History Main / BewilderingPunishment

16th Jan '16 8:03:43 PM RavenWilder
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* An episode of ''Series/{{Friends}}'' has Phoebe giving Ross the cold shoulder because she's mad at him. He doesn't know ''why'' she's mad at him, though, and after some prodding, Phoebe admits that she doesn't know either. She's actually forgotten whatever it was Ross did to upset her, she just remembers being mad about it.
22nd Oct '15 5:59:31 AM Shadowgazer
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22nd Oct '15 4:36:03 AM Shadowgazer
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Unless the character is showing ItsAllAboutMe or MoralMyopia -- which are possible -- this is a sympathetic characterization. An innocent character taken for a crime that no one will identify is common, especially in RevengeByProxy, SinsOfOurFathers, and CriminalDoppelganger, but not the only possibility. DisproportionateRetribution will often inspire it. Even if the crime was real, and the punishment not disproportionate, punishing an amnesiac character tends to come off as wrong. Those with ignorance of the law, stemming [[ChildrenAreInnocent child-like innocence]] or [[NaiveNewcomer unfamiliarity with the location]], generally come off almost as well. Especially if YouKnowWhatYouDid follows. GuiltByAssociationGag is related but generally involves the target genuinely not being involved at all.
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Unless the character is showing ItsAllAboutMe or MoralMyopia -- or even worse ButForMeItWasTuesday-- which are possible -- this is a sympathetic characterization. An innocent character taken for a crime that no one will identify is common, especially in RevengeByProxy, SinsOfOurFathers, and CriminalDoppelganger, but not the only possibility. DisproportionateRetribution will often inspire it. Even if the crime was real, and the punishment not disproportionate, punishing an amnesiac character tends to come off as wrong. Those with ignorance of the law, stemming [[ChildrenAreInnocent child-like innocence]] or [[NaiveNewcomer unfamiliarity with the location]], generally come off almost as well. Especially if YouKnowWhatYouDid follows. GuiltByAssociationGag is related but generally involves the target genuinely not being involved at all.
18th Oct '15 11:50:44 AM nombretomado
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* An episode of ''ThePowerpuffGirls'' has them accidentally discovering a new swear word, which they proceed to use constantly. Ms. Keane hears them say it in class and punishes them, but of course [[InnocentSwearing the girls don't know its a bad word]], and when they ask her what they did, she answers, "[[YouKnowWhatYouDid You know perfectly well what you did!]]"
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* An episode of ''ThePowerpuffGirls'' ''WesternAnimation/ThePowerpuffGirls'' has them accidentally discovering a new swear word, which they proceed to use constantly. Ms. Keane hears them say it in class and punishes them, but of course [[InnocentSwearing the girls don't know its a bad word]], and when they ask her what they did, she answers, "[[YouKnowWhatYouDid You know perfectly well what you did!]]"
24th Sep '15 7:30:57 PM gallium
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* In ''Film/TheTrial'', the accused never does learn what the charges are against him or why he's executed (see also Literature below).
19th Sep '15 4:34:20 AM Morgenthaler
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* In JohnCWright's ''Literature/TheGoldenOecumene'', Ungannis tries to invoke this trope by splitting herself into many personalities, some of whom would try erasing memories of her crimes, and still be executed for them. This is not greeted with horror by the Transcedence mass mind -- legally, you can not evade punishment unless you rework your personality into a new person, and none of the split personalities had tried to redact the beliefs that had led Ungannis to commit the crime.
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* In JohnCWright's Creator/JohnCWright's ''Literature/TheGoldenOecumene'', Ungannis tries to invoke this trope by splitting herself into many personalities, some of whom would try erasing memories of her crimes, and still be executed for them. This is not greeted with horror by the Transcedence mass mind -- legally, you can not evade punishment unless you rework your personality into a new person, and none of the split personalities had tried to redact the beliefs that had led Ungannis to commit the crime.

