"The Council was divided. Mine was the deciding vote. They killed him. I was furious. I never knew myself capable of such rage. All I could see was death."A Tragedy of Impulsiveness is when a tragedy is caused by someone's impetuousness or irrational impatience. This trope's power comes from the fact that if characters had thought before they acted the tragedy could have been avoided. From seeing enemies where there are none, to jumping in a swimming pool before checking for water, to messing with the Mad Scientist's machines, acting without considering consequences can cause catastrophic calamities. This is most likely to be caused by Leeroy Jenkins, or any Hot-Blooded character in general. If the character is normally more stable, chances are this happens during a Moment of Weakness. Related to Green-Eyed Monster, Third-Act Misunderstanding, Plethora of Mistakes, What an Idiot!, Distress Ball, Cycle of Revenge, Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!, and Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!. See also "Fawlty Towers" Plot, which is this trope's comic cousin—caused by (often impulsively) compounding lies, and blowing up in the liar's face (typically causing embarrassment rather than death or suchlike).
— Delenn, Babylon 5
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Anime & Manga
- Ai no Kusabi: Green-Eyed Monster Guy has decided to "rescue" Riki from Iason. He failed to consider a couple of key things. First off is the fact that Iason is a Blondy and therefore, bigger, faster and stronger than he is. It's an inevitable Curb-Stomp Battle. Second, he never considered what Riki thinks of this plan. He tries to stop it because he never agreed to it. End result; Iason and Riki die while Guy himself survives to think about what just happened that got his beloved killed.
- In Heaven's Lost Property Sugata's backstory has him deciding not to do a safety check on his brother's hang glider after they get into an argument. Naturally, it was the one day that a screw was loose.
- Elfen Lied: Even after being explicitly told only to track Lucy down and not to engage her, Nana decides to try and take Lucy down herself in the hopes of making Kurama proud. The end result: Lucy tears off all of her limbs one by one.
- Sakura Wars TV: After getting off on the wrong foot with the other members of the Imperial Flower Combat Troupe in the first episode, Sakura, rather than wait for them to calm down and apologize like Yoneda explicitly warned her to, rushes in and tries to patch things up right away, ending up ruining an interview Sumire was having and heavily damaging the Kobu, which leads Sumire to throw her out of the team completely. Of course, by the next episode, Sakura manages to redeem herself by helping fight off a demon attack.
- Digimon Adventure tri.: With Fantastic Racism against Digimon running rampant, Mimi impulsively decides to fight a rampaging Ogremon in front of the press, hoping to prove to the world that not all Digimon are bad. Unfortunately, during the fight, Togemon accidentally shoots down a news helicopter, which only ends up making public opinion against Digimon even worse.
- The "Home Schooling" arc of Runaways starts off with Victor Mancha deciding to hack a Russian computer, despite not really understanding what was on it (he doesn't speak Russian), in order to steal music files, all in hopes of impressing Nico so that she'd take him back. His actions result in a drone crashing into the Runaways' house, killing Old Lace and causing poor Klara Prast to go berserk with terror, trapping everyone inside the wreckage of the house with her vines. The crash also attracts a paramilitary unit to their house, some of whom are accidentally killed (or at least severely injured) by Klara. And finally, Chase's shady uncle shows up, because it turns out the house belongs to him. The Runaways are thus once again forced to... run away.
- In War World super-villain Mongul kidnaps three Superman's friends to force the Man of Steel to retrieve an artifact guarded by the Martians. Superman was so worried about his friends and so certain that he could thwart Mongul that he fought Martian Manhunter rather than explaining his plight so both heroes could come up with a plan (although, to be fair, J’onn didn’t ask either).
- In Red Daughter of Krypton, Supergirl decided the best and quickest way to help a Red Lantern get her mind back was taking a tank of lake blood and ripping it open over the city that Sheko was in. Unfortunately, Atrocitus was present, and he took control of the blood rain, making it into a tornado. Supergirl tried to fix the blood storm, igniting it with her heat vision... and unintentionally setting the city on fire. Her teammates angrily said that she had to learn to think before acting.
- Invoked in Elseworld's Finest: Supergirl & Batgirl. After finding out about Lex Luthor's kidnapping, Supergirl decides to fly to Gotham, ignoring Batgirl's ban on superhumans. Wonder Woman tries to warn her against being impulsive:
Wonder Woman: No. Let her go. She needs to learn that there can be painful consequences to rash actions.
- In a story which happens during the events of the reviled Amazons Attack storyline, in where the Amazons went to war against the US, Supergirl and Wonder Girl suddenly come up with a "brilliant" plan to end the war: kidnapping the President and bringing him to Queen Hyppolita to engage in peace talks with her. Predictably, their plan went awry: the Amazons shot the Air Force One down and almost killed the President, and Kara and Cassie's reputations suffered a severe blow. After fending an Amazon squad off, Kara flies to New York to help, although Cassie points out that acting without thinking got them into that mess.
