I’ve always been fascinated by this sort of archetype in the few cases I’ve seen it. For anyone that has never encountered this trope it’s basically what it says on the tin. Someone gains immortality through some means and grows to hate the nature of their existence to the point that they constantly try and fail to end it all.
The earliest appearance I’ve been able to find outside of eternal punishments in the afterlife is the story of the “Wandering Jew”, a Jewish man from European Christian mythology that threw a rock at and mocked Jesus while he was carrying the cross on his back. For this he was cursed to wander the earth until the end of days, unable to die or linger in one place for very long. The only comfort he had was that his shoes and clothes would repair themselves every seven years.
Does anyone on here think that the trope is a bit dead or boring? I mean any immortal character will be somewhat hard to relate with. After all most mentally sound people are afraid of dying and aren’t really looking to do so anytime soon. So the idea of someone who’s entire goal is to die, usually going to extreme means to do so, might come off as a bit hard to understand. This becomes exasperated by what their motivation would have to be to justify this level of depression. Something as simple as external boredom is likely to make someone turn suicidal or mad over the span of a century or two, but that’s a hard motivation to sell. So what do you think? Have you ever written a character like this? How would you do it?
Also I think I’ll share a character that I scraped as a villain for my current WIP so you have an idea where i’m coming from, feel free to give your opinions on him too. He’s a sorcerer named Erasmus that lived 3,000 years before the plot was to take place. He committed the carnal sin of magic. He tried to reanimate his dead wife by casting a spell that ripped the souls out of the thousand nearest people to him, and used them open the normally one way gate to the spirit world wide enough to pull his wife’s soul out. After being revived, his wife responded by screaming in pain and fear as her body quickly aged to dust.
He was understandably suicidal after what he just did and hung himself, only to be greeted by a very pissed off god of death who cursed him so that his soul could never rest. Before Erasmus could process any of this the god vanished and his broken neck quickly and painfully fused itself back together. He tried killing himself again by using useless poison, fire that only hurt instead of burned, and unsuccessful drowning. But it was only after he was beheaded for his crimes only to have his head refuse to his body that he realized how boned he was. Death also left him with another curse in that any living thing he touched would decay and turn to ash instantly.
His goal in the story was to sew chaos so great that it would create a warrior capable of using a mccguffin that could destroy anything including souls. It was a magic fire that gave the user the power of absolute destruction and could only be used by a human that is driven beyond all reason. Not necessarily a good drive though, the last and only user before this was a deicidal maniac that would make Kratos look like a self help guru. I felt that he was a bit too cliche and the story was moving in a better direction, but I might use him later with some adjustments in another story.