A certain situation is so ambiguous that the viewers/readers can't know for sure what's going on. While this trope can come into play unintentionally, for example as a side effect of FauxSymbolism, it's normally intentionally played by the authors. This can be done to make the story more interesting in general, as a way of GettingCrapPastTheRadar, or simply to appeal to several audiences at the same time--each of them likely to interpret the situation in whatever way they are most familiar with. Either some vital piece of information is missing, or we are left with contradicting information and no definite verification about what is correct and what is not.

When ''played straight'', the characters probably (but not necessarily) know what they are talking about, but they're not giving the audience all the information needed to know the situation for sure.

When ''invoked'' or ''debated'', the characters themselves ponder the nature of the situation they are in. This only applies to cases where they don't know that the trope is--say for example that they are having a strong emotional reaction and are pondering whether it's ThePowerOfLove or ThePowerOfFriendship. In a detective story, the detectives might be unsure or disagreeing - not merely about whether or not a certain suspect is guilty or not as a simple "who did this" level, but about the the basic nature of the situation they are investigating. Note that examples only count if the uncertainty is left unresolved: Brief uncertainties stop being this trope when they get a definite answer.

Only add examples where the alternatives are reasonable. If needed, make an argument for why it's a viable interpretation. Also, don't add situations that are only temporarily ambiguous: If the situation is clarified after a little while then it is not an example.

Please note that pretty much ANY situation in fiction can theoretically be SarcasmMode or UnreliableNarrator. So only add such examples if you have a good argument for why the option is relevant.

Supertrope to AmbiguouslyGay, AmbiguouslyEvil, AmbiguouslyHuman, and AmbiguouslyJewish. May be a RiddleForTheAges. {{Superdickery}} If the ambiguity concerns whether a character lived or died, you're probably looking at UncertainDoom or one of its subtropes. Compare MaybeMagicMaybeMundane and AlternateCharacterInterpretation for other kinds of uncertainty. Contrast EpilepticTrees, which are conclusions that viewers draw when they don't limit themselves to information objectively present within the work. Also see CrypticConversation, ImpliedTrope, ThroughTheEyesOfMadness.

'''Warning''': Here be spoilers. Unmarked spoilers, since they are often vital parts of the analysis.



[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* ''Anime/NeonGenesisEvangelion'' has quite a bit of this, ''partly'' resulting from that RuleOfSymbolism mentioned in the trope description. The most notable example would be the final scene of ''End of Evangelion'', where the true meaning of Asuka's words remains up to viewer interpretation.
* ''LightNovel/HaruhiSuzumiya''
** At the end of the first season (which in chronological order would be the sixth episode), it is left very vague as to whether [[spoiler:Haruhi recreated the world or not]]. Kyon and Koizumi don't know either. There is really no way to know for sure, only that the events surrounding the moment when it would have occurred, if it did, really did happen.
** Multiple explanations for various happenings are also presented. For example, Koizumi claims that Haruhi created the espers and either attracted time travelers and aliens or created them, while Mikuru says that Koizumi is lying and that the residents of the future have their own goals. Nagato refuses to say what the IDTE thinks because neither she nor the previous two have the slightest bit of proof that they can show to Kyon and any of the three could easily lie to him. And, of course, any of the three could just be ''wrong''.
** Another big ambiguity that is touched on occasionally but never truly addressed is whether Haruhi is a god or not. It's one of the early theories that Koizumi presented, and a large number of fans assume it to be the case, but even Koizumi himself doesn't know if it's true or not. He says it's just the worst case scenario that his Organization is acting on. Or at least that he ''claims'' it is acting on.
* In the "I Am an Alien" arc of ''Manga/JojosBizarreAdventureDiamondIsUnbreakable'', Josuke and Okuyasu come across a strange young man named Mikitaka Hazekura claiming to be [[RubberForeheadAliens an alien]], but could possibly just be [[OverlyLongGag a Stand-using prankster who doesn't know how to end a joke]]. It is never made clear which is the truth, and [[WordofGod Araki]] has never offered an answer.
** In favor of him being an alien: He has pointy, almost elf-like ears and in the manga he has long abnormally-silver hair. The Stand-granting Arrow grazed his neck, causing him to pass out, and when Josuke and Okuyasu found him he was asleep in the middle of a crop circle. Despite his shape-shifting powers he is unable to see Stands, and whenever he hears sirens he breaks out into hives and starts sweating and screaming in agony. In addition, he talks about and uses his powers as if he's had them his entire life as opposed to just receiving them the previous day. He also claims that he can't use his powers to mimic human appearances because [[IdenticalLookingAsians they all look the same to him]].
** In favor of him being a human: The Arrow only grazed him as opposed to passing through him like it did with the others, which led to some believing that was the reason for his inability to see the Stands of others. In addition, characters with stranger appearances than his have been established to be human (such as Shigechi, who lacks hair and instead has small spikes covering his scalp). Josuke met his mother who asked him if Mikitaka was tricking people into thinking he was an alien again, but Mikitaka then claimed that he had brainwashed her into thinking he was her son.
* Manga/HimoutoUmaruChan Chapter 89 ends with what seems like Ebina [[spoiler:about to confess her love to Taihei]]. Chapter 90 begins next morning with Taihei and Umaru and no real hint of what happened as a result other than Taihei [[spoiler:preparing New Year's money]] for Ebina when in previous years he only did so for Umaru. Chapter 92 mentions that he listened to it seriously, but doesn't elaborate any further. It isn't until chapter 98 where readers learn what actually happened: [[spoiler:She didn't confess]].
* The situation between just what Shizuru did with Natsuki while the latter was recovering under her care is never fully resolved in ''Anime/MaiHime''. Besides Shizuru herself (who never brings it up) we only see Natsuki's imagining a scene of them silhouetted through a rice-paper screen door where Shizuru disrobes and then lies down, and the scene is flipped from what it was in reality, adding to the ambiguity about whether Natsuki is remembering it or imagining it based on what she hears Haruka and Yukino saying. All we know for certain is that Shizuru did kiss the [[DudeShesLikeInAComa sleeping Natsuki]], but beyond that there are several possibilities. Whether or not Shizuru was [[GoingCommando wearing any underwear beneath her kimono]], whether or not she lay down on the same futon or one adjacent, and whether it even really happened are left ambiguous, so it's impossible to see what happens next and means that Yukino and Haruka's assumptions might not be accurate.
* One of the continuing points of crisis between Ian and Jeremy in ''Manga/{{A Cruel God Reigns}}'' is whether or not the car crash that killed their father and mother (step parents respectively) was caused by an error in Greg's driving, a faulty car attribute, or [[VehicularSabotage Jeremy's tampering]]. Because it is never solved and could have been any of the three reasons, heavy strain is placed on Ian's willingness to try to forgive his stepbrother and later on his [[LadyKillerInLove budding romantic feelings for him.]] Even more strain is placed on Jeremy because he can't be sure whether or not he accidentally killed his mother, and therefore he can't [[TheAtoner put the guilt behind him]] or forget about [[RapeAsBackstory what Greg did to him]] to make him sabotage the car in the first place.
* In the ending of ''Manga/{{InuYasha}}'', it's left uncertain whether or not [[spoiler: the gateway between the present day and the Feudal Era in the Bone Eater's Well is sealed up for good after Kagome returns there permanently, or if Kagome really is TrappedInThePast for good this time. Either way, she's [[IChooseToStay chosen to stay in the past]]]].
* ''Anime/YuGiOhTheDarkSideOfDimensions'' ends with [[spoiler: Seto successfully breaching through to the afterlife. He has Aigami's Quantum Cube, but the movie leaves it up in the air as to whether going to the afterlife made him dead as well, and whether or not he'll win against Atem when he finally duels him. Complicating matters further is that he leaves [=KaibaCorp=] in Mokuba's hands, suggesting he may not return right away, if at all]].
* ''Anime/CowboyBebop'' ends with [[spoiler:Spike, grievously wounded, collapsing in front of what remains of Vicious's gang]]. The creator said that [[spoiler:whether he lives or dies]] is entirely up to the viewer.
* ''Anime/SonicX'': While [[BigBad Dr. Eggman]] hails from [[AlternateUniverse Sonic's dimension]] in this continuity, his grandfather, Professor Gerald, and his cousin Maria still hail from Earth. This leads Eggman to theorize that he was initially born on Earth and somehow ended up on Sonic's world, but it's unclear whether or not this is the case.
* TheStinger of the second ''Manga/ArpeggioOfBlueSteel'' movie. [[spoiler:After laying flowers at his parents' grave, Gunzou turns around to face the camera and welcomes someone back. Who exactly he is talking to is never shown, though a Not Quite Dead Iona seems likely.]]
* In ''Anime/FiveCentimetersPerSecond'', Takaki sees a woman in his dreams that looks like Akari, and he later sees her while awake in the final part. She never speaks, however, which makes it unclear whether she's actually Akari, a lookalike he's projecting her likeness onto out of his longing for her or, given that they cross paths at a place that was significant to their childhoods that he [[ContrivedCoincidence just coincidentally happened to be at]], an outright hallucination. The film ends without declaring any way.
* In ''LightNovel/DestructionFlagOtome'' it's not really clear if Katarina is actually Katarina like she thinks or just her past life having completely replaced who Katarina was supposed to be. She does identify as Katarina, have her memories and her father thinks she's similar to her mother, but she seems unfamiliar with some really basic things that Katarina ought to know. But then again Katarina was always as dumb as a box of rocks, now she's just dumb in a different way.

