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
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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 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.
- 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.
- Commercials for the short-lived food Snack 'Ums would feature a kid trying out said product, then getting hurt doing a sports activity, such as high diving or street hockey. When asked by one of his friends if it hurt, he would reply "Yeah, but I think I liked it" and asks for some more, referring to the snack and not the injury.
- 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.
- In The Wheel of Time, the Aes Sedai are magically bound by the Three Oaths, to "speak no word that is not true," "make no weapon for one man to kill another," and "Never to use the One Power as a weapon except against Darkfriends or Shadowspawn, or in the last extreme defense of her life, the life of her Warder, or another Aes Sedai". In theory, this was to stop them from taking advantage of people, but in practice, they focus on the first one, and use it primarily to gain people's trust while twisting the truth, so they can more easily manipulate them.
- Also, their name; "Aes Sedai" means "Servant of All" in the Old Tongue, which, in the the Age of Legends would have been taken largely at face value, being a phrase in the language that everyone spoke. This meaning, while still known to those with knowledge of the Old Tongue, is now completely non-indicative, as modern Aes Sedai seem mostly to want to lead the world (at best), or rule over it with an iron fist/destroy it(at worst).
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 and 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.
- It even seems to be part of his character that he can't stop himself from missing the point. Just before that scene he has a full dream about how to properly handle the situation from completely listening to Juliet's feelings to acknowledging and apologizing for his mistakes...Once he wakes up however and is immediately faced with the same situation he proceeds to do everything in the opposite way leading to the quote above which completely torpedoes the situation.
- Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Towards the end, Weyoun notices that Damar isn't carrying booze for a change, and infers that the new alliance with the Breen has given him new hope that the Dominion will succeed. In actuality, Damar has come to the conclusion that the Dominion is bad news for Cardassia either way, and has begun to orchestrate a rebellion.
- 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.
- In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode Twilight's Kingdom Part 1, since Twilight's Element of Harmony is Magic, both she and Rarity assume that the lesson Twilight would have learned to get her key involved a difficult magical task, and not The Power of Friendship.
- 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.
- 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.