Wonder Girl: But we were only trying to—
Supergirl: Doesn't matter. I have to make up for this somehow, before it's too late. I have to balance the scales.
Wonder Girl: How? By flying off half-cocked again, after what we just did...?
Supergirl: I can't do nothing, Cassie!
- Last Child of Krypton: After Gendo almost got his best friend killed during the Bardiel disaster Shinji resolves to stop Gendo and rallies several of his friends. Kaji is against it because he thinks that fighting Gendo there and now is a bad, dumb idea, and he thinks Shinji is being too impulsive and hasty, but he joins them anyway. Unfortunately Gendo was prepared for their arrival, their assault failed, and Maya lost an arm. Later Kaji rebuked Shinji for its impulsiveness.
- Fantasy of Utter Ridiculousness: Megas's fight against Yuuka in the Extra Stage is due to the latter incorrectly believing that Coop had damaged several flowers in the Garden of the Sun, thus triggering her primary Berserk Button. Due to her rashness, said Garden is mostly reduced to a giant crater by story's end, something which almost pushes her over the edge.
- The Vow: When Lord Shen experiments obsessively on the warfare potential of black powder, his parents consult the Soothsayer who foretells Shen's downfall at the hands of a "Warrior of Black and White". Shen overhears this and proceeds to find pandas and massacre them, resulting in his exile, and years later, in his ultimate defeat. He never stops to consider that part of the prophecy which said that the Warrior of Black and White would defeat him if he continues the dark path he has chosen to fulfill his ambitions.
- In Weight Of The World, Ruby impulsively jumps into a fight between Japan and Neo, despite Japan's orders to stay out of it and the fact that Japan was winning. Because of her recklessness, Neo is able to cut out Ruby's eye. Ruby falls unconscious because of her injury, which means she doesn't activate Silver Eyes, thus leaving the Grimm Dragon unfrozen and free to spawn more Grimm in Beacon.
Films — Animation
- In Frozen, Anna's recklessness as a child when Elsa pleaded with her to slow down when using her powers eventually resulted in Elsa isolating herself from everyone including Anna. During the post-coronation, Anna pressured Elsa to give her an answer why Elsa was cutting her off in public which caused Elsa to accidentally reveal her powers in front of everyone. And because Anna was so trusting of a complete stranger, Hans was able to manipulate her and was in a prime position to usurp the throne.
- The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea: During the film's climax, Melody's decision to give Morgana the trident was largely to spite Ariel for lying to her about her mermaid heritage her entire life, refusing to let Ariel explain herself. She realizes just what a bad move that was mere seconds later.
- The Iron Giant: During the climax of the film, Mansley, blatantly refusing to accept that the Giant isn't a threat, furiously snatches the radio out of Sgt. Rogard's hands and orders the Nautilus to launch the nuke at the Giant. It's only after he does so that he remembers that the nuke is targeted to the Giant's current position, and the Giant is standing right in the middle of Rockwell, less than five feet away from him.
Films — Live-Action
- Alpha Dog is a good example. Johnny Truelove and his gang of drug dealers has a grudge against Jake Mazursky, who owes their leader money. While driving down the street, they notice Jake's little brother, Zack, walking alongside the road. Without stopping to think of the consequences, they kidnap him in order to teach his brother a lesson. Even afterward, Zack preferred hanging out with his kidnappers to going home. He liked the gang and was perfectly willing to tell the police that he'd run away. They eventually realize what dire consequences, namely hard time, their actions could actually have, so they kill the boy. A tragic ending that could have been avoided had one of them actually stopped to think "Hey wait, killing a 15-year-old kid might get us into some trouble!". All of the gang involved wound up in prison for kidnapping and murder.
- The entirety of The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans is this, especially at the beginning, where Terrence McDonagh jumps in water to save a prisoner without checking how deep it is, thus screwing up his back, getting him promoted and addicted to cocaine.
- Carlito's Way: Carlito Brigate himself is pretty level-headed, but his lawyer friend David Kleinfeld dooms the entire cast by impulsively killing his mob boss client during a jailbreak. This might be a subversion, though, as Carlito suspects that Kleinfeld planned to kill the mob boss all along and played Carlito himself for a fool.
- Death Sentence: In the beginning of the film, Nick Hume is outraged when he learns that Joe Darley, the murderer of his son, Brendan, would be sentenced to only 3 to 5 years of jail time. He proceeds to take matters into his own hands by forcing the District Attorney to drop the case and ultimately get revenge by killing Joe himself. Thus, this action results in a Cycle of Revenge, with Billy (Joe's brother) and his gang of killers going after Nick.
