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Detrimental Determination

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"None of this would've happened if you'd just stopped. But on you marched. And for what?"
John Konrad, Spec Ops: The Line

For the average viewer, refusing to give up in the face of danger is an admirable quality. When one swears loyalty to a cause, a spouse, a family member, a friend, or a mission, they will go the extra mile to make sure that they fulfill their duty. Under normal circumstances, this would be a good thing — after all, who wouldn't want someone you can count on coming to save you in a scrape?

Unfortunately, there are times when this devotion can be too much, and it causes more problems than it's worth. This is Detrimental Determination, where a character is so hellbent on fulfilling their obligations, they put themselves and others at risk unnecessarily, resulting in their lives being nothing but empty fulfillment and broken relationships. Typically, this serves as a Fatal Flaw for the lead protagonist or antagonist, and part of their Character Development is overcoming this mindset (or, for the villain, letting it consume them). Expect the hero to go through a series of Disaster Dominoes as their actions cause things to go From Bad to Worse, a Plot-Mandated Friendship Failure to occur when their actions go too far, and a Heel Realization when they recognize what their actions have been doing. Sometimes they may learn that once in a while, you have to know when to quit. In the villain's case, they can become a Well-Intentioned Extremist or He Who Fights Monsters, or devolve into a Not-So-Well-Intentioned Extremist when their allies try to stop them after they've gone too far. Ignored Epiphany or I've Come Too Far can occur as a result. If the determined is an authority who is too serious about others not meeting expectations, despite the others already pushing themselves to, or over, their limit, then the authority may think that Weakness Is Just a State of Mind.

See Undying Loyalty for a more positive, less toxic version of this trope. The converse is Know When to Fold 'Em, when a character does give up in the face of overwhelming odds, and the narrative portrays them as correct for doing so. Can also overlap with Chronic Hero Syndrome, Revenge Before Reason, The Unfettered, Know-Nothing Know-It-All, Happiness Is Mandatory (aka toxic positivity), Leeroy Jenkins, or Principles Zealot. Also part of the Sunk Cost Fallacy, where a person has already invested time, money, and effort into a project or production, and they feel they have come too far and spent too much to quit (even though quitting is still the better option). For contrast, view The Starscream or Deck of Wild Cards for when betrayal is expected or outright becomes the norm. It may also overlap with Hard Truth Aesop if the moral of a work is to tell the audience about the dangers and problems one's determination can bring if taken too far. Also see Self-Destructive Charge, the entirely physical version.

No Real Life Examples, Please! There's too much potential to touch controversial territory.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • The 100 Girlfriends Who Really, Really, Really, Really, Really Love You.
    • Zigzagged with Rentarou, who will stop at nothing to ensure that all of his girlfriends are 100% happy with him. While this does lead to him sometimes taking drastic measures to that end, his girlfriends are usually quick to talk him out of it before he goes too far.
    • The determination exhibited by Iku is exaggerated into masochism, owing to her misinterpreting a pep talk from her older brother to keep pushing herself even if it hurts if she wants to get better at baseball.
  • Berserk:
    • Griffith is defined by two things: his admirable leadership which inspires the Band of the Hawk into looking up to him, Guts and Casca included, and his relentless pursuit of achieving his dream, which is to become the ruler of a kingdom. However, Griffith's goals aren't exactly motivated by providing something for his comrades, he wants a kingdom to satisfy his desires first and foremost, and the Band of the Hawk is just a stepping stone for his own ends. Such is his conviction for a dream that he decides to sacrifice all of his comrades to the Apostles during the Eclipse so that he can recover from his crippled state and gain godly demonic powers, immediately continuing to pursue his dream to achieve a kingdom once the Eclipse is done. Overall, Griffith is defined by his neverending goal of having a kingdom, and Guts speculates that even after achieving his desires, he still wants more, regardless of how many lives he has to ruin to do it.
    • Guts, after the Eclipse, develops a one-track-minded goal to kill every single Apostle, especially Griffith for betraying him and the Band of the Hawk and for raping Casca. However, said determination makes him just as bloodthirsty and destructive as the very beings he opposes. In the early days after the Eclipse, the only thing that prevents him from fully succumbing to his lust for revenge and crossing the final line is his love for Casca. It takes a good while and gaining a new group of other companions to care for before his priorities shift enough to make him relent on his self-destructive obsession.
  • Digimon Adventure 02: On one occasion, Daisuke and the others encounter a powerful evil Digimon. Being a Hot-Blooded Idiot Hero, Daisuke leads the others into battle against it, but despite clearly being horribly outmatched he keeps insisting they fight on. He finally comes to his senses when he realizes that no amount of guts is going to help them win the fight, and he's just going to get everyone killed.
  • In Free! Eternal Summer, Sousuke Yamazaki is revealed to have a shoulder sprain that only gets worse the more he swims, and he hurt it years ago. Sousuke, however, is determined to keep swimming and refuses to let himself rest or give up his passion — and all it earns him is a joint so worn down that it finally becomes a Career-Ending Injury.
  • Guilty Crown: After Hare's death, Shu Ouma convinced himself that weaker Voids were "trash". As a result of this, he started favoring those with stronger powers while also neglecting those who he perceived as weak or useless, in an attempt to give his followers the king that he thought they deserved.
  • Gon in Hunter × Hunter distinguished himself from other hot-blooded shonen heroes by his sheer refusal to throw in the towel — in the Hunter Examination Arc, he refused to surrender even when his opponent was breaking his bones — and said opponent only started to resort to that because Gon won't admit he's been beaten. In successive arcs, he has been severely injured and kept pushing himself to unhealthy degrees, to the point of ending up comatose at the end of the Chimera Ant arc. This refusal to ever stop may have helped him succeed, but it worries his friends greatly and would likely have long-term harmful effects on him.
  • Moriarty the Patriot: Villain Protagonist William James Moriarty is completely devoted to his plan of saving his country by murdering the toxic members of nobility...regardless of the mental health spiral it puts him on, the devastation following his plans causes to his Criminal Found Family and loved ones, the fights he gets into with them, and his own desire to give up the plan completely to hang out with Sherlock solving mysteries. He carries through with it until his plan is complete and his life is saved entirely against his will.
  • My Hero Academia:
    • Izuku Midoriya experiences plentiful examples of this trope during the early arcs because using his Quirk "One For All" constantly runs the risk of breaking his bones and incapacitating him nearly every time he uses it. He has to go through serious training upon receiving the Quirk to even survive using it at all, and further on, has to master only using small percentages of it to prevent said bone-breaking. Yet still, when a villain is attacking and he as the hero needs to step in, he fights at his maximum nearly every time. The damage to his arms gets so bad, an examining doctor tells him that he's overstressed his ligaments so much, continuing to use his power will eventually destroy them and the function of his arms. Midoriya from then on does take it to heart and tries to do better.
    • This trope comes roaring back during the Villain Hunt/Dark Hero arcs, where Midoriya goes on the run on a belief that he alone can take on All For One and spends weeks running himself ragged saving people all over the city. By the end of the arc, he looks like a homeless person (or a demon) and it takes a combination of his friends beating the everliving crap out of him (and in the case of Bakugo, showing regret for his decade of bullying) to make him snap out of it.
  • Electra of Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water was so determined to destroy Argon and Neo-Atlantis that, in "Farewell... Nautilus", she advocated self-destroying the Nautilus and, when it wasn't followed, she attempted to kill Nemo in the following episode.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion: During The End of Evangelion Asuka puts on an impressive display against the Mass-Production Evas, and seems to be able to hold them off in an intense battle, before she's caught off guard by a replica of the Spear of Longinus and runs out of power. After the Mass-Production Evas descend on her and tear Unit-02 apart, Asuka's rage drives the Eva for the first and only time into berserk mode. However, unlike whenever Unit-01 would go berserk and tear the enemy apart in a terrifying show of power, Unit-02 in this moment is disemboweled with a spear pierced through its head and into the ground and can do little more than futilely reach towards the Eva Units circling the sky above as it howls in rage and agony. Maya even tearfully begs her to stop as Asuka continues pushing through her and her unit's injuries while repeatedly, hatefully whispering I'll Kill You!, before the Mass-Production Evas finally put them out of their misery.
  • Pokémon: The Series:
    • Ash's infamously stubborn Charizard, after evolving twice from Charmander, may have been The Ace in Kanto, but he was unwilling to battle any opponent who wasn't stronger than him, and wouldn't listen to his trainer as a result. While this was meant to show Ash wasn't a great trainer during those years (as this bout of disobedience resulted in Ash losing the Indigo League), it was far worse for Charizard when he Took a Level in Jerkass even bigger than when he evolved and started throwing Godzilla-like tantrums every time Ash called him out, as his unstoppable rampaging would make it almost impossible to battle with him, squandering any of his potential strength. This behavior finally bites him in the rear in "Charizard Chills!" when Ash fights a trainer named Tad, and Tad's Poliwrath freezes Charizard alive to the point of near-death. Ash is able to stay up all night healing his Pokémon, which causes Charizard to have a Jerkass Realization about how he was behaving and starts being loyal to Ash from now on. However, his earlier behavior bites him in the rear in Johto when he discovers the existence of the Charaziffic Valley — a haven for his own kind — and the fact he'd been relying on brute, unstoppable force has made him the runt of his people. Not wanting Charizard to feel weak, Ash leaves him for training.
    • Paul, Ash's rival from the Diamond and Pearl era, is a skilled trainer without question, but a Jerkass through-and-through. Driven by a desire to prove he can be stronger than his brother, who quit being a trainer when he lost the Battle Frontier's final challenge to Pyramid King Brandon, Paul pushes his team so hard that it's outright abusive to them, and barely anybody outside of Paul's brother can stand to be in his presence. Sure, Paul's team is incredibly powerful, and his strategies are unmatched, but his drive to be stronger above all else hasn't really given him any meaningful connections. Sure enough, when Paul challenges Brandon to a six-on-six match, Brandon picks apart Paul's methods easily and subjects him to a Curb-Stomp Battle of the highest order.
    • Ash's determination and belief in The Power of Friendship is deconstructed in his first full battle against Paul, who specifically chose his team to counter Ash's. Against Ash's Grotle, Paul used his Honchkrow with full knowledge that the Grass-Type still holds a grudge against it, which causes Ash to keep Grotle in the battle under the belief that they can avenge their earlier loss. When the fight between Ash's Buizel and Paul's Ursaring goes bad for the former, Ash tries to recall his Pokémon, only to keep him in upon seeing Buizel still wants to fight. However, this only led to the two Pokémon being knocked out. Brock and Reggie even note that Ash's trust in his Pokémon is clouding his judgment. Notably, this loss does sink in and teaches him that he can't rely on his Pokémon's power alone and has to use actual strategy to win. He does against Paul, combined with The Power of Friendship, and finally bests his rival.
    • Team Rocket, the series lead villains, aren't any better in this regard. They spent 25 years out of universe hunting one single Pikachu, and never once succeeding — not with their target, not with any other Pokémon, and certainly not with the most powerful Mon's out there. All it's done is left them starving for days on end, miserable in their existence, and unhappy they've never accomplished their goal of delivering Pikachu to the boss. The universe teaches them time and again they'd be far happier people if they stopped trying to chase Ash and maybe settle down for a legitimate life, but they can't bring themselves to stop. Even as the series ends, they still have to keep chasing him, even if they know they'll never succeed.
  • Pokémon Horizons: The Series: Liko, Ash's successor as the lead protagonist, demonstrates in Episode 20 that she's highly focused on making others happy even if it means sacrificing her own goals. It's noble to be sure, but doing so is preventing her from being able to develop as a Pokémon Trainer. Roy has already shot well ahead of her in skill, and because she wants Wakaba to not fail her test, she forfeits her match, much to Wakaba and Sprigatito's frustration. Kabu does point this out to her, which leaves her thinking on it heavily by the end of the episode.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica: Sayaka Miki wants to prove herself a hero so she decides to ask a wish from Kyubey to restore the health of her crush, Kyosuke Kamijo, which in turn would turn her into a Magical Girl. However, hunting and battling against witches ends up taking a toll on Sayaka's mind, not helped by the fact that the death of a fellow magical girl, Mami Tomoe, had already left her scarred. Despite her need to be a hero, Sayaka's reasons behind it are because of a selfish desire, one that would not be reciprocated as Kyosuke doesn't reciprocate Sayaka's romantic feelings for him, further worsening her mental state and making her susceptible to succumbing to despair and becoming a witch, which she does.
  • Urusei Yatsura: A running theme of the comedy is that characters will often devote themselves utterly to the pursuit of a goal, even if this is obviously getting them into far more trouble than the pay-off would be worth.
    • The series protagonist, Unlucky Everydude Ataru Moroboshi, insists on flirting with women as much to spite his unwanted and unintended wife Lum as because he's a Loveable Sex Maniac. This despite knowing that girls largely loathe him and that Lum has both a very short temper for unfaithfulness and the ability to throw lightning. Inevitably, his efforts result in him being either slapped by the girl he's hitting on, zapped by Lum, or both. Even at the series ending, he refuses to tell Lum "I love you" after she stakes their marriage and his memories of her on a game of tag, with the option of her forfeiting if he just says those three words. Though it is implied that his motivation there is the surprisingly romantic idea that he doesn't want Lum to ever believe he might say those words and not mean them. He only wins at the last moment by dropping the shed horns he's been clinging to as a Tragic Keepsake, causing Lum to realize that he does love her, even if he can't say the words, and choose to forfeit. The first Animated Adaptation of this arc, Urusei Yatsura: The Final Chapter adds to it by having the entire town get angry that Lum gave in before Ataru and preparing to beat them up, sending the two teens running away as the angry mob gives chase.
    • Tobimaro Mizunokoji is determined to best his rival Shutaro Mendo in a game of baseball after the two of them tried to fight such a duel as little kids and failed. To this end, he goes off on year-long retreats into the wilderness to hone his baseball skills, ascetic style. The problem? He's incredibly Athletically Challenged, almost equally inept at hunting, and poor at managing his supplies, so he's routinely been forced to resort to eating baseballs to survive on his training journeys. All of his efforts have been so pathetic that his rival, his underlings and his own family all consider him a joke, but he refuses to give up, even when it's clearly not working. At least he was smart enough to hire an All-Star Little League Team to back him up, considering the absolute morons that were on Shutaro's team.
    • Mr. Fujinami gets hit with this twice over. Firstly, he wants to run a beach cafe... to the extent that he refuses to accept it's an inherently seasonal job, so he keeps it open through the entire year instead of closing up during the cold months and working elsewhere. As a result, he wasted what money he'd take in from the cafe until he ended up going bankrupt and his cafe collapsed around him, forcing him to take on a new job running the school store in Tomobiki High. Secondly, he wants a strong macho son to take over the cafe for him... but he only had a daughter. So he forcibly raised her as his son, beating, berating and deceiving her all the while, with the end result that she now despises him, and the harder he pushes her to pretend to be his son, the more she hates him.
    • The Shiowataris were so fixated on creating a new recipe to attract customers to their seaside cafe that they sat down and continually ate serves as they tried to perfect it. Rather than stop when they were full and come back the next day, they kept eating and eating until they literally died of overeating. Mr. Shiowatari died first, and rather than stopping, his child Nagisa just kept right on going until he died too. To say nothing of the fact that their focus recipe was sea urchin-flavored kakigori, which anyone with any sense would admit was never going to be popular.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V: Also doubling with Internal Deconstruction, there's a scene in the Fusion Arc where Yuya duels against Yuri, a so far unbeatable and overwhelmingly powerful opponent, all while struggling against his Superpowered Evil Side. Yuya's friends and his dad all encourage him to focus on winning and not worry about them, as they have faith in him. Normally, in a Yu-Gi-Oh! anime, that would work like a charm and the Power of Friendship would prevail. Here, Yuya's Superpowered Evil Side is fueled by his determination to win, so by the time the duel is over he is completely taken over. Yuya's opponent even takes the time to rub it in their faces.

