->''"How could they? Treating life like it's something to throw away!? Like death is nothing! I'll never understand these people! Not in a million years!''"
-->-- '''Asta''', ''Manga/BlackClover''

Bob and Alice are being terrorized by [[NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast Doctor Deathmurderkill]]. He has hunted them, attacked them, and nearly gotten them killed on several occasions. Bob is convinced that Dr. DMK has [[KickTheDog kicked the dog]] more than enough times to warrant fighting back with lethal force. Alice, however, insists that he must have a good reason, or maybe that it's all just a big misunderstanding. Despite any evidence to the contrary, Alice refuses to believe that he can actually be 'evil'. After all, no one's that heartless, right?

This trope is, in its essence, a character who refuses to believe that someone could simply be evil [[ForTheEvulz for its own sake.]] If this character can just talk things out with the villain, then surely their motive will come out and together they can find a better solution ([[DefeatMeansFriendship perhaps after pounding them into submission]]). It doesn't occur to them that there might not ''be'' a motive to discover. This character may also spare a villain, thinking that there's still some good in him, or that he can change for the better... [[PacifismBackfire only for the villain to commit more crimes.]]

Whether Alice is right or [[WrongGenreSavvy not]] depends on the work's placement on the SlidingScaleOfIdealismVsCynicism. In an idealistic show, this attitude could very possibly lead to a HeelFaceTurn. In a cynical one, expect her death to be the very thing to push the villain over the MoralEventHorizon.

This trope is usually limited to the very naive and very young, or the very old and war-weary, who've grown tired of the "black and white, [[WithUsOrAgainstUs us vs. them]]" attitudes of those around them.

'''Note:''' Be careful not to just stick this trope onto any pacifistic characters, whether [[TechnicalPacifist technical]], [[ActualPacifist actual]], or [[MartialPacifist martial]]. The tropes are related, but one does not automatically imply the other.

Compare StupidGood, ThePollyanna, WhiteAndGreyMorality. Contrast EvilCannotComprehendGood, ThisIsUnforgivable.



[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* [[AllLovingHero Seiichiro Kitano]] from ''Manga/AngelDensetsu'' is always the target of thugs or other people who try to attack him because [[FaceOfAThug he looks like a monstrous, evil devil or something like that.]] Kitano is so naive and good that he never has bad thoughts and has no idea why would people do bad things and he cannot recognize bad actions very well. When people attack him, he believes that ''he'' did something bad to them that made them angry, that's why he ''lets'' them keep hitting him. And if (it happens rarely) he recognizes bad actions (which he mostly misinterprets), he tries to stop them.
* In ''LightNovel/ACertainMagicalIndex'', Touma Kamijou says he just doesn't get why people are assholes who grab power at the expense of others, constantly asking them [[YouCouldHaveUsedYourPowersForGood why they don't use their abilities to make the world a happier place]]. However, this doesn't diminish his effectiveness at all. Just because he doesn't know why people do bad things, doesn't mean he's unaware that they do.
* ''Manga/DragonBall'':
** Goku frequently underestimates just how evil some people can be, and is all too willing to give them a LastSecondChance when he has them at his mercy. For example, he falls for Raditz's [[VillainsWantMercy pleas for mercy]] and grants it to him, only for Raditz to knock him down and mercilessly break his ribs; all the while, Goku is absolutely ''shocked'' that Raditz lied. He also spared Frieza's life ''twice'' out of a misguided act of mercy, and both times, Frieza used it to his advantage and tried to stab him in the back. He ''does'' get better over time, realizing that Cell and Majin Buu were beyond redemption and actively trying to kill them.
** In the Future Trunks Saga of ''Anime/DragonBallSuper'', this is Gowasu's primary problem. He underestimates Zamasu's [[FantasticRacism hatred of]] [[HumansAreBastards mortals]] because of Zamasu's pure heart and strong sense of justice, failing to realize until it's almost too late that in Zamasu's case, PureIsNotGood. Even when he discovers Zamasu's true colors and how far gone he is, Gowasu still thinks that [[spoiler:he can reason with Goku Black and Future Zamasu and get them to stop their rampage]]. This almost gets him killed.
** While it's a bit of a stretch to consider Rō, the [[JerkassGod jerkass]] Supreme Kai of Universe 9, "good," he expresses the belief that even the most heinous of people [[EvenEvilHasLovedOnes have someone or something they hold dear and wish to protect]], and is genuinely shocked that [[TheSociopath Frieza]] literally doesn't care about anyone or anything but [[ItsAllAboutMe himself]], to the extent he's willing to betray all of Universe 7 for his own benefit.
-->'''Rō''': How could you? Even the most despicable of villains has something which they hold dear and wish to protect! A loved one? Cherished memories? A precious place from one's childhood, even?\\
'''Frieza''': Excuse me, my good man: I simply do ''not'' understand what it is that you are prattling about.
* Jean from ''Anime/NadiaTheSecretOfBlueWater'', aside from being the nicest guy in the show (and {{Adorkable}}), is quite upset when Captain Nemo informs him that the Nautilus can be used for destruction if in the wrong hands. When Nadia expresses suspicion about the ''Nautilus'', Jean replies that the Nautilus ''is a good ship… because the Captain is a good man!" Which is what makes his experience of witnessing his new friend Fait die at the hands of technology all the more heartbreaking.