- Fatal Attraction: Dan Gallagher could have avoided everything that came after had he just stopped, thought of his wife and child, and said "No, thanks" to Alex Forrest.
- How the story begins in The Machinist. Prior to the events of the film, Trevor Reznik kills a boy in a hit-and-run accident when he tries to light a cigarette while driving. As a consequence, he has hallucinations about several individuals to cope with it.
- Played for Laughs in The Naked Gun, where Frank Drebin shoots five actors ("Good ones!"), because he thought that they were killing a guy. It was just a production of Julius Caesar.
- In Scarface (1983), Tony Montana's aggressiveness certainly didn't win him any allies, but you know he's doomed when he calls off the hit on the journalist by killing Alejandro Sosa's henchman, Alberto the Shadow. It was for a good reason, but if he'd thought out his actions he could have avoided the situation without antagonizing the only person who could have fixed the mess he was in. Then later, instead of trying to fix the situation, he kills Manny Ribera (his best friend), in a fit of rage, driving Gina (his own sister), to try to kill him.
- In the original film Scarface (1932), no drugs are involved, but Tony Camonte ends up killing Guino Rinaldo (his best friend), when he thinks the guy's abusing Cesca (his sister). Turns out they married in secret because his sister knew Tony would never approve. Oops.
- Deepwater Horizon: As the film begins, the Horizon is 43 days behind schedule on the well they've been drilling. BP is riding them to get it finished and ordering measures taken to try and make up lost time, measures that have the Transocean people scratching their heads. When Mike asks a few roughnecks if it's stupid what they're doing, they say they're not sure it's stupid, but it "ain't smart". Eventually all this leads up to an uncontrolled pressure buildup that causes a blowout and eventual explosion.
- Everest (2015): Comes up in a number of ways but the most prominent perhaps is when Doug insists on reaching the summit, despite being more than an hour after the 2:00 turnaround time. Rob, against his better judgement, allows it. As a result, when the storm rolls in, the two of them are much higher on the summit than everyone was expecting and no one can get to them with fresh O2 bottles.
- Revenge of the Sith: Anakin's fall to the Dark Side could've been avoided had he chosen to not stop Mace Windu from killing Palpatine in the heat of the moment. A much clearer example of this trope occurs in the final act, where in his rage and impulsiveness, Anakin force chokes Padme, who was pregnant with twins, and indirectly causes her death as a result.
- Gleahan and the Knaves of Industry: Most of Gleahan's problems would be solved if he would take a moment to step back and consider the situation. But no, he's dead-set on finishing his quest however he can.
- From Agatha Christie:
- Death on the Nile: Had Simon Doyle let the rock fall on Linnet Ridgeway instead of instinctively pulling her away, he and three other characters would have still been alive by the end of the novel.
- The Mirror Crack'd from Side to Side: Marina Gregg's poisoning of Heather Badcock was unpremeditated and carried out in a fit of murderous rage. Had the means to do so not been immediately at hand, she would have had time to calm down and the tragedy would not have occurred. For that matter, if Heather had listened to her doctor and not been a star-struck fan, the tragedy that prompted the murder would never have occurred.
- One of Dale Brown's novels touches briefly on an in-universe aversion; apparently the US Air Force has quite an extensive background certification process for pilots wishing to take a posting where they may be called upon to deploy nuclear weapons (which seemed to happen at least once in every volume at one point in the series), which is temporarily suspended in the event of personal crises like getting divorced. Brown being a former Air Force pilot himself, and the absence of any large and faintly glowing craters where US towns and cities used to be, suggest that this is Truth in Television.
- The Fuck-Up by Arthur Nersesian: The book is about a guy doing one of these things after the other, starting small and gradually escalating Up to Eleven until his whole life is a horrible mess. The Freudian Excuse is that his girlfriend broke up with him in the beginning of the book and it upset him so much that it made him act stupid, then all the mess that ensued continued to make him more emotional and stupid.
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Harry had been told many times not to trust his visions, and then completely forgets that Snape had means to contact Sirius. If he had gone to Snape before attempting to contact Sirius himself (and getting caught by Umbridge in the process), the whole misunderstanding/deception that led to Sirius's death probably would have been prevented.
- Even if their mutual distrust and loathing would have prevented Harry from talking to Snape, there was a forgotten Chekhov's Gun that he'd buried in the bottom of his trunk: a device which would presumably bring let him bring Sirius to him (and which he'd refrained from using because he thought it would be dangerous for Sirius to reveal himself). It turned out to be a two-way mirror, which would have been a far better communications method than the fireplace he'd used before—and therefore a far better method of verifying Sirius's status.