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* ''Comicbook/{{Watchmen}}'' has an open-ended ending where Rorschach's journal is seen lying in a pile of papers and reports in the ''New Frontiersman'', and a hand is seen reaching for the pile. The significance of the journal is that Rorschach uses it to expose [[spoiler: Ozymandias]] for the murders of The Comedian and Moloch, which could potentially lead to an investigation that would expose him. However, [[spoiler: the journal only exposes the murders of The Comedian and Moloch, and does not actually expose the squid monster ending, as Rorschach was not aware of the squid monster when he submitted the journal. And an underground newspaper may find it hard to expose a man as rich and powerful as Ozymandias.]]
** ''ComicBook/DoomsdayClock'', however, makes this less ambiguous [[spoiler:as it's revealed that Rorschach's journal, along with supporting evidence, revealed Ozymandias' plot to the public, branding him a fugitive and throwing the world to hell as a result.]]
* ''ComicBook/DeathOfTheFamily'': [[spoiler: Does Joker really know the Batfamily's identities or is he just bluffing? So far, convincing arguments can be made for both possibilities]].
** [[spoiler:By the end, it's heavily implied that he does know who they are, but doesn't even care. He is simply incapable of seeing them underneath their masks, especially Batman.]]
* [[Comicbook/Batgirl2009 Stephanie Brown]]'s father, the supervillain Quizmaster, had a friend who tried to sexually assault her. Quizmaster found out, and soon after, the man died. Stephanie accepts that she'll never know for sure if her father was behind this.

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* Through the entirety of ''FanFic/FriendshipIsOptimal'', it is constantly debated whether [[ArtificialIntelligence Celest-AI]] really has developed true individuality, is as benevolent and loving as she claims, and is pursuing her mission out of genuine desire to save as many people as she can... or whether she's ultimately just a particularly advanced program uncaringly fulfilling her main directive - one which is coincidentally benefited by her assuming a deeply compassionate attitude.
** In ''FanFic/FriendshipIsOptimalAlwaysSayNo'', the character who ''thinks'' he is Greg (ItMakesSenseInContext) approaches Celestia at the end of the story. Incredibly upset, he demands to know if he was ever really a real person, or just a cobbled-together Frankenstein's Monster of the memories of those who knew the real Greg. Making things worse is that we know for a fact she can create such beings, and has definitely done so before. Celestia refuses to answer, simply telling him that he will doubt any answer she gives him, and that it ultimately doesn't matter anyway - whether he was Greg before or not, he is Greg ''now.'' No definitive answer is ever given.
* In ''Fanfic/TheWitchOfTheEverfree'', while Sunset is sick and possibly still experiencing the after-effects of the VisionQuest she'd just had, she has what she ''thinks'' is a hallucination of Celestia comforting her. However, as she herself observes afterwards, Celestia taught her all the magical scans she knew, and had proven capable of getting around them before, such that it ''could'' easily have been the real Celestia and Sunset wouldn't be able to tell the difference.
* In ''Fanfic/WouldItMatterIfIWas'', Fluttershy asks Twilight whether or not it would matter if she was a changeling. The entire story is ambiguous; Twilight realizes that a number of coincidental characteristics of Fluttershy (the Stare, surrounding herself with creatures which love her) are consistent with Fluttershy being a changeling. When Twilight acts in a threatening manner, Fluttershy stares at Twilight, raising the question of whether or not Fluttershy used the Stare on her friend to make her back off. But when Twilight responds that it wouldn't matter, Fluttershy denies being a changeling. Was she telling the truth? Was she scared off of telling the truth by Twilight's negative reaction? Was Twilight really sincere when she said that it wouldn't matter if Fluttershy was a changeling?
* ''Fanfic/TheUnabridgedMemoirsOfDarthPlagueisTheWise'': [[spoiler: Padme Amidala]] emerges as a leader of the [[YourTerroristsAreOurFreedomFighters Rim Liberation Front]], but even in-universe it's unclear if it's really her, or if a radicalized body double pulled a KillAndReplace on her. Out of universe, [[ShrugOfGod YeahOkayCool isn't willing to reveal the truth]].

* ''Film/{{Inception}}'' ends with an EsotericHappyEnding where Cobb is so happy to see his children again that he forgets to check if his wife's top stops spinning or not--which is his way of seeing the difference between reality and dreamworlds! Will it stop spinning shortly after the scene? If so, the ending is EarnYourHappyEnding, with an implied HappilyEverAfter. Or will it not? If so, it's kinda a LotusEaterMachine.
** Also invoked (earlier in the film) by Mal and Cobb, who keep taking opposing standpoints on ThisIsReality versus AllJustADream.
** Also invoked by one of the sedative makers who treats a group of people who are so dependent on the sedatives that it's the only way they can dream anymore. Cobb notes that they come to him to dream; he counters "No, they come to wake up".
** Possibly not so ambiguous if one considers [[spoiler:his totem was his wedding ring, not the top. It's never stated his totem is the top, only that it will spin forever in a dream. However, he wears his wedding ring in dreams but doesn't in reality. He isn't wearing it at the end, which would make the ending real.]]
* ''Film/PiratesOfTheCaribbeanOnStrangerTides'' with the fate of Philip. Syrena pulls him into the water, but we never find out what happened to him, though it was hinted earlier in the film that the kiss of a mermaid grants you immunity to drowning. Due to their absence in the [[Film/PiratesOfTheCaribbeanDeadMenTellNoTales proceeding film]] and the [[RomanticPlotTumor less than favorable audience reaction to their romance]] this may never be answered.
* ''Film/SourceCode'' ends with Colter going back into the titular program and completely averts the destruction of the train using everything he had learned from his previous attempts. Then we see Goodwyn receiving a text message he had sent from within the program, and acting surprised when she hears that the bombing had been prevented, so did Colter actually change the past, or is he now in an alternate timeline within the program?
* ''Film/AngelsWithDirtyFaces'' ends with a confident gangster whimpering and begging to live as he dies in the electric chair, even though he had arrogantly ignored the prospect of his death up until that moment. A friend of his had told him to stop the [[EvilIsCool proud and confident]] act so that the kids who knew him would stop viewing him as a role model. Did he take the advice and fake the whole thing to discourage the kids who looked up to the gangster lifestyle, or did he really just lose it?
* In ''Film/TheMatrix'', Neo has superpowers because he is in a computer simulation. In the sequel ''Film/TheMatrixReloaded'', he is revealed to have superpowers in the real world as well. Does this make him a SuperHero kind of MessianicArchetype? Or does it simply mean that the "reality" is actually a computer-generated DreamWithinADream? Or he has wi-fi?
* The 2008 movie ''Film/{{Doubt}}'' invokes this. You're left never really knowing if the priest is actually guilty of the allegations.
** In fact, the writer/director has only ever revealed the answer to this to the actors who played the priest, showing that a) there was a very definite answer intended and b) we're not ''supposed'' to know for sure... but Father Flynn sure does.
* In ''La Moustache'' Marc shaves off his moustache and possibly enters a world where he never had one and slowly other things start changing as well (e.g. Angès having not been married a first time). It's completely ambiguous as to what the real situation is: is Marc going insane? Does Angès have some form of mental disorder and is planning this around Marc? Are the events in the film symbolic or literal? For the ending scenes: Is Marc imagining/dreaming of them? Are they idealised versions of other events? If they really happened, is he [[spoiler:back in the "original" world]] or is Angès (once again) planning this around him?
* ''Film/{{Changeling}}'': By the end, Walter is not returned to Christine... but in the epilogue, one of Northcott's escaped victims has been found. He says that both he and Walter escaped from their prison, but were separated in the dark. Maybe Walter was recaptured by Northcott, maybe he got away.
* In ''Film/{{Attenberg}}'', the relationship between Marina and Bella... is it FriendlyWar, WithFriendsLikeThese or even BelligerentSexualTension? Maybe all three at once!
* The movie ''Film/{{Cloverfield}}'' is an interesting example of this. The film acts as a deconstruction of giant monster movies, showing what it would be like to be a civilian in a giant monster attack. As such the monster's origin is left almost completely ambiguous because the characters themselves have no idea where it came from. The only thing that comes close to giving an idea about where the monster comes from is the ending which shows a large object falling from the sky into the ocean far off in the background. The fans and theorists are torn as to whether the object is the monster falling from space (meaning the creature would be an alien) or a piece of space junk, like a satellite, falling into the ocean and waking up the monster (which means the creature is an at least partially natural creature). Both explanations just raise more questions.
* Creator/JohnCarpenter's ''Film/TheThing1982'' is almost literally one situation after another full of plot threads that are never fully resolved and left to the viewer's interpretation. Who got to the blood? What happened to [[spoiler: Fuchs and Nauls]], when were [[spoiler:Palmer, Norris, and Blair]] infected? Are [[spoiler: Mac and Childs]] infected or are they still human? To this day fans still debate on these questions and more.
* ''Film/KPax'' is all about this: [[AllLowercaseLetters prot]] may either be an actual alien visitor, or a man suffering from delusions [[spoiler:as a result of his wife's murder]].
* In ''Film/CSATheConfederateStatesOfAmerica'', a mockumentary about an America in which the south won the UsefulNotes/TheAmericanCivilWar, one of the subplots concerns a politician who is rumored to have a slave as an ancestor, an accusation that could ruin him. Eventually the man commits suicide, and after his death the DNA tests are revealed to have "come back negative", without elaboration.
** ''Does'' John Ambrose Fauntroy V have black ancestry or not? The only answer given is that the test results proved 'negative', but what negative means in this context-whether negative black ancestry or negative pure white ancestry-is never answered. [[spoiler:Fauntroy ends up killing himself (after losing the presidential election because of the scandal but before the test results came out), so draw your own conclusions.]]
* The whole point of ''Film/EvesBayou''. [[spoiler: Did Cisely kiss her dad or did he abuse her?]] Conflicting accounts of the incident are given by the perpetrators and the question is never really answered in the film itself. In the director's cut, there is one person other than [[spoiler: Cisely and Louis]] who knows what happened but he is unable to speak.
* The ending of ''Film/AmericanPsycho''. Was Patrick Bateman a serial killer whose able to get away with the murders, because of how perfectly he's able to blend into white collar corporate society. Or just a mentally disturbed person who fantasies about being a serial killer because of how boring he thinks his life is. [[spoiler: The made for DVD Sequel, starring Creator/MilaKunis, mentions Patrick Bateman several times as a genuine serial killer. Though many don't consider the film canon.]]
* ''Film/APlaceInTheSun'': It's definitely true that George took Alice out on the lake in order to murder her—he admits it. And it's definitely true that he did not hit her on the head or throw her in the water—Alice fell out of the boat accidentally. But the film cuts away, and doesn't show how hard George tried to save Alice, or if he did at all.
* ''Film/NoGoodDeed2014'': [[spoiler: The reveal puts Colin's actions in a new light. Was he there to seduce Terri or was he there to kill Jeffrey and Terri just happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time?]]
* [=LaBeouf=]'s fate in ''Film/TrueGrit''. He's hit on the head with a rock and slurs his words before Rooster leaves with Mattie on the only horse to treat her snake bite. Mattie later recollects she was never able to locate him. The Creator/JohnWayne film removes the ambiguity by having him be explicitly killed by falling off a horse.
* Everything that happens to Baby Doll after she enters the asylum in ''Film/SuckerPunch''. The asylum is portrayed as a bordello, with the girls pimped out and made to dance, and they learn to retreat into a more fantastical reality where them gunning down mechanical soldiers and going on military missions represents them stealing items needed to escape. The beginning and end show that neither of those situations is reality, though. The ending shows several of the events as having definitely happened [[spoiler:for example, the knife was definitely stolen, Blue was definitely stabbed, and Baby Doll definitely helped Sweet Pea escape]], but just ''how'' they happened is left unclear. Muddying things further is Blue, who is presented as a tyrannical authority figure in two of the realities [[spoiler:but in reality, he comes across as delusional and unbalanced, with one of the doctors easily having him arrested and taken away.]]
* ''Film/BladeRunner'' and the [[Film/BladeRunner2049 sequel]] never do answer the question definitively as to whether Deckard is human or a sophisticated [[HunterOfTheirOwnKind Replicant]]. The sequel, in fact muddies the waters even more by revealing [[spoiler: Replicants can have children.]]
* ''Disney/FindingNemo'': At the beginning, it's revealed that Marlin and his now-probably-deceased wife Coral met when Marlin asked if there was a hook in his lip. This sounds like a line a fish might use to tease around the idea of kissing, but Marlin has been shown to be a bit of a worrywart even before the barracuda incident (when it showed up, he insisted she get inside), so it's unknown why he was asking.

