis catches Dag by the throat) Hi. Remember me? I'm Ben's kid. (Otis slams Dag to a wall and prepares to punch him like his dad did, but instead lowers his fist and glares at the coyote) Never. Come. Back! (Grabs a golf club and whacks Dag with it, sending the evil coyote soaring far into the distance)
~ Otis preparing to punch Dag, but instead orders him to NEVER return, before hitting him with a golf club and he soars out into the distance while howling in pain.

(Gaston raises his club and smashes a figure, thinking it's Beast, only to discover it's a stone gargoyle; He realizes the Beast is hiding among the gargoyles) (Gaston: COME ON OUT AND FIGHT!! Were you in love with her, Beast?! Did you honestly think she'd want YOU, when she had someone like ME?!) (This is enough provocation for the Beast, who comes out snarling: Gaston corners him once again) (Gaston: It's over, Beast! BELLE IS MINE!!) (The Beast grabs Gaston by the neck and hoists him over the roof; Gaston turns from tough to a complete wuss) (Gaston: Let me go! Please, don't hurt me! I-I-I'll do anything! ANYTHING!) (The Beast glares with fury, then his anger slowly melts. He pulls Gaston back in and close to his face) Beast (coldly): Get out!... (shoves Gaston to the ground)
~ The Beast hoisting Gaston over the roof, exposing him as the true coward he is, pathetically begging for his life.

(After a fight, the Black Scorpion agent is cornered by the Ten Tigers, including Passepartout.) You promise me, that the Black Scorpions will never come back to Lanzhou. (puts his right fist on his left knuckles. The agent follows suit, as do the Ten Tigers. The agent then leaves with his warriors.)
~ Passepartout and the Ten Tigers cornering a Black Scorpion agent and forcing him to leave their town alone.

(Tris holds Jeanine at gunpoint to force her to shut down her mind-control program, holding the serum in her hand.) (Jeanine: Maybe you're not as Dauntless as they think you are?) You're right. I'm a Divergent. (injects Jeanine with the serum.)
~ Tris Prior deciding to use the mind-control serum on Jeanine Matthews, instead of killing her, to shut down the program and stop her Dauntless attack on Abnegation.

(Quasi sobs over the seemingly dead Esmerelda as Frollo slowly enters the room and puts his hand on his shoulder) You killed her! (Frollo: It was my duty, horrible as it was. I hope you can forgive me.) (Quasi sighs) (Frollo: There, there, Quasimodo. I know it hurts. But now, the time has come to end your suffering... [raises a dagger above Quasi]...forever.) (Quasi gasps as he looks up at Frollo's shadow holding the dagger above him! He turns and struggles with Frollo, who lowers the dagger inches to his face. Quasi 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.) (Frollo: N-Now, now. L-Listen to me, Quasimodo) NO, YOU LISTEN! All my life you've told me the world is a dark, cruel place! But now I see that the only thing dark and cruel about it is people like YOU! (Quasi tosses the dagger to the floor) (Esmeralda: Quasimodo...) Esmeralda! (Frollo: She lives! [brandishes his sword]) NO!!! (Quasi grabs Esmeralda and runs out onto the balcony with Frollo close behind)
~ Quasimodo poises Frollo's dagger above him. Frollo begs for his life, but Quasimodo nails him with his speech that Frollo has lied to him all his life about the world being dark and cruel.