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Fatal Flaw

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"I am writing a list of tragic character flaws on my dollar bills with a felt pen. I am thinking of the people in my universe and distilling for each of these people the one flaw in their character that will be their downfall—the flaw that will be their undoing. What I write are not sins; I write tragedies."
Tyler Johnson, Shampoo Planet

Heroes have a Fatal Flaw which they wrestle with on a consistent basis. This may open them up for specific conflicts later—when a protagonist's fatal flaw is encountered through the course of a plot, the audience's reaction is very tense. This works for villains as well, usually being the character trait that drives their evil in the story.

This is not to be confused with what Aristotle calls hamartia, also a key part of Tragedy. A hamartia is a mistake or error a hero makes which leads to his undoing. It is not the same as a fatal flaw (though the two often overlap). This confusion arose from the misunderstanding of Aristotle's Poetics in the 19th Century.

In classic literature, a Fatal Flaw is often what prevents a Tragic Hero from succeeding, or serves as the cause of their Tragic Mistake. It is usually some sort of character deficiency listed below or, in conventional television, an addiction of some sort. In modern television, the Fatal Flaw is more likely to lead to a Very Special Episode.

When a hero zeroes in on a villain's fatal flaw (and they usually do), do not expect them not to exploit it.

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    Some specific Fatal Flaws: 

Note the resemblance to the Seven Deadly Sinsnote . Also see Virtue/Vice Codification for a more comprehensive list of vices identified by various authors throughout history.

If the Fatal Flaw doesn't play any role in the story, it's an Informed Flaw. If the flaw isn't quite so fatal, you're likely dealing with Mr. Vice Guy. If someone else ensures that the flaw is fatal, it's Flaw Exploitation. A literal fatal flaw, as often seen in Science Fiction and fantasy, would be Phlebotinum Breakdown and/or Achilles' Heel. If you were looking for a fatal floor, see Pit Trap or Death Course.