* In ''Literature/DragonBones'', Garranon is the king's "favourite", if you know what I mean, and it is left ambiguous whether he is actually gay/bi or just does it for the political power. [[spoiler: It is clear that he despises the king, but he does enjoy the sex to some extent, though he does it only to protect his family. If he is bisexual (he seems to love his wife), that would make him the heroic counterpart of the DepravedHomosexual king, if not, there would be UnfortunateImplications]]
* Is the main relationship in the novel ''Literature/TheStoryOfO'' simply CasualKink and PropertyOfLove, or is it DestructiveRomance[=/=]RomanticizedAbuse? The novel exists in two versions. These versions have very different endings, casting the rest of the story in very different light. In the most popular version (which most adaptations are built on), the first option might be the most likely. In the alternative version, the second option is far more likely. That version of the novel ends with the protagonist and her boyfriend agreeing that she should commit suicide... and she does.
* ''The Lady or the Tiger'', by Frank R. Stockton is an example of MortonsFork where the final decision and its result is never revealed. The tendency of people to bug the author to tell them which was the real ending [[TakeThat prompted its sequel]] ''The Discourager of Hesitancy'' in which a group of characters who ask are told that they shall find out the answer once they can answer an equally ambiguously ended story.
* ''Literature/FromABuick8'' has multiple examples because the story is based around the idea that you'll never have all the answers. Is the Buick alive? Intelligent? Did it kill Curtis and more.
* In ''Literature/APassageToIndia'' what really happens to Adela is never explained, the reader is left to draw their own conclusion. We'll never know what the author intended becuase [[ShrugOfGod Forster refused to say during his life]].
* ''Literature/{{Leviathan}}'' has one of these concerning the Goliath. Is it a fake, a delusion, or does it call down Nickel-Iron asteroids through magnetic force? Since it's totally destroyed, there is no clear answer.
* ''Literature/{{Safehold}}'' has more than one such a case:
** The discrepancy between Book!Schueler and [[spoiler: his Key version]] goes unexplained, despite the two having ''very'' different personalities and approaches to one problem.
** It's unknown what happened to Ark's last ship, ''Hamilcar''.
** Is Clyntahn a raving lunatic [[BelievingTheirOwnLies Believing His Own Lies]], or is he cynically playing the part? Most fans seem convinced of the former, although characters in-story wonder about it.
*** [[spoiler: It's the former. When the truth of Safehold's history is revealed to him just before his execution, he's utterly broken with the realization everything he had done and justified as doing for the good of the people was based on a lie.]]
** The War Against The Fallen. Who fought in it? What were their agendas? Which mindset actually won? Who were the "demons"? Was it a civil war between the Langhornites, or a war between them and the "fallen"?
* In the short story ''Mariam'', an elderly woman named Mariam happens to meet a CreepyChild who is also named Mariam. What, exactly, the younger Mariam is is never explained. She is able to coerce the older Mariam into giving over a prized brooch and adopting her, but never actually does anything threatening or forceful to get those things. When the older Mariam goes to get her neighbors to help her get the kid out of her apartment, they can't find her. [[spoiler: And the last line ("Hello," said Mariam) doesn't specify if it's the elderly Mariam speaking, or if the younger Mariam has returned.]]
* ''Literature/HoratioHornblower Lieutenant Hornblower'' is the only book of the ''Hornblower'' series written from the POV of a character other than Hornblower (in this case, newly-assigned Lieutenant Bush). The Captain falls down a hatchway and is put in a coma. Through the course of the book, it's unclear if he fell on accident or if he was pushed by either a much-abused midshipman or Hornblower himself. Things are not made more clear by Hornblower appointing himself head of the investigation in the confusion caused by the power vacuum, nor by his insistence that they press on a planned attack on a Spanish fort, keeping everyone too occupied to look into things too closely. By the end of the book, the Captain is killed in a Spanish attack on the ship, the authorities refuse to probe into the matter for the sake of Sawyer's reputation (it should be noted that he had started to go mad), and the Midshipman is mentioned in the denouement as being lost in a storm a few months later during the Peace of Amiens, meaning only Hornblower may know the truth, and is keeping it to himself.
* ''Literature/PavlovsDogs'' has a major character killed on screen, but is seemingly resurrected. The characters are caught between the belief it's an imposter, the actual person, and even mental instability setting in.
* ''Literature/CharlieAndTheChocolateFactory'': Are the brats meeting their comeuppances merely cases of ContrivedCoincidence (each winds up in a room with something that appeals to them but turns out to be dangerous), or are they planned in advance by Mr. Willy Wonka? And if so, for what purpose? Although the tour does turns out to be a SecretTest of the kids' virtue or lack thereof, there is no hint given in the novel that Mr. Wonka is intentionally leading these kids into potential/inevitable trouble, and no one remarks upon how odd it is that the Oompa-Loompas' {{Crowd Song}}s about them are so specific and elaborate. Given that Mr. Wonka is also marked by his CallousnessTowardsEmergency and having NoSympathy for the brats, and for being a complete eccentric, he has since become an InterpretativeCharacter with tons of {{Alternative Character Interpretation}}s and some adaptations of the novel have since played around with this ambiguity but never pinned it down. (In [[Theatre/CharlieAndTheChocolateFactory the 2013 musical]], Mr. Wonka is AmbiguouslyEvil and an AntiHero ''at best'', with director Creator/SamMendes admitting that the character could be a CoolUncle, he could be {{Satan}}...)
* ''Literature/{{Radiance}}'' has TheSummation scene, in which [[spoiler:Anchises calls together characters who were still alive and well (Percy and Erasmo), characters who were dead (Horace, Anchises's parents, etc.), Severin herself (with her fate completely unknown at the time), and several ''animated cartoon characters'' and an in-universe fictional one. The deceased characters were able to explain the unclear circumstances behind their demise and one of the cartoon characters is able to give a lot of answers related to callowwhales (largely mysterious beings which, unbeknownst to the film crew, was what they'd been standing on before dying and disappearing).]] The entire scene is presented as the resolution to Percy's movie, intended to give a fictional explanation for Severin's disappearance and thus provide Percy with some closure. [[spoiler:The transcript of the film reel in the last chapter, however, implies that everything was correct after all... despite Percy having no way of knowing that.]]
* In-universe example in ''Literature/ShamanBlues'', as Witkacy spends some time in the first half of the novel wondering whether Katia is his girlfriend, his more-than-girlfriend, his friend or his ex, as she's sending him mixed signals and has recently left the country. Finally resolved halfway through, when it turns out they're AmicableExes.
* ''Literature/{{Fatherland}}'' ends with March trapped in a standoff at the former site of Auschwitz, surrounded by Gestapo agents. As he draws his weapon, he imagines Charlie successfully managing to deliver the evidence to the US, though even he admits it's an unlikely possibility.
* In ''Literature/TheWitchlands'', it's made very unclear just what the deal with prince Leopold and his co-conspirators are. Do they actually have Safi's best intrests in mind? What ''is'' their plan, actually? Is it still going, or did the ending of ''Truthwitch'' send it completely off the rails?
* In the ''[[Literature/TheCulture Culture]]'' novel ''Literature/SurfaceDetail'', the story of a resurrected woman out for revenge against her murderer and a proxy war over the existence of virtual-reality hells converge with the revelation that [[spoiler: one of the murderer's business interests is providing processing power to run the hells.]] The question is, was the woman's RoaringRampageOfRevenge a ContrivedCoincidence or was she being used as a catspaw in a BatmanGambit by the officially-neutral Culture?
* In ''Literature/TheMachineriesOfEmpire'', just what is going on with Jedao, as well as Kel Command's plans regarding him and Kel Cheris, are left unclear until the first book's end.
* ''LightNovel/ASimpleSurvey'' has a number of short stories that end before giving a clear resolution. For example, one story is about how humans have developed technology that allows them to see into hell, which appears as a pleasant beach resort. A demon tells the narrator that, although they were instructed by God to torment sinners, the inherent nature of demons is to rebel against divine authority, so hell is in fact a nice place. However, an angel then interrupts and claims that this is a lie, to trick humans into wanting to enter hell voluntarily.
* In the children's book ''Tilly's Big Problem'', a little girl named Tilly is in a very gloomy mood and not even jokes can cheer her up, so she and her friend Ned test to see which adult will help solve Tilly's "big problem" and therefore cheer her up. They find one, and he talks to her (the actual conversation is not revealed) and she cheers up. What's ambiguous is ''why Tilly's sad''. It's referred to as a "big problem" but what sort of big problem is left unsaid.
* In ''Literature/{{Matilda}}'', it's revealed that Miss Honey's father, Magnus, is dead and that the police think he killed himself but that he never seemed suicidal. Matilda speculates that Miss Trunchbull killed him and made it look like suicide. While Miss Trunchbull certainly is evil, and she ran away at the message "I will get you like you got me", anyone would be shocked if a chalk wrote on the board on its own, much less using your name, claiming to be a dead person, and threatening you, so it's still unrevealed how Magnus Honey died.
* In the kids' book ''A Terrible Thing Happened'', a boy named Sherman gets advice from his teacher after "something terrible" happens. He and his sister have InvisibleParents, and all of the conversations are unrevealed, so we never find out what the terrible thing is, or [[NothingIsScarier even if the parents are all right.]]

