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[[quoteright:230:[[Webcomic/SlightlyDamned http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Piercing_question_1206.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:230: The injury [[VisualPun is imaginary]],\\
but the [[HarshWordImpact pain]] is very real.]]

->'''Detective Del Spooner:''' Robots don't feel fear. They don't feel anything. They don't eat, they don't sleep...\\
'''Sonny:''' ''I'' do. I have even had ''dreams''.\\
'''Detective Del Spooner:''' ''Human beings'' have dreams. Even ''dogs'' have dreams. But not you. You are just a machine. An ''imitation'' of life. Can a robot write a symphony? Can a robot turn a canvas into a beautiful masterpiece?\\
'''Sonny:''' ...can you?
-->-- ''Film/IRobot''

[[OlderThanFeudalism Ever since]] Creator/{{Socrates}}, the power of the question to [[EpiphanicPrison provoke insight]] has been well acknowledged. Sometimes a single question, well phrased and well timed, can collapse a person's mental defenses and throw their entire worldview into doubt.

Whether it's TheMentor trying to force their student [[TheOnlyWayTheyWillLearn to learn a vital lesson]], or a villain trying [[BreakThemByTalking to reduce a hero to a wreck]], or a hero trying to [[KirkSummation show a villain how wrong they've been all this time]], or somebody desperately trying to force [[BrilliantButLazy the kid on the sidelines]] to realize they are [[DareToBeBadass meant to do something... more]], a good Armor Piercing Question either cuts directly to the heart of a person's worldview, obsession, or psyche, or else forces the listener to confront unpleasant truths that they either didn't want to face or didn't even consider.

This sometimes translates into people using a ''continued'' line of questioning to upset or enlighten other characters. Among the most powerful forms of this is finding a single question and formulating it so the answer forces your target to face something difficult to admit, and ''keep pounding it''. In this variant, the key is to find a question with an answer that cuts close to the bone and ''not let up''.

May involve, but is not necessarily related to, ArmorPiercingSlap.

The ConstantlyCurious often comes up with an Armor-Piercing Question in [[ChildrenAreInnocent total innocence]], being, like many children, TooDumbToFool.

[[TruthInTelevision This is a real technique]] used in psychotherapy, education, religious groups, and [[FlameWar debates]]; the Socratic method taken to its extreme, it's occasionally known as the [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synanon "Synanon Game"]]. Note that it's usually not as effective as it is in fiction, especially when pointing out {{doublethink}}; one common reaction is to [[AdHominem verbally attack the person]] causing the cognitive dissonance. Or the person may simply [[ScrewThisImOuttaHere leave the discussion]], or rationalize away the point, etc.

Compare BreakThemByTalking, HannibalLecture, WhatIsEvil, TheOnlyWayTheyWillLearn, FigureItOutYourself, {{Koan}}, CrypticConversation, WhamLine.

SuperTrope to AndThenWhat, which is about a specific subset of armor-piercing question to make the target think about life beyond their plan.

Compare ''and'' contrast ArmorPiercingResponse, when it's a response (instead of a question) that brings the other guy to a shock. It can be used to answer an Armor-Piercing Question, but it's just as likely to be used against an entirely innocent remark.


* ArmorPiercingQuestion/AnimeAndManga
* ArmorPiercingQuestion/ComicBooks
* ArmorPiercingQuestion/FanWorks
* [[ArmorPiercingQuestion/AnimatedFilms Films Animation]]
* [[ArmorPiercingQuestion/LiveActionFilms Films Live-Action]]
* ArmorPiercingQuestion/{{Literature}}
%%* ArmorPiercingQuestion/{{Music}}
%%* ArmorPiercingQuestion/NewspaperComics
%%* ArmorPiercingQuestion/ProfessionalWrestling
%%* ArmorPiercingQuestion/{{Religion}}
%%* ArmorPiercingQuestion/TabletopGames
%%* ArmorPiercingQuestion/{{Theater}}
* ArmorPiercingQuestion/LiveActionTV
* ArmorPiercingQuestion/VideoGames
%%* ArmorPiercingQuestion/VisualNovels
* ArmorPiercingQuestion/{{Webcomics}}
%%* ArmorPiercingQuestion/WebOriginal
* ArmorPiercingQuestion/WesternAnimation