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* After being put in charge of Hell in ''ComicBook/TheSandman'', Remiel proclaims that the purpose of Hell shall no longer be punishment, but purification with the aim of redemption. The demons of Hell will no longer punish you for punishment's sake, or for their own pleasure, or because that's what demons do. They will punish you for purpose, for your own good, and because they ''care''. As one of the damned comments, having redemption dangled in front of your nose at the end of it all only makes it ''[[HopeIsScary worse]]''.
* In the Vertigo series ''Hard Time'' Ethan is a 15-year-old who takes part in a "prank" shooting at his school only to realize his friend Brandon is using real bullets. Sentenced to a maximum security prison, Ethan talks to a pair of lawyers about how he was ruthlessly bullied by the jocks and pretty girls at his school. He relates how he point blank asked the ringleader, Travis the quarterback, why he was doing this and the man just replied "because I hate you." The female attorney (an attractive black woman named Truth) is thrown, unable to understand this but her husband Julius (a more nerdy white man who undoubtably has gone through at least some of what Ethan has) is quick to answer.
-->'''Julius:''' My wife is a triathlete, Ethan. Her compassion is genuine, but there are certain kinds of arbitrary hatred she's just never had to endure.
* For ''ComicBook/{{Shazam}}'''s Billy Batson, this flaw seems to exist across multiple continuities: he's willing to work with, or at least support, evil people because he's an [[ChildrenAreInnocent innocent child]] who's powers are a direct result of being [[IncorruptiblePurePureness one of the purest souls on Earth]]. In the [[Comicbook/SupermanBatman mainstream universe]], this happened when Comicbook/LexLuthor became [[PresidentEvil president]]; in ''Comicbook/KingdomCome,'' Luthor basically brainwashes him into an evil [[TheAtoner Atoner]]; in ''VideoGame/InjusticeGodsAmongUs,'' he's willing to follow an increasingly KnightTemplar version of Franchise/{{Superman}} ([[spoiler:and gets killed for finally saying he's gone too far]]), etc.
* Franchise/{{Batman}} has a recurring problem with ComicBook/TheJoker because of this. He can understand {{Greed}} or lust for power, he can understand [[{{Pride}} Vanity]] and the urge to show off, he can understand {{Revenge}} on a very deep and personal level and he can probably understand the sadism of a weak man who wants to feel strong by picking on people even weaker than himself. But Joker? He frequently doesn't seem to ''have'' a motive he can articulate beyond [[ItAmusedMe It Amused Him]] and/or ItSeemedLikeAGoodIdeaAtTheTime. He's as close to an AnthropomorphicPersonification of ChaoticEvil as you can get while still being a corporeal, mortal([[JokerImmunity ...ish]]) human being. And that makes it really hard to be CrazyPrepared for dealing with him.
* ''ComicBook/TeenageMutantNinjaTurtlesMirage'': In the short story "Swan Song," taking place in the future, Radical, who had become Leonardo's LoveInterest by that time, is attacked by her ArchEnemy Complete Carnage, who [[NeckSnap snaps her neck]] right in front of Leo. Many years later, Leo, having become a Buddhist monk, tracks Carnage down to Hong Kong, where he has kidnapped several people, intending to forgive him for Radical's murder and free the hostages. During the ensuing fight, Leo tries to persuade Carnage to give up his evil ways and learn to understand the true value of life... but when Carnage gleefully kills one of his hostages and mocks Radical's death to Leo's face, Leo snaps, declares that Carnage has long since passed the MoralEventHorizon, and [[HalfTheManHeUsedToBe slices him clean in two]] in a MomentOfWeakness.
-->'''Leo''': You... You killed her... Like it was nothing... Like you did Radical. I really ''did'' come here to forgive you. But you... you're not worthy of forgiveness!
* ComicBook/ThePunisher gets this from ThouShaltNotKill heroes who think he's just a SerialKillerKiller that hasn't killed any innocents (yet). Frank himself rarely debates or justifies it (he works around heroes or neutralizes them), he just tells them that until they're ready to kill him, he won't stop killing criminals. In one issue, Daredevil was chained up with a gun pointed at Frank (who was getting ready to snipe a mobster), and while he did end up pulling the trigger, the gun was empty.

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* True to the [[WesternAnimation/StevenUniverse show]], Steven in ''Fanfic/ATriangleInTheStars'' can't grasp the fact that someone can be truly, thoroughly evil, and believes there's a reason behind everything. [[spoiler: He's right.]]
* [[WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic Fluttershy]] in ''[[Fanfic/TheNuptialverse Post Nuptials]]'' could not understand why a creature like Discord could be so cruel and sadistic. [[spoiler:Of course, the [[HilariousInHindsight fanfic was written before season 3.]]]]
* In ''Fanfic/ChildOfTheStorm'', this is one of Harry's defining characteristics. He knows better than most that there are people who are cruel to others for petty reasons, or no reason at all. But he simply can't understand ''why'' people are like that.
** By the sequel, however, thanks to encounters with HYDRA and the Red Room [[spoiler: and one brief period as the Dark Phoenix]], he's entirely capable of understanding why people are evil. He doesn't like it very much.
** It's mentioned that Steve Rogers, interestingly enough, averts this trope-he may be TheCape and a KnightInShiningArmor, but he grew up in the Depression and fought in World War Two. He's definitely not naive.
* In ''FanFic/BuildYourWingsOnTheWayDown'' [[Anime/FullmetalAlchemist Hughes]] as a man who loves his family cannot understand [[spoiler: why Tucker would do such a horrible thing like turning his own family into chimeras.]]
* In ''Fanfic/TheVerySecretDiary'', Ginny ultimately realizes she can't quite figure out what the hell is wrong with Tom and why he is the way he is, and gives him an ''epic'' TheReasonYouSuckSpeech.
-->'''Ginny:''' Was [[OrphanageOfFear it]] a terrible place, Tom?\\
'''Tom:''' Oh, are we back to Tom? And now comes a surge of pity… yes, I feel it. God, how insipid you are. How predictable. How full of drama and tepid romantic conclusions. It was just a place like your sorry little Burrow, overrun with children. No different.\\
'''Ginny:''' You say that you can feel my lies. [[ShutUpHannibal Well, you are in me so much now that I can feel yours too.]] And I do not feel sorry for you at all. I have been thinking. Harry is an orphan, and he is not horrible. And Prissy has everything she wants, and she is still nasty. So I do not know how much it counts. I cannot work out what is wrong with you.\\
'''Tom:''' ...[[spoiler:[[GetOut Get. Out.]]]]]
* ''FanFic/FireEmblemFatesAftermath'': Corrin agrees to a duel with Jiro in chapter 14, expecting him to adhere to Hoshidan honor and accept his defeat. He's proven wrong when, after he wins, Jiro [[spoiler:impales Corrin with a wyrmsbane lance the second he turns his back, sending him into a coma for two months and nearly killing him. When he awakens in chapter 15,]] Azura calls him out on it, stating he ''has'' to accept that [[SillyRabbitIdealismIsForKids not everyone is as good-hearted as he thinks]].
* ''FanFic/FireEmblemAwakeningInvisibleTies'': Emmeryn ''gravely'' underestimates Gangrel's insanity and bloodlust, thinking that he'll eventually see reason if she keeps trying diplomacy. It isn't until Gangrel kidnaps Maribelle and tries to ransom her for the Fire Emblem that Emmeryn is forced to acknowledge that there's ''no'' reasoning with him.
* ''[[https://www.fanfiction.net/s/10086097/1/Only-human Only Human]]'': In this ''Disney/{{Frozen}}'' fanfic, while Elsa, Kristoff and Anna agree that what Hans did was morally wrong in the movie, they're shocked that his family would casually sell him off to slave merchants. [[EvilCannotComprehendGood Conversely, Hans is confused]] why the three of them are pitying him even after what he did.
* ''[[FanFic/KingdomHearts3FinalStand Kingdom Hearts 4: New Light]]'': Ryo is a MartialPacifist who is firmly convinced that ''everyone'' can be reasoned with and hates having to resort to violence. It takes getting near-fatally stabbed by Jazzy's WolverineClaws, followed by TrainingFromHell from Vanitas, for Ryo to finally accept that some people just ''can't'' be reasoned with and sometimes ViolenceIsTheOnlyOption.