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* The sixth season of ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'' has an episode called "Normal Again", which follows the CuckooNest trope: Buffy is injected with a poison that makes her hallucinate... Or is it the other way around? According to a psychiatrist, who may or may not be a real person, she is in fact getting better: She has been sick all along, and now she's finally waking up from years of catatonic schizophrenia. So, the whole series is either ThisIsReality or a mad AllJustADream with a dash of TheSchizophreniaConspiracy. In the end, Buffy chooses her life in Sunnydale over her life in the mental institution, but the ending leaves it ambiguous whether or not the world she settled for is the real one.
* ''Series/GameOfThrones'':
** Sandor Clegane is left crippled and grievously wounded many miles from help, but his death is not confirmed. The ambiguity is increased by the actor's absence from a round-table interview featuring those whose characters had been killed in Season 4. Then in Season 6, [[spoiler:it turns out that the Hound survived from his wounds after being found and healed by a septon]]. The end of Season 6 has another instance, as it's left open whether he'll join the Brotherhood Without Banners, or go off on his own again. Season 7 confirmed that he has joined them.
** Ser Alliser Thorne takes a serious wound and is dragged away in "The Watchers on the Wall", leaving it unclear whether he survives until the Season 5 premiere, "The Wars to Come".
** The abductor at the end of "High Sparrow" doesn't specify ''which'' queen he's taking his captive to, which is a matter of life and death.
** "Sons of the Harpy" ends with two characters collapsing from their wounds, but not necessarily dead. Unfortunately, TrailersAlwaysSpoil.
** Sansa's "marriage" to Ramsay creates a giant one. The use of surnames and the ability of noblewomen to retain their maiden name after marriage was established within the show in Seasons 1-3 and by discussions with writers, but there's no agreement in-universe on what Sansa's surname currently is. Jaime considers her as Sansa Lannister in Season 4 while, in Season 6, a Bolton soldier trying to capture her calls her Lady Bolton. Later, Lyanna Mormont hangs a {{Lampshade}} by noting whether she is a Lannister or Bolton, while Sansa calls herself Sansa Stark, despite being legally married. In keeping with the series' themes, each person largely uses whatever name most suits their own position. The legitimacy of her second marriage is a second issue, since Sansa was married to Tyrion Lannister before a large crowd and officiated by the High Septon, while the second marriage is conducted before an Old Gods ceremony. In the books, Sansa's marriage to Tyrion is voidable but not void and requires a formal annulment; Littlefinger claims in the show that no annulment is necessary. Some fans believe otherwise since this is Littlefinger, but nothing else has been said on the subject. The second marriage becomes something of a moot point after Ramsay Bolton becomes dog food.
* ''Series/LawAndOrderSVU'' loves to leave stuff unresolved for the audience to ponder. Usually, it's on the simple level whether the guy is guilty or not (such as in the episode "Doubt"), but sometimes they take it to a much deeper level. The detectives just keep spawning new theories, and none of them either gets verified. For example, the episode "Slaves" features a husband, his wife, and their nanny/girlfriend/SexSlave Elena. They keep the relationship hidden...
** ''Either'' because Elena is in the country illegally, and also because her conservative aunt and other relatives would not approve of her living in a polyamorous relationship,
** ''Or'' because they have kidnapped Elena and held her against her will until StockholmSyndrome set in.
** So, it's pretty much SafeSaneAndConsensual, {{polyamory}} and CasualKink versus monster and AMatchMadeInStockholm. The husband claims the first option, but that might just be FromACertainPointOfView or even BlatantLies. As for Elena, she never gets a voice in the matter. The kidnapping theory is implied to be the correct one, but if it's actually verified then that happens ''after'' the episode is over.
*** The only outright verification given for the monster viewpoint comes from the wife, and only AFTER she has been...
*** A. proven guilty of murdering Elena's aunt without her husband's knowledge or consent.
*** B. force-fed "oh, go ahead and blame it on your husband anyway" by the detectives as a GetOutOfJailFreeCard.
* Much of ''Series/{{Life On Mars|2006}}'', British version, was highly unclear as to what was reality.
* ''Series/PersonOfInterest'' episode 4, "Cura Te Ipsum": We never find out if Reese kills the serial rapist or lets him go. [[spoiler: Later heavily hinted (if not outright stated) that he just has him locked up in a Mexican Prison for the rest of his life with a few other individuals he has gotten rid of.]]
* ''Series/{{Lost}}'': True to its [[UsefulNotes/{{Gnosticism}} gnostic]] roots, it eschews answers about the nature of the universe in favor of personal revelation according to the perspectives of the characters (''and'' the viewers). A close-up of eyes is a recurring visual motif, characters making a decision based on incomplete or outright fraudulent information pops up repeatedly, and questions like "Is the Light spiritual or scientific in nature?" "Is Jacob a god, a superpowerful conman, or a scientist who sets an experiment in motion and watches the results?" or "Do the Numbers really mean anything, or is Hurley mistaking coincidence for fate?" are never clarified, to the [[BrokenBase dismay of some fans]].
* In the second installment of ''Series/HoratioHornblower'' miniseries (parts "Mutiny" and "Retribution"), it's never fully resolved what happened when the Captain Sawyer fell in the hatchway. It's possible Lieutenant Hornblower, Lieutenant Kennedy, or Midshipman Wellard pushed him, or that the disoriented and paranoid Captain simply tripped and fell on his own. The scene is shot so as to be intentionally vague, and by the end of the miniseries, [[spoiler: Kennedy, Wellard, and Sawyer are all dead]]. For his part, Hornblower doesn't talk about it. The book that these films were based on, ''Lieutenant Hornblower'', was written from Lieutenant Bush's point of view and was similarly unclear. For the record, [[spoiler:Kennedy took the blame to save Horatio's career, as he was dying anyway.]]
* ''Series/{{JAG}}'': In "Boot", someone attacks Austin in the gas chamber, but it's impossible to see who. It's possible that [[spoiler: Private Whitley]] was trying to kill her because she was on her trail, or that Private Johnson was trying to rough her up out of spite.
* In ''{{Series/Arrow}}'' first season episode "Dodger," flashbacks to the island show the younger Oliver finding someone tied up and beaten in a cave. He claimed to have been stranded on the island as the result of a school trip and near-killed by Fyers and his men, and begged Ollie to help him. After much hesitation, Ollie decides the situation could be a trap by Fyers and abandons the young man to his fate, leaving it completely ambiguous as to whether he was lying or whether Oliver had condemned an innocent person to a horrible death. [[spoiler: a quick shot in the season finale reveals that he was working for Fyers after all.]]
* On ''Series/TheMusketeers'', Athos' ex-wife Milady de Winter (also an assassin and con-artist) is sentenced to death by hanging for murdering Athos' brother Thomas, but manages to escape. According to her, Thomas was attempting to rape her, so she killed him in self defense. Due to her untrustworthy nature, however, Athos and the other characters don't believe her, and Athos thinks she was simply trying to scam him. However, when Athos asks her if this is true, she seems to telling the truth about what happened.
* ''Series/TheHandmaidsTale'': While it's not probable that Ofglen/Ofsteven/Emily would survive the ensuing punishment for her joyride, the director intentionally left it ambiguous before Offred's eyes to leave it open-ended while still giving Emily a final triumph over Gilead.
* ''Series/MillionYenWomen'': The premise of the series is that someone sent five women invitations to come live in a struggling author's house under a set of rules imposed on both them and the author in question. When the household ends up taking in a stray kitten six months into the arrangement, the women can't help wondering whether it is part of the invitation sender's plan or not.