* Aviendha is subject to this type of punishment by the Wise Ones for much of book twelve of ''TheWheelOfTime''. She is ordered to do useless labour, which is the ultimate insult in the Aiel culture where even prisoners from enemy clans (''gai'shain'') are put to useful work. It turns out that [[spoiler:she is meant to complain rather than stoically bearing it. This shows the strength of character necessary to become a Wise One.]] * In ''TheDarkHalf,'' the killer [[EnemyWithout George Stark]] has the same fingerprints as novelist Thad Beaumont. Sheriff Pangborn arrives at Thad's house to arrest him, and his first clue that Thad isn't the killer is that Thad is utterly confused by the arrest. Pangborn has been a cop long enough to know that criminals who know they're guilty just don't act like that.
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* Aviendha is subject to this type of punishment by the Wise Ones for much of book twelve of ''TheWheelOfTime''.''Literature/TheWheelOfTime''. She is ordered to do useless labour, which is the ultimate insult in the Aiel culture where even prisoners from enemy clans (''gai'shain'') are put to useful work. It turns out that [[spoiler:she is meant to complain rather than stoically bearing it. This shows the strength of character necessary to become a Wise One.]] * In ''TheDarkHalf,'' ''Literature/TheDarkHalf,'' the killer [[EnemyWithout George Stark]] has the same fingerprints as novelist Thad Beaumont. Sheriff Pangborn arrives at Thad's house to arrest him, and his first clue that Thad isn't the killer is that Thad is utterly confused by the arrest. Pangborn has been a cop long enough to know that criminals who know they're guilty just don't act like that.

* Averted in ''BabylonFive'', where a {{Mind Wipe}}d serial killer [[spoiler: turned mild-mannered monk]] has his memories forcibly returned to him, because the people hunting him down want to make damn sure he knows why they're after him.
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* Averted in ''BabylonFive'', ''Series/BabylonFive'', where a {{Mind Wipe}}d serial killer [[spoiler: turned mild-mannered monk]] has his memories forcibly returned to him, because the people hunting him down want to make damn sure he knows why they're after him.

* In ''{{Warhammer}}'' dwarfs can cause this effect. Dwarfs tend to treat ''everything'' as a deadly serious matter, and also tend to assume that anything people do that displeases them is a deliberate insult. In one notable case, the people of a fortress found themselves besieged by an army because they employed dwarfs to build it and accidentally underpaid them by a few pennies. As far as the dwarfs are concerned this was a deliberate attempt to rob them of their labor (again, by shortchanging them something like 0.001% of the total cost), so the appropriate response is to never tell them the payment was short, raise an army, then burn the place to the ground.
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* In ''{{Warhammer}}'' ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer}}'' dwarfs can cause this effect. Dwarfs tend to treat ''everything'' as a deadly serious matter, and also tend to assume that anything people do that displeases them is a deliberate insult. In one notable case, the people of a fortress found themselves besieged by an army because they employed dwarfs to build it and accidentally underpaid them by a few pennies. As far as the dwarfs are concerned this was a deliberate attempt to rob them of their labor (again, by shortchanging them something like 0.001% of the total cost), so the appropriate response is to never tell them the payment was short, raise an army, then burn the place to the ground.
21st Jun '15 9:13:49 AM movie007
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* Some schools have a practice of outrightly punishing children for saying a swear word, even if the child was simply repeating a word that they heard and had no idea that it was a swear word.
6th Apr '15 10:29:11 AM WillBGood
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* Specifically averted in Jack Vance's ''Literature/DemonPrinces'' quintet. Although it's been years since the Mount Pleasant raid and some of them (with still worse atrocities committed in the meantime) have put it out of their heads, Kirth Gersen goes out of his way to ensure the Demon Princes ''know'' who's bringing them undone and why.
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* Specifically averted in Jack Vance's ''Literature/DemonPrinces'' ''Literature/TheDemonPrinces'' quintet. Although it's been years since the Mount Pleasant raid and some of them (with still worse atrocities committed in the meantime) have put it out of their heads, Kirth Gersen goes out of his way to ensure the Demon Princes ''know'' who's bringing them undone and why.
6th Apr '15 10:28:46 AM WillBGood
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* Specifically averted in Jack Vance's ''Demon Princes'' quintet. Although it's been years since the Mount Pleasant raid and some of them (with still worse atrocities committed in the meantime) have put it out of their heads, Kirth Gersen goes out of his way to ensure the Demon Princes ''know'' who's bringing them undone and why.
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* Specifically averted in Jack Vance's ''Demon Princes'' ''Literature/DemonPrinces'' quintet. Although it's been years since the Mount Pleasant raid and some of them (with still worse atrocities committed in the meantime) have put it out of their heads, Kirth Gersen goes out of his way to ensure the Demon Princes ''know'' who's bringing them undone and why.
1st Apr '15 1:52:39 PM ultimomant
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* In ''LightNovel/ACertainMagicalIndex'', Othinus briefly traps Touma Kamijou in an alternate universe where he's Public Enemy #1. Everybody in the entire world hates him and tries to kill him on sight, even his own parents. Until he's pulled out of it, nobody will explain to him why they're trying to kill him.
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