- The Backstory of the series as a whole. Sirius Black offered to relegate the duty of Secret Keeper of Lily and James Potter to Peter Pettigrew so that he himself would act as a decoy, which resulted in Peter's betrayal, the murder of the Potters, Black's own frameup as a traitor and the scattering of the Marauders. The murder of the Potters could have been avoided anyway since Dumbledore himself had offered to become Secret Keeper, which they refused. Meanwhile Severus Snape has two such moments: first he allowed his rage and humiliation get the better of him for a single moment and with a single undeserved slur destroyed his friendship with Lily who he was friends and in love with, then by being eager to serve Voldemort relayed to him the prophecy of Sybill Trelawney, which became the reason for Voldemort to try to kill Harry.
- Probably the ur-example: The Iliad (Paris stealing Helen, Achilles and Agamemnon fighting over Briseis, etc.).
- Upton Sinclair's The Jungle: Jurgis Rudkus beat up his wife's boss after finding out that he was raping her via coercion, which indirectly led to all the tragedy of the rest of the book. Even a modicum of thought would have told him that beating the guy up was a bad idea which would only end with horrible consequences.
- Zakath's backstory in The Malloreon involves him having his fiancee executed and discovering afterwards that she was not part of the conspiracy to kill him.
- In Mystic River, Silent Ray (Brendan Harris' brother) and John O'Shea were the ones responsible for Katie's (Jimmy Markum's daughter) murder, which occured because of a Deadly Prank via a loaded gun. John was holding the gun to scare Katie when it went off by accident. Fearing that the victim would tell someone, Silent Ray beat Katie up with a hockey stick. Afterward, John killed her on the spot.
- In Native Son, Bigger Thomas accidentally kills Mary Dalton by suffocating her with a pillow while trying to prevent her from being observed in the same room as him. He feels no remorse for her death, but realizes that if he is caught he is likely to be sentenced to death for not only murder but rape. He unsuccessfully attempts to avoid this fate with increasing desperation and impulsiveness.
- While there was certainly enough kindling and fuel to set the world aflame in A Song of Ice and Fire, the reader can point to three impulsive acts that caused the conflagration that metaphorically (and in the case of the Riverlands, literally) burned Westeros down: Jaime tossing 7 year old Bran out the window in order to silence him. Catelyn mistakenly arresting Tyrion based on the false belief that HE had tried to kill her son Bran. And finally Joffrey going off script by calling for Ned Stark's execution which prompted all out war.
- Before the events of the story Ned's older brother Brandon Stark, noted for being Hot-Blooded, was enraged when Prince Rhaegar Targaryen abducted his sister Lyanna. Brandon marched into Kings Landing with a handful of men openly demanding the prince "come out and die." The Mad King did not take kindly to this threat, executing Brandon's noble entourage and all their fathers. Brandon himself died alongside his father in a cruel execution. The fallout from this was all out war and rebellion.
- The Last Command of The Thrawn Trilogy simultaneously subverts and inverts this. During a tense peace conference with some native aliens on a very dangerous planet, Han and Chewie spot a predator stalking the gathering. Chewie reacts faster, shooting the predator dead with his laser crossbow. Mara Jade points out it's probably a bad idea to fire weapons during a peace conference, to which Han replies that it's also a bad idea to let the conference get eaten. It looks like the distrustful and violent aliens are about to attack our heroes, when one of them asks why their Wookiee is armed. Since this is a former Imperial world, the last Wookiees these natives would have seen would have been Imperial slaves, definitely not allowed to carry weapons. By showing that Chewbacca was armed, they proved to the natives that they were not the same as the Empire, and secure their aid.
Live Action TV
- Delenn in Babylon 5, as shown in flashbacks during "Atonement" and "In the Beginning", gave the deciding vote to declare war on the humans during a spurt of grief and rage. She spends years afterwards trying to make up for it. Interestingly, the Minbari war is a double-dose of this trope on both sides: Delenn's rage over Dukhat's death was because the human ships assumed the massively powerful Minbari sensors (which were wreaking havoc with the human's less-advanced computers), sensor stealth technology (which prevented the humans from getting any readings from the interior of the ships, like energy buildup of charged weapons) and open gun ports meant the Minbari were preparing to attack, and the humans struck first in perceived self-defense. Half the Grey Council wanted to try and figure out if it had all been just a tragic misunderstanding, but Delenn was having none of that.
"There are moments when we all become someone else, something other than what we are. It takes only a moment, but we spend the rest of our lives looking back at that moment in shame."
- Later, Lennier commits such a tragedy in "Objects At Rest" when he is overcome by jealousy towards Sheridan. As Delenn comments immediately afterward,
- And when she says it, we get the idea she's thinking of her own past moment of impulsiveness as well.
- The In the Beginning TV movie reveals that Londo was afraid something like this might happen and counselled EarthForce to send a single unarmed ship to initiate First Contact with the Minbari. Since the humans are still riding on their surprise victory over the Dilgar, they arrogantly assume they can handle anyone and ignore him. Boy, are they proven wrong. Sheridan also thinks it's a bad idea to send an impulsive commander to a First Contact situation, but his concerns are brushed aside.