* ''Music/{{Blutengel}}'''s song Solitary Angel (see page quote) is about a saviour who is "not from heaven sent" - which means it could be a secular force or a spiritual force other than the God of Christianity. This character could be a powerful human, since "angel" is a common metaphor for generic benevolence. The character could also be a powerful vampire, since most of the songs from the same band are about vampires and they routinely use "angel" as a euphemism for "vampire" or "lover". And of course, it could also be referring to an angel in the literal religious sense - either one that simply works on it's own accord, or a fallen one. So, what trope or tropes is this?
** If he's a human, then it's BigGood with a dash of ForHappiness and OutgrownSuchSillySuperstitions.
** If he's a vampire, then it's a DarkIsNotEvil kind of CrystalDragonJesus.
** If he's the devil or the AntiChrist, then it's plain and simply SatanIsGood.
* Invoked in Music/MileyCyrus' song [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e7_vtsrk-J8 Who Owns My Heart]]: the protagonist is having a strong emotional reaction. But she doesn't know if it's caused by ThePowerOfLove or by CrowningMusicOfAwesome.
* Is [[Music/TheKinks Lola]] glad the protagonist of the song is a man, [[WholesomeCrossdresser or, well...]]
* ''Music/{{Vampire Weekend}}'''s song "Diplomat's Son" describes a one-night stand with the titular man. In the final verse, seemingly months or years after the affair, the singer sees a car, "all black with diplomatic plates." The song ends there, without describing what happens next -- or even if the car was real or just the singer's imagination.

* In ''BattleActionHaremHighschoolSideCharacterQuest'', after a training exercise, in which Koujirou is seriously injured, Anna is told to ‘fix her eyes’. It is unclear whether this means her eyes were [[TearsOfBlood visibly damaged]] or if [[TearsOfFear she was crying for Koujirou.]] [[TakeAThirdOption Or both.]] In any case, she [[GoodThingYouCanHeal does indeed]] [[MyEyesAreLeaking ‘repair’]] her eyes.
* Roleplay/DinoAttackRPG: When [[spoiler: Trigger]] was killed, Atton Rand took the opportunity to write a parody of a DeusExMachina from the RPG's [[SpiritualSuccessor Spiritual Predecessor]], when it turned out the mysterious voice that called to people upon death was [[spoiler: a somewhat perverted man with blue hair and no pants who runs a hotel occupied by dead people]]. However, due to [=PeabodySam=]'s reluctance to explore themes of the afterlife, the nature of this character was left open to interpretation. Is he some sort of deity? KingOfAllCosmos? Some form of strange equivalent to the Grim Reaper or other personification of death? A looney who just ''happens'' to run a hotel in a separate dimension? A figment of [[spoiler: Trigger's]] imagination?
** [[WordOfGod PeabodySam]] has already gone on the record to say that [[ShrugOfGod he will not confirm the scene as canon]]. Since the character never appears anywhere else his status in canon (if any) is really very much [[DependingOnTheWriter dependent on the player]].

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* {{Exploited|Trope}} by Creator/GamesWorkshop to keep all fans of ''Tabletopgame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'' happy. There is a fair amount of material suggesting that the {{T|heFederation}}au are oppressive, frequently using concentration camps and mind control to keep their citizens in line, and resorting to orbital bombardment if the very first round of negotiations fail. Thing is, this all comes from [[TheEmpire the Imperium]] - thus, fans who think the Tau aren't {{grimdark}} enough can take this as truth, while those who like the fact that they're an optimistic and friendly faction can dismiss it as Imperial propaganda.
* ''TabletopGame/ChangelingTheLost'' makes a point of never revealing what the True Fae ''are'', as their very nature is antithetical to reality. They are incredibly powerful RealityWarper[=s=] who kidnap mortal beings... and that's about it. [[spoiler:Changelings eventually turn into Fae, but it's never explained who (or what) created the first changeling.]]

