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* In ''Literature/TheCountOfMonteCristo'', the exposed criminal Caderousse begs for "mercy", by which he means "help me to escape all consequences of my thievery". The funny thing is that he's not being disingenuous. He ''really thinks'' that that's the definition of mercy. He can't understand why anyone would want forgiveness on an emotional- as opposed to just legal- scale.

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* In ''Literature/TheCountOfMonteCristo'', the exposed criminal Caderousse begs for "mercy", by which he means "help me to escape all consequences of my thievery". The funny thing is that he's not being disingenuous. He ''really thinks'' that that's the definition of mercy. He can't understand why anyone would want forgiveness on an emotional- as opposed to just legal- scale.scale.
* Played with in the ''Literature/ChanurNovels''. The AlwaysChaoticEvil kif ''know'' that other species have empathy, morals and other things [[BizarreAlienPsychology lacking from the minds of kif]]. Kif who deal with other species study up on these things in order to try to use logic to predict what other species will do, but still fail more often than not due to lacking any intuitive understanding of the topics.

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** ''Literature/TheHanSoloTrilogy'':
*** Only a short while after hiring him, the t'landa Til priests think nothing of revealing to Han that Exultation and the entire religion built around it are a giant scam, and laughing at the stupidity of the pilgrims who have fallen for it. Admittedly they have no way of knowing that he's fallen in love with one of the pilgrims in the meantime, but it still says something about them that they can't imagine that anyone "strong minded" could be offended by the revelation.
*** In a minor example, the female slaver who Bria encounters during her raid on the ''Helot's Shackle'' just cannot fathom the idea that Red Hand Squadron want to ''free'' slaves, not steal them for sale later. This gives Bria a distraction as the woman attempts to comprehend the idea, and she shoots her.


* ''Literature/TheStormlightArchive'': ArcVillain Sadeas drives himself to distraction wondering why Dalinar would trade his Shardblade -- a priceless, incredibly powerful weapon -- for a squad of Sadeas' indentured CannonFodder soldiers. The fact that Dalinar genuinely wanted to free the squad in gratitude for [[IOweYouMyLife saving his and his men's lives]] never even occurs to Sadeas.

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* ''Literature/TheStormlightArchive'': ArcVillain Sadeas drives himself to distraction wondering why Dalinar would trade his priceless, treasured Shardblade -- a priceless, incredibly powerful weapon -- for a squad of Sadeas' indentured CannonFodder soldiers. The fact that Dalinar genuinely wanted to free the squad in gratitude for [[IOweYouMyLife saving his and his men's lives]] never even occurs to Sadeas.Sadeas; he assumes it to be some sort of set-up.


* In ''Literature/WhatTheHellDidIJustReadANovelOfCosmicHorror'' (the third book in the ''Literature/JohnDiesAtTheEnd'' series) this is a characteristic repeatedly displayed by the female [[TheMenInBlack NON Agent]]. Every possible action, interaction, and relationship she sees in the most cynical way possible, for example seeing a flawed but basically decent and caring relationship between characters as really being a case of one partner psychologically and emotionally manipulating the other. The shining example however, is her discussion with [[TheHeart Amy]] when they go through the PortalDoor. She takes Amy into an AlternateUniverse where a horrifying [[SyntheticPlague bio weapon]] that creates agonizing, debilitating illness (but does not kill, forcing governments to take care of anyone infected for the decades of their natural life still remaining and causing the collapse of society) had been used and, of course, gotten out of control and infected the entire world. The agent thinks that the fact people didn't immediately respond with QuarantineWithExtremePrejudice and kill off the infected to stop the spread shows that humanity is hampered by caring too much about each other to [[IDidWhatIHadToDo do what is necessary]] to survive. Amy is completely dumbfounded that someone can look around at the scene of carnage, say that someone designed a weapon that causes literal decades of endless misery for which there is no cure, intentionally used it against other people, and think that the lesson to take away is that people are too nice to each other and care too much. (Amy leaves it unsaid that if humanity's FatalFlaw was being too nice and caring too much, that weapon would have never been invented in the first place, let alone used.)

