- The Phantom of the Opera, when looked at closely, proves to have a rather idiotic plot. Why does Christine, after finding out that the Phantom is not the Angel of Music, fall for it again? Why doesn't Raoul just kill the Phantom when they're in the graveyard? Why don't the owners of the opera house ever investigate this "ghost" to whom they have been paying 20,000 francs per month? For that matter, why don't they call in the police force when said "ghost" not only violently kills a stage hand but also causes the chandelier to crash into the stage, nearly killing more people and costing who knows how much to replace?
- Thankfully averted by the book on all counts.
- Why does Raoul think it's a good idea to set up the final confrontation with the Phantom inside the opera house - which since it is the Phantom's home, he knows all the nooks and crannies of, has very likely rigged with traps, and has a ton of places to hide - rather than attempting to lure him onto neutral ground? Granted, luring him out might not have worked, but none of the characters involved even float the possibility of trying it. Furthermore, they plan out the whole thing during a conversation that takes place inside the opera house even though the Phantom has already demonstrated he is very aware of pretty much everything that goes on there and has means of listening to conversations. It doesn't seem to occur to anyone to suggest they go talk somewhere else to prevent being overheard. The plan works about as well as you'd expect.
- Love Never Dies is even worse. For starters, nobody thought to tell Gustave "Listen, that guy in the mask? He's very, very dangerous, he's killed two people that we know about, he tried to kill your father, and if he gets his hands on you he'll hurt you or use you to hurt your parents. So stay close to us at all times and whatever you do, don't go wandering off with the creepy carnival folk, okay?"
- Most of Shakespeare's plays fit this:
- Romeo and Juliet. The whole tragedy could've been averted had the eponymous characters (and others) bothered to think rationally for a few moments rather than emotionally - it was one of the play's themes.
- In Othello, Desdemona probably wouldn't have died if Othello had just flat-out asked her "Were you having an affair with Cassio?" or waiting to point fingers until after Iago brings the "occular proof" that he had asked for. (Assuming Othello would have believed Desdemona.)
- This is addressed in "O", the modern-day high school adaptation of the play. In it, Dessie does guess that O is questioning her faithfulness when he accuses her of losing his scarf and calls him out on it, saying that she'll leave him if he ever accuses her of cheating again. This does convince him to trust her... until Hugo (the Iago character) starts playing more mind games and making him doubt.
- Shakespeare's The Comedy of Errors. Antipholus of Syracuse has been looking for his long-lost twin brother, and comes to a town where everyone seems to know him, including someone claiming to be his wife. Somehow, neither he nor anyone else (including the father of the twins) manages to come to the obvious conclusion that this is where his twin has been living. Same with Plautus's The Menaechmi, upon which The Comedy of Errors is based.
- Much Ado About Nothing. Claudio and Don Pedro already know that John is not a nice guy. And as if that weren't enough, Claudio gets taken in by John's claim that Pedro courted Hero before being disabused of the idea. So Claudio and Pedro know that John is trying to spread rumors to break Claudio and Hero up - why do they fall for the plot again?
- Pericles, Prince of Tyre has not just the stupidest plot of any Shakespeare play but ranks among the most inexplicable plots ever. A major plot point involves Thaliard the assassin learning that Pericles has gotten onto a boat and immediately concluding that he's dead. And then he shows up in the city Pericles fled to and completely fails to recognize him even as he introduces him to the king. And then he's never seen again.
- In 13, everyone seems to be holding the Idiot Ball because they believed Lucy during "it can't be true".
- In Clare Boothe's preface to her play The Women, she notes that if Mary, the principal character of her play, were a reasonably intelligent woman, she would quickly have found a different play to be in.
- The opera la Sonnambula, by Bellini. Sure, she's in a compromising position... but it's completely out of character for her.
- It's practically a requirement that any farce have an Idiot Plot, usually coupled with Poor Communication Kills.
- In She Loves Me, it's only in the last two minutes that Amalia finds out that Georg is the same person as "Dear Friend." If she had realized this earlier, the plot might have wrapped considerably sooner. Of course, Georg deserves a share of the blame for having wrongheadedly jumped to the conclusion at the Cafe Imperiale that Amalia couldn't possibly be his blind date.
Idiot Plot / Theatre