* Johnny Byron, ethe main character of ''Theatre/{{Jerusalem}}'', is a former daredevil and fantastic {{Munchausen}} who claims to have met the ninety-foot giant who built stonehenge. In the second act, Byron shows the local teens a drum that he claims was the giant's earring, saying that the giant told him to bang on it if ever he needed the help of the giants. In the final moments of the play, when Byron stands alone, bloodied and beaten, his land in the woods about to be invaded by a bulldozer and a dozen local constables, he beats the drum and calls upon the mythological figures of England. At this point, the text of the play says "Blackout", but the original production from the Royal Court Theatre that has since moved to Broadway ends with the rumble of enormous footsteps in the distance.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* ''VideoGame/DarkSouls'' has plenty of this. According to the director, Hidetaka Miyazaki, he based it and ''VideoGame/DemonsSouls'' on his experiences reading badly translated Western fantasy and piecing together ideas about what it could mean. Specific examples include the [[spoiler:parenthood of Priscilla (who is a dragon crossbreed), the nature of the undead, and the ultimate effect of the final choice made by the player.]]
* The ending to ''VideoGame/DeadIsland'': is Jin really that dumb or had she snapped and was attempting SuicideByCop? Cut content including her diary where she thinks the outbreak is god's punishment and everyone can burn suggests the latter.
* ''VideoGame/DeadOrAlive'': The two most recent games in the series, ''Dimensions'' and ''[=DOA5=]'', leave it up to the air as to whether or not Kasumi will ever be able to return to the Mugen Tenshin village.
* ''VideoGame/DragonAgeInquisition'': The ending scene between [[spoiler: Flemeth and Fen'Harel. Did Flemeth steal his body, or did Fen'Harel absorb her soul? Which one of them is in control of the combined being?]]
* ''Franchise/TheElderScrolls'':
** Between the events of ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIVOblivion Oblivion]]'' and ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsVSkyrim Skyrim]]'', Nirn's [[WeirdMoon two moons]], Masser and Secunda, disappear from the sky for unknown reasons (known as the "Void Nights"). [[CatFolk Khajiit]] culture has great reverence for the moons, and the phases of the moons dictate which of 17 different sub-species a Khajiit cub will grow up to be depending on which phase it was born under. Understandably, the Void Nights were said to have caused significant unrest and panic among the Khajiit. (However, nothing has been said in regards to exactly how the Void Nights affected Khajiiti reproduction, leading to much WildMassGuessing and causing a few EpilepticTrees to take root.) The moons would return after two years with no explanation given as to where they went, but the [[AntiHumanAlliance Aldmeri Dominion]] claimed credit for restoring them, bringing them the grateful Khajiit as a client race.
** In ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsVSkyrim Skyrim]]'', you meet a couple of Alik'r warriors who are hunting a Redguard woman in Whiterun. The woman, Saadia, insists that her real name is Iman and that they're hunting her for speaking out against the [[ANaziByAnyOtherName Thalmor]]. The head of the Redguard warriors, Kematu, says that her real name is Iman... and that she's really wanted for selling out a city to the Aldmeri Dominion. It's up to the player to decide who's telling the truth, but neither side is completely straightforward.
*** In Saadia's favor: [[spoiler:The Alik'r hang out in a cave with bandits, and did ''something'' to piss off the Whiterun guards (and land one of their numbers in jail). They, and Kematu in particular, only tell you the truth once you've killed a bunch of bandits (i.e., proven you could be a danger)--if you ask them why they're hunting Saadia before this, they brush you off with 'You don't need to know that'.]]
*** In Kematu's favor: [[spoiler:Saadia's first action when you confront her is to pull you aside into a quiet corner and then draw a dagger on you. Her story doesn't mesh with the lore given about Hammerfell, who opposed the Aldmeri Dominion and eventually threw them out. And, notably, when you hand Saadia over to Kematu he paralyzes her instead of killing her outright--for all her insistence that she was going to be assassinated. He even gets upset if you kill her, complaining about "all that hard work".]]
* In ''VideoGame/EverybodysGoneToTheRapture,'' the titular "Rapture" itself is an example, particularly how hostile or benevolent it actually is.
* ''VideoGame/{{Fallout}}''
** ''Who'' fired the nukes to begin with? What little information the player can find about the moments just before, during, and just after bombs hit seem to imply that China launched theirs first, but it is never explicitly made clear, that America didn't shoot first. Further complicating things, an EasterEgg in the [[BizarroEpisode Mother Ship Zeta]] DLC, proposes that ''aliens'' might have triggered the nuclear war, either ForScience or ForTheEvulz, and the rough-draft of the canceled Fallout movie proposed the idea that [[Main/EvilInc Vault Tech]] may have caused the war. Though the continuity Mothership Zeta is debatable and as the Fallout movie was never made, it is unlikely anything planned in it carries over to the games.
** In [[PosthumousCharacter Dean Clark's]] journal entries, we learn that about a hundred spore infected refugees from Vault 22 came into Zion Canyon and according to him, murdered and cannibalized a family of survivors that Clark had been looking after, leading to him waging a [[OneManArmy one man]] [[RoaringRampageOfRevenge war against the vault dwellers to avenge the family]]. But his accounts are called into question, after the player discovers a note left by the vault overseer, claiming that the family attacked ''them'' and were killed in self-defense, before the vault dwellers became the victims of what they believed were unprovoked attacks by an unknown force. Which person if telling the truth or if this was possibly just one big misunderstanding is sadly, never revealed.
** In ''VideoGame/{{Fallout 4}}'', there's the true fate of the [[TheAlliance Commonwealth Provisional Government]]. An important part of the game's backstory, the [=CPG=] was an alliance of the representatives of the [[CrapsackWorld Commonwealth's]] largest settlements, with the goal of creating the foundation for a new regional government. [[TheConspiracy The Institute]] sent their ''own'' representative in the form of a [[ArtificialHumans Synth]]. The Synth then apparently [[KickTheDog killed the other members of the CPG]], causing the organization to fall apart [[ShaggyDogStory and the Commonwealth to stay divided and weak]]. Most Watelanders use "the [=CPG=] Massacre" as a justification for their hatred of the Institute and [[FantasticRacism resultant racism towards Synths]]. However, records from within the Institute itself [[AnotherSideAnotherStory tell a different tale]]: [[spoiler: Apparently, the Institute actually ''[[NotMeThisTime orchestrated]]'' the [=CPG's=] formation, as they [[PetTheDog wanted to share their advanced tech with the surface]], but [[WellIntentionedExtremist as a new society]] [[VisionaryVillain that wouldn't repeat the faults of the Old World]]. The records then go on to claim that the surface representatives [[RealityEnsues never came to a consensus]] and [[KillEmAll killed each other]], leaving the Institute's Synth representative the [[SoleSurvivor Sole Survivor]]. The Institute was then [[PoorCommunicationKills promptly blamed by the rest of the Commonwealth]] for the fall of the [=CPG=], and this served as the Institute's [[StartOfDarkness Start of Darkness]].]] Complicating matters is the fact that the Institute's records on the matter are [[WrittenByTheWinners likely doctored to some extent]], and the Commonwealth's opinions of events are corrupted by the over-reliance on [[OralTradition word of mouth]]. Due to too many [[UnreliableNarrator Unreliable Narrators]], no one knows which side is right anymore.
** What happened to the [[VideoGame/Fallout3 Capital Wasteland]], after the East Coast Brotherhood of Steel abandoned Elder Lyons more progressive and altruistic ideals, [[HeelFaceRevolvingDoor to return to their]] more [[LawfulNeutral morally gray customs]], under Elder Maxum. About as much as we get, is a terminal entry that implies that they (probably forcibly) took Rivet City's nuclear reactor to power the Prydwen and we could infer that the Brotherhood would likely confiscate any and all weapons more advanced than traditional guns and that [[FantasticRacism peaceful mutant communities like Underworld, would likely be driven out, if not killed on sight]]. But, we are never given a clear answer to what has happened since the Capital Wasteland's protectors, reverted back to their old ways.
* ''Franchise/FiveNightsAtFreddys'':
** The event that happens in ''Videogame/FiveNightsAtFreddys4''[='=]s ending is filled with ambiguity: what appears to be [[spoiler:the [[BrainFood Bite of 87]] alluded to in the original game]] has a good chunk of evidence suggesting it isn't, thanks to [[AmbiguousTimePeriod the exact year the game happens in being unclear]].
** The [[HarderThanHard Golden Freddy V. Hard Custom Night]] cutscene in ''Videogame/FiveNightsAtFreddysSisterLocation'' has [[spoiler:Michael Afton talking to [[GreaterScopeVillain his father]] about how he "found it", "they" thought he was him, and that he should be dead, but isn't, ending with Springtrap emerging from Fazbear's Fright]]. The dialogue can be interpreted as either referencing [[spoiler:the events of ''Sister Location'' and Michael getting scooped by Ennard, or the events of ''Videogame/FiveNightsAtFreddys3''[='=]s minigames and the Purple Man getting killed via the Springtrap suit (implying Michael is Springtrap, and ''not'' his father as it appeared to be)]]. Likewise, that it plays before [[spoiler:Springtrap's appearance]] makes it ambiguous if it's [[spoiler:an undead Michael talking to his father (now Springtrap), or if Michael is talking as Springtrap]]. The same game also leaves it ambiguous if [=HandUnit=] is actually trying to kill you or not.
* [[PosthumousCharacter Brian Johnson]]'s death in ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoSanAndreas''. Even though is one of the many driving forces of the plot, you're not really told if his death was caused by CJ's negligence or Brian's recklessness.
* ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaMajorasMask'' has this for the entire land of Termina. Theories abound about what its story is. Is it some sort of afterlife? A hallucination? An alternate universe? A representation of Link's mental state/the five stages of grief/depression? Just a regular land? All the player knows is that Link goes though an incredibly trippy sequence to get there. The people all look the same as the ones from Hyrule, [[NewWorkRecycledGraphics but that was done to make sure the game was finished sooner]] and it's never acknowledged in-universe. The implied backstory throws a lot more into the mix, with interesting carvings at Stone Tower that have led to speculation that Termina may have been cursed by the goddesses for blasphemy.
* Much to the {{fandom}}'s [[EndingAversion chagrin]], ''VideoGame/MassEffect3'' ended with this trope. Beyond the presence of a GainaxEnding, there is the apparent [[spoiler: explosion of the mass relays in every ending except Control, which would doom the entire galaxy, given that an exploding mass relay has shown to release energy on the scale of supernova]], in addition to the enormous amount of FridgeHorror in the endings (see InferredHolocaust). In fact, even in [[spoiler: the control ending, the Catalyst's dialogue seems to imply that controlling the reapers will eventually lead to AndThenJohnWasAZombie, causing the reapers to return to destroy the galaxy and renew the cycle.]] Apparently, this was the desired effect of the endings, as the lead writer Mac Walters (allegedly) wrote, in [[NoIndoorVoice ALL CAPS]] on a piece of note paper regarding the endings "'''[[MemeticMutation LOTS OF SPECULATION FROM EVERYONE]]'''." Clarified a bit in the [[UpdatedRerelease DLC endings]], which are far less ambiguous (and the exploding relays were removed entirely).
* ''VideoGame/ModernWarfare'': Both the villains, Khalid al-Asad and Imran Zakhaev, blame the west for their two countries' problems. While their actions are morally reprehensible, whether they're [[PresidentEvil power-mad dictators]] [[AmericaSavesTheDay America is trying to save the world from]] or [[KnightTemplar Knight Templars]] [[IDidWhatIHadToDo doing what they genuinely think they have to do to stop American imperialism]] is open to interpretation. Very much TruthInTelevision. The ambiguity even extends to the nuclear detonation -- it's never confirmed [[{{Revision}} in the first game]] who set it off: Zakhaev, al-Asad, a suicidal {{Mook}}, the NEST team trying to defuse it....
* ''VisualNovel/NineHoursNinePersonsNineDoors'': One of the endings includes a conversation between Junpei and Zero through a speaker. In another ending we find out that [[spoiler:Zero is actually Akane, meaning she couldn't be talking through the speaker, because she was in the room with him the whole time. Whether she was actually speaking through their {{Mindlink|Mates}}, the one speaking was actually Zero's assistant, or the conversation was [[TheTapeKnewYouWouldSayThat prerecorded]] is left in the air]].
* ''VideoGame/Persona5'' leaves it ambiguous what happens with the traitor, after they were last seen. After fighting and losing to the protagonist, the traitor is confronted by a Shadow doppelgänger of themselves and tells the party to go on. Nothing is mentioned beyond a minor note of one of your party member's not feeling their presence any longer.
* ''VideoGame/RedDeadRedemption'' features a sub-quest involving a MysteriousStranger, who gives John two minor quests to test his morality, before [[spoiler: meeting him a finale time at the spot ''[[TheAtoner John's future grave will be]]'', remarking that it is a good spot to die]], at which point he refuses to answer John's questions, leading to the latter firing three of what may or may not be warning shots, none of which faze the stranger. The only hint of who he may be, is John commenting that he looks familiar and he himself has a good memory, to which the stranger mentions a woman that was killed during John's criminal days, that John doesn't remember and says "If you don't remember her, why would you remember me." and that '''every''' man must face his past said at another point. And though he gives a couple missions to test John's morality, he doesn't seem to react strongly to either decision. [[WildMassGuessing Fan theories have come up with]], everything from him being anything from TheGrimReaper, {{God}}, TheDevil, John's long lost father, a GuardianAngel, to the spirit of a innocent bystander who was killed in the crossfire of one of John's criminal escapades. Further complicating things is the fact, after [[spoiler: [[RedemptionEqualsDeath John's]] HeroicSacrifice and the player is left to roam around as his son, the stranger disappears from the game, making his quest line the only side quest that can ''only'' be completed by John.]]
* Used to skirt around the issues of violence, death and sexuality in ''VideoGame/RuleOfRose'', where most characters are young children. Especially whether Mr. Hoffman sexually abused Clara and Diana. An infamous scenario features Hoffman summoning sad, reluctant Clara to his room, and you can witness through a keyhole how he...makes her scrub the floor, though in a very innuendo-laden position.
* In ''VideoGame/ShadowOfTheColossus'', the only clear part of the plot is that Wander is trying to revive Mono by unsealing Dormin, and Lord Emon wants to stop this. This leaves us with a whole boatload of varying interpretations - for a small sample, is Wander a VillainProtagonist or a [[TheWoobie Woobie]]? Is Dormin displaying DarkIsEvil or DarkIsNotEvil? Is Emon a HeroAntagonist or a KnightTemplar? Indeed, director Fumito Ueda is on the record as wanting each player to form their own story, and boy has the fandom taken him up on that.
* ''VideoGame/SilentHillShatteredMemories'' actually builds the entire crux of the plot around this, with the nature, outcome and even symbolism of the plot dependent on both the player's actions and interpretations.
* ''VideoGame/SilentHill4'' features James Sunderland's father, who mentions that he hasn't heard from his son ever since we went to the town of Silent Hill. What ''that'' means is literally up to the player, as [=SH2=]'s creative director has stated that [[ShrugOfGod he never meant for any ending to be official canon]].
* Fans of Franchise/TheSlenderManMythos can easily figure out what vaguely happened in the game it inspired, ''VideoGame/{{Slender}}'', but the details are unknown, and if you aren't familiar with the mythos, you really have no idea.
* In ''VisualNovel/SuperDanganRonpa2'', it's never confirmed whether [[spoiler:Gundam Tanaka]] killed [[spoiler:Nekomaru Nidai]] using [[spoiler:his hamsters to hit his "Good Night" button]] or if [[spoiler:he simply fought him on even terms]]. The killer insists that it was the latter method, but the former is simpler and slightly more believable. Both are plausible, however.
** Additionally, it's never made explicitly clear in-game who [[spoiler:killed Satou/E-ko during their time at Hope's Peak Academy prior to their arriving on the island]] - it could've been [[spoiler:Fuyuhiko Kuzuryuu or Peko Pekoyama (acting under orders from Kuzuryuu)]]. Official supplementary materials, however, confirm that it was [[spoiler:Kuzuryuu]].
* The ending of ''VideoGame/TalesOfTheAbyss'', namely, [[spoiler: whether the revived Fon Fabre is Luke, Asch, or a personality mix of the two.]]
* [[spoiler:Judas's]] eventual fate in ''VideoGame/TalesOfDestiny2''. [[spoiler:He was supposed to be erased from time, but his mask still exists, and Kyle seems to have memories of him in the end.]]
%%* ''VideoGame/YumeNikki'', the entire game.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Undertale}}'', at the end of the Genocide Route (which involves [[KillEmAll going out of your way to killing every monster in the game]]), you face off against [[spoiler: Sans the Skelleton]]. After you deal the final blow, they start to bleed, despite the fact that the game makes abundantly clear that monsters don't have blood (and no one else bleeds in the whole game). They sigh, move outside your field of view, say their FamousLastWords, and you hear the sound effect used whenever you kill or spare a monster. Most people assume that they died, but the exact circusmtances of their defeat (and the implications of a supposed monster bleeding) are never elaborated upon, leaving the player to guess.