    Comic Books 
  • Astro City: This eventually happens to Charles and Royal Williams due to their growing obsession with hunting down their parents' killer. The two pursue him across multiple hideouts all over the planet, oblivious to the collateral damage and endangered innocents in their wake.
  • The Boys: Billy Butcher is hellbent on taking down and delivering punishment towards The Homelander, whom Butcher believes was responsible for the death of his wife Becky. However, Butcher is not only laser-focused on this goal, but he ropes in the members of The Boys into doing several illicit activities that risk their lives and their protection and backup from the CIA, and predictably enough, The Boys, sans Wee Hughie, come to dislike Butcher for his hardline personality and his insistence on taking down Homelander and taking constant risks. In the end, Butcher comes to believe that every single super, regardless of their alignment, is bad and seeks to destroy them all and his refusal of compromise or reason finally prompts The Boys to turn against him with Butcher killing Mother's Milk, The Frenchman, and The Female in response before letting Hughie kill him.
  • Several of Garth Ennis' WWII works set towards the end of the war show the SS as thinking they could still win the war, murdering surrendering civilians and making every effort to keep fighting even as Nazi Germany falls apart around them.
  • The DCU:
    • Batman is perhaps the most famous example of this trope, Depending on the Writer. On the one hand, Gotham is a Wretched Hive full of corruption and criminals at every level, so he has to devote himself to keeping the people safe when few others will (to the point that Superman acknowledges that his friend's methods are necessary for a city like Gotham). On the other, he gets so caught up in trying to stop his latest foe or gets so needlessly angry with having his buttons pushed, that he grabs the Jerkass Ball pretty hard and treats his friends, allies, and family like crap. One example is Tom King's run, where Bruce gets so angry that Selina Kyle called off his wedding as a result of him getting played with by Bane and Flashpoint Thomas Wayne that he's outright abusive to everyone. Even Thomas is right that Bruce using his time as Batman is nothing more than an excuse to hurt people, and he needs a more positive outlet to overcome his trauma.
    • Lex Luthor is defined by his obsessive goal to dethrone Superman as the most beloved figure on Earth, unable to comprehend the idea of an alien being a benevolent hero whereas he, a self-made hard worker, is overshadowed. While his desire to one-up the Man of Steel has seen a lot of success in the supervillain community, Lex still doesn't feel like he's done and continues on with his grudge. He's gone as far as to keep a piece of Kryptonite by his side at all times, which ended up ravaging his body, resulting in him transferring himself to a clone body to keep himself alive. In the end, Lex's hatred for Superman distracts him from his desire to be a paragon for humanity, reveals his megalomaniacal side to others, and leaves him in tatters. In The Black Ring, Lex gives up the opportunity to use omnipotence to turn the universe into a paradise, just for a chance to hurt Superman, causing him to lose said power and be banished into the Phantom Zone.
    • Harley Quinn loves her puddin, and won't leave his side no matter what. This is in spite of the fact that he beats her at every opportunity, sees her as nothing more than disposable, and once launched her from a rocket just for the fun of it. It makes Harley so angry, that she leaves him and hangs out with her gal pals Poison Ivy and Catwoman — unfortunately, Ignored Epiphany sets in and he sways her right back to his side, putting a strain on her relationships with Ivy and Catwoman. It takes many years of ongoing Character Development before she finally decides enough is enough and walks out, and it's only then that things get better for her (though not any less crazy). Her entire character has gone from a determined devotion to a toxic abuser to an Anti-Hero who has become an unofficial member of the Bat Family.
    • JLA: Tower of Babel: The contingency used against Wonder Woman focused on exploiting this trope. It involved trapping her in a virtual reality battle against an opponent who was her equal in every way. Her refusal to surrender the fight under any circumstance would eventually cause her to tire herself out and die of exhaustion or a heart attack.
    • At times, even Poison Ivy can be guilty of this. In spite of telling Harley multiple times that she needs to cut ties with Joker given how bad he treats her, Ivy can be so devoted to her cause of eco-terrorism (read: kill all humans and let plant life flourish) that she neglects her own relationships — Harley in particular.
  • Marvel Universe:
    • Civil War (2006): Part of the reason the disagreement over the Super Human Registration Act (SHRA) eventually erupts into the eponymous Civil War is that both Captain America and Iron Man are steadfastly certain they're in the right. However, while Iron Man is backed by the full might of the U.S. Government and S.H.I.E.L.D., Cap fights on with his small group of plucky rebels, exemplified by his (in)famous "no, you move" speech. In a related What If?, Uatu the Watcher shows that had either of them been willing to back down just a bit to talk, they'd have found common ground and worked together to create the best possible outcome.
    • Civil War II repeats the same situation, only that this time the contenders are Captain Marvel and Iron Man. Determination to see their side in the argument about exploiting a young man's precognitive powers to do Pre Crime Arrests as right (and quite a lot of grief over losing a common friend in the recently-murdered War Machine and Captain America, as a HYDRA mole, manipulating them both) leads these two to split the superhero community in twain and climaxes with them having an all-out brawl in the middle of Washington, D.C. that ends with Carol Danvers killing Tony Stark (or rather "mostly"-but-not-permanently killing Stark through the power of Stark's science).
  • In the comic book adaptation of Mega Man, Dr. Albert Wily is single-mindedly obsessed with proving himself the greatest roboticist who ever lived, stealing his old friend Dr. Thomas Light's prized Robot Masters and reprogramming them to terrorize the populace. Despite Wily's crimes (which he insists he did while being Brainwashed and Crazy by a third party), Light still believes there's goodness in Wily and tries to help him turn over a new leaf. Although Wily very briefly hesitates and considers undergoing a true Heel–Face Turn, his obsession is ultimately too much for him to ignore and he betrays Light, stealing Gamma, designed to be the ultimate peacekeeping robot, and turning it against Light and the world… and after being stopped by Mega Man, it nearly has him left for dead. By the events of the Mega Man X era, he had developed a virus that would drive Reploids— robots patterned after Light's Magnum Opus— violent and insane, as well as an equally powerful robot in Zero, nearly dooming all life on Earth in the ensuing Maverick Wars. All this because of his dogged determination to prove himself and his pathological need for recognition.
  • Nova: In Nova (2007), after the events of Annihilation, Richard Rider develops this mindset. He becomes determined to answer every call for help there is, often pushing himself to his limits and beyond. After his rebirth after Civil War II, this gets worse, and Richard's insistence on saving everyone starts having a severe impact on his mental health, to the extent he has to be made to go into therapy.
  • Spider-Man: Peter Parker famously became a hero after a criminal he couldn't be bothered to catch ended up killing his beloved uncle Ben Parker. Wracked with guilt, Peter embraced Ben's belief that great power also meant great responsibility, and dedicated himself to only his powers for protecting others. Unfortunately, as time went on, this eventually blossomed into a near-obsession, damaging his relationship with his aunt, his friends, and his love interests, as Peter's refusal to either lessen his time spent as Spider-Man or tell anyone about his Secret Identity unless given absolutely no other option, made him look like an aloof jerk who either showed up late to everything or just plain didn't show at all. It also led to him dropping out of college because, despite his genius, he couldn't put in the time and work needed while also putting as much effort into Spider-Man as possible. Several stories set in the future, such as Earth X or Spider-Man: Life Story show how badly his determination affected his life.

    Fan Works 
  • Abraxas (Hrodvitnon):
    • Beyond unwittingly and indirectly pulling a Create Your Own Hero by having San's severed head transform Vivienne into a half-Ghidorah Titan, Ghidorah remains fixated throughout the story on getting the Vivienne-San hybrid back so it can complete its cruel and malignant plans for it. This leads to Ghidorah's detriment in a few ways: San and Vivienne alert Monarch to Ghidorah's presence, and San and Vivienne themselves contribute heavily to the Final Battle against Keizer Ghidorah. Had Ghidorah not tried to get Vivienne back as soon as it did after San transformed her; then Ghidorah could have remained hidden from Godzilla, Mothra, the other Earthborn Titans, and humanity long enough to regain its full power before revealing itself.
    • MaNi/Elder Brother, due to a combination of Assimilation Backfire and being without Ghidorah's middle head to act as his Restraining Bolt, will seize any chance to viciously scrap with Monster X (Viv and San) with severe short-sightedness. Him seeking a fight against a strengthened Monster X without seriously thinking about what kind of situation he's walking into or about the fact he might actually die in the process enables one of the heroes to kill him.
  • Androgyninja's A Drop of Poison:
    • Naruto's Determinator nature works against him throughout the Chuunin Exams. His insistence on standing their ground and fighting regardless of their opponent's power nearly gets the whole team killed, he refuses to let Sakura gracefully bow out because HE doesn't want her to quit, and ends up losing his match via a Mexican Standoff due to his opponent being just as unwilling to back down. While still an All-Loving Hero, his stubborn belief that nobody should EVER give up for any reason proves to be a major blind spot that hampers his empathetic abilities.
    • Sasuke is an Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy focused on his own personal glory. During an attempted invasion, he ignores the enemies actively trying to kill everyone they can in favor of chasing after some foreign shinobi who opted out of participating, purely because he wants to fight THEM in particular.
    • Also applies to Sakura herself: her determination to prove herself as a capable ninja despite coming from a civilian background puts several targets on her back, as she earns the ire of those who dislike her challenging the status quo and the attention of those who would gladly twist her skills to their own ends. On a smaller scale, her decision to fight in the final stages of the Chuunin Exam result in injuries that hamper her efforts to save others during the invasion.
  • Cain: Bakugou can be stubborn at the best of times. Here, however, his determination to ensure that Midoriya doesn't get to become a hero — or indeed, to enjoy any happiness in his life whatsoever — results in Bakugou unwittingly sabotaging his own prospects, as he's so laser-focused on stopping Midoriya at any cost that he fails to consider any of the possible side-effects of his scheming.
  • Catarina Claes MUST DIE!: Henrietta is extremely determined to ensure that Catarina suffers one of the terrible fates inflicted upon her in the Fortune Lover game... despite all evidence that this Catarina is a genuinely Nice Girl. Her stubborn insistence on rendering her idea of "justice" proves to be one of Henrietta's Fatal Flaws.
  • For His Own Sake: After Keitaro breaks up with Naru, Mutsumi becomes intent on helping them get back together... despite the fact that neither one actually wants that. Her Unwanted Assistance increasingly isolates her from everyone around her, as they're irritated by her refusal to accept the reality of the situation. By the time she finally comes to her senses, neither wants anything to do with her and Mutsumi spends the rest of her life alone as a result.
  • Infinity Train: Blossoming Trail: At first, it seems that the big problem is Goh's determination to capture Mew causing him to neglect his friendship with Chloe. But as the story continues, it becomes very clear that Chloe's determination to hold onto her anger and initial assumptions is just as much of a problem, if not more so.
  • Jaune Arc, Lord of Hunger: Yang Xiao Long. During the alternate version of the Breach, she still insists on fighting the emerging Grimm even when it becomes clear that she's too exhausted to fight.
  • The Karma of Lies: Adrien starts out firmly convinced that he's the beneficiary of Protagonist-Centered Morality, repeatedly insisting that he doesn't have to lift a finger or do anything at all in order to secure his happy ending — as far as he's concerned, the universe owes it to him just as a matter of course. When his Karma Houdini Warranty runs out, however, Adrien shows that he is willing to dig in his heels and fight... purely for his own benefit. Problem is that everything he does winds up making matters worse... but he refuses to recognize the flaws in his approach or his reasoning, continuing to try and force the world to work the way he wants it to.
  • The Many Quirks of Phantom Thievery: In the Prequel The Many Quirks of Investigation Teamery, Yu's determination to save his cousin Nanako from the TV world goes straight into this. His behavior — which has been improving ever since he moved to Inaba town — takes a very sharp turn for the worse, becoming obsessive, and dismissive of his teammates' concerns and his own physical needs as well as theirs, he becomes incapable of making sound judgments of any kind and even forgoes his moral code. He asks Yusuke rather early on in the arc to take leadership of the team because he knows he's unstable and to stop him if he goes too far, but as time goes on, he lashes out at everyone, including Yusuke when he proceeds to do just that.
  • The Negotiationsverse: After Equestria has been fully defeated in the Conversion War and Celestia has been rendered comatose, Twilight surrenders to the humans to spare Equestria certain destruction and make peace between humanity and the ponies. Applejack and Rainbow Dash, after having lost so much in the war, view her decision to surrender as "the coward's way out" and turn their backs on her for it, as they hate humans too much to ever want to make peace with them. They join a terrorist cell called the Equestrian Freedom Fighters, which aims to bring back the "old Equestria", despite being a tiny minority that still wants war among the rest of the ponies who want peace. Despite their efforts, they accomplish nothing except murdering numerous innocent civilians and destroying several buildings before they are gunned down, going down in history as villains and traitors. In fact, in every alternate timeline of the Negotiationsverse, Applejack and Rainbow Dash are the only members of the Mane Six who never accept Equestria's loss in the Conversion War no matter what happens, and as a result, never get anything close to a happy ending for it.
    • Celestia herself also counts. She still kept the war going despite losing virtually everything she loved, including her family members (with Luna and Shining Armor dying in battle while Cadence and Flurry Heart were killed in a nuclear strike on the Crystal Empire), and Equestria continuously losing one battle after another, with even her war council trying to launch a Military Coup to subdue her and surrender to humanity. When she finally woke up from her coma and found out about Twilight's surrender, she went on a tirade decrying Twilight's refusal to lead Equestria into a Last Stand, preferring to see her subjects all be wiped out than coexist with the humans.
  • In The Night Unfurls, Shamuhaza's persistence in exploiting the Eldritch Truth to create a myriad of mutated Elite Mooks nearly causes an Apocalypse How, jeopardises the people on the same side as he is, drives himself insane, makes himself easier for the heroes to track down, and ultimately hastens his own demise.
  • In Pursuit of a Single Ideal: All Shirou wants to do is get rid of all the Class Cards because the spirits inside them are extremely dangerous and could kill someone the same way they almost killed him. It's already very bad that Shirou's determination is driven by his trauma, but then he finds out his little sister is involved, and suddenly he's literally begging to be used as a meat shield just so nobody else has to get hurt.
  • Shadows over Meridian: Vera Bexley is so dead-set on killing Metalbeak to avenge her grandfather's death by any means that she resorts to defying Queen Elyon's direct orders by deceiving her friends into deserting the army along with her, and continuously endangers their lives by stubbornly pushing them onward before she throws them under the bus when they refuse to continue her mad quest anymore, all the while blaming them for being too soft. Not even imprisonment, a threat of losing her soul by a Leech Khan eating a part of her shadow, or her body literally pushed to its limits can get her to accept defeat or reconsider her strong opinions. In the end, all she achieves with her ruthlessness is herself and her fellow noble heirs captured as political hostages, her friendship with them ruined by her actions, and her psyche badly damaged and arm rendered unusable due to her losing a part of her shadow after she angers Jade one too many times.
  • Some Things Never Change: What Squidward realizes his past feud with Squilliam ultimately amounted to. His determination to fight a battle that was badly rigged against him due to Squilliam's money, fame, and talent far eclipsing his own ultimately ended up being more poisonous to him than it did to Squilliam. His love for art and music was turned toxic because of his need and desire for fame to one-up Squilliam and prove to himself that he was worth something, hollowing them out until he could not find any joy in doing them. In addition, any victories he did manage against his former rival end up being pointless in the long term since he was never able to turn any of them into long-term achievements, while his rival has remained consistently successful from his youth. Ultimately, his own ego and pride proved to be even more detrimental for him than it did for his rival, who saw him as little more than a persistent bit of amusement for him.
  • Team 8: Despite Hinata's additional training compared to canon, she's still not able to beat her cousin Neji, but she's determined to try. To the point where she won't stay down despite being badly injured and clearly unable to win, and almost goads him into killing her instead of beating her — which in turn leads Naruto to plan rather violent revenge on Neji. In the aftermath, Kurenai-sensei kindly but firmly tears into her, chastising her for being foolish and selfish, not thinking of her teammates or her own value.
    Kurenai: You fought well. I and the other jonin-sensei were impressed by the gains you have made. Gai claims you have the 'youthful potential of genius', whatever that means. I do, however, find myself questioning your judgement.
  • Turning a New Leaf: Sir Nighteye continues to insist that All Might should have made Mirio his successor, even after Mirio himself made clear he wasn't interested. All he accomplishes by continuing to belabor the point is annoying and alienating Toshinori further.