- House: In the Season 7 finale, "Moving On", Gregory House himself loses his temper after seeing Lisa Cuddy talking with Julia and her husband in her house, because he overheard the couple suggest to Cuddy about having Jerry Barrett as her suitor. He proceeds to crash his Dodge Dynasty car into his ex-girlfriend's house in retaliation for her breakup with him. His moment of irrationality lands him in prison in Season 8.
- JAG: In "Father’s Day", Corporal Wetzl runs a tank over his CO’s tent, claiming to be distracted about the divorce from his drug-addicted wife and impending custody hearings on their infant son. Frustrated by the countless lies spun in court and in the media by his wife and her lawyer, he takes action of his own, commandeering a tank with his son inside. He blows up a TV van and gets into a stand-off. Eventually Harm and Mac manages to get him to surrender by bringing his grandmother on the spot.
- Guy killing Lady Marian in Season 2 of Robin Hood is what cause the death of many other characters throughout Season 3 when she puts herself between King Richard and Guy of Gisborne's sword. This in itself is not the deciding action, but when Marian impulsively (and unnecessarily) tells Guy that she "would rather die than marry you!" and that she's in love with Robin Hood, Guy kills her in return, leading to one death after another in Season 3.
- The Shield: In Season 5, Lt. Jon Kavanaugh had plans to arrest the Strike Team for harboring a fugitive (none other than Curtis Lemansky). He proceeds to put the aforementioned plan into action by persuading David Aceveda to feed circumstantial (and completely false) evidence to Vic Mackey, telling him that Lem was planning to sell out to the IAD by revealing the information about the Money Train Heist. Shane Vendrell, upon learning this, tries to persuade, Lem, his friend and fellow team member to agree with his relocation to Mexico. When Lem refuses, Shane acts on the misconception about his friend's betrayal and throws a grenade into Lem's car, killing him.
- Narrowly averted with Vala in Stargate SG-1. When battling the dragon (It Makes Sense in Context), Daniel figures out that the key to victory is to speak the name of the person who set up the whole quest in the first place: Morgan Le Fay. Vala then charges out into the middle of an open field to confront the beast while shouting "Morgan Le Fay!" not realizing that they need to use Morgan's name in Ancient, Ganos Lal. It is only Daniel's quick thinking that saves her.
- Supernatural: In season 9, Dean is so determined to kill Abbadon that he willingly obtains the Mark of Cain from Cain himself without bothering to learn about the ramifications. As a result, he's slowly transformed into a crazed murderer, and briefly a demon.
- The Wire. In season 2, Ziggy Sobotka loses his temper after being insulted one time too many by Glekas and shoots Glekas to death and wounds a stock boy. Ziggy immediately regrets the decision and confesses to the crime. His actions further result in The Greeks cleaning out Glekas's store before the detail can raid it, and Ziggy's peril is used as leverage to buy Frank's silence, which ends in Frank's death.
- The 100: Peace talks between the 100 and the Grounders break down when Jasper notices there are armed Grounders hiding just outside the peace conference (a.k.a. doing the exact same thing Jasper was); he immediately assumes they're planning an ambush or assassination, and starts shooting at them. This transforms the 100's conflict with the Grounders from a series of small skirmishes to an all-out war.
- You Lost My Memory by Skyclad ("...because of mere trivia misunderstood").
Myth And Legend
- Extremely common in Greek mythology in general, though, so who knows what the actual Ur-Example is...
- Pandora's Box, proof that curiosity killed the Classical utopia.
- Persephone's six pomegranate seeds.
- Hera deliberately invokes this, causing an Unstoppable Rage to fall upon Heracles (who was already a guy infamous for his temper tantrums).
- Arachne and her poorly-thought-through tapestry subject.
- Orpheus getting too excited and looking back before his beloved made it out the underworld.
- Adam and Eve and the forbidden fruit. Also, the Cain and Abel plot where the older brother kills his younger brother out of jealousy.
- Le Cid (adapted from the same story El Cid is) may be the poster child for this. Two old military officers have an argument that degenerate so much that Don Sanche wants a duel to death with the Count. As he is too old for this, he puts his son in charge of this. And he does. Seriously, couldn't the Count try to arrange things with Don Sanche rather than duel to death with his daughter's fiancé, which means whatever the outcome of the duel is, her heart will be broken?
- The Lieutenant of Inishmore — because when you tell Mad Padraic that his cat is doin' poorly, and it turns out to be Blatant Lies, he's not going to listen to reason, he's not going to be kind to that other cat you picked up, and in fact the only thing stopping him from killing the men he holds responsible is three more men with guns barging in on the little house.