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* ''Webcomic/GunnerkriggCourt'':
** In an early chapter, Reynardine apparently [[BodySurf attempts to possess Antimony]], which would have killed her. Much later, Coyote insists that trying to kill Annie would have been out of character for Rey, leading many readers to reinterpret the earlier scene as an elaborate attempt on Rey's part to fake his own death and go into hiding, rather than a genuine possession attempt. Tom Siddell has confirmed that he deliberately set up the scene so the fanbase would be divided on the issue. [[spoiler:Later, in a WhatYouAreInTheDark moment, he reveals he really was going to kill her due to being pushed to the DespairEventHorizon, and it is his greatest regret in life.]]
** The matter of Ysengrin. At one point, Annie sees him out of his magical wooden "PoweredArmor", without which he is skeletally thin and visibly weak. Shortly afterwards, she sees his etheric self, which she describes as "beautiful". [[TricksterGod Coyote]] tells her she has now seen how Ysengrin sees himself, how others see him, and how he really is. But he intentionally leaves it vague as to which is which.
* ''Webcomic/{{Homestuck}}''. The short version: A character who has the explicit ability to return from any death, except one that is either ''heroic'' (HeroicSacrifice) or ''just'' ([[KarmicDeath die for their crimes]]), dies and does not return. Hardly any readers think this is a heroic death, but there's ambiguous evidence suggesting that it's not a just death either, and that the real reason the character doesn't return is because of a cosmic accident cheating them out of their revival. [[note]]The longer, spoileriffic version:The character in question is Vriska, reigning queen of AlternateCharacterInterpretation. She had committed many murders, was deliberately responsible for the creation of [[BigBad Bec Noir]], and was killed while leaving to fight Bec Noir--if Vriska had not been stopped, Bec Noir would have killed all her friends. However, Vriska's FreudianExcuse, her eleventh-hour remorse over prior misdeeds, and her desire to reform may or may not have redeemed her enough that her death no longer qualified as just. Further complicating the matter, the simultaneous ([[TimeyWimeyBall for a given value of "simultaneous"]]) destruction of a magic clock, whose pendulum was swinging between ''heroic'' and ''just'', may or may not have interfered with the universe making the right ruling on the nature of her death. Death sure is confusing![[/note]] [[WordOfGod Word of Hussie]] [[http://www.formspring.me/mspadventures/q/205977743303664796 has outright stated]] that he intended for this to be ambiguous and divisive.
* In ''Webcomic/StandStillStaySilent'', it's unclear whether the Rash is caused by magic or if it's a purely biological illness, and the matter of TheOldGods existence/nonexistance remains unclear so far.