    Films — Animated 
  • Aladdin and the King of Thieves: Cassim is driven as both the leader of the Forty Thieves and as a great thief. But in giving up so much to find the Hand of Midas, he's too stubborn to admit that he should have backed out years ago. By the time the movie starts, he's lost his wife, abandoned his son, and is continuing on his quest mostly because he feels like he's gone too far to just stop looking now. He finally realizes his folly in the end.
  • Beauty and the Beast: No one's ego is out of control like Gaston! If there's one thing he's determined to do, it's force Belle to marry him because she's the most beautiful girl in town, and to him, that makes her the best and he deserves the best. And he won't take no for an answer. All his determination to force Belle to be his bride gets him is a swift Disney Villain Death when he faces off against The Beast — who earned Belle's love by growing into a better person.
  • Cars: Lighting McQueen has only one goal in life, and that's to win both the Piston Cup and the coveted Dinoco sponsorship he's been wanting. But in his drive to be the fastest racer on the track, he has no real friends, he treats everyone around him in a condescending way, and when he gets lost in Radiator Springs on his way to the final race, he wants nothing more than to get out of there and forget about them. It takes his stay in the town to show him that "there's a lot more to racing than just winning".
  • Coco: An example that goes both ways, Miguel Rivera and his family have built themselves around a toxic loyalty — him to music and his idol Ernesto de la Cruz, and the family matriarch, Abuelita Elena, to the idea of no music (to the point that it's a Berserk Button for her because her grandfather ran away to pursue a music career). Miguel initially decides to run away from home and pursue his dream, putting him in the Land of the Dead and discovering the truth: his new friend and guide Hector is his great-great-grandfather, poisoned and murdered by Ernesto when he tried to go home to his family, and Cruz has been running around scot-free for years as a result, making him realize that he can't abandon the people he cares for to pursue his dreams. The rest of his relatives, both living and deceased, also learn the truth, realizing that their music ban for all these years was causing more harm than good, and almost results in Hector fading from existence, and Miguel becoming trapped in the Land of the Dead for good.
  • Dinosaur: Kron is so determined to get the herd to their homeland, he's willing to let a lot of them, including children, die if they can't keep up. And he's so insisted on doing it his way that he's unwilling to listen Aladar's news of a safer path to the Nesting Grounds as well as the warnings that the path he's taking is impassable.
  • Encanto: The Madrigal family is built around this trope. Though they are blessed with various gifts that allow them to help the community their family built, family matriarch Alma has made it to where they need to use their gifts only for helping the community, convinced that they have to continue to pay back the Blessing that saved the lives of her and her children many years ago. While she means well, she doesn't realize that it's putting so much pressure on everyone to help out when it's either burning them out (like Luisa), making them unhappy (like Isabella), or treating the only normal member of the family like crap (poor Mirabel). Even Bruno, the one family member no one's allowed to talk about, exiled himself out of shame that his visions of the future surrounding his niece would cause more harm than good. Indeed, such shoddy foundations are causing the representation of that gift, the family casita, to start cracking and eventually collapse.
  • Finding Nemo: Marlin is a Parents as People example. He means well in trying to keep his son safe (and given that he lost his wife and his hundreds of other kids to a barracuda attack, he has plenty of justification), but his overprotectiveness is pushing Nemo away and leading the young fish to take risks that get him kidnapped and start off the plot. Part of Marlin's arc is accepting that Nemo is growing up, and he can't protect him forever.
  • The Incredibles:
    • Mr. Incredible has Chronic Hero Syndrome, and can't stop helping people in trouble, even when the government forces all supers underground. In his everyday life, his boss is yelling at him 24/7 for authorizing insurance payments using various loopholes, and in his home life, his marriage to former super Elastigirl is falling apart because he's so obsessed with recapturing the glory days that he's sneaking out and listening to police scanners to moonlight as a vigilante. Such desperation eventually leads him into Syndrome's clutches and puts his family in such great danger that he nearly loses them, making him realize that they are his greatest adventure.
    • Syndrome, the film's main villain, is a prime example of this. As a young Buddy Pine, he was so obsessed with Mr. Incredible that he wanted nothing more than to be the man's sidekick. Though gifted in the ways of inventing, his young and reckless attitude put his idol off and forced him home. The rejection led to him inventing a machine that would kill various supers, then send the final version to the mainland and allow him to swoop in and save the day — all to make the idea of being a super a normalcy, taking away what made it special. It's made him rich beyond his wildest dreams, but he's that obsessed with it that Mirage, his right hand, pulls a Heel–Face Turn when he seemingly kills Bob's family and almost lets her get subject to a Neck Snap.
    • Incredibles 2: This is how Evelyn Deavor sees her brother Winston and his obsession with superheroes. He's trying to make their activities legal again because he's such a fan of them, but she eventually reveals to Elastigirl that she thinks he's holding onto the time that their parents had when they held a similar worship, only for their father's hopes to call for help from them during a break-in instead of going to the safe room led to his death. As far as she's concerned, supers are the problem, and people like Winston rely too much on them, hence why she's going to make sure they're outlawed for good. She's proven wrong when Winston willingly puts his life on the line to rescue the other ambassadors and supers from the ones Evelyn put under her control, subverting the trope.
  • In Jetsons: The Movie, prior to George being assigned to Spacely Sprocket's Orbiting Ore Asteroid, the previous four Vice Presidents ran away the first time they experienced a 'glitch' in the machinery. Having finally gotten his long desired promotion, however, George wasn't going to be driven out so easily and stuck out whatever happened no matter how dangerous it was, eventually coming to the realization that the accidents were caused by somebody sneaking into the plant at night and sabotaging it, which prompts him to stake it out and catch the vandals. However, the saboteurs were a race of furry little aliens that were living in the ore asteroid, with the plant operation threatening their very existence, something that George, in his insistence to keep the plant going no matter what, had become an unknowing party to. What's more, when they realized that George wasn't going to leave like the previous Vice Presidents, the desperate little aliens had no choice but to kidnap him.
  • Lightyear: Buzz Lightyear, the In-Universe fictional hero who inspired the toy, was revealed to have had this problem in his solo movie. He firmly believes in Star Command's mantra to "finish the mission", so much so that when he accidentally strands his entire crew on a Death World, he pushes himself to fix his mistake by traveling in time multiple times so he can get back and undo the damage. All that gets him is having spent years away from his loved ones, while his partner grows older and has a life of her own that Buzz never gets to see for himself. When he winds up far enough in time that he sees what he's missed, and learns that the destructive robot known as Zurg is an alternate future version of him who turned evil because of his desperate attempt to fix things, he realizes that he's been letting his devotion to his mission blind him to what really matters.
  • Monsters University: Ever since he took a field trip to Monsters, Inc., Mike Wazowski wanted nothing more than to become a Scarer. Working hard all his life to get into the prestigious scaring program at the titular college, Mike certainly has the intelligence to be a Scarer, but is faced with pushback because he lacks the traditionally scary physique his fellow monsters have. Everyone, including his rival turned friend Sulley, Dean Hardscrabble, and everyone in Roar Omega Roar all tell him that he doesn't have what it takes, but he's so determined to prove them wrong that he nearly gets trapped in the human world in the process. Only then does he realize they were dead right; he's not scary. Luckily, a little encouragement from Sulley convinces him that he can still apply his talents elsewhere.
  • My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Sunset's Backstage Pass: The cause of the "Groundhog Day" Loop is revealed to be PostCrush, the band that Sunset and Pinkie came to see, who have acquired an Equestrian artifact called the Time Turner that will repeat the day once activated. The band uses it if anything in their music festival set goes wrong, which it consistently does for three weeks' worth of repeated days. When they learn that Sunset Shimmer was caught inside the initial activation radius and is repeating the day alongside them, they remain so determined to getting the perfect performance that they disregard her plight and attempt to make sure she can't disrupt them, no matter how long it takes. Ultimately, Sunset and Pinkie manage to seize and destroy the artifact, and PostCrush comes to the realization that they can't insist on perfection the way they did.
  • Toy Story 4: Woody's most admirable quality is his devotion to his kid, whether it be Andy or Bonnie. But when Bonnie stops playing with him, Woody instead devotes himself to protecting her newest toy, a mishmash of trash named Forky, from throwing himself away. He's right that Bonnie's grown very attached to Forky, but he keeps risking exposing himself and his friends as Living Toys, and they initially refuse to help him because they think he's trying to force himself into the spotlight like the last time. Even when he bumps into his old flame, Bo Peep, and gets her to help try and save Forky when the spork is kidnapped by Gabby-Gabby, Woody's attempts to save the spork cause the mission to go sideways and result in Bo and her group walking out on the cowboy in disgust. Although it is Reconstructed in that Bo does go back to help Woody when she remembers that loyalty is what made him so admirable, Woody comes to the realization that Bonnie has simply outgrown him, and that he's still too attached to Andy to be happy. He then leaves, with his friends' blessing, with Bo to find a new purpose in helping toys get owners.
  • Up: Both Carl Fredrickson and Charles Muntz have this as their Fatal Flaw. Carl was obsessed with taking his house to Paradise Falls to fulfill his and Ellie's dream, while Charles is obsessed with finding a live tropical bird after he was accused of fabricating the skeleton he found in South America. When Carl meets Charles face-to-face, he was excited to meet his hero until he finds out that Charles's obsession with finding the bird has caused him to lose his sanity and turned him into a homicidal, paranoid hermit who is implied to have killed other travelers under the delusion they were after his bird. It goes From Bad to Worse when Charles attempts to kill Carl, Russel (who is a child no less), Kevin (the bird he's after), and Dug (one of his own dogs). Charles represents what would have happened if Carl had not moved on from Ellie's death, and also to tie into the aesop of the film that you may not get to achieve all of your dreams in life, but you can always find new dreams. This was shown by an early shot of the movie where Carl manages to achieve the dream by getting the house to Paradise Falls... and realizing that he has no idea what to do now that he's actually there.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Ad Astra: This seals the fate of Clifford McBride. He is obsessed with finding alien life and spent the entirety of Roy's childhood on a spaceship trying to do so. Years passed and when the crew he was travelling with wanted to turn back, he slaughtered them all and reaffirmed his determination to find alien lifeforms. By the time Roy finds him and intends to fix the ship (which has been malfunctioning and causing deadly waves to harm Earth), Clifford has become a withered, scraggly old man. He admits that he never once thought of Roy or his mother and in the same breath, begs Roy to help him find aliens and not let him fail. Roy tries to console his father by suggesting that he proved humans were all each other had. The two climb out of the ship tied together and make an effort to shimmy back to Roy's, but Clifford botches it at the last second and demands to be unhooked so he can continue his search. Roy complies and Clifford floats off into space, doomed to run out of oxygen and die.
  • Aguirre, the Wrath of God: Aguirre's determination to sail into uncharted Amazonian territory and find the fabled city of El Dorado come hell or high water directly leads to all of the people in his expedition dying and him trying to carry on in the raft full of corpses. His determination is also constantly showcased to be a sign of him becoming increasingly more of a madman.
  • The Batman (2022): As a younger, rawer take on the Dark Knight, this Batman has thrown himself into the fray of crime-fighting to become a symbol of fear, and no criminal in Gotham is safe. But as he learns the hard way, fear can inspire people in all the wrong ways. While investigating a rash of murders committed by The Riddler to expose Carmine Falcone siphoning a charity fund from the late Thomas Wayne meant to help the city's underprivileged, Batman learns that he inspired Edward Nashton to become Riddler, to the point the guy thought he was his partner in the entire thing. Bruce quickly realizes that he needs to be a symbol of hope, not fear, lest he inspires someone else to follow in his footsteps and cause more harm than good.
  • In Death Sentence, Nick Hume's Roaring Rampage of Revenge against the gang that killed his son results in his wife being killed, his other son lucky not to be, and Nick himself either arrested or dead depending on which cut you're watching.
  • Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019):
    • Alan Jonah proves to be one of the Not-So-Well-Intentioned Extremist variety. He is hellbent on seeing the Titans decimate humanity at any cost because he's that pissed off at mankind, and he justifies it with an Eco-Terrorist agenda. He's the one who eggs Emma on to stick to their plan whenever she starts having doubts. And he's so obsessed with seeing the Titans level humanity that when Emma warns him one of the Titans they've unleashed (King Ghidorah) is going to eradicate humanity entirely as well as cause much worse devastation to the biosphere than we ever could, Jonah doesn't care, and he goes out of his way to make sure Emma can't try to stop Ghidorah herself. All that matters to Jonah is Titans killing off as much of humanity as possible (the more the better), and he doesn't seem to care (or in the novelization honestly doesn't realize) that Ghidorah will kill him and his men too.
    • To a lesser extent, Emma Russell herself ends up being this, albeit not without encouragement from Jonah. As an indirect response to her son's Plot-Triggering Death five years ago, she's obsessed with saving humanity and the world's ecology from mankind triggering their own extinction event, even if she has to take the fate of the world into her own hands due to Monarch's shortcomings, and even if she has to cause millions of deaths. She even goes as far as leaving several of her colleagues and friends, as well as her daughter's father to die, while said daughter helplessly watches, so she can pursue her goal. Aside from unwittingly setting loose the aforementioned Ghidorah in her recklessness (thereby putting the world under threat of the exact opposite of what she was aiming for), Emma's aforementioned Determinating when it comes to sacrificing human lives and her directly refuting her daughter's pleas not to slaughter any more people by proxy (although she only refutes this after some needling from Jonah) utterly destroy her relationships with everyone who cared about her: her colleagues, her ex-husband, even her child (the only person whose life she really cared enough about to put ahead of her plan).
  • Home Alone: The Wet Bandits in the first film don't give up. Oh, they do pragmatically back off for a while the first couple times that it looks like the McAllister house isn't as empty as they believed it was, but they still keep coming back to scope the house out because the duo's ringleader Harry is hellbent on robbing the richest house on the block. Once Harry and Marv work out that the house's sole inhabitant is a crafty 8-year-old who's been duping them into believing the house is full, they naturally assume that he's no threat to them present and they plan to rob the house on Christmas Eve. Even when Kevin shoots both bandits with a salt-loaded shotgun and puts homemade mediaeval security traps in place, Marv and Harry still don't stop trying to take the house, with their motives quickly shifting from greed to revenge as they accumulate injuries. Eventually, Marv and Harry are arrested by the police, in a bruised and bloody state from Kevin's traps and from Old Man Marley battering them with his shovel, because they didn't know when to cut their losses and back away.
  • How the Grinch Stole Christmas!: "Every Who down in WhoVille liked Christmas a lot..." a little too much in fact, as they've completely lost sight of its true meaning and presume the holiday to be nothing but gift-giving, decorating, and trying to outdo one another in all manners on that day. Needless to say, The Grinch himself is quick to chew them out for their greed, and his theft of the holiday (with a little prodding from Lou Lou Who, whose daughter Cindy Lou Who was the only one among them who recognized their behavior was out of control and was trying to change things by reintegrating the Grinch into their community) prompts the Whos to realize that he had a point.
  • King Kong (2005): Carl Denham will make his movie, in Skull Island where nobody has ever filmed before, come hell or high water… or being wanted for stealing the film's reels back in New York… or the pile-up of casualties (the novelization makes clear that he has a long history of disastrous expeditions too, made for the same reason as this one). He swears twice that once he finishes the film, he will hand over a percentage to the families of the fallen members of the expedition, but the movie leaves open whether or not he is being sincere (the first time he did it while black-out drunk from seeing one of his friends die and the second time was a near-verbatim quote of the first). When his camera is destroyed, he switches to capturing Kong to try to get something out of this fiasco, leading to the climactic rampage in New York. Lampshaded by a conversation shortly before said rampage:
    Preston: [Denham] was right. About there still being some mystery left in this world... and we can all have a piece of it... [turns to face Driscoll, showing the scar of the facial wound he got on Skull Island] for the price of an admission ticket.
    Jack Driscoll: That's the thing you come to learn about Carl. His unfailing ability to destroy the things he loves.
  • Falling Down: William "D-FENS" Foster's utter determination to see his daughter for her birthday despite a series of obstacles ultimately becomes this by the end, with his Going Postal tendencies causing more indirect harm than good. In fact, he gets called out on his actions just before his Suicide by Cop.
  • The Island at the Top of the World: A Lighter and Softer example (it's a Disney film, after all): Sir Anthony Ross' determination to get to the Lost World where his son disappeared by yesterday leads to a number of minor perils (ordering Captain Brieux to do a Midair Repair of the Hyperion when the airship loses one of its propellers, kidnapping Oomiak when the guy refuses to lead them to the younger Ross's location) and being a Jerkass in general, but it thankfully does not lead to fatal tragedy.
  • John Wick is largely the story of how an Implacable Man is provoked into returning to the criminal underworld to seek revenge for a personal slight (albeit a severe one), and how everything he does as a consequence ultimately just ends up digging him into deeper and deeper trouble.
    • By the time of the fourth film, John's refusal to back down and keep coming terrifies the High Table enough that they take the kid gloves off and unleash their full might on John, with them raining hellfire on anyone who has ever helped John or chooses to help him currently to be made an example of them. Upon seeing the breadth of his enemies' power, John is finally forced to admit this isn't a fight he can win, thus facilitating the film's plot of him needing to obtain the backing of a crime family, along with a crest, to call for a duel for his freedom and finally end things.
    • This also, however, works against the High Table, as John's actions and constant resistance are making him a hero to those that are chafing under the Table's dominance, and by Chapter 4, the Table's war against Wick is just as much for pride and showing they're still in charge than any measure of practicality, with it even said by multiple people that if John manages to win his freedom, it will result in a huge loss of prestige for the Table. The Marquis's needlessly brutal actions during Chapter 4 also don't help their image, as all it does is persuade more and more people to turn against the Table.
  • Kong: Skull Island: Packard's obsession with killing Kong ostensibly to avenge the deaths of his men after Kong stranded the cast on Skull Island consumes him. He rejects rational cautions and chances to get his remaining men to safety without losing more of them to the Skullcrawlers so that he can try and kill Kong before leaving the hostile island, and in the end, everyone leaves him once they see what he's become; even the men who were originally willing to go to hell and back with him lose faith in him because he puts killing Kong ahead of all their lives. Packard dies alone, trying in vain to take Kong down.
  • The Last Dinosaur: Masten Thrust will get that T-Rex even if it's the last thing he’ll ever do. There is no talking him out of it, and when he loses his firearms, he improvises a catapult, grenades and a crossbow that do jack to the beast. The film ends with him deciding to stay behind in the Lost World to carry on the hunt, although it looks like it will become a potential Bolivian Army Ending off-screen.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • This becomes the Fatal Flaw of Iron Man, as part of his Tragic Hero arc in the franchise. Upon being injured by his own weapons and discovering they were being used to hurt innocent people, he becomes The Atoner throughout the entire series, desperate to make up for his mistakes. Unfortunately, this winds up bringing about his downfall little by little; he creates Ultron to try and put a suit of armor around the world, but the android goes rogue and destroys Sokovia. His attempts to make up for that results in a fracturing of the superhero community, which leaves them utterly unprepared for Thanos and his army. When Thanos wipes out half the universe, including his mentee, Spider-Man, Tony is so broken upon coming home that he's content to live a normal life until a chance to fix things through time travel results in him dying to permanently stop Thanos.
    • Captain America: Civil War: A minor plot point in this film reveals one of Tony Stark's motivations for signing the Sokovia Accords is because Pepper Potts left him for refusing to give up being Iron Man when he promised to do so. He implies that, if he's regulated, then he's not as duty-bound to act and can devote more time to her. In the same film, Steve Rogers's determination to not submit to the Accords leads him to convince his friends to leave their lives and their families and become fugitives, all to stop a threat that didn't exist.
    • Doctor Strange (2016): When Doctor Stephen Strange, a brilliant but arrogant neurosurgeon, has his hands injured in a car accident, he becomes so hellbent on getting the use of his hands back that he goes to any length he can to restore them. Spending months doing so winds up torpedoing his relationship with Christine Palmer, who can only watch as he self-destructs trying to restore something he cannot. Even when he finds this "magic cure" by training with the sorcerers of Katmar Taj, he comes to accept that his hands cannot be restored, and finds humility for perhaps the first time in his life.
    • Thor: Loki is first introduced in this film as a Well-Intentioned Extremist who sought to have his brother Thor removed from the throne not out of a desire for power, but because the Odinson's arrogance and Blood Knight tendencies made him ill-suited to rule. But as time goes on, Loki shows that all he really cares about is power, one-upping his brother, and proving he's more than capable of ruling over the galaxy. By the end of it, few tolerate his presence, no one trusts him, and Thor considers him little more than predictable.
    • Thanos's whole motivation. He seeks to gather the Infinity Stones so he can erase half of all life in the universe, having come to the belief this is the only way to solve the problem of overpopulation, and he will sacrifice anything to do it, including those he actually loves, no matter how many people point out his ideology is insane and unproven, never mind that with all six Stones he could just whip up a non-genocidal option. By the end of Avengers: Infinity War, he's succeeded... at the cost of, in his own words, "everything". The following movie even shows Thanos's motivation is less any actual benevolence, and more just proving his way was right. When an alternate Thanos learns people weren't grateful for his deeds, he takes it really poorly.
    • The High Evolutionary in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is obsessed with creating a perfect society, willing to go to any lengths for it. This leads to him ending up so obsessed with claiming Rocket's brain for dissection that he dismisses minor inconveniences like his giant citadel-ship being half torn to shreds and his underlings dead or deserting en masse.
  • The Black Knight from Monty Python and the Holy Grail could be a poster boy for this trope. In his duel with Arthur, he wants to keep fighting after losing one arm ("Tis but a scratch!"), and even after losing his second arm ("Just a flesh wound!"), he keeps coming at Arthur. Arthur ends up cutting off both his legs as well, after which the Knight reluctantly offers to "call it a draw". By this point Arthur just walks off while the Knight keeps yelling at him to come back and fight, having lost all dignity and credibility as an opponent.
  • Ponette: The title character terribly missed her mother after a car crash kills her and fractures Ponette's arm. Being young and naive, she comes to believe in resurrection and that her mother would eventually come back from the dead. However, her constant insistence on such only serves to make her an outcast in the boarding school she attends and it doesn't help that the students there are far from understanding not innocent. Ponette being challenged, argued, and insulted for her continued persistence in believing that her mother would come back also makes her more despondent and detached until she contemplates suicide. Fortunately, she doesn't go through with it with the help of her cousin and eventually accepts her mother's death.
  • Spider-Man 2: Doctor Otto Octavius wanted nothing more than to make a machine capable of providing clean energy to the world, but his ego led him to believe he could channel the raw power of the sun in the palm of his hand without consequence. Sure enough, his machine explodes, the tentacles he used to control it fuse to his spine, and his beloved wife dies. With nothing left to lose, his tentacles take control, driving him to finish what he started, no matter who he hurts or what destruction he causes. Peter has to remind Otto that "Intelligence is a privilege, not a gift", which gives Otto enough motivation to realize what he's doing and give his life to stop the machine. Then Spider-Man: No Way Home plucks him into the MCU right before he makes his Heel–Face Turn, causing him to be obsessed with nothing else but fixing his machine and being frustrated he's stuck in another dimension until that world's Peter repairs his inhibitor chip.
  • Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan:
    • James T. Kirk is Starfleet's best captain, the man who led the ''U.S.S. Enterprise'' on two successful five-year missions, commanded the finest crew the Federation had up to that point, and is hailed as a legend. But he cannot physically bring himself to leave that captain's chair, and is all but lost when he's pushing pencils as an Admiral. And when he's been out of the game for too long? He makes crucial mistakes that lead to Khan successfully ambushing him, believing his experiences make him infallible. It proves to be a harsh lesson that for all his successes, Kirk's devotion to the captaincy makes him even more fallible than he likes to admit.
    • After escaping from exile on Ceti Alpha V, Joachim, Khan's second-in-command, points out how escaping exile is revenge itself and with a fully-stocked starship at their disposal, they can go anywhere and do anything. Khan refuses to listen to this and proceeds with his plan of revenge.
  • In Star Trek: First Contact, Captain Picard is pulled back from the brink of succumbing to this. Spurred by his violative trauma of being assimilated by the Borg, Picard irrationally wants to stand and fight against his old foe that is increasingly implacable in slowly assimilating the Enterprise-E when they are back in time in the mid-21st Century. Obsessed with hurting the Borg and not losing yet another Enterprise, he goes as far as telling his crew to stand their ground against super-strong bionic zombies against which only Worf and Data have proven to be effective in standing ground against (and Data is captured and MIA). He even inflicts some verbal below-the-belt hits against Worf when he calls out the Captain for this irrational course of action. His obsession hits a boiling point when being needled by Lily Sloane (who is not in the command hierarchy and has an outsider's perspective), resulting in him smashing a display cabinet full of models of the current and previous Starfleet ships named Enterprise, and giving a very dark Determinator speech to Lily shortly after Lily compares him to Captain Ahab. Eventually Picard comes to his senses, follows Worf's recommendation to auto-destruct the ship and apologizes to Worf for calling him a coward.