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* In ''Literature/WhatTheHellDidIJustReadANovelOfCosmicHorror'' (the third book in the ''Literature/JohnDiesAtTheEnd'' series) this is a characteristic repeatedly displayed by the female [[TheMenInBlack NON Agent]]. Every possible action, interaction, and relationship she sees in the most cynical way possible, for example seeing a flawed but basically decent and caring relationship between characters as really being a case of one partner psychologically and emotionally manipulating the other. The shining example however, is her discussion with [[TheHeart Amy]] when they go through the PortalDoor. She takes Amy into an AlternateUniverse where a horrifying [[SyntheticPlague bio weapon]] that creates agonizing, debilitating illness (but does not kill, forcing governments to take care of anyone infected for the decades of their natural life still remaining and causing the collapse of society) had been used and, of course, gotten out of control and infected the entire world. The agent thinks that the fact people didn't immediately respond with QuarantineWithExtremePrejudice and kill off the infected to stop the spread shows that humanity is hampered by caring too much about each other to [[IDidWhatIHadToDo do what is necessary]] to survive. Amy is completely dumbfounded that someone can look around at the scene of carnage, say that someone designed a weapon that causes literal decades of endless misery for which there is no cure, intentionally used it against other people, and think that the lesson to take away is that people are too nice to each other and care too much. (Amy leaves it unsaid that if humanity's FatalFlaw was being too nice and caring too much, that weapon would have never been invented in the first place, let alone used.))
* In ''Literature/TheCountOfMonteCristo'', the exposed criminal Caderousse begs for "mercy", by which he means "help me to escape all consequences of my thievery". The funny thing is that he's not being disingenuous. He ''really thinks'' that that's the definition of mercy. He can't understand why anyone would want forgiveness on an emotional- as opposed to just legal- scale.


* In ''Literature/WhatTheHellDidIJustReadANovelOfCosmicHorror'' this is a characteristic repeatedly displayed by the female [[TheMenInBlack NON Agent]]. Every possible action, interaction, and relationship she sees in the most cynical way possible, for example seeing a flawed but basically decent and caring relationship between characters as really being a case of one partner psychologically and emotionally manipulating the other. The shining example however, is her discussion with [[TheHeart Amy]] when they go through the PortalDoor. She takes Amy into an AlternateUniverse where a horrifying [[SyntheticPlague bio weapon]] that creates agonizing, debilitating illness (but does not kill, forcing governments to take care of anyone infected for the decades of their natural life still remaining and causing the collapse of society) had been used and, of course, gotten out of control and infected the entire world. The agent thinks that the fact people didn't immediately respond with QuarantineWithExtremePrejudice and kill off the infected to stop the spread shows that humanity is hampered by caring too much about each other to [[IDidWhatIHadToDo do what is necessary]] to survive. Amy is completely dumbfounded that someone can look around at the scene of carnage, say that someone designed a weapon that causes literal decades of endless misery for which there is no cure, intentionally used it against other people, and think that the lesson to take away is that people are too nice to each other and care too much. (Amy leaves it unsaid that if humanity's FatalFlaw was being too nice and caring too much, that weapon would have never been invented in the first place, let alone used.)

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* In ''Literature/WhatTheHellDidIJustReadANovelOfCosmicHorror'' (the third book in the ''Literature/JohnDiesAtTheEnd'' series) this is a characteristic repeatedly displayed by the female [[TheMenInBlack NON Agent]]. Every possible action, interaction, and relationship she sees in the most cynical way possible, for example seeing a flawed but basically decent and caring relationship between characters as really being a case of one partner psychologically and emotionally manipulating the other. The shining example however, is her discussion with [[TheHeart Amy]] when they go through the PortalDoor. She takes Amy into an AlternateUniverse where a horrifying [[SyntheticPlague bio weapon]] that creates agonizing, debilitating illness (but does not kill, forcing governments to take care of anyone infected for the decades of their natural life still remaining and causing the collapse of society) had been used and, of course, gotten out of control and infected the entire world. The agent thinks that the fact people didn't immediately respond with QuarantineWithExtremePrejudice and kill off the infected to stop the spread shows that humanity is hampered by caring too much about each other to [[IDidWhatIHadToDo do what is necessary]] to survive. Amy is completely dumbfounded that someone can look around at the scene of carnage, say that someone designed a weapon that causes literal decades of endless misery for which there is no cure, intentionally used it against other people, and think that the lesson to take away is that people are too nice to each other and care too much. (Amy leaves it unsaid that if humanity's FatalFlaw was being too nice and caring too much, that weapon would have never been invented in the first place, let alone used.)


