Created By: neoYTPismApril 17, 2011 Last Edited By: EkuranApril 24, 2011
Troped

Misplaced Retribution

Retaliation in the wrong direction, rather than wrong magnitude.

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
Its just the way the world is. One country gets pissed off and attacks some other country killing civilians in the process. (this is not kindergarten, a sorry I blew my temper, lets make up wont cut it. The Pandoras box has been opened) So the other country says Ok, you kill our civilians, well we can kill yours too B*tch!
- ostapslobodian of Youtube, on this video

Do We Have This One? Oh, and I'm open to title suggestions. (And suggestions for an alternative page quotation.)

Some retaliation exceeds what's being retaliated to in its severity. But some retaliation isn't even along the same line; it's directed at those who can't reasonably be blamed for what you're retaliating for, except according to exceedingly shaky justifications. Whether it is worse than what is retaliated to or milder, it is still indefensibly directed at the wrong targets.

From a psychoanalytic point of view, this is called displacement, and occurs when someone who feels under attack emotionally retaliates against someone who is a better victim than the aggressor - for some reason, it's more viable to emotionally attack this new target than the aggressor.

It's one of the many ways in which a Cycle Of Revenge can get ugly. Avenging The Villain is also related, since The Hero (or whoever killed the villain) is usually either blameless or justified.

Truth In Television, of course, though it might be an idea to focus on trying to gather fictional examples for now.

Examples

Anime and Manga
  • In The Breaker Manhwa, a great deal of characters are after Han Chun Wo, also known as Goomoonryong, because he killed their master or performed some other dishonorable thing upon their martial arts school, but since he is a complete and utter Badass upon which they have no hope of carrying out their revenge, they prefer to target his student, Yi Shioon, which becomes particularly unfair and messed up in The Breaker: New Waves when Shioon looses his ability to use ki and becomes completely helpless, is renounced by his Master as a student and is no longer a Murim (part of the martial arts world) and therefor should be off limits.
  • This is played with in Axis Powers Hetalia. Canada is frequently the target of this because he looks almost identical to his brother America, though the countries that are pissed at America wouldn't harm Canada if they knew the difference. That he's very soft spoken means he rarely is able to stop the abuse or convince the other countries (rightfully angry at America) from beating up on him.

Film
  • This is Two-Face's deal in The Dark Knight. Rather than the Joker who actually orchestrated his tragedy, he goes after everyone who was involved in the events, no matter how weakly or by how many degrees of separation, even to the point of threatening Gordon's son.

Live Action TV
  • In a mid 90's episode of Grange Hill a guy and a girl try to escape from a fire by climbing out of a window. She slips, falls to her death, her boyfriend blames the guy who was with her and spends the rest of the season stalking and harassing him. He eventually stops and apologizes (possibly since everyone was against his vendetta).
Community Feedback Replies: 14
  • April 17, 2011
    NoirGrimoir
    • In The Breaker, a great deal of characters are after Han Chun Wo, also known as Goomoonryong, because he killed their master or performed some other dishonorable thing upon their martial arts school, but since he is a complete and utter Badass upon which they have no hope of carrying out their revenge, they prefer to target his student, Yi Shioon, which becomes particularly unfair and messed up in The Breaker: New Waves when Shioon looses his ability to use ki and becomes completely helpless, is renounced by his Master as a student and is no longer a Murim (part of the martial arts world) and therefor should be off limits.
  • April 17, 2011
    c0ry
    From a psychoanalytic point of view, this is called displacement, and occurs when someone who feels under attack emotionally retaliates against someone who is a better victim than the aggressor - for some resaon, it is more viable to emotionally attack this new target than the aggressor.
  • April 17, 2011
    Bisected8
    • In a mid 90's episode of Grange Hill a guy and a girl try to escape from a fire by climbing out of a window. She slips, falls to her death, her boyfriend blames the guy who was with her and spends the rest of the season stalking and harassing him. He eventually stops and apologieses (possibly since everyone was against his vendetta).
  • April 20, 2011
    Earnest
    This is played with in Axis Powers Hetalia. Canada is frequently the target of this because he looks almost identical to his brother America, though the countries that are pissed at America wouldn't harm Canada if they knew the difference. That he's very soft spoken means he rarely is able to stop the abuse or convince the other countries (rightfully angry at America) from beating up on him.
  • April 20, 2011
    Generality
    This is Two-Face's deal in The Dark Knight. Rather than the Joker who actually orchestrated his tragedy, he goes after everyone who was involved in the events, no matter how weakly or by how many degrees of separation, even to the point of threatening Gordon's son.
  • April 20, 2011
    TwoGunAngel
    One of the many ways in which a Cycle Of Revenge can get ugly.
  • April 20, 2011
    Fanra
    "Having been attacked by al-Qa'ida, for us now to go bombing Iraq in response would be like our invading Mexico after the Japanese attacked us at Pearl Harbor."
    -- Richard Clarke, National Coordinator for Security, Infrastructure Protection, and Counter-terrorism, Sept 12, 2001
  • April 21, 2011
    HeroicJay
    I don't know if the game designers intended it that way, but Hope's (ultimately failing) plans to kill Snow in Final Fantasy XIII struck me this way; his mother volunteered to join Snow's team and Snow tried (and failed) to prevent her death, which was entirely caused by the villains, and Hope could only blame Snow for it. The reason I said I don't know if the game designers intended it that way? When Hope finally reveals this to Snow, Snow agrees it was his fault.
  • April 21, 2011
    TwoGunAngel
    Failure To Save Murder is one common form of this, as Heroic Jay notes above. Another example of this would be Konnan's swearing of vengeance against the Player Character of Dragonfable for failing to save his family from the evil dragon Akriloth, leading him to become the evil Drakonnan.
  • April 21, 2011
    Bisected8
    Avenging The Villain is also related, since The Hero (or whoever killed the villain) is usually either blameless or justified.
  • April 21, 2011
    SKJAM
    • One Green Lantern story's antagonist was the Aerialist, who was under the delusion that someone at Ferris Aircraft had murdered his beloved (death was in fact a freak accident) and therefore sought revenge against the company. Notable for being one of the few times Hal Jordan thought the Insanity Defense would actually work, even citing the M'Naughten guideline.
  • April 24, 2011
    Earnest
    ^^^^ That could still count if Snow considered her loss My Greatest Failure, in which case his lack of objectivity doesn't excuse Hope's misguided anger.
  • April 24, 2011
    RedWren
  • April 24, 2011
    Sceptre
    • Politics. Many political parties have had a reputation for obstructing some sort of legislation and then persuaded voters to punish their opponents for not going too far enough.

Three days must pass before this YKTTW is Launchworthy or Discardable