  • Star Wars:
    • Darth Maul, ever since his first defeat at the hands of Obi-Wan Kenobi, was driven by revenge first and foremost, against the Jedi who defeated him and led him to become insane for a decade, and against Palpatine for discarding him as trash after the Battle of Naboo. While his hatred and resolve allow him to be a frequent adversary during the Clone Wars and beyond, Maul achieves nothing, losing his family and becoming astray due to his one-track-minded ambitions costing him his reputation, any genuine allies, and any chance to get back at Palpatine. Ultimately, he finally confronts Kenobi on Tatooine, but his obsession gets him easily cut down.
    • Anakin Skywalker became Darth Vader because Palpatine preyed upon his instinctual desire to protect and save his wife, Padme, after having visions of her death, as well as Palpatine being all too aware of Anakin's impulsiveness and fear of loss. Anakin's obsessive focus on this, alongside his own issues with the Jedi Order, ends up destroying the biggest force of good in the galaxy, causing everybody great anguish, and Anakin inadvertently killing the woman that he loved with all of his heart. As Darth Vader, Anakin took this lesson and the consequences as a way to deal with matters more pragmatically and quickly, though also developed a deep sense of self-loathing and misanthropy.
    • Kylo Ren proved to be no better than his grandfather — the man he ironically admired — in this regard. Despite being incredibly talented in the Force, he became so determined to become as strong as Vader, even to the point he wiped out the entirety of Luke's Jedi Academy (though The Last Jedi revealed Luke almost killed him in his sleep and pushed him over the edge) and willingly fell into the lap of Supreme Leader Snoke to prove himself worthy of wielding the Dark Side. Both Rey and even Snoke find Kylo utterly pathetic, especially when (or in Snoke's case, in spite of) Kylo killing his own father, Han Solo. It's when Kylo stops trying to imitate Vader and be his own man that he finally gets somewhere, but it comes at the expense of him deciding he and Rey should rule the galaxy together, destroying the old ways in the process.
  • Transformers:
    • The various incarnations of Grimlock generally share his single biggest personality trait: his arrogance. This grants him an incredible amount of willpower, which coupled with his tremendous strength and endurance makes him a terror on the battlefield. Unfortunately, this also means he's incredibly pig-headed and will keep pushing on long after he really ought to have reassessed the situation. Among other things:
      • The Transformers (Marvel): Desperate to revive his Dinobots (who had been destroyed by Starscream during the Underbase Saga), Grimlock sought out the "miracle cure" Nucleon. He fought his way past several guardians, ignoring warnings that Nucleon was a poisoned chalice, and used it to not only revive his Dinobots but also the many other Autobot casualties inflicted by Starscream in the same conflict. At first, he smugly thinks that his determination was proven right, but then he discovers his body seizing up at inopportune times and becomes terrified he's made a terrible mistake. Much later when he succeeds Optimus Prime as Autobot leader, he blindly leads the Autobots into an ambush so complete that when a revived Optimus Prime arrives on the battlefield, there are only five Autobots left out of the entire army.
      • IDW Publishing: IDW's Grimlock has a grudge against Shockwave, going so far as to lie to his team that Optimus Prime sanctioned their pursuit of the cyclopean Decepticon. When they corner him on prehistoric Earth, Shockwave defeats them but Grimlock remotely commands their ship to bombard the battlefield from above, burying all of them. Upon being revived in the modern era, the other Dinobots are furious that Grimlock was happy to get all of them killed for the sake of his vendetta. Notably, after their falling out the Dinobots are henceforth led by Slug, and Grimlock never learns that the entire team dies fighting against Unicron during the Grand Finale.
      • Transformers: Fall of Cybertron: This version of Grimlock takes his team to investigate unusual power readings, hoping to discover enough energy to convince Optimus Prime to abandon his plans to flee Cybertron and instead fight to the end. He winds up getting his entire team captured by Shockwave, who modifies them into their dinosaur modes. Worse, not only does his stubbornness get his teammate Sludge killed, he never bothered to tell anyone they were headed out and so there was a gaping hole in the Autobot security perimeter that the Decepticons used to launch a surprise attack. If Optimus Prime hadn't found Metroplex to turn the tide, Grimlock would've returned to find the Autobot army wiped out due to his recklessness.
    • Thunderwing is an awesomely powerful, intelligent, and surprisingly forgiving Decepticon, making him a shoo-in for leadership positions. However, the various incarnations of Thunderwing share a single-minded determination that allows them incredible focus... to the detriment of almost everything else. G1 Thunderwing allowed his obsession for the Matrix to control him to the point he became abusive towards his loyal soldiers, and only realised how far he'd fallen when he shot his own right-hand man Spinister for trying to warn him the Matrix was trying to possess him... only to be possessed anyway. His IDW counterpart desperately sought a way to help Cybertronians survive the coming environmental collapse he foresaw befalling Cybertron, but his grim determination to develop Pretender technology resulted in him becoming The Juggernaut and bringing about the very doom he was trying to prevent.
    • Some versions of Optimus Prime are sometimes accused of this In-Universe, being unwilling to entertain ideas of surrender or ceasefire with the Decepticons so long as Megatron functions. In the War For Cybertron Netflix series, several Autobots bitterly complain to his face that his determination to stop Megatron has basically killed their entire planet and doomed their race to extinction (and it's shown that the Decepticons have resorted to slaughtering their own followers to gain enough energy to keep fighting). Prime does believe this in that particular series, but most of them usually acknowledge that they can't stop fighting because Megatron won't; as long as he still desires to take over the universe, someone has to stand in his way. Nevertheless, it does weigh heavily on his conscious, and Prime privately acknowledges that he may be prolonging this war by doing so.
    • Of course, Megatron is often the same, utterly refusing to yield any ground so long as Optimus still functions. A few continuities have depicted him as having going insane as his attempts at creating genuine reform in Cybertronian society have turned him into a war monger hell bent on proving that "Peace Through Tyranny" is the only way he intends to let his people live. This mostly prolongs the war between him and the Autobots, some of his troops do start questioning his motives and only remain loyal out of fear he'd kill them, and a few stories still have seen him reduce Cybertron to ruin rather than accept defeat.
    • And lest we forget Starscream himself, the poster boy for Chronic Backstabbing Disorder. He has a pretty posh position in the Decepticon hierarchy as second in command and Commander of the Seekers, not to mention he's a very gifted scientist. And yet he's never satisfied with it, always trying in nearly every continuity to stab Megatron in the back and seize power for himself because he thinks he could be a better ruler, even if some stories do add in the extra wrinkle that he also wants Megatron gone because of him constantly abusing the Seeker. Nevermind that Megatron is far more powerful than him and never lets his guard down around Starscream, but his constant treachery makes him highly disliked by every Decepticon around, and no Autobot would ever trust him. Yet he keeps trying, which either gets him killed (sometimes repeatedly to comedic effect), booted out of the ranks, or just plain despised by everyone and completely unsatisfied with his station if he somehow does get what he wants.

  • A sprightly old man is being interviewed by a newspaper on the occasion of his 110th birthday and asked what the most remarkable event he ever witnessed was. After some searching of his memory, the old man starts talking:
    Old Man: Ah yes, there was the rivalry between John Williamson and William Johnson. Never saw a bigger pair of rivals in my life; anything the one did, the other had to do better. Bigger cars, better house, more children, you name it, the other was working on it. One day they got in in their heads- this was in 1933, a Tarzan film had just come out- that they could do the Tarzan yell louder and longer. Their wives vetoed it of course, what with the babies sleeping, so to avoid disturbing anyone they decided they'd do it underwater at the creek, with the first to come out being the loser!
    Reporter: And who won?
    Old Man: We don't know, neither one's come up yet.