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    Comic Books 
  • The Joker's is a mixture of his insanity and The Only One Allowed to Defeat You stance towards Batman.
    • In general most Batman villains have a flaw related to their psychosis, which Batman naturally tends to exploit. For example:
      • Two-Face is too dependent on his coin.
      • Poison Ivy with her obsession with plants.
      • The Riddler would be a perfect thief if he wasn't always leaving riddles.
    • Batman, of course, is eaten up by guilt over his parents' deaths.
      • Batman's paranoia, manipulative tendencies and reluctance to be open with people has also caused many problems for himself, his allies and the entire world over the years. The biggest example of this would be the Tower of Babel storyline from the Justice League comics where Batman secretly developed counter measures to defeat the entire League and the plans wound up stolen by Ra's Al Ghul for use in a doomsday plan, nearly killing and badly harming the members of the League. While some of them did see the value in what he was trying to do (Batman developed the strategies in case the League was compromised which is a very real possibility in a world of magic, psychics and mind control) they felt as a whole that the way he went about it was an underhanded betrayal, which badly damaged his connections with the League and the superhero community. Even Superman, his closest friend, felt that he had gone too far this time.
  • Black Hammer: The titular superhero's love for his family, particularly his daughter Lucy. He once ignored a desperate summons from his boss, the God of Good Starlok, because he didn't want to miss Lucy's tenth birthday. This decision allowed Anti-God to gain the upper hand, slaughter the other Lightriders, and put the whole universe in jeopardy. When the heroes later wound up on the Farm, Black Hammer was so desperate to reunite with his family that he charged into the strange energy field surrounding the Farm without letting the other heroes analyze it first, leading to a gruesome and avoidable death.
  • Hank Pym has his feelings of inadequacy, which caused him health problems when he became Giant-Man, mental problems when his worries about not being good enough for Janet led to him becoming Yellowjacket, and countless personal problems when his desire to prove himself as a meaningful member of The Avengers led to him building a robot to attack the team so he could stop it. Despite all of this, he still keeps trying to prove his worth as a superhero.
  • Across various iterations, Iron Man's has been either his narcissism or crippling alcoholism.
  • While Red Skull shared some of the flaws of most Silver Age supervillains such as overconfidence and excessive wrath, his biggest flaw is his dogged adherence to Nazi ideology, which can sometimes overrule even his legendary Pragmatic Villainy. Hard as it might be to believe, some of his major schemes were failures because he's a Principles Zealot — like a Stubborn Mule, he wouldn't budge from his views.
  • Nico, leader of the Runaways, is an interesting take on Lust as a flaw. She's quite responsible in most ways, but when dealing with stress or trauma, she (in Nico's own words) "throws herself at the nearest warm bod". This habit doesn't cause Nico's downfall, but it frays her self-esteem and sabotages her friendships.
  • Colonel Rick Flag of the Suicide Squad is initially hailed for his devotion to completing his missions and doing his duty as a soldier. Unfortunately, he believes that same duty requires him to "carry on" for the friends and family who died in the line of duty, which leaves him with an extreme case of Survivor Guilt, culminating in him eventually going rogue. He finally realizes this flaw before setting off on one final suicide mission:
    Flag: I won't ask you to "carry on for me", Eve. That's a dead end I've found myself in. Live your life.
  • In Supergirl (Rebirth), Director Chase thinks that Kryptonians were arrogant, and their hubris led to their destruction. She also thinks that Supergirl may have Kryptonian ego issues and still has anger management issues.
  • Superman:
    • Clark's Chronic Hero Syndrome can sometimes push him into borderline martyrdom. He's also far more secretive than he needs to be, and has a lot of trouble letting people into his life.
    • Superman's Arch-Enemy Lex Luthor has a nasty combination of Pride and Envy; he feels oppressed by the mere existence of people who are better than him, gets super-paranoid about them, and cannot comprehend that they might not feel the same. The most common target is Superman because he's beloved in a way Lex never is (because Supes is a Nice Guy and Lex tops out at Condescending Compassion), but quite frankly if it wasn't him Lex would find someone else to blame for his own inadequacies.
    • When Lex Luthor Met Superboy, his Silver Age origin story, is often comically condensed into Lex hating Superboy for making him bald. This isn't exactly the case; what happened is that after the baldness incident (which happened when Superboy saved Lex from a lab fire), Lex tried to upstage Superboy repeatedly, which kept going wrong and forcing Superboy to save the day. Lex convinced himself that Superboy was engineering his heroics to humiliate Lex, instead of Lex humiliating himself and Superboy dealing with the consequences.
    • The Black Ring has what's probably the ultimate example of this flaw. Lex spends a long storyline grappling with most of the DCU's other big name villains for a shot at physical godhood. At the end, he gets it, with the caveat that he can't use his power to harm others. He's okay with this at first and uses his power to banish suffering from the universe... and then realizes that 'can't harm others' includes Superman. Total time with unlimited cosmic powers: less than 5 minutes.
    • Likewise, Darkseid is overconfident (though to be fair, he is a god and his confidence is better-placed than most other villains), often underestimating his opponents and not using his powers to their full extent.
    • Brainiac has Control Freak tendencies, often having a Villainous Breakdown when things go south. As Superman points out, this is basically his biggest weakness. Due to his absolute need to be in control of everything, Brainiac pretty much always works alone (and his rare team-ups are guaranteed to end in backstabbing), with his only consistent 'allies' being either his machines or people under mind control. By contrast, Superman always has friends and allies backing him, often giving him the edge over the alien.
  • Watchmen: Rorschach summed up his own fatal flaw in one line:
    Rorschach: No. Not even in the face of Armageddon. Never compromise.
  • Wonder Woman (1987): Artemis realizes shortly before her death that her arrogance has blinded her to threats and the damage her own words have caused, but when she tries to apologize to Diana for it as she lays dying Diana won't have it and puts the blame for Artemis' death entirely on others.

    Fairy Tales 
  • In "The Devil With the Three Golden Hairs", the king's downfall is caused by his Pride and his Greed. If he had not been so outraged at his daughter getting married to a poor suitor, the prophecy would have not come to pass, and his son-in-law would have not developed a good reason to resent him. And if he had not been so blatantly greedy, the luck-boy would have not found an easy way to get rid of him.
  • Alexander Afanasyev's "Kolobok": The titular character's -a sentient little bun- Pride gets it eaten. Kolobok could have gotten away from the female fox, but her buttering up -pun intended- its singing skills convinced it to approach the starving predator and repeat its song instead of fleeing.

