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[[quoteright:339:[[Webcomic/{{Sinfest}} http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/pawncrop_7570.gif]]]]
[[caption-width-right:339:TheDevil tries his hand at theology.]]

->''"And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not."''
-->-- '''[[Literature/TheFourGospels John 1:5]]''', ''Literature/TheBible''

This is when the villain has developed a [[EvilPlan devious plot that is prepared for anything]] and the hero might do — except for [[SpannerInTheWorks one glaring flaw]]. For some reason, the villain has not considered the possibility of a HeroicSacrifice. After all, you'd never catch ''him'' throwing his life away to save a bunch of lazy, ungrateful civilians who don't care about anybody except themselves. Heck, even saving your TrueCompanions comes after [[ItsAllAboutMe saving your own life]]. Only an idiot would throw his life away like that—and only because he didn't realize how much more profitable saving it would be. Sometimes that PR would be bad, but [[WhatYouAreInTheDark you only have to get him to where he can act secretly]] to get it out of him.

Too bad for the villain that MachiavelliWasWrong, for they cannot understand the concept of goodness or generosity because there is no guaranteed return on that investment. Why do they have so much trouble understanding good behavior?

[[TheHero Our Hero]] goes and makes the HeroicSacrifice anyway, thereby ruining the villain's plan with a DidntSeeThatComing that a more cunning villain really should have seen coming. This is one of the ways those with HonorBeforeReason can continue to defeat the BigBad. This is a major problem for villains who really believe they are NotSoDifferent and think heroes [[YouCouldHaveUsedYourPowersForGood could have used their powers for Evil]], as opposed to villains who are just [[BreakingSpeech screwing with the Hero's head]].

Occasionally, greater {{justifi|edTrope}}cation is provided by having a hero who the villain knows is a {{Jerkass}} and the AntiHero decides to [[RedemptionEqualsDeath redeem himself]] at the critical moment, or the villain will meet a hero who decides to TurnTheOtherCheek instead of fighting back.

The inability to comprehend good altruistic behavior ([[NoGoodDeedGoesUnpunished especially when it results in punishment]]) is a common trait in [[TheCynic cynics]], {{Straw Nihilist}}s, {{Corrupt Corporate Executive}}s, {{Social Darwinist}}s, {{Knight Templar}}s, and [[TheSociopath sociopaths]] (who really are incapable of feeling things that have no selfish incentive, such as compassion). This is TruthInTelevision in many cases.

An alternative version involves the Hero giving in to the villain's manipulative demands, agreeing that, yes, WeCanRuleTogether (usually to the horror of his sidekicks, LoveInterest, and TrueCompanions) [[FakeDefector as a ruse]] to defeat the villain. The villain falls for it because it's what he'd have done if the situations were reversed.

{{Greed}}y villains may content themselves with bribing the hero. After all, {{justice|WillPrevail}} and {{revenge}} aren't [[GoldFever shiny]] and don't get a good exchange rate. Yet TheHero goes and turns down the BriefcaseFullOfMoney or a share in the proceeds of a robbery. Similarly, the GreenEyedMonster often assumes that TheHero is equally preoccupied with whatever inspired their envy. Likewise, the KnightTemplar {{Fundamentalist}} won't realize that other people differ about the relative values of what they support versus what they're willing to sacrifice for its sake, [[ObliviouslyEvil wrongly assume they're the "good guy" (when they're obviously not)]], and don't understand why [[PayEvilUntoEvil vigilantism in the]] [[WellIntentionedExtremist name of "law, order and justice"]] would be morally wrong. When the Hero interrupts an AttemptedRape, the would-be rapist may propose an easy solution: join in! [[UnstoppableRage Cue heroic beatdown.]]

InnocentBystanders and {{Mooks}} leave the villain even more certain. A DoomedMoralVictor's inspiration or a HeroicBystander will flabbergast these villains, as will a Mook's HeelFaceTurn that is inspired by the hero's example, or a Mook who proves that EvenEvilHasStandards. Indeed, he may help [[VillainousDemotivator the Mook along]] by [[EvenEvilHasLovedOnes threatening their loved ones.]]

Never underestimate ThePowerOfLove and ThePowerOfFriendship. [[TrueCompanions True friendship]] requires acts of kindness and thoughtfulness, which is selfless and understanding. Being self-centered makes it nearly impossible for a villain to understand or embrace the necessary demands of friendship. They tend to believe in self-preservation and the interests of the individual above all things, act in their own self-interest, and assume “heroes” enslave people to an arbitrary system of rules and dogma. Pride is by nature competitive, pitting the arrogant villain against anyone and everyone — they simply can’t understand ThePowerOfFriendship, which is a form of love, placing it beyond the realm of their understanding. Plus, while the villain may be surrounded by countless lackeys and toadies whom he keeps them in line via threats or outright violence, the hero has TrueCompanions, love interests and friends who are willing to help them even in dire situations and enable them to defeat the baddies.

Similarly, the TheLeader who's a FatherToHisMen would command more respect from allies than a BadBoss who keeps his {{Mooks}} in line via fear and considers them expendable. Truly, MachiavelliWasWrong indeed, and the BigBad is in for a surprise if his henchmen [[MistreatmentInducedBetrayal voluntarily defect to the other side]] after realizing the BigGood treats them better than their boss. Plus, the needs of many trumps self-preservation, as the villain always fails to recognize that ruling by fear won't get them allies.

