[[quoteright:310:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/waterhouse63.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:310:Psyche opens the box from the Underworld. Fortunately, Eros will show up to save her.]]
->''"Make your choice, adventurous stranger''
->''Strike the bell, and bide the danger''
->''Or wonder, 'till it drives you mad,''
->''What would have followed if you had."''
-->-- Literature/TheMagiciansNephew

Generally, every [[StockAesops stock aesop]] has an opposite, equally valid aesop with advice. In fiction, nowhere is this more pronounced than with curiosity. Depending on the genre, [[SlidingScaleOfIdealismVersusCynicism idealism]], and morality of the story, curiosity can either save your life or [[CuriosityKilledTheCast prematurely end it]].

All in all, by its very nature, CuriosityIsACrapshoot and the only possible way to have a clue about whether it's rewarded or punished is to be GenreSavvy. In a SurvivalHorror Film, it's bad to ignore the HauntedHouseHistorian and go into the HauntedHouse... although deciding that ItsProbablyNothing is just as bad. In a [[SpeculativeFiction Sci Fi flick]], usually good (science is about trying to learn things you didn't know) but sometimes over-the-top NightmareFuel (because ScienceIsBad). Fantasy and folk tales, you'll almost certainly do the wrong thing anyway, what with {{Family Unfriendly Aesop}}s, but usually get a chance to undo it through a series of {{Impossible Task}}s (climb mountains until you wear out thirty pairs of shoes...).

(Things do tend to turn out well for the ConstantlyCurious or those CuriousAsAMonkey. In the long run, at any rate.)

Then again, with some author's penchant for {{Twist Ending}}s (let's not get into BrokenAesop for now) the exact same kind of story can have exactly the same action go from good to bad.

Not to be confused with ApathyKilledTheCat. See also SchmuckBait and CuriosityCausesConversion. This may violate the PowerOfTrust, which can be dangerous.
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!!Examples:

!!Curiosity is Bad

[[AC:Anime and Manga]]
* Cooro from ''Manga/PlusAnima'', despite being the CheerfulChild, follows his curiosity to a secluded cave with a rather creepy adult (and no one else), and as such almost gets drugged and kidnapped.
* This is all over ''LightNovel/AiNoKusabi''. Bad examples include 3 characters snooping where they don't belong to find classified secrets. Two of which [[BrainWashed pay for]] [[GoMadFromTheRevelation it dearly]]. The complicated examples are below.
* In ''Manga/KotouraSan'''s DownerBeginning, Haruka Kotoura is the quintessential CheerfulChild and a classic {{Moe}} heroine. The catch is that she's an [[PowerIncontinence inadverdent]] [[{{Telepathy}} telepath]] in a society where [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tatemae Tatemae]] is a major concept. Worse, [[InnocentlyInsensitive she has no idea about any of this]] since speech and thought are one and the same to her, so she [[LivingLieDetector questions why everybody is lying]] and [[MindOverManners speaks their thoughts out loud]]. BreakTheCutie ensues [[TraumaCongaLine again and again]] so quickly and painfully, DullEyesOfUnhappiness becomes a ''default expression''.

[[AC:FanFic]]
* [[FanFic/NewLookSeries New Look Series]]: Both Sonic and Young Link ended up in their respective predicaments because they couldn't resist exploring a girl's room.

[[AC:General]]
* Just about every entry over at SchmuckBait would probably qualify.
* There's also the old story about how "curiosity killed the cat."

[[AC:{{Literature}}]]
* The Creator/StephenKing short story, ''[[Literature/SkeletonCrew The Jaunt]]'' is about a little boy who becomes curious as to what goes on during a [[TeleportersAndTransporters teleportation]] between Earth and Mars, during which everybody is supposed to be knocked out. He holds his breath to avoid the knockout gas... and [[HyperspaceIsAScaryPlace pops out the other side completely insane]]. Turns out that the physical journey is instantaneous, but the ''mental'' journey:
-->''"Longer than you think, Dad! LONGER THAN YOU THINK!"''
* In Creator/PatriciaAMcKillip's ''The Book of Atrix Wolfe'', Saro and her father watched Atrix Wolfe's spell because of her curiosity -- and got caught.
* In Creator/RobertEHoward's ConanTheBarbarian stories:
** In "Literature/TheDevilInIron" the fisherman who investigates a place is explicitly described as having more curiosity -- and dies.
-->''That he was where he was proved that he was less dully incurious than most of his people.''
** In "Literature/ShadowsInTheMoonlight", Olivia's terror, [[DreamingOfTimesGoneBy after her dream]], persuades Conan not to assuage his curiosity. Which is just as well.
** In "Literature/ThePoolOfTheBlackOne", Sancha is captured because she went on the island out of curiosity.
* ''TheMagiciansNephew'' provides us with the page quote.