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    Tabletop Games 
  • Exalted:
    • The Solars, Lunars, Dragon-Blooded and Sidereals all get various versions of the Great Curse, a psychological affliction thrown at them by the Primordials for besting them in war. The Solars and Lunars enter a brief psychotic period called a Limit Break (ranging from berserker ragenote  to uncontrolled crying at the suffering of the worldnote  to becoming cold and uncaring about the suffering of othersnote  to despising others' faultsnote  and well... being a jerkassnote ), the Dragon-Blooded get a lighter version of the same, and the Sidereals can't seem to make any of their big plans work right.
    • The Abyssals, on the other hand, get Resonance. If, for some reason, they decide they don't want to go along with their masters' goals of feeding all Creation into the mouth of Oblivion and resume something approaching a mortal life, their Resonance will build until it erupts and risks destroying any emotional connections they've managed to make with the world of the living.
    • The Infernals get a similar variant, known as Torment. If they defy the will of their Yozi patrons for too long, then said patron will assume control and cause shit to go haywire. This can range from spreading a Hate Plague (Malfeas) to causing the immediate vicinity to become a lifeless and spiritual wasteland (Cecylene).
    • Even without supernatural curses or compulsions, each of the four virtues has drawbacks if you have three or more dots (and exalts have to have at least one virtue of 3+): compassionate characters have trouble making harsh decisions; temperate characters have trouble lying, cheating or going back on their word, no matter how dishonest the antagonist; valorous characters don't know how to back down from confrontation; and as for conviction, well... Oh and it's perfectly possible for a character to have 3+ in two or more virtues. If they conflict, tough luck!
    • Since Alchemicals didn't even exist when the Great Curse was handed down, they've been spared it. Nor do they have their own flaw bound as a Limit mechanic; instead, their Clarity rating measures how close their mindsets are to human as opposed to Autochthon's. Instead, each Alchemical gets their own personal problems — most notably Excessively Righteous Blossom, whose problem is that his head is up his arse; he's incredibly bad at recognising when he doesn't possess a particular talent for something, meaning that whenever his duties take him outside "stabbing monsters" and into, for example, leading troops, it all ends in tears that are of course because of someone who is not Excessively Righteous Blossom why would you even think that.
  • In the system called House of the Blooded, the characters are all nobility, seemingly built for high drama and Mary/Marty Sue-ism. Each character has six characteristics, each based off of one of the major families, and there is no rolling involved. You have four points for one characteristic, three for two others, two for two more... and the sixth characteristic gets a zero, meaning you can never use it. A zero in Strength means you are too physically weak to force open a sticky door, for example, thus ensuring that all characters have an inbuilt Fatal Flaw that cannot be legally circumvented.
  • The New World of Darkness also has the option during character creation of giving a character a flaw which could potentially hinder them and — if done right — give extra experience points. Some of the flaws include addictions, Coward, Forgetful, and Behavior Blind. You are also required to select a Vice, which gives you a Willpower reward for doing something stupid in pursuit of it.
  • Every Darklord in the Ravenloft setting, no exceptions, has one, and it's always related to the crime that cursed them with their own Domain. For example, Strahd Von Zarovich's flaw is his love for Tatyana, his brother's betrothed. This desire led him to become a vampire, murder his brother, and — most likely — cause her death, which condemned him to his Self-Inflicted Hell forever. He can never have her, but is constantly tormented by visions of her and women who look just like her, both of which often cause him to take avoidable risks and make mistakes. If one hopes to have even a slim chance of defeating a Darklord, they must know what the flaw is and how to exploit it.
  • In Traveller the Fatal Flaw of the Vilani was in trying to call a halt to progress for the sake of stability. Which worked so long as they did not find an outside competitor(I.E. Earth) The Fatal Flaw of the Terrans was more complex. It was in trying to govern the thousands of conquered Vilani worlds without the experience or inclination. The Vilani system was too repressive for the Terrans to use it and the Terran system was only suited for governing a few dozen worlds.
  • Warhammer 40,000
    • The Emperor's arrogance and detachment from humanity. He never felt the need to explain himself, and assumed that no one would betray or disobey him regardless of what he did. He also couldn't comprehend people's seeming need to believe in a higher power, and thus never believed that his own anti-religious actions would eventually lead to his people worshiping him, as the priest in The Last Church rightly observed.
    • The Space Marines' blind obedience to their Primarchs.
    • The Eldar's single-mindedness. This leads to the Dark Eldar's continued debauchery and the Craftworld Eldar's Crippling Overspecialization.
    • The Necrontyr's jealousy of the Eldar's long life which led them to pledge their services to the C'Tan.
    • The C'Tan's gluttony which led them to feast on each other.