  • A Dearth of Choice: Having learned about the consequences of allowing dungeons to grow unchecked, Tam is unwilling to let it happen again, despite the dungeon repeatedly asking for a truce and peace. When his team announces their intention to place magical restraints on the Dungeon core, it stops matching its challenges to their skill level, and the first-floor boss slaughters them, sparing only the one who had doubts and tried to persuade the others to reconsider.
    Anya was tugging on his sleeve. "We should really listen, Tam!"
    But Tam, despite his otherwise friendly and optimistic demeanor, was stubborn to the bone.
  • Animal Farm: Boxer the horse is very hardworking, to the point where he adopts "I will work harder" as his personal mantra. Unfortunately, he ends up seriously injured after overworking himself much too hard, and Napoleon sends him to the knacker under the guise of sending him to the vet.
  • Destroyermen: Adar, perhaps more than most Lemurians, is obsessed with defeating the Grik (in order to save his own people), and his single-minded focus on hurting them often blinds him to the more strategic objectives the Grand Alliance is trying to achieve throughout the war. He's fairly self-aware about this, admitting that he possesses "perhaps too much zeal for our cause."
    • In "Crusade", after the king of Aryaal orchestrates a sneak attack on U.S.S. Walker that kills one crewman and nearly destroys the ship, Captain Reddy plans to seize the city in response. Adar protests that they need to conserve their forces for a planned offensive against Singapore, and accuses Reddy of pursuing Revenge Before Reason. Reddy has to explain to him that leaving a hostile city near their supply lines is tactically unsound and that unless the Lemurians can adhere to the concept of collective security, the Alliance will likely fall apart. Adar concedes the point and apologizes.
    • In "Deadly Shores", the Alliance is planning a raid on Madagascar, the heart of the Grik empire, with the goal of essentially showing up, smashing their defenses, and then retreating. Problem is, Madagascar is the Lemurians' ancestral homeland, and Adar — now the Chairman of the Alliance — really wants to re-take it rather than simply raid it as planned, and keeps dropping hints that he wants his commanders to keep an eye out for opportunities to expand the scope of the attack. When the battle is joined, General Safir Maraan does indeed make a snap decision to take the island, and Adar backs her up. With the Alliance now committed to a major offensive they hadn't planned for, the campaign is an absolute bloodbath on both sides, and while the Alliance does ultimately succeed, Captain Reddy wastes no time in declaring it a Pyrrhic Victory and lays the blame on Adar for not making his intentions clear.
  • Fire & Blood: Aegon the Usurper's desire to be king over his older half-sister Rhaenyra, over their father's choice, causes the first civil war in Westeros history in a hundred years, the death of most of his family, and the eradication of the dragons. Even when Rhaenyra's supporters, who now outnumber his forces and are in no mood to take prisoners anymore, are bearing down on his position and his court are telling him to just pack it in, he still holds onto the hope he can keep his crown. Then he, at his mother's suggestion, decides to start cutting up Rhaenyra's son Aegon into tiny pieces as an example, at which point his court throw up their hands and kill him just to end the war.
  • Les Misérables: Inspector Javert is described as very devoted to locking up Jean Valjean across decades but has a breakdown when he saves his life from insurgents wanting to execute him. Shocked by such a subversion of his moral code, of owing his life to a fugitive convict, he kills himself.
  • The Magicians:
    • The Magician King: Unlike her fellow protagonist Quentin Coldwater, Julia Wicker is distinguished by her ambition and scholarly diligence. So, once she realizes that she failed the Brakebills entrance exam and missed out on her only chance to learn magic, she is determined to find another way at any cost. Among other things, she abandons all her college offers, ruins her relationship with her family, obsessively studies the few spells illicitly shared over the internet, suffers soul-crushing fits of depression over every failure, and even goes so far as to sexually offer herself to Quentin in the hopes of being given a second shot at the entrance exam. After a brief recovery in which Julia seemingly manages to get her life back on track, she stumbles into the secret community of hedge-witches and begins studying magic again, but this time on an extremely illegal footing that results in a massive Trauma Conga Line. By the time Julia meets up with Quentin again, she's gained more skill in magic than any other hedge-witch in the system and is even more powerful than Quentin... but the uphill journey has left her an emotionally-deadened shell of her former self. Worse still, she and the other characters are now stuck dealing with the hornet's nest that's been stirred up by the experiments performed by Julia and her fellow hedge-witches. Julia is eventually able to achieve a happy ending by finally relinquishing control and accepting the new self that has emerged as a result of her actions, but it's made abundantly clear that Julia can never regain who she once was.
    • The Magician's Land: Martin Chatwin's self-imposed mission to return to Fillory is played not as a noble heroic quest, but as a tragic, desperate journey driven by trauma caused by Martin's rape at the hands of Christopher Plover. In his efforts to find a way back to the one place where he was truly happy, Martin begins going down a dark path as he becomes more and more determined to reach Fillory: by the end of it, he's committed himself to learning the mind-pummelling art of magic, willingly abandoned his family, and sold his soul to Umber. In the end, Martin gets what he wants, but ends up ruining the lives of his siblings, plunges Fillory into a dark age, and loses so much innocence that he no longer cares that Fillory is no longer the world he once loved. By the end of his story, he's become the Beast, a Humanoid Abomination preying on innocents for his own sick amusement.
  • The Mirror Crack'd from Side to Side: Heather Badcock was a fan of the American movie star Martina Gregg, and even though she was supposed to be in quarantine due to suffering from measles, slipped out and went to meet her anyway. Years later, they meet again, and Heather brags about her level of devotion to Martina. Heather is the first person to die, as Martina finally knows who'd given her the measles that resulted in Martina's unborn child being severely deformed. Two other people die, but only because they tried to blackmail the murderer.
  • Moby-Dick: Captain Ahab set sail with a capable whaling crew, and could have stuck to harvesting regular whales. But Ahab is so fixated on hunting the great white whale that he imperils his ship and crew. Ahab perishes in this effort, plus it sinks his ship, the Pequod, leaving Ishmael as the Sole Survivor.
  • In Only the Dead Are Cold-Blooded, there's a character who avoids drinking the drugged tap water in order to keep his head clear. When he loses access to other beverages, he overcomes thirst by sheer willpower—which leaves him so dehydrated that his cognition is impaired and his eyes dry out.
  • The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant: At the end of the second chronicles, Lord Foul's obsession over defeating Covenant results in him expending his energy trying the same failing attack over and over until he drains himself so much that it takes millennia for him to recover. Covenant admits to his friends that had Foul not been so obsessed, he could readily have dismissed him (as is done by Findal, moments later) but the more Foul attempted to use Covenant's freely surrendered power against him, the less possible it became.
  • Vorkosigan Saga:
    • Memory zig-zags this by having Miles finally get tripped up by his own Determinator tendencies. His relentless drive to succeed has made him a hugely successful covert asset, but when past medical issues catch up with him and cause a near-disaster on a rescue mission, his instinct to keep moving forward now and fix any resulting problems later drives him to falsify his report to his commanding officer, which gets him cashiered out of ImpSec and leaves him bordering-on-suicidal for several days. That said, once he works out how he can carry on as Lord Vorkosigan, without the psychological crutch of his cover identity as Admiral Naismith, he quickly resumes being the same old relentless Miles - just with slightly different goals.
    • Miles faces much the same issue from a slightly different angle in A Civil Campaign when the exact same type of behaviour (lie now, fix it later) seemingly torpedoes his burgeoning romance with Ekaterin. Once again, he cannot entirely let go of his precious forward momentum, but he does get a little wiser about how he applies it. And drives himself, through multiple drafts, to write an apology letter that is "the best damned abject anyone had ever seen".
  • Gary Karkofsky in The Supervillainy Saga suffers from the fact that he refuses to give up on his quest to restore his dead wife's soul to her vampire body. It leads to a year of depression and numerous bad choices. Also, making a Deal with the Devil that turns out to put another woman's soul in her body. It gets to the point even Death, herself, thinks he needs to let go.
  • When the Storm Came: Bob Lewis is first to step outside after the storm first clears up, telling the others that it's safe to come out only to be Instantly Proven Wrong as the sky darkens again. He doesn't heed the others' warnings to come back inside, and dies from a lightning strike.
    There was a loud rumble. We all yelled at Bob to run back indoors, but he wouldn't. He always was a stubborn one. I think he didn't want to let the storm intimidate him.

    Well, it didn't intimidate him. It killed him.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Arrowverse:
    • Arrow: Like with the Batman example in the comics section, Earth-1's Oliver Queen can fall into this, Depending on the Writer. Starling City (later Star City) is clearly festering with enough crime that Oliver needs to resort to more morally unsound tactics to get the job done, but as the show goes on, it demonstrates that this mindset is very problematic. Oliver's allies, even his closest ones, are occasionally driven away by his obsessions, his romantic interests have dumped him, and even a few of his villains think he goes too far, especially when his actions either make the problems worse or give rise to new villains determined to make him pay (e.g. Prometheus). He gets better, slowly.
    • The Flash (2014): Oh, sweet lord, Eobard Thawne. For 8 seasons, Thawne has sought nothing but the Flash's total suffering by taking everything that was important to him and destroying it. Why? Because the hero he once idolized saved someone just as he was about to unveil himself. After that, he mucked through time, killed Barry's mother, caused the Particle Accelerator failure just so he can create The Flash, used him, survived multiple deaths (including being wiped from existence several times over), teamed up with actual Nazis, and once used his powers to alter reality to his whim where he's The Flash just so he can spit in Barry's face. All it's earned him is nothing but contempt from everyone, and his foe sees him as nothing but a petty man who could never learn what really matters in life.
  • Breaking Bad: Hank's search for the mysterious drug kingpin known as Heisenberg gradually strains his familial and work relationships as he brushes off other concerns in his dogged quest to uncover the dealer of the blue meth, turning down job promotions and repeatedly putting his and others' lives at risk. It eventually gets to the point that when he discovers Heisenberg is his brother-in-law, Walt, and becomes more determined than ever to put him behind bars despite the fact that Walt's advancing cancer makes it likely he'll never live to see the inside of a jail cell, Hank's closeness to Walt will mean that actually catching Walt will be the end of his own law enforcement career (since he has close ties to one of the biggest criminals in the American Southwest), and it will most likely leave his sister-in-law and niblings both homeless and bankrupt as the FBI will confiscate all their possessions, properties, and money. It eventually ends up being the death of him and his partner Gomez, irreparably tearing the family apart, and still fails to put Walt behind bars, meaning his mission ultimately made things worse for everyone involved.
  • In the final season of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Jake becomes obsessed with making a case against a man he believes is responsible for a bombing. He keeps investigating not only after the FBI takes over the case, but even after they obtain both physical evidence and a confession from another man, while Jake has no evidence against his own suspect other than that he was in the area at the time and his statement didn't quite add up. Jake's harassment ends up costing the innocent man his job. Jake eventually realizes he's been behaving unacceptably, admits to abusing his power, and is suspended for five months.
  • Chernobyl: Chief Engineer Anatoly Dyatlov is so determined to complete an emergency test on reactor #4, to get the safety report on his boss's desk on time, that he bullies his inexperienced night crew to conduct the test, despite their objections that it's unwise and that they're not trained in powered-up reactor management. Heedless, Dyatlov orders, "Raise the power. Seven hundred megawatts," a typical daytime level. This command triggers a series of events that necessitate an emergency shutdown, and one man presses the AZ-5 "kill" switch. At any other time, this would've been an ideal action; that evening, the AZ-5 switch acted like a detonator. Despite seeing through a window chunks of graphite on the ground, Dyatlov denies the core is exposed (it is, and burning fiercely), and insists that the radiation levels are no more than 3.6 roentgen (an office dosimeter's maximum). Dyatlov would ultimately be convicted of gross negligence and sentenced to Soviet prison.
  • Doctor Who:
    • In "Terror of the Vervoids", a team of researchers does everything they can to ensure the success of an experimental procedure for producing the titular Vervoids, plant-based humanoids that they hope to use as manual laborers on Earth. However, the illegality of the experiment and the dubious methods used to get around the law result in them compromising the safety of not only each other (with one assistant being horribly mutated in a lab accident), but also the other passengers on the Hyperion III, especially when the Vervoids become sentient enough to plot the extinction of all animal life on Earth.
    • "The Waters of Mars" picks apart the Doctor's relentless drive to save as many people as he can by showing what happens when that desire runs into conflict with laws of time that prevent altering fixed points — in this case, the death of an entire scientist colony when their base on Mars mysteriously explodes. Without a companion to provide a Morality Chain, the Doctor, having grown tired of the constant death and destruction he's seen throughout his life, declares himself the "Time Lord Victorious" and gets the crew off the base and back onto Earth. However, all of them are terrified by him at the end, and their leader shoots herself out of disgust towards the Doctor, ensuring that the aftermath of the explosion will happen as time dictates, just under modified circumstances. The Doctor immediately has an immense My God, What Have I Done? moment and flees in both fear and anguish.
  • The Expanse: In humanity's future, three factions have emerged for galactic dominance — Earth, Mars, and The Belt — all of whom believe it is their right to rule over the galaxy. All three sides hate each other's guts, and all three sides will do anything to one-up the other, expecting total loyalty to their causes. But as the series goes on, that devotion to winning this war of galactic powers means no one wins in the end.
    • On the Earth Side, there's Chrisjen Avasarala, a Cool Old Lady who's the Only Sane Man amongst her colleagues, and actually wants peace for the good of Earth, Mars, and the Belt. This includes having a covert network of spies and saboteurs doing her bidding, biding her time to expose her political foes as instigators of war, and being willing to use the deaths of slain UN soldiers, and even that of her son's passing from long ago, as a springboard to throw her political opponent under the bus. All that gets her is a lost election, an angry husband, and getting Reassigned to Antarctica, where she's forced to watch Earth get bombarded with asteroids thrown by the Free Navy, killing millions, her husband included).
    • On the Mars Side, soldiers like Bobbie Draper are loyal to the cause of a Mars terraformed to sustain life. But the government has all but given up on that, and are willing to extend their dominance elsewhere, even if that means killing their own soldiers and engineering bioweapons made from alien substances so they can get ahead of Earth and the Belt — even funding Marco Inaros and his Free Navy just to distract from what they're doing. Bobbie learns the hard way that, for all her years of service, Mars does not give a damn about her when she doesn't fall in line, as Season 4 discharges her from service and leaves her to fend for herself.
    • As for the Belt, few will deny that their treatment by Earth and Mars is horrible, and the conditions they expose themselves to just to scrape by are horrendous. However, when they rebel to prove they can and will not be pushed around, it demonstrates that they're no better than the foes they're facing. Case in point is Marco Inaros and his Free Navy, which isn't built on the idea of liberating the Belt, but liberating it so Marco can be propped up on a pedestal and worshiped as a god. Those who step out of line and oppose him face swift and summary execution, and those who stay loyal, like his son Philip, are unable to leave without putting themselves in his crosshairs.
  • Fargo: A running theme in the series involves characters using every ounce of their cunning and doing unexpected things to stay ahead of the law after they commit a crime. Inevitably, it results in unfettered disaster for almost everyone around them:
    • Season One: Lester Nygaard becomes a full-on master of Xanatos Speed Chess as he tries to escape the blame for his wife's murder. He quickly devises a scheme to frame his own brother for the crime, and his actions result in several more deaths at the hands of hitman Lorne Malvo.
    • Season Two: Peggy Blumquist accidentally hits Rye Gerhardt, a member of the vicious Gerhardt crime family, with her car and her husband Ed finishes him off when Rye attacks them. The rest of the season has them covering up the death and sticking to their story no matter what, which inadvertently leads to a full-scale gang war between the Gerhardts and the Kansas City Syndicate.
    • Season Three: Nikki Swango is bound and determined to obtain a rare, valuable postage stamp she feels is owed to her boyfriend Ray, held by his twin brother Emmit. This leads her to keep goading Ray into confrontations with Emmit even though both would rather mend fences, ultimately leading to Ray's accidental death and Nikki being targeted by the criminal overlord V.M. Varga, who's controlling Emmit's business. Even after battling Varga and nearly killing him, Nikki is too blinded by her hate for Emmit and ends up killed by a highway cop while trying to execute him.
    • Season Four: Loy Cannon plans to become the biggest crime kingpin of the Midwest, and uses every trick in his arsenal to outfox the ruling Fadda family. In the end, however, his allies believe he takes business too personally and cut him out of his own victory, forming the Kansas Syndicate in the process.
  • Friends: Monica's season three boyfriend Pete Becker never backs down from a challenge. This trait was useful when he was building his software company, but was a problem when he decided to become a UFC fighter. He's completely out of his league against the other fighters (he's shown going up against Tank Abbot, an early UFC competitor infamous for his Megaton Punch) and is severely injured multiple times, to the point that he ends up in a full-body cast. Monica pleads with him to stop, but he refuses to listen to reason. She eventually ends their relationship because she can't stand watching him get hurt.
  • Galadriel in The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power is so obsessed on fulfilling her quest of revenge that she only ends up putting a lot of people in danger and awakening the very evil she swore to destroy. She ignores when her own company of Elves begs her to return home to safety and it takes them mutinying against her for Galadriel to listen. She also ignores Gil-galad's and Elrond advice to return to Valinor and seek personal healing which becomes a series of Disaster Dominoes ending with Sauron seeking power again. Galadriel is aware this is her Fatal Flaw, but after centuries of getting consumed by her quest, it's hard to stop suddenly and be at peace.
  • Malcolm in the Middle: Malcolm and his family have an incredibly stubborn streak that has allowed them to triumph even in the face of great adversity; however, there have been several examples where their determination has led to some major defeats instead.
    • In "Forwards Backwards," Malcolm stealing Reese's last blueberry eventually led to them being brought from the hospital and Malcolm being grounded on his birthday, and his expensive birthday present being given to Dewey, all because Malcolm and Reese had to prove they were better than the other one.
    • In "Hal's Christmas Gift," Lois wanting to show that she would not be beaten by a woman who scratched her car at the mall parking lot, led to them having an impromptu demolition derby, and all the Christmas gift money had to be spent on repairs.
    • In "Standee", after the garbage man didn't take away the cat tree Hal built (Lois ordered him to throw it away because she doesn't want pets in the house because they can't afford it) because it was a bulky item, Hal retaliates by emptying a garbage bag on the garbage man's lawn, and the garbage man retaliates by emptying his garbage truck's load on their lawn, and after failing to do the same with Reese's help, Hal tries sucking up to the garbage man by being his personal butler.
  • Red Dwarf: Lowly Second Technician Arnold Rimmer is steadfastly determined to rise higher and higher through the Space Corps until he becomes captain of his own ship, to the point that he has failed the same Officer's exam over 17 times. The novels point out, however, that if he didn't have this mindset, he would have figured out long ago that he is simply not cut out for a career in the Space Corps, and would have had a better and happier life in another career field, with art shown as a thing that he is genuinely good at.
    • The series does show that Rimmer does have the potential to be legitimately good at things, in the form of Ace Rimmer (What a guy!), but Rimmer's so focused on cheating his way to his goal he's never bothered to learn the technical details, and has therefore spent his life blaming anyone and everyone for his failures but himself.
  • Resident Evil (2022): Jade Wesker is so determined to fight Umbrella and the T-Virus that she does dangerous missions, separating her from her daughter and then conducting experiments that once caused the death of a coworker.
  • Star Trek:
    • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine:
      • Commander Benjamin Sisko starts out the series as a widower, having lost his wife in the Battle of Wolf 359 three years ago, and is thinking about leaving Starfleet to focus on raising his son, Jake. When Starfleet assigns him to serve as their liaison to the Bajoran Provisional Government onboard the titular station, he's about ready to up and quit — not helped by the one giving him this assignment being Captain Picard (aka Locutus of Borg, who propagated the disaster at Wolf 359 during his own brief assimilation). It's the discovery of the wormhole to the Gamma Quadrant and the subsequent encounter with The Prophets of Bajor that Sisko is given the harsh realization that he had been refusing to grieve Jennifer's death and instead focus on blaming Picard for the disaster rather than allow himself to heal and be the father his son needs. He does so, and from there grows to become the hero of the Alpha Quadrant, the Emissary to the Prophets, and a man who finds peace with himself.
      • "Rapture" almost takes things to lethal levels when an accident causes Sisko to experience visions of the future, gifted to him by The Prophets. Dr. Bashir warns him that he'll need surgery to fix the damage, lest he fry out his nervous system and kill himself, but Sisko insists on keeping up with the visions because The Prophets are trying to tell him something. Tellingly, it does get him nearly killed, and it results in him discouraging Bajor from joining The Federation, much to the chagrin of his superior officers. However, this one does prove beneficial in the long run; towards the end of the season, Bajor not being in The Federation allows them to sign a non-aggression pack with The Dominion, and when Starfleet is forced to evacuate the station, Bajor is able to avoid being slaughtered by the Jem'Hadar and build up enough of a resistance that it turns the Dominion War in Starfleet's favor.
      • This becomes a major plot point in the final season with the Klingon Empire. As General Martok's popularity grows among the Klingon population, Chancellor Gowron grows increasingly jealous, thinking Martok is trying to take his place as Chancellor (which he's not) and tries sending Martok on suicide missions in the hopes he'll either die or bungle the job up enough that he can get rid of him. Martok and Worf both become aware of this, but neither one of them are willing to question Gowron's orders because he's in charge. Unfortunately, the Klingons are in the middle of the Dominion War with Starfleet and the Romulans, and they can't afford any internal strife now that the Breen have joined the Dominion's side and the Cardassians are beginning to rebel against their Changeling masters. Eventually, Ezri is able to convince Worf that the Klingons have truly abandoned their honor in favor of playing politics for their own gain, which is enough to persuade Worf to challenge Gowron for the Chancellorship. Gowron dies in combat, but Worf puts the much more honorable Martok in charge.
      • This is also the Fatal Flaw of the Dominion's private foot soldiers, the Jem'hadar, and their aids and diplomats, the Vorta. Because they're programmed to do whatever the Founders want without question, this prevents them from questioning the truly stupid mistakes they make that cost them the war. In one such critical failing, the Breen destroy the Defiant, but the female Changeling lets Sisko and the others evacuate so they can pass on the ship's destruction as a warning to everyone that the Dominion will not be trifled with. Weyoun doesn't dare question her decision, even though killing Sisko and company would be a much more effective tactic than simply letting the Defiant blow up, since it would cost Starfleet one of their most decorated Captains and cripple Federation morale. In letting him escape, and making no one be able to question her wishes, it bites her in the ass when Sisko is able to mount enough of a countermeasure that when everything does come crashing down, she's forced to surrender.
    • Star Trek: Discovery:
      • Michael Burnham's Fatal Flaw is that she feels she must atone for her mistakes (which would be fine if she didn't keep making the same mistakes time and time again). As a child, her parents were killed in a Klingon raid, and she blamed herself for making them stay a few extra days to see a passing cosmic event. When she was adopted by Sarek's family, she said some harsh words towards Spock to protect him from Vulcan extremists who didn't want human blood on the planet. And when she mutinies against Captain Georgiou and brings about a war between the Federation and the Klingons, she's desperate to atone. Most of the Discovery crew don't trust her intentions, Spock refused to reconcile with her because he considers her attempting to shoulder burdens that weren't hers to bear as an act of selfishness, and the Federation of the 32nd Century initially consider her too out of line for not following protocol. She herself even lampshades that she's prone to this.
      • Book, a Courier and Burnham's boyfriend in the 32nd Century, falls victim to this. When his home planet and everyone on it is destroyed by an unknown phenomenon, he's so consumed with grief that he's willing to go to almost any lengths to avenge what happened, even though he knows deep down that nothing he does will bring them back. He willingly allies with Tarka, a scientist who's desperate enough to try and obtain said phenomenon's power source, even going behind the Federation's back to establish peaceful contact with its creators and becomes a wanted fugitive. He finally draws the line when he sees that Tarka's desperation has driven him too far, including the willingness to wipe out an entire species, just to get what he wants.
      • Speaking of Tarka, his drive is to reunite with his friend and possible lover in another dimension, even if it means putting him in the Federation's crosshairs and stealing the power source of the DMA, which would cause catastrophic horrors on its creators, simply because he doesn't care about anything but forcing his way home.
    • Star Trek: Picard:
      • As admirable of a man as Jean-Luc Picard is, he blindly believes in Black-and-White Morality when it comes to the Federation's role in the galaxy. When Romulus is on the verge of destruction, he leads the efforts to evacuate them, until a terrorist attack on their shipyards leads Starfleet to call things off. He stubbornly refuses to call it quits, arguing they had a duty to help those in need and threatens to resign in the hopes his influence will get Starfleet to change its mind. They don't, accept his resignation, and send him on his way. It turns out that Picard failed to consider that other member worlds would leave if they helped out the Federation's oldest enemy in a time of crisis, and he "allowed perfect to become the enemy of good". Even Riker and Troi gently chew him out, noting that his ego sometimes blinds him from seeing that not everything is as clear-cut as he would like it, especially when it comes to the Federation. Later, in Season 2, it's revealed his mother committed suicide when she was a boy, having struggled with bipolar disorder she refused to treat and hung herself out of shame when she struck her son — and he let her out of her room when her husband locked her in there for everyone's safety. This traumatizing incident left him so unwilling to make connections and find love that it's still holding him back from being truly happy (and shows his more straight-laced behavior on The Next Generation was all because of that trauma). It takes Q literally altering time that gets Picard to find the courage to move on and heal, and Season 3 rewards him big time; he not only gets to save the galaxy one last time with his old crew, but Data is resurrected, and his old ship, the Enterprise-D, is restored to her prime to aid in wiping out the Borg collective once and for all, while also giving him the chance to be a proud father.
      • Captain Liam Shaw, commander of the Titan-A, reveals in "No Win Scenario" that he's a survivor of Wolf-359 — one of ten unlucky survivors from the Constance that had to watch as Picard-as-Locutus unleashed the Borg on Starfleet. Since then, he's sworn to Never Be Hurt Again and has closed himself off as a straight-laced, by-the-book officer who would accomplish nothing remarkable in his career, at the expense of being a complete asshole to everyone around him and not being very well-liked by his staff. To his credit, he's fully aware of this, referring to himself as "some dipshit from Chicago".
      Captain Shaw: "Forgive me. At some point, "asshole" became a substitute for charm."
    • Star Trek: The Original Series: "Court Martial" introduces Lieutenant Benjamin Finney, who was once Kirk's teacher and friend on the Republic. That friendship was destroyed when Finney accidentally left open a circuit to the atomic pile (which, if not closed, would have destroyed the whole ship), and Kirk was forced to report him. Finney was put at the bottom of the promotion list and resented Kirk the whole way after that. Rather than simply accept he made a mistake and had to pay for it by climbing his way up the ranks the slow way, he became so dead-obsessed with making Kirk pay that when Kirk took the Captaincy of the Enterprise and Finney eventually joined him, he framed events to make it seem Kirk killed him in payback for the fracturing of their friendship. He would have gotten away with it too if it weren't for a curious Vulcan, and all Finney winds up with is a quick trip to a penal colony for a long rehabilitation, likely never to serve on a starship again after that little fiasco.
  • Supernatural:
    • In Season 6, Castiel develops a Holier Than Thou complex and takes it to depths that most angels, and naturally his human allies, would disapprove of by working with Crowley to access Purgatory. Cass's human allies become alienated from him when they find out, and even his long-time angel friend Balthazar betrays Cass once he finds out, but Cass perseveres in the conviction that his plan is the only way to stop Raphael from restarting the Apocalypse and rendering all the sacrifices of the previous season meaningless — when Cass's human friends continue to oppose him, Cass even goes as far as ripping down the wall in Sam's head that protected his sanity from his Hell memories to impede them. Cass succeeds in opening Purgatory and getting rid of Raphael for good, but he outright turns into a power-mad terror during the brief time he has the power, and he ends up unleashing a new threat to the world due to tampering with Purgatory. When Cass bites it (for the time being) at the start of the next season, his human friends have a lot of painfully mixed feelings and can barely bring themselves to shed tears after what he did. It takes Dean, and a remorseful Cass post-resurrection, all season to even get halfway toward moving past Cass's actions.
    • Sam and Dean themselves devolved into this in Seasons 8-10: for most of the Carver Era of the show, the brothers were fixated to a toxic degree on keeping each other around even if it meant leaving the very world they previously saved in a much worse state than before. Dean at one point stops Sam from banishing all demons off the face of the Earth forever just because he doesn't want Sam to die (an action which Dean admitted two seasons later was a grave mistake on his part after realizing how destructive his and Sam's relationship has become), Sam sinks to multiple levels of inexcusable lows while trying to save Dean from the Mark of Cain despite Dean's refusal to be saved (going behind Dean's back and indirectly getting Charlie killed, which almost completely destroys the brothers' relationship). As Lucifer puts it when chewing Sam out in Season 11, instead of choosing to save the world, Sam and Dean have been choosing each other. Although the brothers grow out of it during the Carver Era's last season.
  • The Vampire Diaries has Katherine Pierce. While it makes sense that she would do anything to get Klaus off her back, the tactics she uses are horrible and leave a lot of collateral damage. Starting in the fourth season, she sacrifices Jeremy to get the immortality cure for herself, alienating everyone else and making a dangerous enemy in Elena in the process. After Elena uses the cure on her, and Silas then drains it out of her, she starts aging to death, and possesses Elena at the last minute with help from her daughter, Nadia, all in an effort to prolong her life. She uses the opportunity to torment and almost kill Damon while attempting to seduce Stefan. Unfortunately for her, too many out-of-character moments lead to both her exposure and Nadia's death by werewolf bite. Katherine is then banished out of Elena's body and dragged to hell in front of Bonnie. The series finale shows her attempting revenge by unleashing hell on Earth, only to be stopped by Stefan, who sacrifices himself to destroy her.