[[folder:Films -- Animation]]
* This is one of Danny's major flaws in ''WesternAnimation/CatsDontDance''. He proves to be too naive to realize how evil [[BitchInSheepsClothing Darla Dimple]] really is. This comes back to bite him in the butt when she sabotages his and the other animals' audition for movie studio mogul, L.B. Mammoth, initially thinking she wanted to help.
-->'''Sawyer:''' ''She'' [Darla] was your "little angel"?\\
'''Danny:''' She said she wanted to help us.\\
'''Tilly:''' [[WhatTheHellHero And you believed her?!]]
* In ''WesternAnimation/TheCondor'', Tony has a hard time believing that his own cousin Reuben is a Jerkass unrepentant gangster. Even after [[spoiler:Reuben sabotaged his skateboard and later cooperated with Taipan to ''set fire to Tony's house'']], Tony ''still'' thinks he can "save" Reuben and extends an olive branch. After Reuben angrily rejects him, Sammi gently explains to Tony that he can only save Reuben if Reuben ''wants'' to be saved.
* Hiccup in ''WesternAnimation/HowToTrainYourDragon2'' is insistent on trying to reason with [[BigBad Drago]] despite his father's warnings. Later events transpire to teach him that, unfortunately, some people just ''can't'' be reasoned with. Specifically, Hiccup is at first optimistic that he can talk Drago out of his warmongering, but upon meeting Drago, hearing his story and, witnessing his conviction/insanity, he rapidly realizes that there is no reasoning with him. Drago's actions are not based on ignorance or fear like so many Hiccup has encountered before, but rather a deeply dark and warped view of the world.
* Soren from ''WesternAnimation/LegendOfTheGuardiansTheOwlsOfGaHoole'' refuses to believe that his brother Kludd had willingly joined the Pure Ones. He even [[AlasPoorVillain mourns for Kludd]] when the latter [[spoiler:apparently falls to his death in a forest fire]].
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Megamind}}'':
** Realizing he needs a new enemy with Metro Man apparently dead, Megamind grants superpowers to low-level cameraman/slacker Hal to become Titan. Megamind figures that anyone granted powers will naturally use them to become a hero and help the city. Instead of a hero, Hal turns into a greater menace than Megamind ever was. It never occurs to Megamind that someone with the power to do great good would choose to do great evil instead.
** Also, when he discovers Metro Man faked his death in hopes of escaping his persona, free of the pressure of being a hero, Megamind is stunned, unable to accept that anyone beloved by the masses like Metro Man would ever give it up for a "normal" life. This is more Good Cannot Comprehend Neutrality, though.