    • The Chaos Gods' selfishness which is why cooperation between them is impossible, and ultimately why they will never win.
    • The Orks' love of fighting for its own sake.
    • The Tau's belief in The Greater Good. It's heavily implied their tolerance for other cultures and liberal ideology will lead to the extinction of their species, especially in a universe where Chaos exists. Latter editions redefined this to being too trusting of the Ethereal Caste's teachings, with the Ethereals themselves intentionally hiding unpleasant truths, that they're completely not prepared to face some of the threats out there or seeing some of their side's own questionable actions and hypocrisy.
    • The Ethereal Caste it self has adopted a belief that the T'au would be better off not knowing about what goes on throughout the rest of the galaxy, out of either fear that the truth would shake the faith in "The Greater Good" or simply losing their political power, mirroring several of the same mistakes the Emperor made with the Imperium.
    • The Adeptus Mechanicus' insatiable curiosity for Lost Technology has greatly slowed the Imperium's ability and willingness to adopt new designs, causing further items to become Lost Technology due to their unwillingness to make or study anything that lacks an available Standard Template Construction. As well as accidentally awakening a number of Necron Tombs.
    • Most of the Primarchs had one:
      • The Lion was a Horrible Judge of Character who couldn't read or relate to other people.
      • Jaghatai was a loner who hardly ever associated with any of his brothers, so when the Heresy kicked off, he could trust nobody and nobody could trust him.
      • Leman Russ had Undying Loyalty which meant he never questioned orders even when they were questionable, like being ordered to burn an entire world when it was really a false order given by Horus, and that Leman's actual orders were to bring Magnus back to the Imperium alive to face judgement from the Emperor. Also, his lack of tact made him an outcast among his own brothers.
      • Rogal Dorn's Determinator tendencies often translated as Attack! Attack! Attack! in battle. He didn't know when to stop. The Iron Cage incident exploited this and his legion was decimated as a result.
      • Roboute Guilliman had a need for control and orthodoxy that often made his thinking predictable and inflexible. This was how Fulgrim ambushed and wounded him.
      • Fulgrim had an obsession with emulating his father and perfecting himself that drove him to madness.
      • Perturabo always felt like The Un-Favourite of his family because his father and his brothers never valued him or his accomplishments. So when the Heresy happened, he fell in line with the one brother who didn't treat him as a Butt-Monkey.
      • Konrad's unflinching desire for justice made him a brutal psychopath.
      • Angron... Where to begin? His uncontrollable rage, his obsession with avenging his comrades, his resentment against his father for letting them all die, his inability to relate with any of his brothers because of the pain of losing his old ones on his homeworld, his Never My Fault tendencies which made him very hard to like... Poor guy.
      • Mortarian's confidence issues led to him seeing council from the wrong people.
      • Magnus was an Insufferable Genius who recklessly and arrogantly sought knowledge and power wherever he could, which led to him turning to Chaos.
      • Lorgar always sought a higher meaning to dedicate himself to. When the Emperor rejected him, he turned to Chaos.
      • Alpharius' desire to constantly look like the most brilliant person in the room ironically made him very easy to manipulate for both Chaos and the Cabal. Also, his Complexity Addiction which eventually resulted in his death at the hands of Dorn.
      • And finally, Horus Lupercal himself, who above all other things wanted glory. He hated sharing credit with his brothers and eventually he hated sharing credit with the Emperor.
  • In Werewolf: The Apocalypse, several Time of Judgment scenarios show how fatal flaws undermined the various shape-changers.
    • The Nuwisha alienated many Garou with their trickster ways. When the Wyrm targeted the Nuwisha for genocide, their reputation created difficulties for them when they sought refuge among the Garou.
    • The Black Furies naïvely revered the Wyld for much of their history. This spelled doom for the tribe when a quarter of its members contracted the Wyld-tainted Metamorphic Plague.
    • The Get of Fenris always placed too much emphasis on relentless combat and too little on subtlety. This gung-ho attitude drove the tribe to charge head-first into subterranean tunnels to fight the Black Spiral Dancers. Even when it was obvious that the Black Spirals were luring them deeper into the tunnels with defensive feint traps, the Get pursued their prey anyway, until the tribe fell to the Wyrm.
    • The Uktena's close study of the Wyrm always worried the other tribes, and their strategy of binding banes under caerns was dangerous. In one Time of Judgment scenario, these bound banes corrupted the tribe's Bane Tenders, who in turn corrupted the rest of the Uktena.
    • The Red Talons' uninhibited hatred of humans led them to eat human flesh. The Red Talons contracted a prion disease from eating human flesh, which they in turn passed on to other wolves, annihilating almost all of their wolf kinfolk.
  • White Wolf are generally pretty fond of this trope. Changeling: The Dreaming and Vampire: The Masquerade are particularly good examples as every sub-flavour of supernatural ("Kith" in Changeling, "Clan" in Vampire) has its own supernatural disadvantage.