- Oedipus the King: Prior to his arrival back to Thebes and becoming a king, the eponymous character killed (unbeknownst to him) his father for basically cutting him off at the crossroads. He married his mother completing the other half of the famous complex at leisure though.
- Similar to the Romeo and Juliet example below, in West Side Story, Tony tries to stop a fight, but Bernardo (his girlfriend's brother) kills Tony's best friend Riff, and an enraged Tony kills Bernardo.
- And later after that, Anita tries to deliver a message for Tony from Maria. But harassment from the Jets lead to her blurting out that Chino killed Maria in a moment of hatred. Needless to say, this lie leads to the Downer Ending of the play.
- William Shakespeare:
- Hamlet: In Act 3, the eponymous main character, after blowing his first chance to kill Claudius, strikes out blindly when he thinks he has Claudius again, only for it to turn out that he's actually killed Polonius, the father of the woman he loves, which sends his entire life straight to hell for him.
- Hamlet is also an inversion, as it is Hamlet's failure to make up his mind to act that causes much of the tragedy.
- In Much Ado About Nothing, several characters invoke this trope by making Claudio believe Hero died of grief after he jilted her. She's actually quite alive.
- In Othello, the title character, with only circumstantial evidence and testimony from Iago, the Manipulative Bastard, believes that his wife, Desdemona, is cheating on him. He proceeds to have Cassio, her supposed lover, killed, and ultimately kills Desdemona himself. When the truth is revealed, it drives him to suicide.
- A common joke amongst Shakespeare buffs is that had the impulsive, quick-to-anger Othello and the ponderous, witty Hamlet been placed in each others' plays all of the problems would have been solved by the end of the first act and nothing would have gone wrong at all. Sort of negates the point of tragedy, though.
- Romeo and Juliet: In Act 3, Romeo's friend Mercutio fights Tybalt (Juliet's cousin) for Romeo's honor, and dies before Romeo can stop the fight. An enraged Romeo immediately kills Tybalt. More drama ensues, including Romeo's banishment, which causes his mother to die of a broken heart (this isn't stated until the last scene, but it chronologically happens at this point in the death pileup). In Act 5, when Romeo gets to Juliet's tomb, he comes across Count Paris, who's guarding the tomb. Without provocation other than being attacked for trying to vandalize the Capulet's tomb, he kills Paris in a fight, and then kills himself in front of Juliet's grave (thinking she's dead), causing his lover to kill herself.
- The later acts of Twelfth Night threaten to turn into this. Sir Toby and Fabian bait on Sir Andrew to attack "Cesario" on sight. This backfires on them when they meet up with Cesario's identical twin brother, Sebastian, who, unlike Cesario, is a good fighter. Anthony, who loves Sebastian, enters the fray, which gets him into trouble with the local Duke, who is the "real" Cesario's employer. And the Duke loses his temper when he finds out that his beloved, Olivia, has married Cesario. This being a comedy, however, things work out all right.
- Hamlet: In Act 3, the eponymous main character, after blowing his first chance to kill Claudius, strikes out blindly when he thinks he has Claudius again, only for it to turn out that he's actually killed Polonius, the father of the woman he loves, which sends his entire life straight to hell for him.
- In Beyond the Horizon, Robert and Ruth decide to get married the night before Robert is supposed to go off to sea. Robert then elects to stay home instead of becoming a sailor. Faced with Ruth's rejection, Andrew decides on the spot to go off to sea instead of his brother. The result is tragedy and despair for all concerned, and three ruined lives, as all three of them made the wrong choices.
- Usually in Sengoku Rance, Rance's instincts are spot on, and doing the first thing that leaps to mind works out pretty well for him. The exceptions are generally anything involving Miki, the Demon King, such as when she suggests he try to shatter the ice holding his slave, Sil. If you let him follow her advice, Sil dies.
- Kirby has a bad habit of jumping to conclusions, often leading to the problem he's trying to solve getting worse before he can fix it.
- In Kirby's Adventure, he accidentally releases Nightmare Wizard from the Fountain of Dreams. He did this by fixing the Star Rod that King Dedede shattered for the sole purpose of sealing Nightmare away.
- In Kirby: Squeak Squad, he infamously goes on a rampage across Dreamland over someone stealing his cake. He assumes every member of the main cast, King Dedede, Meta Knight, and the new villains, the Squeaks, have stolen it at one point or another, and beats the crap out of them all accordingly. a frame perfect look at the intro cutscene reveals that a completely random Waddle Dee was the true culprit.
- Sonic Lost World: Sonic's tendency to smash first and ask questions later is nastily deconstructed in this game:
- First, he recklessly charges in and kicks the Cacophonic Conch out of Eggman's hands, completely ignoring Tails' warnings to stay back and not even caring about what it does. As it turns out, said conch was a Restraining Bolt Eggman was using to control the Deadly Six, thus allowing the Deadly Six to turn on Eggman and usurp his plans and operations.