[[AC:{{Comicbooks}}]]
* ''Star Wars'' ''Fate of the Jedi'' Part 2, Jedi Knight Exar Kun's curiosity into forbidden knowledge and dark side/Sith secrets plunges the galaxy into war. Although already a powerful Jedi where he even bested his master in lightsaber combat, it was not enough. Seeking to expand his knowledge as well, the young Jedi delved deeper into his studies of the Force and ignored his master's cautions, believing that he was too strong to fall to [[TheDarkSide the dark side]]. However, on Korriban, an evil Sith spirit crushed him with an avalanche and told him to [[JoinOrDie accept the dark side or die of his wounds]].

[[AC:{{Mythology}}]]
* [[Myth/GreekMythology Pandora]] opened the box with all the troubles of the world out of curiosity.
* Psyche disobeyed her husband Cupid, who warned her not to try to [[ForbiddenFruit find out who he was]] by lighting a lamp while he was asleep to look at him. Punished for this with a quest and several tasks to complete for [[MyBelovedSmother his mother Aphrodite]], she didn't exactly learn better, as her last task was to bring back the beauty of the Queen of the Underworld in a box. Peeking put her to sleep. Fortunately, Cupid had gotten fed up with the situation, [[DeusExMachina showed up]], got her awake again, and [[HappilyEverAfter brought her to Olympus where she was made a goddess]].

[[AC:VideoGames]]
* The main plot of Telltale's ''VideoGame/BackToTheFuture'' game starts out with Doc wanting to go back to 1931 due to wondering who was the infamous Speakeasy Arsonist. He winds up getting framed for the arson charges.

[[AC:WebComics]]
* ''Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick''. The imp [[http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0624.html professes]] to watch V out of curiosity. The plea does not help its case.
* ''Webcomic/TheDreamlandChronicles''. It gets you suspect of being a spy.
* In ''Webcomic/{{Endstone}}'', [[http://endstone.net/2011/08/04/6-16/ Kyri warns about this.]]

[[AC:WebVideo]]
* In ''WebVideo/IfTheEmperorHadATextToSpeechDevice'', the Emperor is convinced of this, claiming that Magnus' fall from grace and subsequent destruction of his homeworld were the result of him being too curious for his own good.

!!Curiosity is Good

[[AC:{{Advertising}}]]
* Vanilla Coke's product launch had a [[TheFamilyForTheWholeFamily vaguely mobster-looking fellow]] (played by Chazz Palminteri) [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dmOiABTTjw4 congratulating a young man on his "youthful curiosity" and giving him a Vanilla Coke.]]

[[AC:{{Anime}} and {{Manga}}]]
* In the English dub of ''Anime/DigimonAdventure'', curiosity is shown to be one of Izzy's best traits. He has it [[OurSoulsAreDifferent removed]] in one episode, which resulted in him acting like a zombie.

[[AC:Fairy Tales]]
* In ''Literature/TheBlueMountains'', every man before the Irishman failed to ask what was going on. As a consequence, no one of them could save the princess and all lay in enchanted sleep.

[[AC:FanFic]]
* Delivered {{Anvilicious}}ly in ''MethodsOfRationality'': "That is the story of how Harry James Potter-Evans-Verres was almost killed by his own lack of curiosity."

[[AC:{{Film}}]]
* In ''TimeBandits'', Kevin's curiosity enables him to recognize the things that the dwarfs just want to loot. The only good adult in the film, Agammenon, [[ParentalSubstitute encourages]] his desire to learn.