  • Older Than Feudalism: Pretty much all ancient Greek tragedies had a main character or characters with a hamartia, which is often translated to English as "fatal flaw." While the actual plot device isn't exactly the trope (it's a bad decision on the heroes' part that causes tragedy), it is usually caused by a fatal character flaw. It was part of the basic structure for an Ancient Greek tragedy, according to Aristotle. Oedipus was headstrong and didn't know when to stop, Creon in Antigone was proud and was intent on making an example out of Antigone, Antigone was stubbornly committed to her traitorous brother...
  • William Shakespeare loves to give these to characters in his tragedies:
    • Brutus is extremely honorable and expects others to be, or possibly self-centered and susceptible to flattery.
    • Richard, Duke of Gloucester, a.k.a Richard III, has a callous disregard for human life and an irrational lust for the crown.
    • Macbeth is blinded by power and paranoia and plagued by guilt. He's also very wrathful.
    • Lady Macbeth is overly ambitious.
    • Hamlet waited too long, and is very likely crazy. He does have a particular flaw, but what it is depends on interpretation and how he is presented. And yet in every production he is completely aware about this:
      "So, oft it chances in particular men,
      That for some vicious mole of nature in them...
      Carrying, I say, the stamp of one defect,
      Being nature's livery, or fortune's star,
      Their virtues else - be they as pure as grace,
      As infinite as man may undergo -
      Shall in the general censure take corruption
      From that particular fault."
    • Romeo and Juliet are so obsessed with each other they forget about anything else. Romeo is a bit of a hothead, too. Friar Lawrence also thought his plan was Crazy Enough to Work.
    • Antony and Cleopatra similarly allow their obsessions with one another to override any sensible political judgement, so that they needlessly make an enemy of Octavian.
    • Othello is too rash, not to mention gullible (to be more precise, he believes the people he shouldn't and doesn't believe the ones he should) and prone to jealousy. In turn, Iago is a Consummate Liar.
      • It's a common point among scholars that Othello and Hamlet's flaws are exact opposites of each other; Othello is impulsive to a fault, while Hamlet spends too long thinking things through to the point where he gets nothing done. If Othello was in Hamlet's place, he'd kill Claudius in a second, and the play would be over, and if Hamlet was in Othello's place, he'd take great care to make sure Desdemona really was unfaithful, and would probably discover Iago's deception.
    • King Lear is far too proud. This causes him to exile and disown his beloved, youngest daughter who tells him the truth and gets himself stabbed in the back by his two eldest daughters who tell him what he wants to hear.
    • Goneril and Regan (Lear's back-stabbing daughters) are destroyed by their shared fatal flaw: lust. Their mutual attraction to Edmund from Act IV onward turns them against each other, culminating in a Murder-Suicide during the final scene.
    • Coriolanus is horribly arrogant and contemptuous of both the common people of Rome and his fellow politicians. He also flies into a near-murderous rage whenever someone calls him a traitor.
  • 1776: John Adams is, by his own and everyone else's admission, "Obnoxious and disliked." He has a devil of a time getting Congress to agree to independence not so much because it's a bad idea as Adams annoying various delegates away from his position by being too stubborn about it.
  • Camelot is doomed by King Arthur's idealism and belief in people which blind him to Guinevere's infidelity and Mordred's scheming.
  • Shown explicitly in Arthur Miller's play Death of a Salesman. The main character, Willy Loman, is so entranced with his own dreams and desires that he denies and ignores anything contrary to his beliefs. Willy's conviction that just being well liked is enough to lead to success eventually leads to his downfall, as he can't understand why his sons, who were popular in high school, can't seem to get successful jobs. After Willy commits suicide, the play ends as a "Shaggy Dog" Story, with nobody attending Willy's funeral. One of Willy's sons even lampshades his father's Fatal Flaw.
  • In Electra, the title character's unrelenting lust for revenge combined with her nigh-incestuous obsession with her brother, Orestes, and her father, Agamemnon, makes for her fatal flaw.
  • Hamilton:
    • Hamilton is immoveable when it comes to matters of honor, making him insensitive to the needs of others.
      • Hamilton's greatest strength, and greatest weakness, is that having grown up with nothing, he throws himself completely into any opportunity placed in front of him, and can't say "no". His writing continues to open doors for him throughout his life and creates the American financial system, helping the new country stay afloat: but it means he's an absent father and husband, and when the opportunity to sleep with Maria Reynolds comes up, he can't resist that either (which comes back to bite him hard).
    • Burr is The Ditherer; he misses several chances to make his mark on history (like passing up a chance to co-author the Federalist Papers) because he's worried that It Will Never Catch On, which also convinces Hamilton that he has no core ideals and can't be trusted with the nascent government.
    • The ultimate irony of the final duel is that both Hamilton and Burr swap their flaws around. Hamilton waits too long and points his gun at the sky so that the duel can be ended bloodlessly, but Burr's already lined up his shot: Burr takes the opportunity and fires before he can realize what's happening. The result is fatal to Burr's career, and literally fatal for Hamilton.
  • Judas in Jesus Christ Superstar is doomed by old fashioned pride. Just because he's Jesus's right hand he automatically thinks he knows him better than anyone. He thinks his betrayal is for the best but he's just another part of God's plan so he kills himself when he realizes he has no control over his life.
  • My Fair Lady: Higgins' superior attitude causes Elisa to leave him.
  • Nancy's misplaced Undying Loyalty to the monstrous Bill Sykes in Oliver!.
  • The Phantom of the Opera and Love Never Dies:
    • Christine's love for her late father which The Phantom plays upon.
    • The Phantom's obsession for Christine.
    • Raoul doesn't listen to other people's advice.
    • Madame Giry's bitterness at The Phantom not appreciating her.
    • Meg's need to please her mother and the Phantom.
  • Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street: Sweeney Todd's obsession with revenge against Judge Turpin (combined with waiting a little too long the first time he had him in his hands) ends up costing him everything in the end (as well as his willingness to trust someone he really shouldn't have concerning his wife's fate).
  • In Miller's A View from the Bridge, Eddie Carbone's Fatal Flaw is his unrealized love for his niece, Catherine.