  • "Façade" by Disturbed is about a woman stuck in an abusive relationship because she's "too damn obdurate and obstinate to let go." She is, however, about to snap, thinking about killing her abuser.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Warhammer:
    • Malekith became angrily jealous over being passed over as the Phoenix King of Ulthuan in favor of Bel Shanaar as he believed it was his due to his birthright and his father, Aenarion being the first Phoenix King, and plotted to take over the throne with the aid of his wicked and devious mother, Morathi. Despite his determination, Malekith was very easily susceptible to temptation, which Morathi was all too willing to exploit, resulting in Malekith becoming increasingly evil and warmongering, and while he did get to kill Bel Shanaar, his attempt to prove himself as the Phoenix King backfired horribly, getting scorched and mutilated as a result. His drive to become the ruler of the High Elves resulted in Ulthuan becoming fractured by a civil war, ending with Malekith taking his followers and Morathi to the west, colonizing Naggaroth, and establishing the Dark Elves. Despite his bloodthirsty and tyrannical nature, Malekith does internally admit that his desire for upholding Aenarion's legacy did too much damage, but feels that he's come too far.
    • Zig-Zagged with Settra the Imperishable of Nehekhara. Being an ardent believer in his culture's gods, Settra went as far as to sacrifice his two sons in exchange for rain and bountiful crops for his people. This was reciprocated positively and Settra would unify Nehekhara's people to create a large nation with him as its king. His determination to provide for his people made him very arrogant and ruthless, but this, alongside his charisma and really proving his worth made him loved by his people. He died lamenting the fact that he couldn't be immortal, which was why he created the Mortuary Cult to find a way for immortality, and said cult would continue as long as it could due to Settra's insistency to find a way to live forever. Unfortunately for Settra, immortality would be discovered by Nagash, who would go on to destroy Nehekhara and establish the Tomb Kings. Incidentally, Settra would come back, albeit skeletal and livid over the fact that he was an animated skeleton and that his kingdom was in ruins instead of a golden body in paradise as he'd instructed the Cult, immediately setting forth plans to rebuild his lands.
    • Dwarfs are basically unable to act in any other way. Any promise a dwarf makes must be fulfilled regardless of the personal cost and if that´s not possible for any reason that everyone of any other race would consider a completely valid justification, the involved dwarfs will feel a shame so unbearable that it will drive them to abandon everything and find a death in battle as soon as possible. And to make things worse, they also consider that any insult -real or imagined- against their kin must be avenged even if that requires offending, threatening, or attacking an ally, or that thousands of dwarf lives will be lost trying to retake an impregnable fortress.. which means thousands of new grudges will be created and will need to be avenged too, no matter the cost.
      • This also goes the other way, with a promise made to a dwarf being very much binding. A human noble once paid dwarves to construct him a new castle. On discovering the payment was three coins short, out of several thousand, they immediately assumed it was a deliberate attempt to cheat them and tore down the castle.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • One of the reasons the Tau seem so alien to humans (and vice versa) is that the Tau are willing to give up on an objective if it simply isn't worth the cost or would be detrimental to their cause as a whole (they take their For the Greater Good philosophy very seriously), while the Imperium is willing and even eager to throw away millions of soldiers for little to no gain (there are intelligent officers in the Imperium who do what they can to mitigate this, but they're few and far between). The Tau view last stands as proof of a commander's incompetence (who should have retreated earlier) rather than a glorious sacrifice.
    • In the fourth edition Space Marine codex, your custom Chapter could take advantages and disadvantages. One disadvantage could give your opponent an extra turn as your Space Marines overcommitted to a losing position or were slow to recognise that they'd already accomplished their goals and could withdraw.
    • Perturabo's dogged insistence that his Legion be The Best, at All Costs, ended up costing him everything. There were countless points where he could have just given his troops some time to recover, considering that it took the Imperium years to get around to punishing Lorgar for his, but to Perturabo they had to be the best, and it had to be within the siege warfare he had a knack for. Over time, the Iron Warriors became jaded and brutal from the miserable engagements they spent their lives in, and Perturabo's own mental state became dangerously unstable, dominated by an out-of-control martyr complex, a deepening resentment of basically everybody and an increasingly explosive and violent temper. These problems would eventually lead to the Iron Warriors devastating their own home world and Perturabo pledging himself to Horus.
    • Magnus the Red had a real problem with this, tied to his massive ego that gave him real trouble recognising when he was out of his depth. His desire to save his sons from a problem of mutation led to him making some tremendously ill-advised pacts rather than letting them succumb; his insistence on proving the value of his psychic studies led to him repeatedly violating a prohibition put in place by the Emperor himself and ultimately destroying said Emperor's webway project by accident.

  • 35MM: A Musical Exhibition: In the song "The Ballad of Sara Berry," the title character is being pressured by her father to become Prom Queen against Julie Jenkins, whom the student body wants to crown because she lost a leg in a car accident. Sara drives herself completely crazy trying to win support, to the point of alienating her cheerleading squad, best friends, and boyfriend. When she still can't get ahead of Julie in the runnings for Prom Queen, she decides to murder the other candidates for the crown so she'll win by default.
  • Death of a Salesman: According to the American Dream that Willy Loman is always chasing, anyone can become rich if they work hard enough and never give up. Willy certainly isn't one to give up, and that's his Fatal Flaw. The fact that he doesn't know when enough's enough leads to Willy making himself and his family miserable over his dogged pursuit of a dream that he never really had a chance at achieving. Despite throwing everything into his work as a salesman, Willy isn't happy, and he isn't successful. It's implied that he'd be happier if he tried his hand at being a construction tradesman, or if he'd just see that the world of sales is just not cut out for him. At one point, Willy's son Biff practically grabs Willy and screams in his face that neither Willy nor Biff are going to be massive successes, but Willy still doesn't get it. And Willy takes it to his grave, as Willy is Driven to Suicide in a last-ditch effort to provide for his family without admitting fault.
  • In The Merchant of Venice, Antonio, the titular merchant, ends up owing Shylock a pound of flesh for failing to pay back some borrowed cash, and Shylock becomes obsessed with getting that flesh. What makes it particularly strange is that, upon hearing of Antonio's trouble, his friend Bassanio offers to pay the loan back with interest, while Portia, Bassanio's rich and generous new wife, says that she'll happily give double or even triple the price that Shylock wants; Shylock is quite greedy, making it rather odd that he'd turn down larger sums in exchange for worthless flesh, but he's completely fixated on the idea and won't listen to any other deals. That fixation ultimately results in him losing everything he owns—including his Jewish identity—and being utterly humiliated in front of the entirety of Venice. Scholars have long debated as to why Shylock won't take the offered money, with interpretations ranging from Honor Before Reason (Shylock claims Antonio has insulted him in the past) to becoming obsessed with vengeance against any Christian in the vicinity because his daughter Jessica has just eloped with a Christian man.
  • In the Mrs. Hawking series, this trope comes into play in Part V, Mrs. Frost. Victoria Hawking is so determined to take down the titular character, her Arch-Enemy, that she refuses to focus on anything else, including the various women she's sworn to protect. Mrs. Hawking claims that, since Frost is the most dangerous Diabolical Mastermind in London, her single-minded obsession is justified—but Mary and Nathaniel are painfully aware that the desperate women coming to Victoria for help are being shunned and left with no recourse because of this Black-and-White Insanity. The two are forced to take up cases in secret to protect Mrs. Hawking's reputation and, more importantly, save the people who would otherwise be lost without their intervention.

