Created By: PacificState on November 13, 2011

Good Cannot Comprehend Evil

Good fails to predict Evil's actions because it just ''doesn't occur to them'' that those would be even ''options''

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Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Good characters can throw Evil for a loop by doing stuff that, from an Evil worldview, make no sense whatsoever. However, the converse is also true.

Good are fighting Evil. They have minusiously prepared for every contingency, they're well-armed, Crazy-Prepared and Properly Paranoid. But then the villain does something so incredibly nasty, evil, cheap, petty, cruel or brutal that the heroes just plain didn't think of it, could never have thought of it. Expect outrage from Good as they discover exactly how Evil achieved victory, in terms of "How could you?" "This Is Unforgivable!" or shocked reactions from Dumb Struck to Angrish to a full blown Heroic B.S.O.D. if their lack of insight caused some terrible loss that might have been otherwise prevented. This may also be the point where the heroes snap and completely give up any restraint, sometimes going full on homicidal.

I can't think of any concrete examples right now, but Unhand Them, Villain! tends to lead to this sort of situation, as well as the typical False Reassurance and Exact Words trickeries. The Joker is a specialist in causing those into even savvy and jaded Batman, and it's also one of the best ways to get Superman into a position where it's even possible to hurt him. Voldemort pulled this on the magical world at large by using Horcruxes, something so evil even the evilest of dark wizards revile it. In general, Voldemort's plans both in canon and fanon, even his public persona, rely a lot on shocking and surprising people by how unpredictably, extremely and casually nasty he can be. On Glee, regular villains Sue Sylvester and Santanna get away with their horrible plots through this and Refuge in Audacity (and a fair bit of Plot Armour). In Neon Genesis Evangelion: While NERV's leadership probably expected this from the start, both the audience and most of NERV's personnel are shocked and appalled beyond belief that the UN sent the army after them, with orders to Leave No Survivors to boot! NERV was hyperprepared for facing eldritch abominations from outer space, but they never were ready or expecting to fight people. They get slaughtered.

Very common in Real Life, especially when it comes to breaches of trust (adultery, embezzelment, corruption...). One person's unforgivable sin (to the point of being an action they wouldn't ever think of performing) is another's routine, and when the two meet, sparks can fly, and not in a good way. An example: The Holocaust. It was so evil, people thought rumors about it were mere propaganda until Germany was occupied and they found the camps.
Community Feedback Replies: 7
  • November 13, 2011
  • November 13, 2011
    I'm not a big fan of the title. Perhaps "Incomprehensible Evil" or "Unspeakable Evil," but those might be different and merit their own tropes.
  • November 13, 2011
    ^^That trope really isn't a very good reflexion of Evil Cannot Comprehend Good, which is more bout villains completeley failing to understand how the heroes act. As a virtual example of this trope, imagine that the villain has been forced to escape in a balloon, with his child, but the balloon doesn't take off because it's too heavy. The heroes triumphantly say "you are surrounded, give up". The villain shoots his own child in the head and takes off before the utterly flabberghasted heroes.

    Also, in Pirates Of The Caribbean, Will Turner had a lot of this, Barbarossa has the exact opposite problem, and only Chaotic Neutral Jack Sparrow is able to completely understand both sidees and play them like an instrument.
  • November 13, 2011
    The worse ending from Soul Nomad ("It was fun.") is a good example.

  • November 13, 2011
    You're talking about understanding motivation vs. action. I'm don't think there's enough difference to warrant a new page.
  • November 13, 2011
    If Good Cannot Comprehend Evil as it's currently written doesn't match what you're trying to say here, should we put Good Cannot Comprehend Evil in the Trope Repair Shop?
  • November 14, 2011
    Except the Trope Repair Shop is full...