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Dramatically Missing The Point
Sometimes people can miss the point of things, due to being dense, stubborn, or lacking context, but the story treats this as a serious thing. The consequences can vary though, from a misunderstanding, to a tragedy, or even a Happy Ending.

One of the most common forms is someone being sad, seemingly due to a small trigger, and another person thinks it's just that trigger instead of the bigger picture.

Although this can be caused by people being stupid or delusional, as with an Irrational Hatred, often they can simply be naive, like people who don't realize that they are being asked out, or confessed to. This also could apply to when the mentor/Parent/Acquaintance leaves some sort of instructions or advice that is tragically misinterpreted. Likewise, ignoring another person's feelings may come to a head with a declaration of "Did You Think I Can't Feel?"

Also, this can happen in Comedies, it's just not meant to be silly ways of missing the point.

A Sister Trope to Comically Missing the Point.

Compare Poor Communication Kills, Could Have Avoided This Plot, Ignored Epiphany, Dramatic Irony, Selective Obliviousness.


In-Universe Examples Only:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime And Manga 
  • In Bleach, the New Captain Amagai Arc has a villain whose motivation is that Head Captain Yamamoto killed his father. The only other clue he had is that the father's dying words were "Bakkoto," the MacGuffins and Empathetic Weapons featured in the arc. It turns out that the father's last words were actually "Beware the Bakkoto" and that Yamamoto killed him because he was possessed, making the entire arc a Shoot the Shaggy Dog Story as had he not sworn revenge, the original villain's schemes would have still outed him as a villain and Amagai would still be alive.
  • In Naruto, Sasuke Uchiha has had all the reason in the world to hunt his older brother, Itachi, after the latter genocided their entire clan. And then Sasuke joined Orochimaru and, eventually, Obito to get back at him, leaving his friends and home behind for a steady increase into insanity to exact revenge. And then he finds out Itachi was ordered by Konohagakure's top brass to put down the Uchiha clan for fostering rebellion for their own power and that Itachi couldn't bring himself to kill him and thus only mindfucked him to give Sasuke the drive to get stronger and defend himself. Sasuke's response? Go amorally apeshit and swear revenge against them instead. Even after he reuniting with zombie!Itachi for a while he refuses to get the point. If anything, he just hates Konoha even more.
    • However he may have noticed this about himself by now, and refuses to take any further actions in the chaos that's going on with everyone else until he's consulted Hashirama Senju and the other Hokage, almost as if he wants to make sure he's not going off half-cocked.

    Comic Books 
  • A good chunk of suffering and death in the Marvel Universe is due to Thanos madly trying to earn Death's favor by killing people. Death apparently reciprocates those feelings, but she sometimes seems weary of Thanos' "offerings". At one point she bluntly told him that more death is the last thing she needs. This hasn't stopped Thanos' killing spree. He isn't called the "Mad" Titan for nothing.

    Film 
  • In The King's Speech, Albert criticizes his brother Edward, who is heir to the throne, of acting unbecoming of the King of England. Edward thus accuses his brother of trying to take his place as king, when what Albert was really trying to do was telling Edward to get his act together specifically because Albert didn't want to be king. (Which is especially ironic, because Albert does end up becoming King (as George VI) precisely because of Edward's behavior.)
  • The script for Pretty Woman started out a lot more tragic. One plot point was Edward renting a white fur coat for Vivian to wear during her hired time. When she is sad over their time nearly being up, he thinks it's just because he made her give the fur back.
  • In Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, Valeris airs her concerns to Spock about this new Federation-Klingon peace. SF Debris noted Spock doesn't realize how concerned she is at this moment.
  • In White Christmas, Betty is upset at what she thinks is Judy's betrayal at leaving the act to get married and Bob's double-dealing by using the show for publicity. Bob, on the other hand, doesn't understand why she won't sing for him and thinks she's just being difficult.
  • In Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Henry didn't realize the way he was treating his son was driving a wedge between them. Indy states this when Calling the Old Man Out.
  • Moulin Rouge!: Christian leaves before the finale of El Tango De Roxanne, depressed at the thought of Satine sleeping with the Duke, in doing so missing the point of the song; the Argentinian was playing the part of The Duke, not Christian, during the song; it was a warning that he (The Duke) was going to do anything, including rape, to be with Satine.
  • Secrets & Lies: Cynthia thinks that Maurice and Monica don't have children because Monica doesn't want any while Maurice does. Going by the way she tries to cut her mother off when she confronts Monica, Roxanne has probably already cottoned on to the real reason.