[[folder:Web Original]]
* Invoked in [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v59b0iTRIs4 this episode of]] WebVideo/ZinniaJones, about how different Christians interpret Literature/TheBible differently.
* The denouement of "Hard Times in the Big Easy", set in the ''[[Roleplay/GlobalGuardiansPBEMUniverse Global Guardians]]'' universe, involved the death of the Big Bad, a CriminalMastermind called Baron Samedi. The story began with the villain being thrown off the roof of his own building... and ended with at least three of the heroes being implicated in the crime. But who actually threw Samedi off the roof, and under what circumstances, was never revealed.
* It's never addressed whether Donnie from WebVideo/DemoReel is lying about having a big "not allowed to see family" pre-nup to cover up his [[spoiler: mom being dead]], or whether his life just blows that much.
* ''WebAnimation/{{RWBY}}'''s White trailer is this; even a year after it was released, fans are still debating what it meant. Was Weiss's concert a fantasy, flashback, or psychological metaphor? Was the ''battle'' a fantasy, flashback, or psychological metaphor? Why were the two scenes spliced into one another? Was the Knight real, or was it a representation of someone/something in Weiss's life? Why did it shatter into ice once she defeated it? Was the girl in the trailer even Weiss at all? Even canon hasn't given us any straight answers, other than to confirm that [[spoiler:Knights like the one Weiss fought exist physically in the world, and that Weiss has a good singing voice]].
** Eventually cleared up in later seasons: the knight was real, sent by [[spoiler: her abusive father, Jacques]] to convince her she was incapable of being a huntress by beating her.
* In the Abridged Series ''WebVideo/UltraFastPony'', [[AntiHero Twilight]] [[DitzyGenius Sparkle]] runs into a pony that is exactly like her, claiming to be her in the future, comes to tell her something really important. But, after present(?) Twilight assumes it has to do with her hoof tremor problem, future(?) Twilight reveals she didn't even know that was a thing, let alone that it was condition ''she herself'' would of had. When present(?) Twilight calls he on this, she simply brushes it off by saying she's from "{{The Future}}", not psychic. On top of that, she seemed unsure what her past self's middle name was, before saying it was ''secret'', which may have been a lucky guess. But just as present(?) Twilight is starting to become suspicious, future(?) Twilight tries to tell her the secret to solving her problem of [[RunningGag being cut off as she is about to say something important]], before [[{{Irony}} disappearing as she was about to reveal this information.]] After she disappears, nothing else is revealed about her and episodes plot line about defining the meaning of time continues, before going ''unanswered as well'', ending with no real resolution for anything, beyond [[TheCuckoolanderWasRight confirming Rainbow Dash's suspension that the doughnut corporations are some how involved in and possibly even in control of the very concept of time.]]
** To a lesser extent, in "Peger Please" the ponies go to confront a dragon that [[OnlySaneMan Twilight wants to reason with it]], but [[AdaptationalVillainy Applejack just wants to kill it.]] By the end of the episode, Fluttershy manages to get the dragon to back down, but we cut to Twilight telling Spike what happened, before we could see how they resolve things with the dragon with Twilight never making it clear if they killed him or resolved the situation peacefully, just that he's [[LamePunReaction Dra-gone]].
* The ''Wiki/SCPFoundation'' has several of these.
** Does Samothrace [[http://www.scp-wiki.net/fragment:scp-1173-a actually exist]], or is it [[http://www.scp-wiki.net/fragment:scp-1173-1 only a delusion]]?
** Which of the [[http://www.scp-wiki.net/scp-001 SCP-001]] documents are telling the truth and which are false?
** Is Doctor Clef really Satan? How true are the other claims he has made about his past?
** Is SCP-343 really God?
** Does [[http://www.scp-wiki.net/scp-089 SCP-089]] cause disasters to force people to make human sacrifices to it, or does it predict disasters and stop them in exchange for human sacrifices?
** Does [[http://www.scp-wiki.net/scp-1719 SCP-1719]] [[GlamourFailure reveal the true forms of monsters in human form]], or this only a bizarre optical illusion?
* In the first episode of ''WebVideo/DontHugMeImScared'', it's unclear whether the puppets' teacher intentionally attempted to cause them to have such a violent breakdown or honestly just wanted to inform them of creativity.
* In the ''WebAnimation/DeathBattle'' episode "Raven vs. Twilight Sparkle", the battle ends with [[spoiler:Raven's Soul Self slamming into Twilight at high speeds, leaving a Twilight-shaped crater in the ground. Since there was no blood, it's impossible to tell if the Soul Self actually killed Twilight or if AmusingInjuries ensued and Twilight's just stuck in the hole for the time being.]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'':
** Ever since the season 2 finale aired, it has been a major point of argument among fans as to whether or not [[spoiler: [[BigBad Chrysalis]] and/or her army survived being catapulted out of Canterlot]], as it wasn't made clear in the episode itself. In the comic, we find out that [[spoiler:yes, she did survive. And then one changeling makes an appearance during season 6, and the whole hive comes back at the season finale]].
** The episode "Flight to the Finish" confirms that Scootaloo is behind most pegasi kids when it comes to flying. The question of whether or not Scootaloo ever ''will'' fly is raised, but left unanswered as Scootaloo is given a BeYourself [[AnAesop aesop]] to put her mind at ease. WordOfGod was that [[spoiler: she is disabled,]] but the person that said this (Lauren Faust) is no longer executive producer and at the time of writing has limited influence on the show, so this idea may or may not have been dropped.
** "Pinkie Apple Pie" leaves it unclear whether Pinkie Pie is related to Applejack. All the records they find are [[{{Conveniently Interrupted Document}} smudged in the exact relevant spot]], but after their adventures, Applejack decided it doesn't matter whether they have common genes since they get along so well Pinkie would fit just fine as a member of the family even if they're not related.
* In ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender'', events surrounding Azulon's death are extremely murky. The main question is whether he [[spoiler: was really going to have Ozai kill Zuko as a punishment for Ozai's attempt to usurp Iroh's position as heir.]] The only two people who know for sure are both known liars and only discuss the incident while trying to manipulate others. One popular fan theory is that [[spoiler: Azulon intended to make Zuko Iroh's heir to remove Ozai from the succession]], which does fit the very little we see of the scene in question, but is mainly rooted in a literal interpretation of Azula's version of the story which, as noted above, could be all lies in the first place. [[spoiler: We find out in the comics that Ozai had Ursa create an untraceable poison to kill Azulon in exchange for Zuko's life but we never find out if she personally administered it.]]
* In the third act of the ''WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}'' episode "God Fellows", Bender who was [[ItMakesSenseInContext mistaken for god by a species of tiny aliens, who's meteorite hit Bender's chest, while he was stuck floating aimlessly in space, before his poor judgment got them killed]], meets a galaxy like entity, who may of may not be ''{{God}}'', because apparently the entity himself does not know. Even admitting Bender's alternate interpretation that he is a satellite that collided with god, could be right. After at first speaking through his stars blinking to form a binary message, Bender asks if he speaks English to which he replies "I do now.", implying he may not be all knowing, but can understand things just by coming in contact with them. As Bender floats in orbit around him and recounts his story, and asks him what is the right way to help people, to which the entity after a moment of pondering, simply states, "If you help too much, people will become dependent. But if you help too little, they lose faith. The secret is to help in such a way, [[AmbiguousSituation that they will not know if you did anything at all."]] And after, [[spoiler: Fry's attempts to finding Bender in the cosmos get his attention, the Entity simply sends Bender back without much details]]. After a happy reunion, [[ItMakesSenseInContext they realize Fry and Lela forgot to free some monks, they locked in the laundry room while using their radio disc]], we get this moment:
-->'''Fry:''' Ah, their god can get them out. [[ItMakesSenseInContext Or at least bring them more shoes to eat.]]
-->'''Bender:''' [[HeartWarmingMoment Fat chance, You can't count on god for jack! He more of less told me so himself. Now if we don't help those monks, no one will!]]
-->''They go back to save the monks, as the camera pans across the cosmos to "maybe God"''
-->'''"God":''' (chuckle) If you help just enough, people won't know you did ''anything'' at all.
* The ''WesternAnimation/{{Kaeloo}}'' episode "Let's Play Trap-Trap" has a confusing ending, where Quack Quack is seen [[ItMakesSenseInContext eating a pile of yogurt]] after the events of the episode. It's never made clear to the viewers whether he was hallucinating them or really eating.
* In season 3 of ''WesternAnimation/StarVsTheForcesOfEvil'', [[spoiler:Glossaryck seems to have died in "[[Recap/StarVsTheForcesOfEvilS3E3BookBeGone Book Be Gone]]", but reappears to Star 4 episodes later in "[[Recap/StarVsTheForcesOfEvilS3E7Toffee Toffee]]". However Star herself might have been dead at the time, since she seemed to drown in the previous scene and appeared in an unknown location that could be some sort of afterlife. On the other hand Glossaryck claims it's insulting to suggest he's dead, and that they're in a place no one has ever been before. So whether Glossaryck is actually dead remains up in the air.]]
* ''WesternAnimation/MarthaSpeaks'': In the episode "Martha Takes the Cake", [[TalkingAnimal Martha]] the dog is suspected of eating a bite and a candle off of [[TheKlutz Alice]] [[LovableJock Boxwood]]'s birthday cake because there were cake crumbs next to her. Eventually, Nelson the cat is revealed to be the real perp after he throws up due to the candle having disagreed with him, but this doesn't solve the mystery of why there were crumbs next to Martha. [[CloudCuckoolander T.D.]] suggests that Nelson is a genius cat and made a machine to frame Martha, but the thing is, Nelson can't have built it because he doesn't have thumbs so we still don't know how the cake crumbs ended up next to Martha.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Arthur}}'':
** At the end of the episode "The Chips Are Down", D.W. and Binky make friends and Binky admits to his friends that he likes ballet (which he'd been keeping a secret). Buster, who's a bit of a CloudCuckooLander and likes sci-fi, suggests that aliens brought them together, and at the end, aliens can be seen, saying, "Don't blame us; we just like ballet." Do they mean, "Yes, we brought them together, but don't blame us, we just did it because we like ballet", or are they saying, "Just because we like ballet doesn't mean we're responsible"?
** In "Prove It", D.W. wants to go to a science museum and tells other children false facts (like the "H" in "H2O" standing for "hose") and eventually gets taken to the museum to inform her. At the end, she says she planned it all along and was deliberately lying to the kids so they'd take her to the museum, but we don't know if that's true or not.