[[AC:{{Literature}}]]
* ''To Serve Man'', wherein the cast all blithely head off to their unwitting deaths and are saved by one guy who is curious enough to figure out just what ToServeMan means.
** Not in Series/TheTwilightZone version.
* In {{Chivalric Romance}}s about Parsizal both Chretain and Wolfram have Parsizal fail to ask the significance of what happens before him. This is disasterous.

[[AC:LiveActionTelevision]]
* In ''Series/BabylonFive'', the leader of the Gray Council, Dukhat, chastises the isolationist council members for not wanting to open communications with humans for a plethora of reasons while a young acolyte, Delenn, wants to meet them for no other reason than simple curiosity. Turns out that may have been the wisest choice. [[spoiler:By not interacting with humans, they ended up meeting unexpectedly and a terrified human captain fired the Gray council's ship killing Dukhat and starting a 2-year genocidal war.]]
* The entire theme of ''Franchise/StarTrek''. ''To seek out new life, and new civilizations. To boldly go where no one has gone before.'' Though [[RedShirt people die]], it always comes back to the idea that it is better to take the risk. Indeed, Q actually introduced Starfleet to the Borg, their absolute worst enemy from then on, more or less to make the point that exploration is as risky as it is rewarding.

[[AC:WebComics]]
* In ''Webcomic/BlueYonder'', Jared suggests that they let Kevin talk [[http://www.blueyondercomic.net/comics/1321329/blue-yonder-chapter-1-page-32/ because he is morbidly curious about what he will say next.]] [[http://www.blueyondercomic.net/comics/1327214/blue-yonder-chapter-1-page-33/ Even Lena has to admit he had something to say.]]
* In ''Webcomic/{{Sinfest}}'', the Illuminati drones, having been enlightened by Buddha, [[http://www.sinfest.net/archive_page.php?comicID=4210 start exploring the world with curiosity]] (on their new butterfly wings).

!!Curiosity Is Complicated

[[AC:{{Anime}}]]
* ''LightNovel/AiNoKusabi'' has two complicated examples that end very badly for the curious. The first being Daryl putting HonorBeforeReason and his life at risk to do a SecretTestOfCharacter. The second having a positive outcome of [[TheBeautifulElite Iason]] and [[SexSlave Riki]] truly falling in love despite the [[{{Dystopia}} grim]] [[NoSexAllowed circumstances]] of [[StarCrossedLovers their]] [[TheMasochismTango relationship]] which started out as a WorkOffTheDebt agreement fueled by sexual curiosity.

[[AC:{{Film}}]]
* In ''WesternAnimation/TheNightmareBeforeChristmas'', Jack's curiosity about Christmas leads him to try SubbingForSanta. On the one hand, Jack [[BadSanta doesn't make for a very good Santa]], causes the titular nightmare, and puts Santa in jeopardy. On the other hand, if Jack wasn't curious, he would have been locked into his depression, [[ObliviousToLove not realize that Sally loved him and that he loved her too]], and his curiosity wasn't what caused all the trouble -- it was [[IdiotHero Jack rushing into things]] [[DidntThinkThisThrough without thinking things through]] that made things [[GoneHorriblyWrong Go Horribly Wrong]].

[[AC:{{Folklore}}]]
* The ''Literature/{{Bluebeard}}'' story. Every wife gets killed for curiosity until one of them turns out to have common sense in addition to curiosity and starts to plan her escape after finding the corpses of all the previous wives.
** This is an especially interesting example, because over time the emphasis of the story changed. The early versions focused on how curiosity, as well as being brave and clever, saved the heroine. (If she hadn't looked through the forbidden door, she would ''have stayed married to a serial killer.'') [[http://www.surlalunefairytales.com/bluebeard/index.html Later versions]] altered the story to imply that curiosity is unmitigatingly bad; the heroine is so wild with curiosity that she abandons her duties and disobeys her husband. The subtext seems almost to read that she deserves death.
** There's also another one where the moral is curiosity isn't necessarily bad but assumptions and lack of trust will color your perceptions. In that version, the wife peeks in his closet and sees heads in the dark. He drags her back to the closet to show her the heads where she kills him... and in the light of the candle, she see the heads are actually statue busts. Cue massive WhatHaveIDone.