* Music/DeathCabForCutie's "What Sarah Said": [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NQuVudn1-RE&feature=relmfu "So who's gonna watch you die?"]]
* "What Would You Do?" by City High, where the viewpoint character gets put in is place when he asks a girl he went to school with why she's stripping for money.
-->What would you do if your son was at home, crying all alone on the bedroom floor,
-->Cause he's hungry and the only way to feed him is to sleep with a man for a little bit of money?
-->And his daddy's gone in and out of lock down, I ain't got a job now, He's just smokin' rock now,
-->So for you this is just a good time
-->But for me this is what I call life
** Subverted in the bridge, when the viewpoint character [[ArmorPiercingResponse replies that his mother was once in the same position, and she raised him just fine]].
-->And all I know is
-->If my mama can do it
-->Baby, you can do it
* In the music video of Music/{{Beyonce}}'s "Pretty Hurts", the question "what is your aspiration in life?" makes the pageant contestant pause and it clearly rattles her.
* In "Downstream" by the Rainmakers, the singer asks Harry Truman "What about the Bomb, are you sorry that you did it?", to which the president answers, "Pass me that bottle, and mind your own business."
* "What Would You Do (If Jesus Came To Your House)," a country gospel standard popularized by singers Porter Wagoner and Red Sovine. The armor-piercer is indeed the titular question: Christians who do not uphold their stated principles in private life are asked what they would do if they learned [[UsefulNotes/{{Jesus}} Jesus Christ]] was making an unexpected visit, and what would they do to prepare, such as having to hurriedly get rid of ill-reputable materials and be unable to carry on the normal household conversation ... and treat him like an honored guest instead of someone they were uncomfortable with having around. The song also asks listeners whether they would uphold their values only when Jesus were around before reverting to a less-than-Christian lifestyle after he had left, or if they would practice Christianity all of the time.

[[folder:Newspaper Comics]]
* In one ''ComicStrip/BloomCounty'' strip, Oliver Wendell Jones takes Binkley and Opus on a MindScrew journey contemplating the nature of the universe, all the while asking "Why?" As the trip gets more and more out of control and Oliver keeps asking why everything is the way it is, Opus gets fed up and asks "Well, WHY NOT!?" which metaphorically brings Oliver back down to Earth.
* In one strip of ''ComicStrip/CalvinAndHobbes'', Calvin asks his father, "Dad, how do soldiers killing each other solve the world's problems?" His father has no answer for him.
** Two from the arc where Calvin and Hobbes go to Mars to escape Earth's pollution: "Is that your candy wrapper over there?" and "Would you welcome a dog that wasn't house-trained?", both asked by Hobbes after Calvin litters on Mars. Calvin realizes he's part of the problem and he and Hobbes go home [[SpaceWhaleAesop so as not to ruin things for the Martians]], and partly out of the realization that as human habits cause pollution, it's not right to go to another planet to escape the mess they've caused on Earth.
* In ''ComicStrip/{{Doonesbury}}'' a soldier asks her friend what she'll say if she's asked "Was it worth it?", to which her friend says that joining the army was great[[note]]sexual assault and dismissive attitude of her commander aside[[/note]] for her. Her friend responds that they'll be asking if ''the war'' was worth it; her friend's response is "what do you think I'm avoiding answering?"
* In ''ComicStrip/DykesToWatchOutFor'' #452, Conservative lesbian student Cynthia relates her problems with her homophobic parents to her professor Ginger. Ginger tries to end this conversation by saying "Oh. Jeez. Well, uh ... maybe you should talk to someone." Cynthia's response ("I thought I was.") may not be framed as an armor-piercing question, but functions like one ("What do you think I was trying to do just now?").
* Linus does this in one ''{{ComicStrip/Peanuts}}'' strip when he asks a doomsday prophet who has been terrorizing (or boring) the camp kids for a week: "Have you ever considered that you might be wrong?".
** Another strip has Charlie Brown getting ready for a baseball game and explaining to Sally that he has to put his left sock on first.
--->'''Sally:''' What would happen if you didn't?
--->'''Charlie:''' Well, we'd probably lose the game.
--->'''Sally:''' Have you ever won?
* Argentinian cartoonist {{Creator/Quino}} made [[http://www.solo-opiniones.com/2012/08/quienes-somos-de-quino/ a strip]] about a man showing to his grandson his collection of books:
-->'''Man:''' I've dedicated my life to reading all these books. I have learned who were the Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, Babylonians, Incas, Mayas...
-->'''Boy:''' Wow! And we grandpa? Who are we?
-->'''Man:''' ...
-->(a moment later)
-->'''Mom:''' Where's your grandpa?
-->'''Boy:''' In the library, crying.
** In his comic strip ''ComicStrip/{{Mafalda}}'', Felipe is celebrating the end of the school year and the start of summer vacation. After cheering, he suddenly flops on the sidewalk and asks:
-->'''Felipe:''' My God, what are we going to do with all this freedom from now on?
** In another ''Mafalda'' strip:
-->'''Manolito:''' Today the teacher congratulated me for my high marks in arithmetic, she praised my natural ability with numbers.
-->'''Mafalda:''' That's great Manolito! And what about the other subjects?
-->'''Manolito:''' ({{beat}}) ...today the teacher congratulated me for my high marks in arithmetic, she praised my natural ability with numbers...
* In ''ComicStrip/{{BC}}'' by Johnny Hart, Thor is attempting to explain the game of golf to the Cute Chick.
-->'''Cute Chick:''' Let's see if I get this right. The less you hit the ball, the better your score?
-->'''Thor:''' That's right.
-->'''Cute Chick:''' Then why hit it at all?
-->''shift to nighttime; Thor standing by the tee holding his club''
-->'''Thor:''' Why ... do ... it ... at ... all?