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* ''Franchise/StarWars'':
** The Jedi Order suffers from this problem, and the Franchise/StarWarsExpandedUniverse has shown again and again that for a group that acts as champions of good, the Jedi Order has absolutely no understanding of the dark side. Justified since many of them refused to so much as study the Sith or the Dark Side, believing that even trying to understand evil would lead them to fall.
** This is taken to UpToEleven with the Jedi Order in the prequels, who, [[CultureChopSuey through a strange mix of Christian and Eastern philosophy,]] are convinced that all evil comes from emotional attachment, and the Jedi prohibition on said attachment [[CreateYourOwnVillain is quite alienating for those who want to, y'know, keep their emotions.]] For example, in ''Film/RevengeOfTheSith'', when Anakin goes to Yoda for advice about fear and the possibility of loss, Yoda simply doesn't have the [[BlackAndWhiteMorality moral flexibility]] and/or life experience to give Anakin anything but platitudes about how emotional attachment is dangerous and wrong. [[BigBad Palpatine,]] on the other hand, gives Anakin actual advice, setting the stage for his MoreThanMindControl.
** In the ExpandedUniverse (Legends canon), this is a problem for several species who can't wrap their heads around the ideas behind Imperial ideals of DystopiaJustifiesTheMeans and power for power's sake. A species who got hit hard by this were the Miraluka, a species of {{Blind Seer}}s who has no functioning eyes and see everything through the Force. They had a comprehension of evil, but not to the degree the Empire could bring. As a result, the Empire hunted them for their inherent Sensitivity and the FantasticRacism against any non-humans, forcing many of them to masquerade as blind humans to escape persecution.
* Marge expresses this in ''Film/{{Fargo}}'', as seen in the page quote. Marge, a NiceGirl ByTheBookCop, has just [[spoiler:arrested Grimsrud after she caught him stuffing his partner's corpse into a wood chipper]]. She simply can't believe that the crime spree that ended with five people dead, lives ruined and families destroyed, was all for money.
* Most characters in ''Film/NoCountryForOldMen'' also struggle with this, usually when they are facing Anton Chigurh. Likewise, Anton Chigurh cannot [[EvilCannotComprehendGood understand why his victims always implore him to have mercy.]]
* In ''Film/TheDarkKnight'', Bruce hits a dead end trying to understand and figure out the motives behind The Joker; it's with a little help from Alfred that he comes to accept that there is no ''why'' behind The Joker, [[ItAmusedMe he]] [[ForTheLulz just]] ''[[ForTheEvulz is]].''
* In ''Film/StarTrekIntoDarkness'', the heroes had a lot of trouble wrapping their heads around the fact that [[spoiler:Admiral Marcus]] is a corrupt traitor.
* ''Film/SchindlersList'': For a long time Oskar Schindler seems to think that Amon Goeth would be a much better person if there weren't a war going on, which Schindler thinks brings out the worst in people. He's [[HorribleJudgeOfCharacter incredulous that Goeth could enjoy killing people]] until Stern confirms the number of atrocities that the Nazi Captain has already committed.
* ''Film/RichieRich'':
** It's obvious to most everyone Laurence Van Dough is jealous of the Richs and wants the business for himself, but even after he's marooned on a desert island by him, Mr. Rich can't grasp how bad Laurence is.
** This plays into the finale when Van Dough breaks into the Rich family vault, only to find that instead of gold and money, it contains personal items and memories of the Richs' lives. To them, it's perfectly logical that they would use the vault for the stuff that's most important to them and they're astounded Laurence would think they hoard their money away.
--->'''Van Dough:''' Where's the money?!\\
'''Mr. Rich:''' In banks. Where else?
* ''Film/PiratesOfTheCaribbeanOnStrangerTides'': [[TheMissionary Philip Swift]] is a GoodShepherd who believes that ''everyone'' has some good in them and can be saved by God's grace, and attempts to reach out to [[BigBad Blackbeard]], admitting that trying to save Blackbeard's soul was "a bit of a long-shot." As the film goes on, however, Philip changes his mind and declares that Blackbeard is evil beyond any hope of redemption.
* In Disney's live action ''Film/{{Cinderella|2015}}'', when Cinderella can no longer take anymore from Lady Tremaine, she breaks down, asking her "Why? Why are you so cruel? I don't understand it. I've tried to be kind to you."
* {{Downplayed|Trope}} to "Good Underestimated the Power of Evil" in ''Film/WonderWoman2017'', where Wonder Woman believes that the humans are only fighting [[UsefulNotes/WorldWarOne The Great War]] because of Ares' influence. She believed the humans are being corrupted to fight one another, [[spoiler: but after Ares reveals himself as the British politician Sir Patrick Morgan, he reveals to them that [[InYourNatureToDestroyYourselves he only gave the humans tools and ideas to kill]] as their personal muse. The humans themselves ''chose'' [[HumansAreTheRealMonsters to listen and follow Ares' influences]].]]

