There's always an Arquillian Battle Cruiser, or a Corillian Death Ray, or an intergalactic plague that is about to wipe out all life on this miserable little planet, and the only way these people can get on with their happy lives is that they DO. NOT. KNOW ABOUT IT!
So, the hero has found the giant factory belonging to the Big Bad
. He enters with his True Companions
and finds weapons that could kill thousands or maybe even millions, all built by and being built by the locals. While the hero believes that the locals all knew about the Big Bad's plan and were helping him willingly, a few questions from The Heart
clears up the matter- the locals simply think the weapons are harmless machinery that will be used for building houses and/or farming.
This trope describes situations where somebody uses someone to make or do something by lying about what exactly it is that they're doing, or assuring them that it's for the greater good. It could be something as simple as stealing plans or moving an item to another location, or something major, like building a Doomsday Device
or breaching a boundary- if the Big Bad
plays on their ignorance to make them do something; it's this. This can often result in a Heel-Face Turn
or My God, What Have I Done?
. See also Evil Plan
, Nice Job Breaking It, Hero
, Awful Truth
, Redemption Equals Death
and Ambiguous Innocence
Not to be confused with While Rome Burns
, when everything is going horribly wrong but everyone responds to it with denial.
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Anime And Manga
- In Black Butler, Ciel tells Snake that his missing friends' whereabouts were unknown and that staying with Ciel is the fastest way to see them again. The reader knows that they were all killed by Ciel's staff when they attempted to ambush the mansion.
- Diamonds Are Forever: Blofeld kidnaps Willard Whyte and uses his industrial empire to build and launch a Kill Sat. Only one other person in Whyte's organization knows what's going on: the rest are kept ignorant.
- Also in Diamonds Are Forever, we have a rocket scientist who helped Blofeld to build the Kill Sat because he thought Blofeld would use it to help achieve world peace. Of course, this wasn't the case.
- At the start of Van Helsing, Dracula tells Dr. Frankenstein that he did this to him.
- Cypher uses this line in The Matrix to justify his betrayal.
- This, combined with the fact that The World Is Always Doomed, is why the Men In Black go to such lengths to keep up The Masquerade.
- Used in Cabin Fever when the busty brunette suddenly offers herself to the lone surviving hero. She has the killer fever, though she isn't showing any signs yet. Midway through sex, the guy tells her he's worried that they aren't using a condom. So the woman assures him that she's perfectly healthy, because by that point, the only think that telling the truth could do is spoil their fun.
- In American Gods Wednesday uses Shadow to start a war between the gods so they can conquer the new gods, when in reality, Wednesday and Loki just want the power they'll gain from a field of dead gods.
- The Belgariad: Errand is brought up to be totally innocent so he can sneak into the Rivan throne room to steal the Orb, without knowing what will happen afterwards.
- In the Star Wars Expanded Universe the person responsible for designing the Death Star and Sun Crusher has no idea that they'd be used to destroy habitated planets and suns around which habitated star sytems were being habitated in, intending for them to be mining vehicles.
- Harry Harrison's The Stainless Steel Rat. Jim diGriz discovers that the government of the planet Cittanuvo is building a Warlord class battleship under the pretense that it's just a transport ship. After investigating, he finds out that two elite criminals tricked the government into building the ship with the intent of stealing it and using it for interstellar piracy.
- The Howlers in Animorphs routinely wipe out entire species at their master's command so the protagonists assume they must be consumed with rage and enjoy causing destruction. It turns out they think it's all a game.
- In George Orwell's classic dystopia 1984, the last of three core slogans that the Party propagates to the citizens of Oceania is "Ignorance Is Strength". (The other two being "War Is Peace" and "Freedom Is Slavery")
- Enderís Game, because when he goes to the simulator he's actually commanding real troops.
- In Pact, ignorance keeps the vast majority of humans safe from the supernatural by maintaining the Masquerade. As almost all supernatural creatures have been forced over the centuries to swear to abide by the Standard of Solomon, which prevents them from attacking the innocent without cause, this has allowed humanity to expand to its current levels of population, to the point that they reproduce faster than the Others can kill them, Others are steadily being driven from their hiding places by ignorant humans against whom they can't fight back, and those few that can are dealt with by the few humans that know the truth.
Live Action Television
- In Glee, Sue gets Brittany to give her the set list for New Directions, but Brittany has no clue about what she's going to do with it.
- NCIS: In 6.21, "Toxic", Abby builds a biological weapon without knowing what it is.
- In Dollhouse, it turns out the Evil Corporation is building a Doomsday Device by making each of their research departments around the world build a little part of it, and nobody knowing about the larger picture.
- House had an episode called "Ignorance Is Bliss" where it turned out that the Patient of the Week (who was a genius) was regularly taking cough medicine so he would be around the same intelligence level as his girlfriend.