[[folder:Professional Wrestling]]
* During their 2010 feud in [[Wrestling/DragonGate DGUSA]], Wrestling/JimmyJacobs (at the time an atoning for his past sins) confronted [[Wrestling/DeanAmbrose Jon Moxley]] and tried laying one of these on him combined with NotSoDifferent: "When I look at you, I just see myself in the mirror... Whole life's a struggle, isn't it? Keep fighting. Keep fighting, then what? Then what?"
* On the July 11th, 2011 edition of ''[[Wrestling/{{WWERaw}} Raw]]'', Wrestling/JohnCena delivers one to Wrestling/CMPunk. Punk had spent the entire promo MovingTheGoalPosts while talking over his contract to renew with the WWE and trying to win over the audience in the process. Cena comes out and hits Punk with a KirkSummation, pointing out how big of a {{Hypocrite}} Punk is before asking him this question; if you love the WWE universe so much, why are you trying to leave the WWE? Punk, who'd been in full MagnificentBastard mode all night, [[VillainousBreakdown gets furious]] and tries to lay the blame on Cena, but the fact he'd just been offered the very things he'd been complaining about Cena having and ''more'' but still hadn't gotten enough to stay in WWE renders him unable to effectively answer this. Punk would then piss off Cena, by deriding his claim of being the underdog. He stated that Cena, like his hometown of UsefulNotes/{{Boston}}, has long since become a dynasty, comparable to the [[UsefulNotes/MLBTeams New York Yankees]]. Cena, unable to argue against that claim and angered over the comparison, promptly decked him in the face.
* John Cena has been on the receiving end of armor-piercing questions as well. Such as on the March 2, 2015 edition of RawIsWar, when Wrestling/StephanieMcMahon -- after [[TheReasonYouSuckSpeech raking him over the coals]] for demanding a spot in the Wrestling/AndreTheGiant Memorial Battle Royal at WrestleMania XXXI without (in her view) doing anything notable to earn it -- makes a bone-chilling, soul shaking comment: "It's not where would WWE be without John Cena. It's where would John Cena be without WWE!" (Which Cena, of course, successfully sells.)