    Video Games 
  • Bugsnax: Wambus Troubleham is determined to see his plans to grow his own Bugsnax through, even when it's clear to everyone around him that they aren't actually working.
  • Dynasty Warriors: Part of Jiang Wei's character is his never-ending mission to fulfill Zhuge Liang's dying wish to "create a land of benevolence" by continuing to wage war against Wei. Unfortunately, his Northern Campaigns against Wei only prolong the Forever War which drains Shu's resources and regardless of these problems, Jiang Wei is still stubbornly persistent in continuing the war. When Shu Emperor Liu Shan surrenders to Wei after the Battle of Chengdu, Jiang Wei refuses and forges an alliance with the rebelling Wei officer Zhong Hui. Unfortunately, the rebellion failed and he and Zhong Hui meet their demise.
  • Fallen London: The infamous "Seeking Mr. Eaten's Name" questline is all an examination of this, both with your character and you as a player. The main thing is that you are directly informed that the road will be painful and fraught with misery and frustration and, more importantly, everyone inside the setting and the actual tooltips tell you none of this is worth it, and you'll get nothing out of this path other than another passage into a torment worse than the last. Seekers of the Name can literally quit any time; there is no compulsion to it, and it repels your character to the point it's implied they'd rather stay dead than keep Seeking... but they persist because They Must Find The Name. And players persist out of sheer, bloody-minded curiosity even as they fight through more frustration than the rest of the game put together. If you do persist to the end, your "reward" for all your hard work and determination is permadeath for your character, making your account unavailable to play the game ever again.
  • Final Fantasy XIV:
    • In the Heavensward expansion, Nidhogg has been waging a Forever War against Ishgard for the past thousand years. But it's also shown that this is a case of Revenge Before Reason. He has no intention of ever stopping, believing that all of King Thordan's and the Knights Twelve's descendants deserve to suffer for eternity for Thordan's murder of Nidhogg's sister, Ratatoskr. When the heroes question why Nidhogg doesn't just wipe out Ishgard for the sake of his vengeance, Estinien realizes that destruction is not what Nidhogg wants; instead, he wants Ishgard to forever be stuck in a Hopeless War so that the country is forever in the grip of despair as his vengeance. No one, not even Nidhogg's brother wyrm Hraesvelgr or his sire Midgardsormr, are able to convince Nidhogg to stop his rampage. By the end, after all attempts at placation and negotiation have failed, the heroes are forced to kill Nidhogg to end the Dragonsong War for there to be any hope of peace between man and dragon.
    • This is also the crux of Emet-Selch's motivations and his opposition to the heroes in Shadowbringers. Despite his rhetoric about the sundered people not being truly alive, Emet-Selch at least subconsciously acknowledges that they're people who have a right to live as much as he does. But irrepressible feelings of duty to his people and sorrow over his failure to save them from their fate means that he cannot be swayed from his decision to continue the Rejoinings in search of the faintest hope of restoring his people and world, forcing the heroes to fight him to the death. Even after his death and reclaiming his lost memories in Endwalker, he continues to call his ideals "inviolate" and "invincible", implying that if he had a chance, he'd do it all over again.
  • Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep: Terra's side of the story in a nutshell. As he failed the Mastery exam in the opening and wanting to prove himself to his Parental Substitute Master Eraqus, Terra focuses all his efforts on finding Master Xehanort and dealing with the Unversed by himself, all so he can grow stronger. Xehanort takes full advantage of this, becoming The Corrupter and Evil Mentor towards Terra by telling him things that were technically true but phrased in ways that would fill Terra's ego and make him mistrust his friends and mentor. Terra only realizes that he was manipulated in his quest for strength after Xehanort kills Eraqus, but his desire to become stronger by whatever means necessary persists, and he ends up walking straight into Xehanort's plan and getting his body stolen.
  • Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories: When Sora's group is lured into Castle Oblivion, they slowly start to lose their memories, with Sora somehow gaining the memory of a girl named Namine, who's apparently being held hostage here. He presses on trying to find her, even though going further into the castle is costing the trio their memories, and he's becoming so obsessed with finding her that he's pushing his friends away when they tell him he might want to slow down a bit. This turns out to be a deliberate act by a rogue faction of Organization XIII to take Sora out of the picture, so some of its members can ascend to a higher rank within the group, using Namine's memory altering abilities to do so.
  • The New Order Last Days Of Europe: An Alternate-History Nazi Victory, the Black League, a faction based in Omsk, plans for a "great trial", a total and utter revenge against Nazi Germany involving the heavy use of nukes and weaponised smallpox.
  • OPUS: Echo of Starsong: The Fatal Flaw of Eda is precisely her determination, she is so dead set on finding her mentor that she ends up disregarding those around her making her incredibly reckless. This culminates near the game's climax, her actions put not only herself but the entire group into mortal peril by having approached the dangerous comet Banshee and severely damaging their ship.
  • Persona 5 Royal: The main antagonist of the new arc in Royal, Takuto Maruki, is a villain because of this flaw in their character. He creates a Lotus-Eater Machine world where everyone is happy. He is extraordinarily stubborn about why the Phantom Thieves would resist it, not truly understanding or caring that they see it as robbing people of their choices and chances to grow and he believes that they will come to his point of view. When they don't, he eventually tries to murder them, despite partially making the reality for them. It becomes clear through the arc that this dream of a perfect reality is the main reason he has to live, since he is content to die if it fails and even in the Stay Ending where he succeeds, he makes himself unknown to everyone he knew. Additionally, even though Maruki built the world because of his former girlfriend Rumi, his stubbornness on this goal greatly inhibits his ability to move past her. It's not until the false reality collapses that he is able to let it go and move on with his life.
  • SINoALICE regularly calls into question the Characters' mission to revive their Authors, mostly by showing the horrific amount of lives they have to take in Library in order to do so. This is especially depicted with main character Alice, who slowly goes from a stoic if affable girl to little more than a bloodthirsty killing machine out of her desire to revive her Author. The ending takes it one step further and morphs into an outright Anti-Escapism Aesop by showing that Alice's obsessive dream of "regularly cutting down Nightmares to revive her Author" is ultimately doing nothing to help her escape her real-life issues, and how the only way to give her the hope to face reality head-on is to outright destroy Library.
  • Spec Ops: The Line is a meta-commentary on military shooters, in that both the player and Captain Walker's determination to achieve their mission objectives only leads to disaster. The game's Evolving Title Screen keeps getting worse as the story progresses, going from an American soldier sitting beneath a tattered flag to a buzzard pecking the soldier's corpse to a faded rag over a wasteland, while the loading screen messages are full of passive-aggression such as "Do you feel like a hero yet?" In the story itself, Walker's rescue mission gets derailed when a miscommunication brings him into conflict with other American soldiers, so he decides to create a new mission and carry it out to the bitter end, regardless of the death and destruction he causes, out of the delusion that if he could just reach and defeat some sort of Final Boss, it would justify everything he'd done to get there.
  • Spider-Man (PS4): This game deconstructs Spider-Man's determination to fight crime. He's so busy fighting criminals that he completely fails to notice his friend and mentor Otto Octavius' Sanity Slippage. Despite it being clear on several occasions that Otto will proceed with experiments that could prove dangerous without Peter Parker's presence, Spidey still fails to show up on multiple occasions even though he's aware Otto is increasingly desperate for his experiments to succeed in order to avoid total bankruptcy. He's painfully aware he is partly to blame when Otto finally goes off the deep end and becomes the monstrous Doctor Octopus, which then makes Peter equally determined to save the man he knew. Peter is not only left utterly heartbroken when he is forced to accept That Man Is Dead but also leaves him wondering if he could have reduced the damage of Ock's rampage if he had been more willing to fight all-out earlier. Worse, Peter's also aware that because Otto went insane, all the good work he did beforehand (mostly revolving around prosthetic limbs) will no longer be acknowledged or utilised thanks to being tainted by his actions as Doctor Octopus.
  • Tales of Symphonia: The Big Bad, Yggdrasill, is determined to reunite with his sister and will do anything to make that happen. This includes splitting the world asunder, getting countless people killed, and trying to force everyone to become lifeless beings to end the discrimination that killed Martel. When Martel herself finally intervenes and tells Yggdrasill to stop what he's doing, his response is to go Laughing Mad and refuse to accept her words, before finally deciding to take his sister and all of Derris-Kharlan into space so they can finally be alone, even if it causes The End of the World as We Know It. When Yggdrasill is finally killed for good, his last words are that he wouldn't change a thing if he could do it all over again. Yggdrasill's Fallen Hero status is fueled by his determination to never grow up and accepting there might have been a better way to carry out his ideals. This is in stark contrast to protagonist Lloyd Irving, whose ideals also clash with the way the world works but is willing to yield and learn from his mistakes when it's obvious he's in the wrong, allowing him to undergo Character Development and become an All-Loving Hero.
  • Undertale: Determination is a major theme, so naturally this trope is explored. Determination can be a very good thing; the only reason you manage to escape the Underground is because you're determined to get back to the surface, and you get the Golden Ending by being determined to spare every monster you meet (up to and including Flowey), which will make the game harder because you can't get EXP and turns every fight into a Puzzle Boss. However, getting the worst ending requires an equal or greater amount of stubbornness, since the game will do its damndest to be an unpleasant experience (puzzles will be done for you so you can't have fun solving them, gameplay is mostly farming for random encounters that all die in one hit and get rarer as you kill more, the two bosses that are a challenge are ridiculously unfair, and you will be guilt-tripped to within an inch of your life) and you're constantly reminded that you can easily break out of your path at any time by just playing the game the normal way if nothing else. Your reward for this is a bit of extra lore and having your save file permanently corrupted to ruin any good ending you might get later. And from a lore perspective, monsters can't handle determination; Alphys tried it, and it caused her test subjects to melt. And that's not even taking into account her determination experiments creating Flowey...
  • Wandersong: Being a walking deconstruction of the typical RPG protagonist that she is, Audrey Redheart spends the whole game being undeterred in her quest to kill the Overseers that support the world, convinced that their deaths will prevent a "nightmare on Earth" scenario and give her the glory and admiration she deserves as The Chosen One. Even when she is told that the Overseers' deaths will actually end the world, she is still dead-set on doing it the way she believes is necessary, refusing any attempt to convince her otherwise, brushing it all off with "This is just how it works". It culminates in her battle with the final Overseer; even after being defeated by the Bard and Miriam, she still uses the last of her strength to finish the Overseer off, in spite of the Bard's attempt to convince her away from her destructive path one last time.
  • Warcraft III: Prince Arthas's Protagonist Journey to Villain in Reign of Chaos is based on this. When the Undead Scourge invades his kingdom, he takes drastic steps to defeat them, including purging the city of Stratholme when the population is infected by the plague of undeath, following the Scourge's commander, Mal'Ganis, to the icy continent of Northrend, secretly burning his own men's ships when the King formally recalls his expedition, blaming the ship destruction on mercenaries he himself hired, and claiming the sword Frostmourne knowing it is cursed. All of this puts him right into the hands of The Lich King (though the Lich King does allow him to get his revenge against Mal'Ganis, at the least). After falling to the Scourge as a Death Knight, he delivers his former kingdom right into the Scourge's hands.

    Visual Novels 
  • Full Metal Daemon Muramasa: The determination of Ichijo Ayane is initially played up as one of her strong suits, being someone who is firm in her belief in justice and heroism while also having some serious grit in a fight. As the story progresses, however, it turns out that her iron-clad conviction becomes a serious issue in this world of moral relativism and her ideas of justice and refusal to change her ways is turning her into a Dark Messiah. Even when slammed in the face about what her actions will bring about, she keeps going, refusing to give up her belief that injustice should be punished and the righteous should prevail. This is in the end why she and Kageaki cannot see eye to eye despite their burgeoning love for each other leading to their final duel to the death.

    Web Animation 
  • Happy Tree Friends: Sniffles will stop at nothing to eat the ant family. However, this always results in the ants torturing and murdering him. While the ants' torment of Sniffles can be excessive, he could eat something else and back down, but he doesn't.
  • RWBY:
    • General Ironwood devolves into this once he jumps off the deep end in Volumes 7-8, thanks to a combination of PTSD-related trust issues and the belief that he knows above all what's best for the people he's charged with protecting; taking what he perceives as Necessarily Evil for the greater good past all sense of logic and reason. He decides to elevate his kingdom into the sky in order to save it (and the Relic of Creation Salem seeks) from Salem's hordes at the cost of leaving the rest of the world to die, and he has anyone who even tries to impede him from doing what he's set his mind to executed immediately. Finally, he resorts to terrorism against the kingdom of Mantle to get his way, and he remains fixated on regaining control and re-instituting his original plan even when Team RWBY have removed and re-used the Relic (thereby assuring the Atlas landmass's destruction) and even when just about everyone who was once close to him (even the one person whom he admits he truly trusted) has turned against him due to his crimes. Ironwood ultimately dies alone and abandoned on the sinking landmass of the very kingdom he tried to save. It's hinted this might have to do with the fact that his Semblance is literally a Heroic Safe Mode (with an extremely subtle but deliberate activation where his eyes lose their shine) which enables him to hyper-focus, at the cost of shutting out anything that he doesn't want to hear or listen to.
    • Likewise, Ironwood's Ace-Operatives are ultimately too loyal to him for their own, or anyone else's, good once Ironwood loses it, continuing (to varying degrees) to place their trust in Ironwood while sticking to the Just Following Orders mindset. By the end of Volume 8, all the Ace-Ops are either dead or gravely sorry that they didn't break out of that mindset sooner.
      • Clover remains so fixed on following Ironwood's call-out for Qrow's arrest despite his personal misgivings, it enables Tyrian to get Clover and Qrow fighting each other as much as Tyrian, which in turn leads to Tyrian causing Clover's death.
      • Harriet in particular remains fixated on following Ironwood's order to bomb Mantle even when the fall of Atlas renders the original orders and their purpose completely moot, something which her teammates call her out on. Her fixation on following through ultimately gets one of her teammates and friends killed when said friend has to sacrifice his life stopping the bomb, much to Harriet's clear horror and grief.

    Web Comics 
  • Karen, one of the Villain Protagonists of NonPack, is a prime example. She goes after her rival gangbanger Honey, he beats her up, then she attacks him again — over and over. Karen's teammate Doc tries to get her to stop, but her pride keeps her going for a long time before she finally listens to him.
  • The Order of the Stick: Redcloak really wants to be a hero. At worst, he thinks of himself as an Anti-Hero whose actions will all be justified if he can accomplish his goal of undoing his Doomed Hometown. Redcloak is certainly driven to this end, but it's shown frequently that all his Freudian Excuses are little more than self-justifications to refuse to admit that he's made any kind of mistake in helping Big Bad Xykon and committing several atrocities in his name. Xykon even tells Redcloak that he's using this flaw to manipulate Redcloak point-blank in a "The Reason You Suck" Speech, and Redcloak still won't stop because he's done too many terrible things to turn back now. At one point, Redcloak even rejects an offer from Thor that would give him everything he wanted because it would mean Redcloak admitting that he's not a hero, and his actions up to that point were All for Nothing. Redcloak is so determined to do things his way that he just can't admit to himself that he miscalculated.

    Web Video 
  • Locomotives of British Railways: In "222 Squadron Storms Through", Johnny is utterly determined to get his train full of passengers home and out of the storm. However, as a result of his determination, he ends up leaving Oliver, who needs more sand, stranded. Johnny's crew forces him to stop in a tunnel so they can call him out on how he treated Oliver, starting an argument. In the end, Johnny admits he was wrong to just abandon Oliver, and couples him up to his train the next time he sees him to pull him along the line.
  • Pop Cross Studios: Christian Pearson's fourth art video putting famous animated and anime characters in the Suicide Squad shows the dark side of determination with his version of Danny Phantom. Ever since becoming a teen superhero, Danny had dedicated himself to training so that he would one day be able to join the Justice League. However, Danny's obsession with joining the League above all else meant that he let his grades slip, and he never contemplated applying for any other jobs. Once he finally had an interview with some of the League's members, Martian Manhunter and Wonder Woman bluntly told him that he wasn't cut out for that kind of responsibility, and that he wasn't powerful enough to hold his own against some of the League's strongest enemies, such as Darkseid. A distraught Danny decided to take a gap year abroad — by using the interdimensional portal that gave him his powers to send himself to Apokolips itself, reasoning that if he could survive there, that should convince the League to let him join them. Sadly, Granny Goodness and her Furies eventually captured Danny and enslaved him to make him fight in Granny's arena. Whilst Danny grew physically stronger, his ghost form grew increasingly twisted and ghoulish, and eventually, he lost the ability to turn back into his human form. Two years later, Danny managed to escape back to Earth, going straight to the League to show them what he'd done. But instead of being impressed, the League were shocked that Danny had impulsively gone to Apokolips, and they could not trust him because there was a good chance Darkseid or Granny had managed to turn him into one of their puppets, possibly without him knowing — suspicions that a slightly deranged Danny did not do much to assuage by furiously attacking them, thinking, in a case of twisted logic, that he could prove his worthiness to join them by defeating them. Whilst Danny was powerful, the League eventually won, and he was sent to Belle Reve. The seething Danny was still set on impressing the League, so he decided to go back to Apokolips and show his power by putting Darkseid's head on a spike — but first, he'd have to get out of Belle Reve by joining the Suicide Squad.