    Literature 
  • Vlad Tepes in Count and Countess, who doesn't understand why it's bad to conscript children into his army, nor why Elizabeth Bathory is so upset when her daughter dies.
  • Everyone in A Song of Ice and Fire who treats the conflict over Westeros as a "game of thrones" and covets the Iron Throne as the ultimate prize. The entire point of the Iron Throne (an extremely uncomfortable and dangerous chair made of swords) is that ruling a realm is a responsibility and a burden, not a prize in a game. Only three people in the series really seem to have understood this: Eddard Stark, who had the opportunity to seize the Throne but refused it out of a sense of honor and never regretted it, Robert Baratheon, who never really wanted it in the first place but was forced to claim it and Aegon the Conqueror who made the damn thing in the first place. Stannis and Robb get some credit, as both of them dislike what comes with being King. Both of them still aim for the throne, Robb in order to avenge his father and Stannis because it is his by right of inheritance and he's a massive Principles Zealot. Varys at least pays lipservice to the idea, but his true motives are too murky to say for sure; Aegon was raised to believe this, but he still seems to have a bit of an entitlement complex about the whole thing.
  • The Collector. Clegg stalks and abducts Miranda, a young woman he's grown obsessed with. After numerous escape attempts on her part, Miranda becomes severely ill and dies because Clegg refuses to let her out of captivity to see a doctor. The lesson Clegg learns from all of this? Things went badly because he was too lenient a captor, and the book ends with him stalking another girl, eager to put his new knowledge to use.

    Live Action TV 
  • Soap: Burt's doctor calls him in to tell him that he's got a rare disease.
    Burt: OK, then what's the treatment?
    Doctor: Burt, there is no treatment.
    Burt: So, what, it just goes away by itself, huh?
  • Arthur in Merlin is convinced that he's created a golden age of equality and justice where all men are respected. In many ways he has, as he's married a peasant girl who was worthy to be Queen, knighted the commoners who helped him take back his kingdom, and established the Round Table. However, he has remained oblivious to the people that need equality most: the magic-users, who were shunned and persecuted during his father's reign. This comes back to bite him hard when it is what eventually turns Mordred, until then a loyal knight, on him.
    • He's also claimed his strength is in the support of Camelot, and that he is much wiser for accepting the advice of others. The one person he does not accept the advice of? Merlin, who is the most deserving.
  • The X-Files. In "Never Again" Scully complains that she has to share Mulder's desk; this and some Jerk Ass behaviour from her partner causes her to go off an engage in a number of Out of Character behaviors like getting a tattoo and engaging in a one-night stand. At the end of the episode Mulder says, "I don't understand...all this over a desk?" Scully just replies: "Not everything is about you, Mulder." The truth is Scully had just discovered she had cancer.
  • In the seventh season of Psych, Juliet discovers that Shawn has been lying about being a psychic, and this implodes their relationship. He spends the following episode mulling things over and tells her that "If I hadn't given you my jacket, everything would be okay." No, Shawn, it wouldn't, and that's the point.

    Theatre 
  • Death of a Salesman: Willy Loman ends up killing himself, thinking that he will give his family a lot of money. At his funeral, at least one character points out that Willy could have chosen another path and have been happier for it. One of his sons, Happy, declares that he will succeed where Willy failed. He's blatantly ignoring the fact that Willy was no good at being a salesman and Happy has no reason to assume that he's any better, and that if any lessons were to be learned from events it was that it's more important to find something you're good at which makes you happy and look for success there, rather than follow someone else's idea of success.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • In the South Park episode "Kenny Dies" (with a semi-parody tone), where the boys are told Kenny is diagnosed with a terminal disease. "But he's gonna get better, right?" inquires Stan. Somber music plays in the background as the adults exchange saddened looks.

    Tropes 
  • Many of the more moralistic examples of the Inspector Javert trope stem from this. Sometimes, you'll get a Javert who is simply confused or doesn't have all the facts, but the others persecute people they know are good simply because it's the rules. They're loyal to the letter of the law, but not its spirit.

Drama QueenDrama TropesDramatic Downstage Turn
Don't Explain the JokeAdministrivia/In-Universe Examples OnlyDrinking Game
Dragon LadyAdministrivia/No Real Life Examples, Please!Dreadful Musician

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