* This idea, applied reflexively, is the idea behind Zen [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/K%C5%8Dan koans]]. The teacher, when asked a question by the student, provides an answer which is supposed to prompt the student to ask the right question to pierce their own ignorance.
* Often used by UsefulNotes/{{Jesus}} in Literature/TheFourGospels to challenge His disciples, or to confound and remonstrate the Pharisees for being HolierThanThou.
** The Pharisees frequently tried to do this to Jesus, usually by asking questions about secular traditions that seemingly contradicted religious mandate. [[TakeAThirdOption Jesus's answers inevitably pointed out and defied the false dichotomy]].
*** A good example of this trope is Luke 20:1-8. The Pharisees demanded Jesus tell them by what authority he was performing miracles, so he asked them whether John's baptisms were of heaven or men. If the Pharisees said heaven they knew Jesus would call them out on condemning John; if they said men, the people would hate them because the people believed John was a real prophet. They tried to TakeAThirdOption and say 'We don't know', to which Jesus replied 'Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things', meaning [[XanatosGambit he won either way]].
* The Book of Job features a famous example from God Himself. The premise of the book: Satan is having a chat with God in Heaven after the former has been out and about in the human world. God points out Job, His faithful servant, and Satan argues that Job is only faithful because God has blessed him with wealth, health, and many children; if he lost all of that, he would surely turn against the Divine. God accepts the challenge and tells Satan that he's free to hurt Job however he likes, [[ThouShallNotKill as long as he doesn't murder him]]. Soon after, Job's sons and daughters are killed, he loses everything he has, and he's struck with festering boils and illness. At the end of the book, Job, who's been TheStoic throughout, finally asks God why he's being punished. God replies as such: "Where were ''you'' when I laid the foundations of the earth?" In other words, TheseAreThingsManWasNotMeantToKnow, and God is so beyond mortal comprehension that humans can't even ''begin'' to grasp His workings. Job repents, acknowledges God's mastery, and admits his own limited wisdom; this pleases God, who rewards Job with more prosperity and children.
* The Literature/BookOfJonah actually ends with one (which theoretically doesn't count, since [[NoEnding we don't learn Jonah's reaction]]). Jonah is stubbornly waiting for God to destroy the sinful city of Nineveh, despite the fact that its people have now atoned and been forgiven. As he waits, God creates a plant called a kikayon to shade him from the harsh sunlight. The next day, however, God kills the plant, and Jonah, burning up in the sun, cries out in despair. God's response:
-->"You took pity on the kikayon[[note]] a kind of tree, species unknown[[/note]], for which you did not toil nor did you make it grow, which one night came into being and the next night perished. Now should I not [[{{Forgiveness}} take pity]] on Nineveh, the great city, in which there are many more than 120,000 people who [[ObliviouslyEvil do not know their right hand from their left]], and many beasts as well?"

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* The ''Dark Champions'' villain known as Dr. Enigma has a similar power called The Unanswerable Question that can leave a person in a helpless daze. He touches the victim with a chemical and then asks a bizarre question such as "Why must two and two make five?" or "What color is Tuesday?"
* ''TabletopGame/MageTheAwakening'' {{invoke|dTrope}}s this with the spell called "The Inescapable Question", which causes ''any'' question to cause the hearer to stop and ponder its meaning and answer (it is noted that particularly savvy mages can get the effect by simply asking "Why?"). In effect, the spell adds a distracting veneer of profundity to a question that can be a completely inane IceCreamKoan.
** ''TabletopGame/HunterTheVigil'': vampires around the world will crap their pants upon receiving a piece of paper, or an SMS, or an email, or a phone call, that asks "Who is Cain?" This isn't necessarily because of the significance of Cain; it's because it means the Cainite Heresy is coming for them.
** In ''TabletopGame/HunterTheReckoning'' the redeemers have this power. They can ask a question, although what exactly the question is and if the monster answers, is not of much relevance. As long as the hunter appeals to the humane side of the target they bring it forward and the creature is overcome with possibly forgotten feelings and emotions of being alive and mortal. The book states that a common question is "Do you remember?"
* In the backstory of ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'', the primarch of the Night Lords, Konrad Curze, subdued the WretchedHive of a planet he landed on as a child through brutal and uncompromising murder of anyone who broke the law. When down the line this method of governing causes extreme problems for both the planet (when Curze is gone, the place slips back into its old ways without fear of him keeping people in line) and the Astartes recruited from it (they're a bunch of sadistic, murderous psychopaths), Curze's second in command calls him out for using such brutal methods, leading to this exchange:
-->'''Curze''': [[IDidWhatIHadToDo There was no other way.]]
-->'''Sevetar''': No? What other ways did you try?