* ''Literature/HarryPotter'': Dumbledore has shown that he can understand quite a bit about Lord Voldemort. However, it turns out that Dumbledore was unable to figure out that Voldemort hid one of his Horcruxes in the Room of Requirement. Why? Because Dumbledore was a model student who never cheated and hence had no need to use the room to hide anything. Harry, however, was certainly not a model student, he cheated a couple of times, and he used that room, so he could figure it out once he knew Voldemort had hidden a Horcrux at the school in [[Literature/HarryPotterAndTheDeathlyHallows Deathly Hallows]].
* ''Literature/InDeath'' series: Dr. Mira in ''Midnight in Death'' is unable to find out why David Palmer is such a bastard - particularly notable because Mira is an NYPSD psychiatrist and [[TheProfiler profiler]] whose ''job'' involves understanding the minds and motivations of criminals. Eve Dallas is unable to find out why her own mother is so bad in ''New York To Dallas''.
* ''Literature/TheSilmarillion'':
** It is said that the [[OurGodsAreDifferent Valar]] didn't understand [[GodOfEvil Morgoth]]'s evil. The most obvious manifestation of this failure is when Morgoth was imprisoned for millennia after his first rebellion; eventually, the Valar king (and Morgoth's brother), [[TopGod Manwë]] (whose name means something like "[[IncorruptiblePurePureness incorruptible]]") frees him because he claims to have repented. Not all of the Valar seem to have been convinced, but Manwë didn't question it.
** For what it's worth, Morgoth tried [[AintTooProudToBeg begging for mercy]] again after his ''second'' rebellion. This time the Valar weren't fooled, and literally [[GoodIsNotSoft kicked him out of the universe]].
** In the Akallabêth (the tragic account of the rise and fall of Númenor, a land of many blessings set up to reward those humans who had fought against Morgoth), Manwë learns the hard way that humans often take benefits for granted and feel entitled to more.
* Literature/SisterhoodSeries by Creator/FernMichaels: The Vigilantes have shown that they cannot understand why people like the Monarch HMO in ''Payback'', Karl Woodley in ''The Jury'', and Maxwell Zenowicz in ''Fast Track'' are such evil people.
* ''Literature/{{Discworld}}'':
** Early in the series, we have [[WideEyedIdealist Twoflower]] who [[HorribleJudgeOfCharacter thinks the best of everyone]] and is convinced that no problem can't be solved when people sit to reasonably discuss them; his worldview is helped by the fact that he also thinks that "he can not get into trouble, because he do not want trouble to anyone" even in the face of the danger. [[TheFool This baffles danger so much it that passes by his side]] (preferably by the one in which [[ButtMonkey Rincewind]] is) letting him unfazed. Only the [[{{Cult}} star cultists]] make him realize that they weren't going to "reasonably discuss" anything.
** Granny Weatherwax of all people. The Duchess mocked Granny's attempt to make her have a HeelRealization, claiming that Granny was naive for believing that all people really are good deep down. One of Granny's core philosophies is basically "Once you truly comprehend good, you can't choose to be evil." A philosophy that she started vocalizing ''after'' her encounter with the Duchess.
* In the ''Literature/WarriorCats'' series, when Bluestar's suffering from dementia and is absolutely convinced that [=WindClan=] is stealing prey, she won't listen to Fireheart when he gives her evidence that a dog has been killing the prey. She tells him that he's a good and noble warrior, so he can't comprehend that other cats would have morals any less pristine than his own. He especially thinks this comment is odd, since ''he'' was the one that exposed Tigerclaw as a traitor and murderer.
* Annabeth Chase from Rick Riordan's ''Literature/PercyJacksonAndTheOlympians'' refuses to believe her former best friend [[spoiler:Luke Castellan]] is evil, even after he attempts [[spoiler:to kill her several times throughout the series]], insisting that he is just being manipulated by the Titans and is a victim.
* ''Literature/CatchTwentyTwo'': Yossarian has heard stories of slave traders in Africa kidnapping little boys and selling them to men who disemboweled and ate them. He wonders how a child could suffer such a horrible fate without showing the slightest hint of fear or pain, but takes it for granted that somehow they do-he refuses to believe that anyone could knowingly cause a child to suffer.
* ''Literature/ASongOfIceAndFire'': This along with HorribleJudgeOfCharacter is the FatalFlaw of most of House Stark. They really never catch on that not everybody in Westeros holds the same lofty moral standards that they do, [[spoiler:which eventually gets most of them betrayed and massacred, leaving only a few scattered surviving children]].
* Almost deconstructed in ''Literature/VillainsByNecessity''. After the forces of darkness have been all but entirely wiped out, heroes swarm the world brainwashing evil-doers and driving monsters to extinction. The fact that the world ''needs'' evil to exist (and will literally cease to be without it) is something that none of them can understand, and the book's group of villain protagonists are forced to fight against them until the end.
* In the trilogy ''Literature/LosingChristina'' Christina tries in vain to get the adults in her town to realize the seemingly kind-hearted Shevvingtons are a pair of twisted monsters who play games to destroy innocent lives. It takes the Shevvingtons claiming Christina is acting out from the long-term abuse of her parents for the friends of the family to realize something is wrong. At the book's climax, they basically apologize to Christina and admit that they just didn't want to face the fact that "we invited a pair of sociopaths into our town."

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* This, combined with HonorBeforeReason, is the key flaw of the Starks on ''Series/GameOfThrones''. Eddard is the worst, assuming the royal court must hold to ideas of honor and good play and is totally unprepared for how ruthless they can be and he pays the price. Robb follows in his footsteps with the mistake of assuming anyone entering into a treaty will naturally hold to it and not, say, get paid off by his enemies to lure him in. Jon Snow also emulates his father and half-brother, believing that everyone will just set aside their differences and work together against a common threat, but he overestimates even the notion of self-preservation people have in the face of pride or spite like Alliser Thorne or Cersei Lannister.
* In the ''Series/StarTrekTheOriginalSeries'' episode "The Savage Curtain", Surak, Spock, and President Lincoln have a hard time understanding the motives and actions of the opposing "evil" side. Only Kirk seems to have a grasp of their potential for deceptiveness and duplicity.
* The Highs in ''Series/RedDwarf'' when presented with the Lows.
-->'''High Kryten:''' The poor wretch, he has a faulty gun! He's accidentally shot me five times! [[ActualPacifist Oh, how I love him!]]\\
'''High Cat:''' [[TooDumbToLive Brother, there is a grievous fault with thine weapon.]] It [[YeOldeButcheredeEnglishe keepeth]] shooting people.
* ''Series/DoctorWho'':
** The Mentiads in the serial "[[Recap/DoctorWhoS16E2ThePiratePlanet The Pirate Planet]]" state this as the reason they had not deposed the Captain prior to the Doctor's arrival. They are incapable of understanding ''why'' he does what he does, and are unable to properly work against him as a result.
** In the revival series, there's a downplayed example. The Doctor can't work out why the Weeping Angels' method of attacking Amy involves needlessly tipping her off in advance. He's briefly dumbstruck when he finds out that they're just doing it to terrorize her.
* The ''Series/{{Torchwood}}'' episode "Countrycide"[[note]]which was basically an [[AscendedFanFic Ascended]] ''Torchwood''/''Franchise/TheTexasChainsawMassacre'' FusionFic, and much better than it sounds[[/note]] ends with Gwen confronting the main villain with a simple question:
-->'''Gwen:''' Why? Why would you wake up one morning and decide that this is what you want to do?\\
'''The villain:''' Because it made me happy.
* ''Series/{{Fargo}}'':
** The murderous liar Lester is in conversation with his brother, Oswalt, who grasps to understand him and states, "There's just... something ''missing''." Oswalt admits that was why he didn't want to listen to his deputy's theories about Lester being the killer, that he didn't want to face the idea the world could be this way.
** In Season 2, Hank becomes an {{Expy}} for Marge from the original movie, giving a brief CallBack to her speech about this trope from the film (see Films -- Live-Action, above) that echoes her word-for-word in several places.
* The reason the team of ''Series/{{Leverage}}'' get so much business. There is no shortage of people who find themselves the victims of scam artists or corrupt businesspeople, good and decent folks who can never conceive being taken advantage of. That includes people who trusted the crooks, even friends and can't believe they were ripped off so badly. Sadly, this counts as TruthInTelevision.
* ''Series/{{Daredevil 2015}}'': Father Lantom, a Catholic priest, discusses the topic of Evil, Satan, and the like with Matt Murdock, the titular hero. The priest admits to once holding this view, questioning even if Satan truly existed. Then he was in Rwanda during the 1990's genocide. He was in a village with a peaceful and highly respected chieftain. The leader of a Hutu militia came to the village and spoke with the chieftain for hours. Then the Hutu leader brutally killed the chieftain and his entire family. Father Lantom states he was given a Sign from God that Satan does exist and saw true evil in the Hutu leader's face while he killed these peaceful people.