- When Sonic, Tails, and Eggman learn that the Deadly Six are using Eggman's life-sucking machine to drain their world dry, Tails immediately states that Sonic's first instinct would be to smash it, which he doesn't even bother to deny. Eggman quickly calls him out on it and explains that smashing it would cause an explosion that would incinerate everything within a hundred miles of ground zero.
- Later in the game, Sonic's impulsiveness ends up triggering a trap, but gets Tails captured instead. Suffice it to say this was an eye-opener.
- In a metaphorical sense, this extends to the gameplay itself. It's much less about speed as it is about puzzles and slower platforming, what with the new controls and level design. There are even stealth sections, like the owl in Silent Forest, and there's a hell of a lot of tight platforming. Going too fast in this game will cause Sonic to die... many, many times.
- The main plot of Makai Kingdom is kicked off when Lord Zetta reads an insulting passage in the Sacred Tome (claiming that he's an idiot who will destroy his Netherworld due to idiocy) and sets it on fire out of sheer spite. This results in the destruction of his Netherworld, naturally.
- In the backstory of Undertale, the king of all monsters, in a fit of rage after the death of his son, declared war on humanity. Later, when he calmed down and his better nature gained control, he realized that he couldn't take back his decree because it finally brought hope back to his miserable subjects. It may or may not have helped the other monsters, but it drove the king to misery and self-loathing after he was responsible for the deaths of six human children and his wife left him in horror and disgust.
- The backstory to Disciples series can partly be blamed on this as well. According to the lore, the world of Nevendaar was created by the Bethrezen, the most beloved of the Highfather's angels. He asked other deities to fill the world with landscape features and living beings, himself creating humans as a finishing touch. Everything seemed fine. Then he went to get the Highfather to show him his creation, leaving the other angels to watch over Nevendaar. Unfortunately, the other angels were jealous of Bethrezen's status and sabotaged Nevendaar. By the time the Highfather arrived to see the world, it was burning with fire and hatred, as the various races were at war. Enraged, he immediately assumes Bethrezen to be responsible and entombs him within the molten core of Nevendaar as punishment. Knowing he was punished unjustly, Bethrezen spends 10,000 years in anger at the Highfather and the mortal races for ruining his creation. He creates a demonic army called the Legions of the Damned and sends them to the surface (unable to leave himself due to a magical seal) to burn Nevendaar and open the seal. The demons come out in the forests of the Elves, who flee in panic towards higher ground, which happens to be in the lands of the Mountain Clans. Seeing great numbers of Elves advancing towards them, the Dwarves impulsively attack, assuming it to be an invasion. The Elven gods Gallean and Solonielle go to the Dwarven god Wotan and demand that he punish his creations for killing many Elves. Enraged, Wotan kills Gallean and hurls his heart towards the sun. Solonielle manages to save the heart before it's burned, but she herself is horribly burned by the sun and becomes the fleshless goddess Mortis. Determined to make the Dwarves pay and resurrect her beloved Gallean, Mortis kills an entire race of people and then raises them to be her Undead Hordes. And it only gets worse from there.
- Implied to be the case with the Axe Ending in Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors: Clover works out a plausible but completely wrong solution to who killed her brother and acts on said misconception, killing both suspected murderers and the protagonist's Love Interest before turning on the protagonist himself. Averted in the True Ending, where the protagonist befriends her and inadvertently stumbles across a crucial clue that indicates her brother is still alive.
- Corpse Party D2: Depths of Despair:
- The game opens with one, leading directly from one of the endings of Corpse Party (PC-98): Ayumi and Satoshi try to resurrect their fallen friends mere hours after they escaped the cursed school. For bonus points, the spellbook they're using isn't even fully translated. This goes about as well as you'd expect.
- Ayumi appears to love this exact idea as even in other adaptations. In the modern game's canon, she and Naomi screw around with the Book of Shadow, resulting in the second and third games. In the Musume manga, she invokes black magic out of nowhere which leads to a sudden bad ending.
- Kouji suffers this in one of the endings of Saya no Uta. After discovering that his girlfriend was chopped up by Saya and Fuminori and literally Stuffed in the Fridge to be eaten, he impulsively calls Fuminori and tries to take him and Saya on alone, instead of calling Occult Detective Ryuko to set-up a better plan (which leads to a different ending.) Since Kouji loses the fight with Fuminori and Saya in both endings, without Ryuko around to pull a Big Damn Heroes moment, he gets killed instead.