* ''Theatre/TheCrucible'' - "Is Your Husband a Lecher?" Repeated a few times.
* "Now tell me, how do you take religion?" Asked by Gretchen to {{Faust}}, in Creator/JohannWolfgangVonGoethe's version. Having made a DealWithTheDevil, he has a hard time answering it. Became so influential that "Gretchenfrage" [[TropeNamer entered the German vocabulary.]]
* ''Theatre/SeventeenSeventySix'': When Adams and Jefferson speak out in support of the anti-slavery clause in the Declaration, Jefferson describes it as an infamous practice that wounds human nature. Rutledge immediately points out Jefferson's and Massachusetts' hypocrisy:
-->"Then see to your own wounds, Mr. Jefferson, for you are a--''practitioner'', are you not?"\\
"[singing] Who sails the ships out of ''Boston?''"
* ''Theatre/IntoTheWoods'' has "Last Midnight," a song sung in the second act by the Witch. The whole first verse consists of simple questions delivered to the Baker, Jack, Cinderella, and Little Red Riding Hood: "Told a little lie... stole a little gold... broke a little vow, did you?" Those questions force the heroes to admit that their shortsighted, self-centered wishes and "small" wrongdoings have had major consequences for everyone.
* In ''Theatre/{{Company}}'', Bobby, with a little help from Joanne, manages to give one to ''himself'':
-->'''Joanne''': I'll take care of you.\\
'''Bobby''': But who will I take care of?\\
'''Joanne''' ''(a big smile)'': Well, did you hear yourself? Did you hear what you just said, kiddo?
* ''Theatre/TheAndersonvilleTrial'' - During a recess in the trial, Baker confronted Chipman with the possibility of his being a puppet of a higher mortal power, not very much unlike Wirz. [[BerserkButton Chipman does not take it well.]]
* In ''FiddlerOnTheRoof'', Tevye gets angry when his daughter Tzeitel begs him not to [[ArrangedMarriage force her to marry]] [[OldManMarryingAChild the town butcher]].
-->'''Tevye''': [[IGaveMyWord We made an agreement! Between us, an agreement is an agreement!]]
-->'''Tzeitel''': Is that more important than ''I'' am, Papa?

[[folder:Visual Novels]]
* One could argue that finding these is pretty much the ''entire point'' of gameplay in the ''Franchise/AceAttorney'' series, since you're trying to peel away lies to uncover truths in the courtroom. Appropriately, the people being asked often react as if they've been physically pierced by the questions.
** In ''VisualNovel/AceAttorneyInvestigations 2'', the new "Logic Chess" system involves having a verbal battle of wits to draw a secret out of someone by way of {{Dialogue Tree}}s rather than presenting evidence and pressing statements. Hits hardest with the final opponent, [[spoiler:Yumihiko Ichiyanagi (Sebastian Debeste)]], when the point of the final round turns out ''not'' to be acquiring any case-relevant information, but to help find a cause that's enough for a completely broken individual to go on living for.
** The ''player'' is actually treated to a pair of interrelated questions at the end of the second ''Phoenix Wright'' game:
*** Is it right for a murderer to get off scot-free, in order to protect the life of a completely innocent bystander? This wouldn't be too hard to answer on its own, as most justice systems have an answer built in: protect the innocent, no matter what.
*** It's the ''second'' question that makes it more complicated: Is it still right [[SadisticChoice if another completely innocent person gets convicted in the guilty party's place]] if the latter walks free? (In context, this also amounts to "what is justice?" and "what does it really mean to be a lawyer?") As one player put it, "I have never been so paralyzed by a simple yes-or-no question in a video game."
** Earlier that case, an exchange like this happens between Phoenix and Edgeworth, when Phoenix, [[spoiler:having realized that Engarde is indeed guilty]], begins to question what being a lawyer means.
---> '''Edgeworth''': It doesn't matter who, every person deserves a proper defense and a fair trial. Isn't that the basis of our judicial system?\\
'''Phoenix''': "Proper defense"? But what exactly is that? Is it where a lawyer forcibly and blindly gets an acquittal through shouting and trickery?\\
'''Edgeworth''': ...*sigh* Ironic that you of all people should say such a thing. Isn't that exactly how you have fought for your clients up until now?
* ''VisualNovel/KatawaShoujo'':
** In Rin's route, as Nomiya [[spoiler:is angry about Rin walking away from the exhibit and Hisao questions whether the commitment is worthwhile]], Nomiya asks Hisao if he has anything comparable to Rin's passion for Art. Hisao, who may or may not have left the club by this point, based on player decisions, silently concedes that the answer is no.
** Also, asking one of these of Rin is the key to getting her good ending. [[spoiler:Rin laments that what she really wants is for someone to understand her well enough to not have to ask her questions; Hisao asks, "But if you found someone like that, then what?"]]
** Jigoro, in response to Hisao suggesting that he visit his daughter Shizune at Yamaku, ends up asking Hisao when the last time he's called his parents. Hisao is forced to concede that he hasn't done a very good job of keeping in touch with them; other routes show minimal, and usually off-screen contact with them.
* ''VisualNovel/AProfile'''s second route has Miku as the heroine, who is prone to asking Masayuki questions he really doesn't want to answer about his study habits and how he quit track. The answer that he doesn't want to admit is that he really misses being on the track field. Before this, people were too afraid to mention it in front of him.
* [[ButtMonkey Youhei]], of all people, gets one of these in Kyou's route in ''VisualNovel/{{Clannad}}'', when he forces Tomoya to confront the fact that [[spoiler:the Fujibayashi sister he is dating is not the one he actually cares for]].
* Much like the ''Franchise/AceAttorney'' example mentioned above, these questions are the entire point of ''VisualNovel/SocratesJonesProPhilosopher'', which draws heavy inspiration from that series AND is about philosophy and debate.