* ''Radio/OldHarrysGame'': One episode has Satan and the Professor embarking on a JourneyToTheCenterOfTheMind to see why Thomas is the way he is. At one point, the Professor comes across a hidden-away memory which is marked with tons of warnings not to open it, which shows Thomas as a child being bullied by his classmates. The Professor assumes that this is a FreudianExcuse that Thomas locked away because it was painful for him to remember, but when he tries to offer Thomas consolation, [[spoiler:Thomas reveals that the memory was actually of an unspecified crime (presumably involving killing the bullies) and he had hidden it away to avoid accidentally incriminating himself.]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* ''VideoGame/{{Warcraft}}''
** According to now-non-canon sources, this is what happened with Sargeras, the creator and leader of the Burning Legion. Originally belonging to a race of god-like beings called the Titans, he and his kind traveled throughout the cosmos to bring order to worlds; they were so powerful they defeated the Old Gods, the {{Eldritch Abomination}}s of Azeroth, and created the dragons to become the world's stewards. While defeating and imprisoning the demons of the Twisting Nether, their evil caused Sargeras to question the Titans' quest for order. He was driven into depression after witnessing the chaos wrought by the demons, especially after defeating the vampiric Nathrezim, whose manipulative bastardry on various worlds affected him deeply. Eventually, he went completely off the rails with the belief that the Titans' quest for order was essentially ''wrong'', given that he saw the Universe as intrinsically chaotic and evil. The last the Titans saw him, Sargeras had freed the demons he had personally previously imprisoned, made them a part of his army, and sent his Burning Legion to bring war upon the Universe, putting into action the corruption of the Draenei and Orcs, the birth of the Lich King, and the multiple near-destruction of Azeroth itself. An example of GoodCannotComprehendEvil taken to epic proportions.
** A more low-key example would be the nuking of Gnomeregan. Unlike most of Azeroth's denizens, the Gnomes didn't have any history of [[CivilWarcraft fighting among each other]], which is why [[GadgeteerGenius Mekkatorque]] didn't suspect [[EvilFormerFriend Thermaplugg's]] seemingly obvious traitorous plan, even if it involved [[NiceJobBreakingItHero setting off a nuke in their own capital city.]] He is [[MyGreatestFailure not proud of this.]]
* In ''VideoGame/MassEffect3'':
** A defector from an evil organization thought that she had hidden families safely on a remote world, because she "couldn't imagine" the organization's leader coming after them. Shepard says "That's what evil counts on..."
** After discovering the various atrocities at [[spoiler:Sanctuary]], Ashley (who is by no means a naive character), says she truly cannot understand what motivated it. She also says that she's actually glad she can't, as it makes her feel human.
** Earlier in the series, this is the reaction of the mainstream geth (who primarily want to be left alone) to the heretics (who worship [[EldritchAbomination the Reapers]] and want to help them wipe out everything). Legion, a "normal" geth, expresses outright ''shock'' at the very idea that the heretics are spying on the mainstream.
** More generally, the Reapers are a race of robotic {{Eldritch Abomination}}s who cull all advanced societies every 50,000 years. Many in the galaxy at large cannot comprehend that the Reapers are engaging in a multi-species war of extermination, not a war of conquest. The Reapers exploit this by using MindRape to make leaders tell their populations to stop fighting while a peace deal is hammered out. The Reapers offer no peace, but a docile populace is easier to exterminate.
* In the first ''Franchise/KingdomHearts'' game, there's a bit where the cute and cheerful [[VideoGame/FinalFantasyVII ninja girl Yuffie]] says that she just can't understand why people like Ansem are so [[EvilFeelsGood intoxicated by the power of darkness]].
* ''Franchise/SonicTheHedgehog'': Having lived much of his life in isolation, Knuckles grew up believing in honesty and holds a firm and steadfast belief that there is good in everyone, which always lets him give people second chances. Naturally, Eggman has used this to his advantage to dupe him into fighting Sonic on multiple occasions; his being a HorribleJudgeOfCharacter in regards to Eggman has become something of a RunningGag.
* ''Franchise/StarWars'' Games:
** ''VideoGame/KnightsOfTheOldRepublic'' and its sequel ''KnightsOfTheOldRepublicIITheSithLords'' show the Jedi to be very ignorant of the Sith order and the motives of those who turn to the dark side. In particular, Darth Revan was able to convert so many Jedi to his cause not only because of this trope, but also because he was a notable aversion of EvilCannotComprehendGood. Revan understood the order and its flaws far too well, exploiting them to deadly effect.
** ''VideoGame/StarWarsTheOldRepublic''
*** The Jedi order is apparently blind to the massive corruption in the Republic and a large number of dark Jedi, Sith aligned and otherwise, in their own ranks.
*** This trope directly leads to the downfall of one Jedi Master. He believes all beings can be redeemed, and that he is just the one to do it. [[spoiler:When he tries to convince the Sith Emperor into a HeelFaceTurn, the realisation of exactly how evil [[HumanoidAbomination Vitiate]] truly is causes his worldview to [[GoMadFromTheRevelation snap messily]]]].
* ''VideoGame/TreasureOfTheRudra'' takes this almost to the point of RunningGag. [[GentlemanWizard Surlent]] assumes that everyone he meets is as honest and compassionate as he is, which leads to him trusting the wrong people and getting screwed as a result of it several times throughout his scenario.
* In the intro chapter of ''VideoGame/BravelyDefault'', the Wind Vestal Agnés is being hunted by soldiers from the [[TheEmpire Duchy of Eternia]]. At first she is willing to surrender to them to stop their attack on the city of Caldisla, assuming "they are men, not monsters". When she goes to turn herself in accompanied by Tiz, she meets the leaders of the assault. When they tell her how they want to beat her to within an inch of her life, then heal her just so then can do it again over and over, she realizes that they are, in fact, monsters. So begins the game's first boss fight.
* [[WideEyedIdealist Fenthick]] in ''Videogame/NeverwinterNights'' is another example; he is so good that he simply cannot conceive of the possibility that anyone else could be evil. It comes back to bite him.
* ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolidPeaceWalker'': While it's a ''very'' long stretch to call [[AxCrazy Hot Coldman]] "Good," the entire reason for the Peace Walker project is because he genuinely believed that even the most strong-willed humans would be too moral to retaliate against a nuclear strike and would gracefully accept death instead if it meant not bringing about a nuclear apocalypse. He went so far as to have Peace Walker transmit false data to NORAD in order to force the military to decide whether or not to retaliate, firmly convinced that they would stop at the last second, thus proving the need for Peace Walker's existence. Posthumously, Coldman is proven wrong when the military actually ''does'' try to order a retaliatory strike, and are only prevented from doing so when Peace Walker drowns itself in Lake Nicaragua to stop the data transmission. Venom Snake even lampshades it on a cassette tape in ''[[VideoGame/MetalGearSolidVThePhantomPain The Phantom Pain]]'':
-->'''Venom Snake''': "Humans are incapable of destroying themselves?" Turns out he never knew ''what'' humans are capable of.
* In ''VisualNovel/PhoenixWrightAceAttorneyTrialsAndTribulations'' Iris tends to see everyone in most positive light possible. This is especially visible when it comes to her EvilTwin Dahlia. Iris saw her as a misguided girl who turned out the way she did because no one loved her, even though Dahlia makes it clear that she ''never'' cared about anyone but herself. That being said [[spoiler: Iris makes it clear that if she knew about Dahlia's plans to kill her boyfriend she'd do anything to stop her, [[BewareTheNiceOnes including]] [[GoodIsNotSoft killing]] [[ViolentlyProtectiveGirlfriend her]]. ]]
* In ''VideoGame/{{Persona 4}}'' this trope crosses over with ChildrenAreInnocent in the case of Nanako Dojima, the protagonist's young cousin. During one of her Social Link events, she asks why people do bad things, and responds most favorably if you say you don't know, either.
-->'''Nanako''': I see... You're not a bad person, so I guess you wouldn't know.