The same thing goes with ThePowerOfLove — villains would regard it as a bizarre and alien concept, and are completely blindsided when the hero TookAThirdOption to not only save his love interest and allies, but also the city from the villain's clutches. Cue an epic KirkSummation or ShutUpHannibal when the villains go on a MotiveRant, where the hero not only calls the villain out for his crimes, and for his inability to understand compassion or what motivates the good. At times, when both the villain and hero are in mortal danger, the villain may be utterly bewildered as to [[SaveTheVillain why anyone would try to save their enemy]].

WhatIsThisThingYouCallLove [[SillyRabbitRomanceIsForKids Is it just incomprehensible nonsense]], [[CuriosityCausesConversion or should I try to understand it?]] May end in AnAesop that RousseauWasRight and/or SillyRabbitCynicismIsForLosers.

Can be played for laughs if the villain in question does a HeelFaceTurn and becomes a HeroWithAnFInGood.

A favored ethical position of Socratic and Platonic philosophers, who hold that goodness ''is'' wisdom and understanding and that no-one does evil simply ForTheEvulz. In other words, evil does not so much fail to understand good as it can only be evil at all ''because'' it fails to understand good.

The GodOfEvil, {{Satan}}, or other beings that are MadeOfEvil are normally shown as being incapable of understanding things like compassion or goodness. In this case, pure evil cannot understand something that their nature renders them unable to experience themselves. This is OlderThanFeudalism: ''Literature/TheBible'' often depicts the Devil in this fashion, where he's unable to appeal to anything other than selfish desires when manipulating humans. This is often the reason a DealWithTheDevil fails; the deal maker's inability to understand good leaves a loophole that someone who can is able to take advantage of, or simply offer something that doesn't truly matter to the target.

Contrast ItsAllAboutMe, when the villain expects the hero to behave not selfishly, but generously toward him. When the trope is Evil Cannot Comprehend Good, the villain can't understand why the hero saved him from falling; in ItsAllAboutMe, the villain can't understand why the hero insists on arresting him after. It can get a little fuzzy when the character decides to be generous: did he murder his son's romantic rival because he didn't realize his son would hate it — this trope — or because he was so caught up in the notion of his own generosity that he didn't care what his son thought—ItsAllAboutMe?

Also contrast VirtueIsWeakness, where the villain actually ''does'' comprehend what goodness entails, but sees it only as a weakness in others to be exploited.

Supertrope of BewareTheHonestOnes and subtrope of WrongAssumption. Contrast GoodIsOldFashioned, SillyRabbitIdealismIsForKids, and the InvertedTrope of GoodCannotComprehendEvil. Compare BlueAndOrangeMorality. Often involves PsychologicalProjection. When someone evil ''is'' capable of understanding or admiring good, it may lead to SympathyForTheHero. If this trope is at work, it's because the villain thinks ''he'' is the good guy and is baffled at the heroes wanting to stop him, it's because he's ObliviouslyEvil. CuriousQualmsOfConscience could be similar to a milder form—characters who doesn't understand the good and the conscience within themselves.

As an aside, there is a definitive, IRL version of this: sociopaths are afflicted with a mental disorder, Antisocial Personality Disorder. One of their most prominent (and deadly) traits is that they, quite literally, cannot grasp the concept of goodness due to their LackOfEmpathy. They lie constantly, incessantly, manipulate others over the smallest thing, and sometimes for no gain at all other than to gratify themselves, and will kill with no compunction other than to [[AxCrazy waste some time]]... [[ItGetsEasier and they]] think others are NotSoDifferent. They cannot even begin to imagine why anyone would care about or show mercy to anyone else, cannot empathize in any way, nor can they form emotional connections deeper than lust or raw desire. At heart, they're mentally unable to even imagine goodness, kindness, friendship or love. They know the concepts do exist, but to them, it's just an urban legend that others spout [[BlueAndOrangeMorality nonsensically]]. So yes, they view [[VirtueIsWeakness good as a fad or scoff at it]].

!![[EvilLaugh Ha ha ha!]] Those pesky Tropers will keep all of the examples on one page, so it's easier to control - just like I would do! Wanna bet?
* EvilCannotComprehendGood/AnimeAndManga
* EvilCannotComprehendGood/ComicBooks
* EvilCannotComprehendGood/FanWorks
* [[EvilCannotComprehendGood/AnimatedFilms Films — Animation]]
* [[EvilCannotComprehendGood/LiveActionFilms Films — Live-Action]]
* EvilCannotComprehendGood/{{Literature}}
* EvilCannotComprehendGood/LiveActionTV
* EvilCannotComprehendGood/ProWrestling
* EvilCannotComprehendGood/{{Theatre}}
* EvilCannotComprehendGood/TabletopGames
* EvilCannotComprehendGood/VideoGames
* EvilCannotComprehendGood/VisualNovels
* EvilCannotComprehendGood/WebComics
* EvilCannotComprehendGood/WebOriginal
* EvilCannotComprehendGood/WesternAnimation


''Wait, what do you mean you spread them across multiple subpages? ThisCannotBe! Noooo!''