[[folder:Web Original]]
* In ''Literature/HitherbyDragons'', this is the method Ii Ma uses to trap others within the Place Without Recourse. They are given a question that they cannot answer without negating everything they believe in -- and while that question remains unanswered, they're left in a place where nothing they can do matters at all.
* The question that shatters Jappleack's self-delusions in ''Blog/AskJappleack'', after [[spoiler:Apple Bloom's death]], is a very simple one: "What's the point of growing apples?" When she can't come up with an answer, her entire worldview falls apart. It's worth noting that, near the end of the story and after much CharacterDevelopment, someone asks the question again... and she comes up with an answer.
* ''WebVideo/TheMusicVideoShow'' has this in the second part of Episode 100. The third season host [[Main/TheReasonYouSuckSpeech calls out]] [[spoiler:the flaws of second season host's episodes]], who admits to those problems.
--> [[spoiler:Second Season Host:]] "Why didn't YOU come back after three months?" Cue [[Main/TheReasonYouSuckSpeech The Reason You Suck Speech]] against the third season host, who can only respond in silence.
* ''WebVideo/NostalgiaCritic''
** In his phone call to the director of ''Film/MyPetMonster'', the critic's self-loathing starts to seep in when he gets asked why he's in his twenties and is still watching kids' movies.
** Santa Christ gives an armor piercing question and statement in Christmas Story 2 that causes the critic to show guilt.
--> '''Nostalgia Critic:''' Santa Christ, I need your help on something. I just threw out this really annoying person named Hyper Fangirl.\\
'''Santa Christ:''' Well, what did she do?\\
'''Nostalgia Critic:''' She tried to make me appreciate Christmas. (he just realizes his mistake)\\
'''Santa Christ:''' Wow. You're a douche.\\
'''Nostalgia Christ:''' No no no, it's not like that. She did all these terrible things and she deserves to be punished for it.\\
'''Santa Christ:''' Well last I heard, she was flying 35,000 feet through the air completely set on fire. Sounds like punishment enough to me.\\
'''Nostalgia Critic:''' You're not gonna be on my side, are you?\\
'''Santa Christ:''' I don't think you're on your side.
* In ''Literature/{{Worm}}'', Emma uses one of these on Taylor in [[http://parahumans.wordpress.com/2011/07/16/insinuation-2-4/ Chapter 2.4]] as part of her [[TheBully bullying campaign]].
** [[https://parahumans.wordpress.com/2013/08/29/interlude-27b/ Interlude 27b]]
* In one ''[[Roleplay/GlobalGuardiansPBEMUniverse Global Guardians]]'' story, BigBad Lord Doom is ranting over the captured heroes about how his entire motivation is saving mankind from itself by taking over the world. This prompts Bungie, the team's PluckyComicRelief, to ask the mastermind, "What's the most important part, taking over the world, or saving mankind from itself?" The answer to that question causes the villain to release the heroes and vanish. Five years later, he returned from hiding, and carried with him an AIDS cure, functional prostethic replacements for lost limbs, and cheap fusion power, all of which the villain supplied to all nations freely.
* In ''WebVideo/TheLizzieBennetDiaries'', Jane asked Lizzie what she planned to do with herself after her degree and the normally vocal Lizzie is rendered with only a few words.
* ''WebAnimation/{{RWBY}}'':
** In the episode ''Search And Destroy'', Dr. Oobleck asks Blake why she wants to become a Huntress.
--->'''Blake:''' There's too much wrong in this world to just stand by and do nothing. Inequality, corruption... ''Someone'' has to stop it. \\
'''Oobleck:''' Very well. ''How?''