* ''Literature/TheStormlightArchive'': ArcVillain Sadeas drives himself to distraction wondering why Dalinar would trade his Shardblade -- a priceless, incredibly powerful weapon -- for a squad of Sadeas' indentured CannonFodder soldiers. The fact that Dalinar genuinely wanted to free the squad in gratitude for [[IOweYouMyLife saving his and his men's lives]] never even occurs to Sadeas.

to:

* ''Literature/TheStormlightArchive'': ArcVillain Sadeas drives himself to distraction wondering why Dalinar would trade his Shardblade -- a priceless, incredibly powerful weapon -- for a squad of Sadeas' indentured CannonFodder soldiers. The fact that Dalinar genuinely wanted to free the squad in gratitude for [[IOweYouMyLife saving his and his men's lives]] never even occurs to Sadeas.Sadeas.
* In ''Literature/WhatTheHellDidIJustReadANovelOfCosmicHorror'' this is a characteristic repeatedly displayed by the female [[TheMenInBlack NON Agent]]. Every possible action, interaction, and relationship she sees in the most cynical way possible, for example seeing a flawed but basically decent and caring relationship between characters as really being a case of one partner psychologically and emotionally manipulating the other. The shining example however, is her discussion with [[TheHeart Amy]] when they go through the PortalDoor. She takes Amy into an AlternateUniverse where a horrifying [[SyntheticPlague bio weapon]] that creates agonizing, debilitating illness (but does not kill, forcing governments to take care of anyone infected for the decades of their natural life still remaining and causing the collapse of society) had been used and, of course, gotten out of control and infected the entire world. The agent thinks that the fact people didn't immediately respond with QuarantineWithExtremePrejudice and kill off the infected to stop the spread shows that humanity is hampered by caring too much about each other to [[IDidWhatIHadToDo do what is necessary]] to survive. Amy is completely dumbfounded that someone can look around at the scene of carnage, say that someone designed a weapon that causes literal decades of endless misery for which there is no cure, intentionally used it against other people, and think that the lesson to take away is that people are too nice to each other and care too much. (Amy leaves it unsaid that if humanity's FatalFlaw was being too nice and caring too much, that weapon would have never been invented in the first place, let alone used.)


*** At the end of ''Death Masks'' he correctly guesses [[spoiler:Harry would grab a Coin of the Fallen to save a child from being infected by the Shadow of the Fallen. He fails to consider even remotely that Harry could and eventually does resist the Shadow to the point the Shadow is no longer the same entity she was when she first entered Harry's mind. Further more, she is so changed by Harry's resistance, she ends up sacrificing herself to save Harry out of love]].

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*** At the end of ''Death Masks'' ''Literature/DeathMasks'' he correctly guesses [[spoiler:Harry would grab a Coin of the Fallen to save a child from being infected by the Shadow of the Fallen. He fails to consider even remotely that Harry could and eventually does resist the Shadow to the point the Shadow is no longer the same entity she was when she first entered Harry's mind. Further more, she is so changed by Harry's resistance, she ends up sacrificing herself to save Harry out of love]].


** Screwtape himself may qualify as a [[SubvertedTrope subversion]]. In one letter, he informs Wormwood that God "really loves the little [human] vermin" and has their best interests at heart. It later emerges that Hell's police state has been reading his mail, and he conspicuously revises his earlier position to suit Hellish orthodoxy; whether he believes his rescinded story is doubtful.

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** [[GenreSavvy Screwtape himself himself]] may qualify as a [[SubvertedTrope subversion]]. In one letter, he informs Wormwood that God "really loves the little [human] vermin" and has their best interests at heart. It later emerges that Hell's police state has been reading his mail, and he conspicuously revises his earlier position to suit Hellish orthodoxy; whether he believes his rescinded story is doubtful.

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** Screwtape himself may qualify as a [[SubvertedTrope subversion]]. In one letter, he informs Wormwood that God "really loves the little [human] vermin" and has their best interests at heart. It later emerges that Hell's police state has been reading his mail, and he conspicuously revises his earlier position to suit Hellish orthodoxy; whether he believes his rescinded story is doubtful.


* In ''Literature/TheInterdependency'', Cardenia attempts to make peace with the Countess Nohamapetan by extending an olive branch: instead of executing her daughter for treason, Nadashe would be confined to a LuxuryPrisonSuite. The Countess, noted for her ruthlessness, is unable to parse this as anything other than an attempt to hold Nadashe hostage for the Countess's good behaviour. [[spoiler:Later, in a moment of VillainousBreakdown at her conspiracy's catastrophic defeat, the Countess flips out and confesses to assassinating Cardenia's half-brother, the original heir to the throne, and seemingly expects Cardenia to view this as something she owes the Countess for, not understanding that Cardenia ''doesn't have'' the Countess's hunger for wealth and power and would frankly have preferred not to be emperox at all.]]