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* A vlaath is a predator found on the Lower Planes in the ''TabletopGame/{{Planescape}}'' campaign, and one of the most sadistic of beasts, torturing prey to death via the most horrendous means imaginable. One researcher who refused to believe they did this simply ForTheEvulz formulated the theory that vlaath were EmotionEater who fed on their victims' fear, possibly giving the creature some justification. This theory was debunked when the researcher sedated a vlaath to talk to it. Or rather, ''thought'' he had sedated it.(The researcher's assistant managed to escape with the recording ''mimir'' and published the research posthumously.)


* ''Webcomic/SchlockMercenary'': This comes up in the Dom Atlantis arc, when a foreign power is attacking a city to make it look like Earth is undergoing a civil war. Kathryn can't figure out how they expect to win; eventually the army arrives, and the heroes win. Mako bluntly says that Kathryn isn't monstrous enough to think of the simple answer--the enemy is going to overload the city's reactor, killing themselves, the heroes, the civilians, and all evidence that the attack was anything other than a civil war.
-->'''Murtaugh:''' You're a monster.\\
'''Mako:''' ''[resigned]'' I never get tired of being told that.
* A minor, somewhat downplayed example shows up in ''WebComic/TheOrderOfTheStick'' prequel "Start of Darkness" which is, well, the StartOfDarkness for [[TheDragon Redcloak]]. Near the end of the story Redcloak's younger brother, who by that point is the TokenGoodTeammate that [[BigBad Xykon]] has TrappedInVillainy, comes up with a plan to attempt to betray and take down Xykon while Xykon is locked in battle with a powerful wizard, ''and'' a plan to disguise himself so Xykon won't be able to tell him from the other goblins Xykon has forced to serve him if the plan fails and Xykon lives. Redcloak responds by pointing out that his brother is counting on Xykon to react to not being able to tell which particular goblin betrayed him by letting it go, when in reality Xykon is likely to slaughter ''every'' goblin there instead, in order to make sure he gets the right one.