** He also asks Weiss and Yang the same question. The result is the three realizing that they weren't being honest with themselves about why. And then realizing that their personal motives didn't matter: what was important was that they chose to protect others, not why they chose it.
** He doesn't bother asking Ruby, because she knows exactly why she's a Huntress: [[WeHelpTheHelpless To help people by fighting monsters and bad guys]], and [[AscendedFangirl because it's cooler than being a cop]].
** In an earlier episode, Weiss was complaining to Professor Port and expressing frustration that Ruby was made team leader and not her. The professor counters her with this:
--> "So the outcome did not fall in your favor. Do you really believe that acting in such a manner would cause those in power to reconsider their decision?"
** During an argument with General Ironwood about his decision to bring an entire army as security to Vale, Ironwood protests that his fleet makes people feel safe. Ozpin's response actually makes Ironwood hesitate over his decision for the first time:
-->'''Ozpin''': A guardian is a symbol of comfort, but an army is a symbol of conflict. There is an energy in the air now; a question in the back of everyone's minds: if ''this'' is the size of our defenses, what is it we're expecting to fight?
** Blake gives one to Ilia, in "True Color", asking her if she really thinks that her parents would approve of what she's doing as part of the [[KnightTemplar White Fang]]. [[spoiler: This triggers the start of Ilia's breakdown and eventual HeelFaceTurn as she breaks into tears and responds that she doesn't know what to do anymore.]]
* A humorous example in "Literature/TheSalvationWar". A [[ItMakesSenseInContext succubus is hosting a talk show]] and is interrogating some corrupt politician about his misdeeds. When he's trying to flip the script by mentioning the atrocities she earlier commited, she responds that yes, she did, but then she's a literal demon from Hell. What's his excuse?
* In ''Podcast/WelcomeToNightVale'' Earl Harlan is trying to talk to Cecil about being stuck at nineteen years old for a century while Cecil is reminiscing about their last days in high school together and glossing over Earl's concerns, until Earl asks him what year they graduated. After several seconds of [[StunnedSilence absolute silence]] Earl prompts him with "You don't remember, do you?" and Cecil abruptly changes the subject.
* In ''WebVideo/MyLittlePonyTotallyLegitRecap'', Pinkie Pie catches her sister Maud [[DrivenToSuicide trying kill herself]], after the latter realized she could no longer pretend she's okay with her loner existence, but is too afraid to try making the effort of changing her life, prompting this exchange:
-->'''Maud:''' I decided to end my life, rather than undertake the monumental task of salvaging it.
-->'''Pinkie:''' But you're going die one day anyway?
-->'''Maud:''' Obviously, what's your point?
-->'''Pinkie:''' My point is that if death is certain anyway, then what's the harm in trying to live a little longer? At the very worst, you'll still end up dead like you wanted, but at best you might actually be happy.
** After being subjected to a particularly harsh prank that made her think she ''[[DisproportionateRetribution killed everyone she cared about]]'' to teach her a lesson about [[OOCIsSeriousBusiness acting out character]] by the rest of the town, Rainbow Dash asks them if that was out of character of ''them''. Cue horrifying realization.
* In the season one finally of ''WebAnimation/CampCamp'' Max gives one to top off his BreakingSpeech to David:
--> '''Max:''' Life sucks, and we live in a world of desensitized, apathetic assholes! Why don't you just get with the program and stop giving a shit?
** [[spoiler: Cue ArmorPiercingResponse]]