(Do We Have This One?
? I thought we must. Some of what we're calling Suspiciously Specific Denial
is more like "suspiciously vehement denial," or falls under both.)
A character denies (or affirms) something so emphatically that it becomes a clue that they're lying. Can be played for comedy or drama.
Compare Saying Too Much
, Suspiciously Specific Denial
, Blatant Lies
, Implausible Deniability
, You Are What You Hate
Up for Grabs
- The Trope Namer is Hamlet, obviously. Gertrude notes Hamlet's use of this device for the character representing her in his Show Within a Show, and is not happy.
- In To Kill a Mockingbird, Scout mentions that one of the lawyer's tricks her father taught her is that if a witness denies something over and over without prompting, they totally did it. However, she goes on to say she instinctively knows this isn't the case with Tom Robinson when he says he didn't go onto the Ewells' property uninvited -- he's just that scared by the charge against him.
- An example of this Played for Laughs is the Doctor Who episode "The Unicorn and the Wasp," when the Upper-Class Twit is asked whether he was alone at the time of the murder, and a flashback shows him in a tryst with a footman.