    Western Animation 
  • American Dad!: In the episode "Hurricane!", Stan Smith is determined to show his family his way is right, even though it's apparent that he's doing far more harm than good. Klaus gives Stan a Rousing Speech about Nicolas Cage eventually making a good movie after making so many stinkers, which compels Stan to try the same. End result, he gets his family attacked by both a shark and a bear, and impales Francine in the shoulder with a javelin (he was aiming for the bear). It's only when Buckle shows up and tranquilizes Stan along with the animals that the family is finally safe. Afterwards, even while acknowledging how much he screwed up and that he's not a good choice for leadership during a crisis, Stan outright states that he has no intention of changing his behavior, because to him, being the head of the household means he HAS to be the protector, even if he's terrible at it.
  • Amphibia: All three main heroines are determined to achieve some goal, but tend to bring undesirable consequences as a result:
    • Anne Boonchuy is trying to return home and help her new friends and chosen family, but because Anne has a tendency for not thinking about long-lasting results, thinking her way is the best one and not stopping to re-evaluate her idea even after realising its hopelessness, the result is problems and conflicts.
    • Sasha Waybright is a downright Control Freak who wants to manipulate her friendship with Anne and Marcy. She doesn't stop until she gets what she wants even if it damaged said relationship, all because she thinks she knows best. For example, she puts lots of effort into her false claim of making a Heel–Face Turn towards the end of season 2 so she can win the trust of others and overthrow Andrias and conquer all Amphibia. When she discovers a new threat after revealing her treachery, no one believes her until it's too late. When Sasha really tries to atone, she gets the same problem: she decides that she's not a worthy leader for La Résistance and puts all her effort into making Anne take over instead (despite Anne openly admitting she doesn't understand what's going on and doesn't have the aptitude for leadership), causing a series of bad decisions that nearly ruin their friendship even more. In other words, Sasha's inability to give up is both a blessing and a curse. On one hand, it is a form of charisma that attracts people to her. On the other hand, it also causes her to put others in harm's way, intentionally or not, for the sake of completing her goals at any cost and makes her double down on her toxic Control Freak tendencies, driving away those she befriends.
    • Marcy Wu wanted to stay with her friends so much that she made them steal the Calamity Box and transport them to the other realm without their knowledge about the latter. Also her dream of living in a fantasy world nearly tears the girls apart when they learn the truth.
  • Blue Eye Samurai: Mizu will kill all of the four white men who could have fathered her. That means walking into obvious traps, getting into massively lopsided battles where she incurs serious injury (and nearly dying because she just pushes through it), and in the first season finale, setting a fire to prevent her quarry from escaping which quickly snowballs into the Great Fire of Meiriki.
  • The Cuphead Show!: This is the best way to describe the Devil's obsession with getting Cuphead's soul. Even when he loses his official claim to Cuphead's soul in "Release the Demons!", the Devil refuses to give up on the idea of claiming it, leading to repeated humiliation even when everyone around him points out how much easier it would be to just let it go. This ultimately culminates in the Devil humiliating himself in front of all of Inkwell Isles when Cuphead challenges him to Rock–Paper–Scissors and keeps losing, leading to a Best Out of Infinity scenario that only goes on as long as it does because Cuphead is an Idiot Hero.
  • Dave the Barbarian: In "The Red Sweater of Courage", Dave is given a magical sweater that erases all fear in him, leaving him a courageous Challenge Seeker. This backfires when he arranges for three of his worst villains to attack at once; despite being completely outmatched, the now-fearless Dave just keeps attacking the villainous trio over and over again, getting more and more beaten up each time.
  • DC Animated Universe:
    • Like in his comics, Batman is devoted to his cause, but as the series progresses chronologically from Batman: The Animated Series to Justice League to Batman Beyond, his coldhearted devotion to the mission — and his desire to keep his loved ones out of harm's way — would alienate him by the end of it. He drives Dick Grayson away when he gets too focused on trying to stop the Joker (not to mention sharing his secret without Dick's permission), the events of Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker cause him to push everyone else on his team and the League away, and he winds up a bitter old man as a result. Only the surprise appearance of Terry McGinnis winds up giving him a new purpose in life, but even then, he expects total devotion out of his new ward, which isn't making things easy for him.
    • As for Terry McGinnis, being Batman, in his mind, gives him the chance to be the better man he wanted to be, after having lost his father to Derek Powers following a heated argument. He proves himself a worthy successor, but he's barely scraping by in school, and his girlfriend Dana thinks he's blowing her off. Notably, he does want to have some downtime, but this is Gotham he's protecting...
    • The Joker isn't any better in this regard either. As pointed out by Terry, Joker was so fixated on getting a laugh out of Batman for so long that every zany scheme to drive the Dark Knight over the edge or make every minute of his existence miserable does nothing but make the clown look like a pathetic wannabe. Joker does not like that insult at all, but Terry isn't wrong considering Joker winds up dying not once, but twice trying to torment Batman.
  • The Dragon Prince: The Dark Mage Lord Viren is so fixated on his goal of nullifying Xadia and the Dragon Prince as potential threats that he crosses increasingly dark moral lines to do so, justifying them as being pragmatic while ignoring other alternatives, as well as accept help from suspicious figures like Aaravos when he faces opposition. It ultimately leads to him marching into Xadia with barely anything resembling a plan and becoming all the more dependent on Aaravos for guidance, who directs him to assault the Storm Spire to drain Zym, which results in his two-year long death.
  • Gargoyles:
    • Demona, the poster child for Ignored Epiphany, is devoted to one cause alone: destroy the human race out of revenge for centuries of gargoyle mistreatment. It's constantly pointed out to her that the path that led her to become who she was was her own fault — she betrayed her clan to the Vikings, which led to them being destroyed and the survivors being sealed for a thousand years, she betrayed Macbeth, she created the hunters, and she has all but alienated herself from her old clan, her lover, and even her biological daughter. Yet she refuses to own up to her mistakes, and keeps the cycle of revenge going — a sucker's game, as Xanatos put it.
    • Goliath himself isn't above being subject to this every once in a while. If any one of his clan is hurt or possibly killed, he will not hesitate to punish those who are responsible. He will also refuse to listen to reason, yell at his clan for telling him to chill out, and leave himself open to further harm while blinded by anger. He has to snap out of it before he realizes how far he's come, putting him dangerously close to becoming Demona. This gets severely amplified when he ended up getting his hands on the Eye of Odin, to the point where Goliath was manufacturing disasters to justify keeping Elisa, Angela, and Bronx from moving so that they'll always be in easy-to-protect reach, and nearly harmed them when they justifiably call him out on it.
  • The Ghost and Molly McGee: The titular heroine always tries to greet every situation with a can-do attitude, and wants to make everyone she meets happy. The problem is she doesn't always see the big picture with how her plans and actions could affect others. She also often pushes herself to physical and mental exhaustion in her efforts for "unhappy" people, and her confidence in herself isn't completely unshakeable, with Scratch sometimes having to act on her behalf. Also, she can be Secretly Selfish at times, which makes situations escalate even further.
  • Gravity Falls: All of the Pines have a goal that they are determined to achieve but it always brings problems:
    • Dipper Pines tries to unravel the mysteries, prove that he's an adult, and win Wendy's heart. But because his plans are shortsighted, it only brings pain, troubles, and humiliation on Dipper's head.
    • Mabel Pines is just as determined as Dipper to achieve her goals, which tends to be her desire to have an epic summer romance. Because Mabel, like her brother, can be a Control Freak, put her wishes above everyone else and be insensitive, it only brings pain on her head and harms her relationships with her friends and family.
    • "Grunkle" Stan Pines Pines is determined to return his brother and make amends with him. For that he nearly destroyed the multiverse and released Bill Cipher.
    • Ford Pines is a Ditzy Genius who made a deal with Bill because he was a super-determined scientist. And foolish enough to believe and release Cipher. Also, Ford's determination is more specifically demonstrated in his need to unearth all the secrets of Gravity Falls. In the case of the former goal, he ended up driving himself almost to insanity in his efforts, drove away his one friend, and ended up making a deal with Bill Cipher in order to learn the details that eluded him; Journal 3 even reveals that Ford could have published his findings and made a fortune if he'd just accepted his limitations and stopped. For good measure, his dogged determination to handle everything himself without explaining anything — including his attempt to stop Bill — resulted in a fight between him and Stan that accidentally left Ford stranded on the far end of the multiverse for thirty years.
  • Harley Quinn (2019): Commissioner Gordon, by his own admission.
    Harley Quinn: Probably be best if you turn around your merry band of meatbags.
    Commissioner Gordon: And why the hell would I do that?
    Harley Quinn: Gordo, I have a flying army from a hell planet under my control.
    Commissioner Gordon: Well, I made my decision! And I never back down from my decisions! It's a terrible quality that has ruined most of my personal relationships, so bring it!
  • Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous: After the events of season 1, where she fell on concrete while trying to escape the Mosasaurus, Yaz has a badly sprained ankle, but for a couple of episodes insists on trying to "pull her weight", especially since Kenji is willfully lazy, despite their predicament. Consequently, she collapses from pain trying to do Kenji's share of the work, and Kenji has to help carry her back to camp.
  • Hank Hill from King of the Hill is quite stubborn to the point where he puts his health second just to avoid bruising his ego as one episode has him throw his back out. Despite being in no condition to resume his normal duties, Hank refuses to take time off work and be offered workers compensation or stick only to office duty while at work. It's not until he can't get up off the floor that he decides to cut his losses.
  • Little Elvis Jones and the Truckstoppers:
    • In one episode, Janet tells a story about a monster she calls "the Skulltruck", which she claims was a wanna-be trucker who kept on trying to be one despite repeatedly getting into crashes so badly he ended up losing limbs. In the end, she claims he was just a disembodied yet still living head... and he still wouldn't give up on being a trucker. Cue a final fiery crash, which killed him and warped his soul and the truck's wreckage into a singular Mechanical Abomination.
    • Big Bad W.C. Moore becomes obsessed with the idea that there might be Berkonium under Little Memphis to the point that he literally bankrupts himself trying to find it with an army of robotic miners, costing him his entire once-vast fortune and undermining the town so badly it literally collapses into a giant sinkhole, because he wouldn't accept that maybe there wasn't any Berkonium. Although, ironically, the last seconds of the finale reveals there really was a motherload of Berkonium... but Old Man Izard mined it all out himself during the decades he was stuck down there.
  • In My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "Applebuck Season", when Big Mac injuries himself just before the apple harvest, Applejack was left to harvest the crop on her own, with her fully intending to accomplish it. Unfortunately, due to working nonstop, she was left tired and ragged, but was determined to finish the job alone, while stubbornly refusing to listen to Twilight every time she tried to tell her she needed help. Making the situation worse was the fact was that Applejack had other obligations around Ponyville, with her exhausted state leading her to make several irrational decisions that negatively impacted the other ponies. It wasn't until the end of the episode when she thought that she had harvested all the apples, only for Big Mac to point out she had only done half the orchard, that she finally broken down and conceded that Twilight was right, letting her friends help finish the harvest.
  • The Owl House:
    • Luz Noceda is determined to become a witch like the heroine of her favorite book (which includes making friends with her foes, like Amity); however, even her more well-intentioned antics put people in trouble — particularly in "Escape of the Palisman", when she accidentally breaks Owlbert's head, and at the end of Season 1, when Luz tries to find a cure to Eda's curse but causes her to be captured instead. That develops in Luz a strong Guilt Complex, which makes her obsessed with making up for whatever problem she may have caused to others, even when it's not actually her fault, like in "Escaping Expulsion".
    • Because of all the abuse they endured, both Amity Blight and Hunter are determined to prove themselves worthy of love and affection. Thanks to Luz, Amity starts leaving that path, but Hunter has to cope with serious trauma after he learns that his "uncle" Belos is a sociopath and a genocidal maniac.
    • Philip Wittebane was raised in a time where "witches" (anyone who didn't fit in his people's rigid standards) were killed, so he devoted his life to finding a way of exterminating all the inhabitants of Boiling Islands because their appearance and use of magic pointed them as such. He killed his brother Caleb because the latter married a "witch" and used his bones to create Grimwalkers (clones), whom Philip killed as soon as they started questioning him. Also, he carved glyphs in his arms to be able to use magic and mutilated his ears, so he could pass as one of the natives he hated so much; and he made a deal with the Collector, a dangerous entity. Eventually, his actions turned him literally and metaphorically, into a monster and (apparently) culminated in his own destruction.
  • This is occasionally played straight and inverted in Pinky and the Brain with Brain's goal of taking over the world. Despite his plans constantly failing due to one problem or another (usually because of Pinky), it always ends with Brain "preparing for tomorrow night" when he'll try again. On several occasions, the Brain is shown depressed over his constant failuresnote , and decides to find a different purpose, only to end up being reminded in one way or another of why he's made taking over the world his life's mission which restores his drive. In one notable episode, Brain abandons his goal after using a device to see into the future and finds himself as an old mousenote  and still trying to take over the world, leading him to feel he's wasting his life. However, after Pinky averts a disaster he had seen through the same device, Brain realizes the future isn't set in stone and it's still possible for him to fulfill his life's dream.
  • Star vs. the Forces of Evil: Many Butterflies are extremely determined and created many disasters because of it. For example:
    • The main heroine Star Butterfly is determined in everything: have fun, change the Mewni's status quo, etc. But because Star rarely sees the big picture she creates many disasters and new problems to solve.
    • Solaria Butterfly wanted to make peace with monsters. But when she gets refused all around, she decides to commit genocide of all monsters. So she created Mina, killed a lot of innocent monsters, and created many spells for their extermination.
    • Other characters also can be like this. For example, Mina Loveberry is a Cloudcuckoolander who wanted to resolve the monster problem. She gets brainwashed and transformed into a bloodthirsty maniac. Creating an army of brainwashed people like her is the last stage of her craziness.
  • Star Trek: Lower Decks: The third season premiere, "Grounded", has Mariner worried about the fate of her mother Captain Freeman after she was arrested for allegedly destroying the Pakled's home planet. Despite her father telling her to trust the system, Mariner believes that Starfleet will just find her mother guilty without issue because she is captain of a Cali-class ship and is expendable in their eyes. She recruits her friends into breaking into the Cerritos to retrieve Boimler's personal logs as evidence that proves her innocence, but then believes since they are overly detailed and embarrassing Starfleet won't take them seriously and attempts to steal the Cerritos to find the real culprit herself. This nearly gets her and her friends arrested, until Captain Freeman arrives to help them, having been found innocent without Mariner's help thanks to a secret mission with the likes of Captain Morgan and Commander Tuvok discovering the truth on Starfleet's orders. Had Mariner trusted the system as she was told to everything would have been fine, but her actions ultimately show her parents they have been too lenient on her and she now thinks she can do stuff like this without consequences, and thus leave her fate in Starfleet in the hands of Commander Ransom, who she hates.
  • A minor plot point in Star Wars Rebels shows that Ryloth freedom fighter General Cham Syndulla has become so single-mindedly determined to free Ryloth (and only Ryloth) from Imperial rule that he's completely alienated himself from his own daughter, Hera, and has only a handful of allies left in his struggle to retake his home planet.
  • Mento from Teen Titans is the leader of the Super Team known as the Doom Patrol and is the closest thing to a father Beast Boy has. While the Teen Titans act as a Family of Choice who all look out for one another, the Doom Patrol act as total professionals who are perfectly willing to die for the mission, a sentiment instilled in the team by their leader. Beast Boy left the team when Mento shames him for saving the team instead of capturing The Brotherhood of Evil when they had the chance, disregarding the fact that by saving them, Negative Man was able to destroy their Doomsday Device anyway. Much later in life, the Doom Patrol try to hunt down The Brain in another one of their missions, only for the team to slowly be whittled down to just Mento and Beast Boy. While Beast Boy understandably chews him out for disregarding his team, Mento disregards this, reasoning that they all knew what they were getting into.
  • Total Drama:
    • Courtney will go to any length to get what she wants, no matter what it is, and no matter what it costs her. And it costs her a lot; she backstabs or screws over her allies, friends, and love interests multiple times in pursuit of the million dollars, only to always lose in the end and come away with nothing.
    • Refusing to accept defeat after being voted out, Ezekiel becomes a stowaway on the jumbo jet. By the end of the season, his time in the cargo hold has made him very feral, with no prize money to show for it.
  • Wakfu: Nox's determination to bring back his family and undo the damage done by his obsession causes him to cross the Moral Event Horizon multiple times, ensuring he goes down in history as a monster, because as far as he's concerned if he's right, the Reset Button will render all his crimes both justified and null, and if he's wrong, he (and the whole universe likely) will end up destroyed and he's fine with that too. He's thrown for a loop when he's only partially right (he doesn't destroy the universe, but there isn't nearly enough energy to power the Reset Button back to his family's demise), and ends up having a complete meltdown at how it was All for Nothing.
  • Wacky Races: Dick Dastardly, the Trope Namer for Dick Dastardly Stops to Cheat, has to cheat no matter what (which he even points out in the unaired Wacky Races Forever pilot). Sometimes he could be miles ahead of the competition, but he has the need to go back and sabotage them, or showboat to flaunt his own ego about he thinks he's the superior driver. Every single time he does this, an easy win gets snatched from him, leaving him stewing over his loss. And the one time he actually did win, it was snatched away from him because he cheated and put his nose cone just a hair above regulation (granted, the other racers were allowed to get away with way worse, but still). If he just put his pedal to the metal and didn't look back, he could have easily made a career as a champion racer.
  • Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner: Wile E. Coyote always tries to capture and eat the Road Runner, and not only does he never succeed, but he constantly gets comically injured in his efforts. It's even been said by Chuck Jones himself that he could easily "stop at any time" and potentially eat something else,note  but his fanaticism prevents him from ever giving up on trying to get the Road Runner, meaning his pain is self-inflicted to some degree. In one special cartoon, Wile E. claims to justify it by saying Road Runner is the best kind of meal to a coyote.