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* In ''Literature/TheInterdependency'', Cardenia attempts to make peace with the Countess Nohamapetan by extending an olive branch: instead of executing her daughter for treason, Nadashe would be confined to a LuxuryPrisonSuite. The Countess, noted for her ruthlessness, is unable to parse this as anything other than an attempt to hold Nadashe hostage for the Countess's good behaviour. [[spoiler:Later, in a moment of VillainousBreakdown at her conspiracy's catastrophic defeat, the Countess flips out and confesses to assassinating Cardenia's half-brother, the original heir to the throne, and seemingly expects Cardenia to view this as something she owes the Countess for, not understanding that Cardenia ''doesn't have'' the Countess's hunger for wealth and power and would frankly have preferred not to be emperox at all.]]]]
* ''Literature/TheStormlightArchive'': ArcVillain Sadeas drives himself to distraction wondering why Dalinar would trade his Shardblade -- a priceless, incredibly powerful weapon -- for a squad of Sadeas' indentured CannonFodder soldiers. The fact that Dalinar genuinely wanted to free the squad in gratitude for [[IOweYouMyLife saving his and his men's lives]] never even occurs to Sadeas.


* ''Literature/VitaNuova'': The first GriefSong for Beatrice claims anyone wicked enough to leave that perfect lady unmourned must lack the mind to even picture her.

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* ''Literature/VitaNuova'': The first GriefSong for Beatrice claims anyone wicked enough to leave that perfect lady unmourned must lack the mind to even picture her.her.
* In ''Literature/TheInterdependency'', Cardenia attempts to make peace with the Countess Nohamapetan by extending an olive branch: instead of executing her daughter for treason, Nadashe would be confined to a LuxuryPrisonSuite. The Countess, noted for her ruthlessness, is unable to parse this as anything other than an attempt to hold Nadashe hostage for the Countess's good behaviour. [[spoiler:Later, in a moment of VillainousBreakdown at her conspiracy's catastrophic defeat, the Countess flips out and confesses to assassinating Cardenia's half-brother, the original heir to the throne, and seemingly expects Cardenia to view this as something she owes the Countess for, not understanding that Cardenia ''doesn't have'' the Countess's hunger for wealth and power and would frankly have preferred not to be emperox at all.]]


* In ''Franchise/{{Mistborn}}'', this is Ruin's undoing. He is sentient destruction and entropy, and only builds up one thing if he knows he can use it to destroy two or more other things later. He is literally incapable of understanding human love and emotion, that there is more to life than the chaos of death at the end, why anyone would create something and NOT seek to destroy it later, but see it grow instead. Thus, when his unwilling servant kills Elend, Vin no longer has a reason NOT to sacrifice herself, and uses the power she inherited from Preservation (Ruin's counterpart that gave up a piece of his soul to give mankind sentience), to destroy him, (which Preservation was literally incapable of doing, so he created humanity to do so for him).

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* In ''Franchise/{{Mistborn}}'', this is Ruin's undoing. This applies to Ruin in ''Franchise/{{Mistborn}}''. He is the sentient force of destruction and entropy, and only builds up one thing if he knows he can use it to destroy two or more other things later. He is literally incapable of understanding human love and emotion, that there is more to life than the chaos of death at the end, why anyone would create something and NOT seek to destroy it later, but see it grow instead. Thus, This is used to [[spoiler:Destroy him in the end, when his unwilling servant kills Elend, causing Vin no longer has a reason NOT to sacrifice herself, and uses the using Preservation's power she inherited from Preservation (Ruin's counterpart that gave up a piece of his soul to give mankind sentience), counterpart), to destroy him, (which Preservation was literally incapable of doing, so he created humanity to do so for him).]]


* In ''The First Wives Club'' by Olivia Goldsmith, the Club forms when a mutual friend commits suicide due to her husband Gil leaving her for another woman. They target Gil in particular but each of the various ex-husbands have the problem of not grasping how bad they treated their wives. The ladies end up ruining a major deal Gil set up that cost his partners several hundred million dollars. When a weakened Gil asks why they're doing this, they respond "ask Cynthia" and Gil is honestly baffled what his late ex has to do with this.

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* In ''The First Wives Club'' by Olivia Goldsmith, the Club forms when a mutual friend commits suicide due to her husband Gil leaving her for another woman. They target Gil in particular particular, but each of the various ex-husbands have the problem of not grasping how bad badly they treated their wives. The ladies end up ruining a major deal Gil set up that cost costs his partners several hundred million dollars. When a weakened Gil asks why they're doing this, they respond "ask Cynthia" and Gil is honestly baffled as to what his late ex has to do with this.