[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/TheAmazingWorldOfGumball'':
** In the episode "The Saint", Gumball does a bunch of horrible things to Alan (including framing him for cheating on Carmen and having his parents [[CoolAndUnusualPunishment tortured by a clown]]) all for the sake of trying to find ''something'' that upsets him. Not only does Alan forgive Gumball [[TurnTheOtherCheek right off the bat]], but he views Gumball's actions in such a ridiculously optimistic light that he doesn't even believe he did anything wrong.
** In the episode "The Wicked", Darwin repeatedly insists that Mrs. Robinson ''must'' have some redeeming quality or FreudianExcuse and tries to find it, despite all evidence that to the contrary. He only realizes he's wrong and Mrs. Robinson is just pure evil when she sees him choking and does nothing but give a PsychoticSmirk and watch. From there on out, his motive changes from trying to prove that she has some good in her to simply trying to get her locked up.
* ''WesternAnimation/AmericanDad'': In the episode "Ricky Spanish," Steve tries to prove to Roger that everyone can be redeemed by redeeming Ricky Spanish, Roger's titular AxCrazy persona of the same name, only for "Ricky" to use him as an UnwittingPawn to set up a robbery and leave him to take the fall with the cops. Steve's final scene in the episode is of him exercising in prison while swearing revenge on Ricky Spanish, now hating him just like everyone else in Langley Falls. To twist the knife even further, there's even a HopeSpot that makes it look like Roger is going to help Steve escape... only to steal his wallet and throw him to the cops, who promptly beat him senseless.
* Henry Pym in ''WesternAnimation/TheAvengersEarthsMightiestHeroes'' will often try to reason with enemies first, especially if they used to be his villainy-rehab patients. In his defense, it almost works on Wonder Man before Iron Man brings down an InterruptedCooldownHug.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheBatman'' has one episode where Franchise/{{Batman}} actually tries to make sense of ComicBook/TheJoker. By the end, it is safe to say that Batman figures out that doing this is an exercise of futility and madness.
* Macbeth in ''WesternAnimation/{{Gargoyles}}'' didn't even consider the possibility that Duncan (and later Demona) might be... less honest than he, until they betrayed him.
* [[DumbIsGood Hego]] from ''WesternAnimation/KimPossible'' insists on believing that his sister [[BlackSheep Shego]] still has good in her, even after she directly backstabs him. However, it's implied that Hego was right about there being ''some'' good: she won't be doing a HeelFaceTurn anytime soon, but for all her evil Shego couldn't fight against her family, as Dr. Drakken pointed out they defeated her suspiciously easily after she stole all their powers.
* In ''WesternAnimation/KingOfTheHill'', Hank Hill seems to assume everyone is as honorable and law-abiding as him. In "Ho Yeah!", an angry pimp gets into a car chase with him. Hank crosses a stoplight just before it turns red and thinks this has bought him time. When the pimp crosses the red light to continue chasing him, Hank is incredibly shocked. Hank was also swindled by a used car salesman for 25 years, ever since the salesman told the teenage Hank buying his very first car that paying sticker price was a huge discount available only to a privileged few. Present-day Hank is of course an extremely honest salesman ([[CatchPhrase of propane and propane accessories]]), and it seemingly never crossed his mind that a salesman could be dishonest.
-->'''Salesman:''' What can I say, Hank? I'm a salesman.\\
'''Hank:''' I know! You're a ''salesman''! That's why none of this makes any sense!
* ''WesternAnimation/StevenUniverse:''
** The title character is so upbeat and selfless he assumes that anything "mean" is a simple misunderstanding. The following quote refers to an alien invader who has already tried to kill him, and is currently en route to exterminate mankind.
--->'''Steven:''' Maybe when Peridot gets to Earth, she'll see how nice all the people are. And she won't want to hurt anyone.
** This works out for him quite a bit. Peridot does eventually make a HeelFaceTurn, basically for the reasons he suggested. But in later episodes it ''fails'' to work enough that it's starting to traumatize him.
* Ella from ''WesternAnimation/TotalDrama Pahkitew Island'' is one of nicest characters of the ''Total Drama'' franchise. She desperately wants to be Sugar's friend and absolutely does not understand why Sugar (a FatBitch and an AttentionWhore that sees Ella as a potential rival) hates her so much.
* Wander from ''WesternAnimation/WanderOverYonder'' [[ZigZaggingTrope goes both ways]] with this trope, with the title character being aware that evil beings exists but that still doesn't stop him from attempting to befriend them anyway. Even though later on, he comes to terms that some villains like Dr. Screwball and Lord Dominator aren't worth befriending. In the latter's case, Wander is insistent in the second season finale [[spoiler: in reforming Dominator, despite his full attempts, he finally gave up after Sylvia persuades him to stop.]]
* ''WesternAnimation/SamuraiJack'': Up to Season 5, everything Jack seen has been [[BlackAndWhiteMorality black and white]], and while he clearly believes humans have free will, he overestimates the power of such a concept. The idea that anyone could be influenced by outside forces (as the [[{{Tykebomb}} Daughters of Aku]] clearly have) is new to him, and until he actually manages to talk to Ashi, he's almost as bad at understanding how it works [[EvilCannotComprehendGood as she is]].
* ''WesternAnimation/TeenageMutantNinjaTurtles2012'': In "New Girl in Town," Leo repeatedly insists that Karai isn't as evil as she appears and believes there must be some good in her. He realizes otherwise in "The Alien Agenda" when Karai meddles with Kraang tech, accidentally creates a monstrous [[EldritchAbomination super-mutant]], and then abandons the Turtles to clean up her mess, all while [[SillyRabbitIdealismIsForKids mocking Leo to his face for trusting her]].
-->'''Leo''': I trusted you!\\
'''Karai''': I know! That's messed up, right?
** He falls into it ''again'' in "The Wrath of Tiger Claw," where he instantly believes Karai's claim that she now believes that Splinter is her true father and blows off Raph's objections. It never once occurs to him that Karai might be lying until she, having actually discovered the truth from Splinter, confesses and reveals the tracking device she just activated to lure Tiger Claw to their lair.
-->'''Karai''': I-I can't believe it. You're telling the truth! All these years, the Shredder has been lying to me!\\
'''Leo''': Wait, you can't believe it? I thought you ''did'' believe it. If you didn't believe it, why did you come down here?
** Later subverted when Karai eventually does reform and, as of Season 4, is now a key ally to the Turtles.