- In Counter Monkey, Spoony describes a Thieves' World campaign he ran which went horribly Off the Rails because one of the players not only interrupted the DM, but rolled a crit for his declared action. The result caused him to unwittingly inflict Facial Horror on a Nigh Invulnerable War God avatar, who was supposed to be the cavalry. Instead, the campaign twisted into said avatar's Roaring Rampage of Revenge against the group, gradually escalating into a city-wide guerrilla war of ever-increasing brutality from both sides of the conflict.
- This gets lampshaded by the episode's titles; the original intended title (seen in the address bar) was "Poor Impulse Control", while the official title is "Don't Interrupt".
- Several Death Battles are started when one fighter is just minding his/her own business and the opponent quickly confuses him for an enemy. Other times, one fighter will wrong the other by mistake, causing the opponent to retaliate.
- Fox vs. Bucky: Bucky picked the wrong toad to croak, and he and his entire crew paid the price by one vengeful fox.
- Tigerzord vs. Epyon: Tommy orders Saba to begin a check of the Tigerzord's systems to which Saba readily responds by testing the weapons immediately. Only just before the Tigerzord's cannons fire does Tommy think to check if the weapon safety systems are online which leads to the cannons misfiring and accidentally hitting Noin's Gundam, killing her. It eventually leads to their own demise at the hands of a very angry Zechs Merquise and Epyon.
- Pokémon vs Digimon: Red, after failing to catch Agumon in a pokeball, immediately sics Charizard on him just as Tai returns instead of reasoning with the Digimon Tamer. This leads to both the deaths of Red and Charizard.
- Amy Rose vs Ramona Flowers: Sonic, on an average day of running from Amy, shoots through Scott and Ramona's place so fast he knocks them around by accident. Amy arrives too late to catch him, and as she's fuming in place Ramona gets up and mistakes Amy for the one who seemingly attacked them, striking without warning. This causes Amy to turn her anger out on Ramona instead, and this leads to Ramona's death in front of a horror-stricken Scott.
- Power Rangers vs Voltron: Hunk in the Yellow Lion notices the Rangers teleport in and goes over to say hi to them. The Power Rangers mistake the Yellow Lion for an enemy, immediately call in their Zords to form the Megazord, prompting the lions to form Voltron in response. This leads to the Megazord's destruction and Power Rangers' death.
- Raven vs Twilight Sparkle: both sides are responsible in some way. Twilight tries a spell on interdimensional teleportation without bothering to study up on it, leading to Raven being transported to Equestria in the middle of playing with pony dolls. Raven, instead of talking it out, attacks Twilight in response to the whole situation. Both their actions result in Twilight getting pancaked into the ground by an overprotective Soul Self at Mach 36. Fortunately for her, it's deliberately left ambiguous whether Twilight died upon impact, or if she's just stuck in the ground with Amusing Injuries.
- Crash Bandicoot vs Spyro the Dragon: possibly the most tragic example in a Death Battle yet. Crash kills Sparx the Dragonfly, Spyro's adoptive brother, assuming him to be an average annoying insect. This causes Spyro to go on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge and eventually unleash his Superpowered Evil Side, resulting in Crash and Aku Aku both being atomized via Aether Breath. Now the Wumpa Islands are defenseless, and Spyro is possibly trapped in this state.
- The Touhou video fanfic, Diamond in the Rough (Touhou) can pretty much be summarized as a series of impulsive actions by the main character, Brolli, and the rash actions of the Gensokyo residents in response. This escalates more and more throughout the series that causes Gensokyo to nearly destroy itself in a massive war.
- Twitch Plays Pokémon is based on and driven by this trope. 100,000 people playing one game...mons have been accidentally released, several battles have been lost, puzzles are solved only to be reset, all because of too many people randomly mashing buttons without a thought.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: In "Magical Mystery Cure" (Season 3 finale), Twilight Sparkle pulls this by casting an unfinished spell without knowing what it does. The result? All her friends' cutie marks (for the uninitiated, basically their purpose in life) are switched, forcing them into each others' roles; Rainbow Dash is forced to take care of the woodland creatures, Fluttershy has to entertain crowds in Ponyville, Pinkie Pie is stuck working day and night on an apple farm, Applejack has to design dresses, and Rarity is responsible for maintaining the weather. Much tragedy ensues.
- "For Whom the Sweetie Bell Toils" is an even less subtle example. Sweetie Belle goes through the Christmas Carol Nightmare Sequence to get a look at exactly what her decision to tamper with Sapphire Shores' fabric is set to do to Rarity's career and sanity. All out of simple spite and jealousy.
- The Powerpuff Girls: In "A Very Special Blossom", Blossom finds a set of Pro Excellence 2000 Golf Clubs in a ruined shop. Unable to resist her temptation, she steals the golf clubs to give to her father, Professor Utonium, for Father's Day. Not only does she get her father in trouble with the police, but she herself gets stuck with 200 hours of community service.