[[AC:{{Literature}}]]
* In Creator/CSLewis[='=]s ''[[{{Narnia}} The Silver Chair]]'', the character giving advice was himself only a small percentage of the time, and seemed insane when he's actually giving the right advice. But at least there they had the literal WordOfGod to guide them onto the correct course.
** Technically, we never find out what the consequences would be for ''not'' ringing the bell in ''TheMagiciansNephew''. The verse does imply that NothingIsScarier...
* Swaps back and forth in Literature/{{Coraline}}. At first, it's good, because everything in the Other World is idyllic. Then bad, when [[spoiler:the Other Mother tries to make her stay forever]]. Then good again, because Coraline [[spoiler:saves the souls of three previously taken children and [[SealedEvilInACan defeats the Other Mother]]]].
* Considered for several paragraphs in one of TimothyZahn's [[TheThrawnTrilogy Thrawn]] novels where Luke, having returned to Dagobah and recalling Yoda's advice on how some emotions inherently serve the Dark Side, ponders which side curiosity is aligned with before deciding it's probably a bit of both.
** In ''Literature/GalaxyOfFear'', curiosity generally gets our heroes in the way of the [[MonsterOfTheWeek Threat of the Book]], and this can get pretty harrowing. On the other hand a lot of the time said threat would have come for them anyway, sooner or later, and curiosity is usually a component to how said threat is defeated - often for good.
* As mentioned above, Rudyard Kipling's "The Elephant's Child" (from his ''Literature/JustSoStories'' and [[ConstantlyCurious it's own trope]]). He was spanked repeatedly by his relatives for his "'satiable curiosity", and nearly killed when a crocodile sank his teeth into his nose. As the Elephant's Child pulled against the crocodile, he stretched his nose out. He then used his new nose to spank his relatives back, until they decided to get their noses stretched as well, which is why elephants have trunks.
* Despite usually getting dragged out as the poster child for ThingsManWasNotMeantToKnow, the story canon of Creator/HPLovecraft runs the gamut. Curiosity can be dangerous here because the world is weirder than humans (or at least the stock higher-class gentry and city folk of LovecraftCountry) are quite ready to admit and there are both ''things'' and villains of the more human persuasion willing to go to any lengths to keep their secrets to themselves; but it's not necessarily a bad thing in and of itself and does sometimes lead to the discovery of just the bits of knowledge needed to, if not save the day, then at least avert an even worse outcome.
* Played with in ''Literature/HarryPotterAndTheGobletOfFire'' when Dumbledore praises Harry for his curiosity, but also cautions him to exercise good judgment alongside it.

[[AC:LiveActionTV]]
* On ''Series/DoctorWho'', curiosity can get you killed or worse, but it can also lead to you becoming one of the Doctor's companions.
-->'''Doctor:''' We might die.
-->'''Martha Jones:''' We might not.
-->'''Doctor:''' Good.
** Though becoming one of the Doctor's companions may also get you [[AnyoneCanDie killed]] [[BreakTheCutie or]] [[LaserGuidedAmnesia worse]].
** In ''[[Recap/DoctorWhoS15E4TheSunMakers The Sun Makers]]'', the Doctor's fellow prisoner was sent for correction because of his curiosity. Though it does mean he's there to be rescued by Leela.
** In a bit of an UnbuiltTrope this happens in the second story, where the Doctor is so desperate to investigate an apparently deserted city that he sabotages the TARDIS. It nearly becomes CuriosityKilledTheCast, as not only are the TARDIS crew captured by the Daleks but they discover the atmosphere has given them radiation poisoning.

[[AC:WebComics]]
* In ''Webcomic/TheIntrepidGirlbot'', seemingly much of the plot is driven by the curiosity of both Girlbot and Raccoon #1. While the initial results are almost always [[http://www.intrepidgirlbot.com/2010/09/27/a-la-mode/ painful]] or [[http://www.intrepidgirlbot.com/2011/10/18/prototypical/ horrifying]], good intentions, cooperation, and luck allow things to work out in the end.
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