* Various bad guys in the Literature/HonorHarrington universe consistently don't realize two things about the heroes in the setting: either they assume that good guys won't go out of their way to help others if they don't have to, and when they do act in a benevolent manner the bad guys think that they can be intimidated into backing down. One major part of the backstory in the books set in the Talbott Cluster is based on this misunderstanding. TheConspiracy is trying to make the Manticorans look bad by fermenting rebellions on planets in a FalseFlagOperation pretending to be Manticoran agents and assuring the rebels they'll have backing, setting them up to be crushed and giving the Manticorans a bad reputation. The plan assumes that if the Manticorans find out, they will refuse to get dragged into someone else's problems, especially if it puts them at odds with the Solarians, making their reputation worse. [[ScrewTheRulesImDoingWhatsRight When the Manticorans do intervene]], the local oppressors assume that by threatening to kill their own citizens unless the Manticorans leave will make them back off. Aivars Terekhov corrects this misconception with kinetic weapons strikes.

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* Various bad guys in the Literature/HonorHarrington universe consistently don't realize two things about the heroes in the setting: either they assume that good guys won't go out of their way to help others if they don't have to, and when they do act in a benevolent manner the bad guys think that they can be intimidated into backing down. One major part of the backstory in the books set in the Talbott Cluster is based on this misunderstanding. TheConspiracy is trying to make the Manticorans look bad by fermenting fomenting rebellions on planets in a FalseFlagOperation pretending to be Manticoran agents and assuring the rebels they'll have backing, setting them up to be crushed and giving the Manticorans a bad reputation. The plan assumes that if the Manticorans find out, they will refuse to get dragged into someone else's problems, especially if it puts them at odds with the Solarians, making their reputation worse. [[ScrewTheRulesImDoingWhatsRight When the Manticorans do intervene]], the local oppressors assume that by threatening to kill their own citizens unless the Manticorans leave will make them back off. Aivars Terekhov corrects this misconception with kinetic weapons strikes.



** A lot Manticore's nastier aristocrats (especially [[RoyalBrat Pavel Young]] and [[EvilChancellor Baron high Ridge]]) automatically assume that everyone is as ambitious, petty, greedy and morally bankrupt as they are, and therefore just about anything involving actual honor, loyalty or moral courage tends to [[SpannerInTheWorks trip them up.]]

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** A lot Manticore's nastier aristocrats (especially [[RoyalBrat Pavel Young]] and [[EvilChancellor Baron high High Ridge]]) automatically assume that everyone is as ambitious, petty, greedy and morally bankrupt as they are, and therefore just about anything involving actual honor, loyalty or moral courage tends to [[SpannerInTheWorks trip them up.]]


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** Honor's detractors among the Manticoran nobility and military frequently assume she's a glory hound.


** There's a straight example in Bob Ewell's response to Atticus's question about what he did when he saw his daughter supposedly having been beaten and raped. He says that there was no reason to call a doctor, as her wounds weren't anything permanent- missing the point that ''she was hurt'', and ''he should have cared about her well being''.

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** There's a straight example in Bob Ewell's response to Atticus's question about what he did when he saw his daughter supposedly having been beaten and raped. He says that there was no reason to call a doctor, as her wounds weren't anything permanent- missing the point that ''she was hurt'', and ''he should have cared about her well being''.being''.
* ''Literature/VitaNuova'': The first GriefSong for Beatrice claims anyone wicked enough to leave that perfect lady unmourned must lack the mind to even picture her.


*** Works against the heroes when Harry says that [[spoiler:Waldo Butters]] doesn't know anything, but then risks his life to save him. Thomas points out that the villain won't believe he would do that out of [[PowerOfFriendship friendship]].
*** Another ''Literature/DeadBeat'' example. [[spoiler: Lasciel's shadow]] simply cannot understand why Harry wouldn't want to be like Nicodemus, and in later books can't get that Harry is quite willing to die rather than pick up her coin- which would turn him into a FallenHero.

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*** Works against the heroes when Harry says that [[spoiler:Waldo Butters]] doesn't know anything, but then risks his life to save him. Thomas points out that the villain Grevane won't believe he would do that out of [[PowerOfFriendship friendship]].
friendship]] -- Grevane will assume Butters still has some practical value and continue targeting him.
*** Another ''Literature/DeadBeat'' example. [[spoiler: Lasciel's shadow]] simply cannot understand why Harry wouldn't want to be like Nicodemus, and in later books can't get that Harry is quite willing to die rather than pick up her coin- which would turn him into a FallenHero.

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