->''"I'll have grounds\\
More relative than this. The play's the thing\\
Wherein I'll [[TropeNamer catch the conscience]] of the King".''
-->Theatre/{{Hamlet}}

Bob has recently done something [[KickTheDog horrible,]] but he feels no remorse for the deed. Maybe he hasn't realized that [[ItsAllAboutMe he can actually do wrong]], maybe he hasn't realized that his actions hurt someone, or maybe he is just really good at [[NeverMyFault justifying his actions.]] Anyway, what matters is that some other group of people, let's say Alice, Charlie, David and Ellen, want Bob to feel remorse for his crime. To do this, they put on some sort of a [[ShowWithinAShow performance]] [[{{Anvilicious}} specifically designed]] [[SomeAnvilsNeedToBeDropped to remind Bob of his crime.]]

Bob's reaction to this may vary. Ideally, this will open his eyes to his cruelty and lead to an epiphany. However, it is equally likely that he will see the performance as an action against him and try to get revenge. Or, he may simply remain oblivious to how the show relates to him.
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!!Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder: Film ]]

* Happens several times in ''Film/TheKingAndTheClown'', with the chief advisor using these plays as an excuse to enrage the king and make him suspicious of his corrupt ministers and concubines.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Literature ]]

* ''{{Hamlet}}'' gets parodied in ''Discworld/WyrdSisters''. The witches ''think'' this is why Tomjon and his strolling players are putting on a play about the old king's death. It isn't; they've been hired to do a propaganda piece that says Verence was a tyrant whose death was an accident. The witches then alter the play to do this themselves. Rather than feeling guilty, the Duke finally loses all connection to reality, but this still leads to a confession of sorts, so it's a result.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Live Action TV ]]

* The ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'' episode "Storyteller", in order to get Andrew to feel remorse for his killing of Jonathan.
* The ''Series/StarTrekTheOriginalSeries'' episode "The Conscience of the King" [[PlayingWithATrope plays with]] this trope; a man suspected of being the murderous tyrant [[NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast Kodos the Executioner]] happens to be an actor currently starring in a production of ''{{Macbeth}}''[[note]]He ''is'' Kodos, but he isn't the villain of the episode.[[/note]].
* In an episode of ''Series/TheAdventuresOfRobinHood‎'', Robin and Little John witness a man murder his brother. The killer accuses the Merry Men. The authorities seem willing to believe him. Robin and John get cast in a CainAndAbel play to get him to confess.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Religion and Mythology ]]

* In Literature/TheBible, following David's adultery with Bathsheba and [[TheUriahGambit murder of her husband]], the prophet Nathan tells him the story of a rich man who took the beloved lamb of his poor neighbor to serve to his dinner guest. David is outraged and demands to know who the man is who could have done such a thing. [[TomatoInTheMirror Nathan tells him.]]

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Theatre ]]

* The TropeNamer is ''Theatre/{{Hamlet}}'', whose title character puts on a play about a murder, called either ''The Murder of Gonzago'' or ''The Mouse-Trap'', to remind Claudius of his guilt.
* In ''Theatre/TheKingAndI'', Tuptim, at the end of "The Small House of Uncle Thomas," declares: "I too am glad for death of King. Of any King who pursues slave who is unhappy and tries to join her lover!" She almost gets carried away before a musical signal reminds her to deliver the bittersweet epilogue of the story. The King does not ignore this insult to his authority.
* In ''OneTouchOfVenus'', Savory puts on the MurderBallad "Dr. Crippen" with an accompanying pantomime, reminding Rodney just before it starts that the police suspect foul play in the mysterious disappearance of Rodney's [[DisposableFiance fiancée]].

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Webcomics ]]

* Tried in ''Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick'''s "The Tragedy of Greenhilt, Prince of Denmark," only it goes completely OffTheRails. (Greenhilt snaps after [[{{Franchise/Transformers}} Optimus Prime]] shows up.) Still, it works, sort of.
-->'''Xlaudius [sic]:''' Man, that play was great! I haven't had this much fun since I poisoned your husband in the ear.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Western Animation ]]

* ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'':
** The school once staged an entire play to make Mr. Burns donate to them- ''it didn't work''.
** In another episode, a parody of ''{{Hamlet}}'' no less, Hamlet (Bart) uses this method to get Claudius (Moe) to admit to killing Hamlet's father. Claudius admits to many random things, just not the murder.
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