It is a common trend of fiction to have characters die (and stay dead) in the early parts of a story. This death often serves as the call to adventure for the hero. Think of how many stories where the hero’s village is destroyed by the great evil and he decides to put down his rake and replace it with a sword.
There’s nothing wrong with this. However it is startling that so many stories only use those lost as a source of revenge. Authors quickly forget the people part of the dead. Anyone that’s lost a loved one knows the pain of losing a loved one.
When someone dies they need to remain human. No matter how strong the desire for revenge, death should not devour what made the person special. So in other words I’m attacking about every revenge plot ever made.
Why do stories use deceased loved ones as fountains of misery? The mere thought of them pitches the hero into a fit of rage or the deepest sadness. You know what happens when I think of my Grandmother. I smile with pride. I also get hungry. Grandma could cook. I remember her strict manner , something contributing to what makes me who I am.
Dead characters continue to live.
Because of this I tend to face palm at revenge plots. They only leave empty and shallow voids that get filled with senseless violence. (So I guess that’s why this ‘plot’ gets used so much in beat em’ up games) “Grr! You ‘Z’ed my ‘X’, so now you must ‘Y’.” It really comes down to laziness.
Because of this phenomenon people are hesitant to kill off characters for this reason. They shout cries of cliché. If you are cynical enough, everything is a cliché. In the example of the dead significant other killed by the great evil, they should be a source of strength, not an excuse to cut someone. With a bit of a stretch, the same effect can be achieved for a much more noble cause. The character could simply want to end the threat so no one has to go through the pain of loss.
And right there? That’s the stuff of heroes.