  • The Transformers, with its huge cast and multiple Alternate Universes has numerous characters with well-known flaws that are constant throughout the franchise:
    • Megatron is often a Bad Boss, and more often than not has the flaws of Pride, Wrath and Greed.
    • Starscream, being the Trope Namer, lusts for power and isn't above taking action that directly harms his own faction to gain said power. The Marvel Comics version infamously had a higher kill count of named characters than Unicron!
    • Rodimus Prime is often viewed both in-universe and among fans as a Sucksessor to Optimus Prime. He himself often suffers from self-doubt and is prone to second guessing himself. In some universes, he grows out of it and becomes a capable leader in his own right. In others, he's glad to let someone else take over as leader, especially if Optimus is somehow brought back to life.
    • Optimus Prime has two famous fatal flaws: his willingness to sacrifice himself for a noble cause and his unwillingness to fight the war with utter ruthlessness. The first has become a sort of Running Gag for him, while the second is usually justified by him fearing that fighting the way Megatron does would be his own personal Start of Darkness.

    Visual Novels 
  • Ace Attorney:
    • Phoenix himself has his tendency to not look before he leaps; sure, sometimes his recklessness serves him well and he comes across decisive evidence someone more rational would never find, but other times it backfires horribly on him, like the times he showed murderers decisive evidence against him and and got it destroyed (and himself injured) for his troubles, trusting Dahlia Hawthorne, running across a rickety bridge that was on fire (it breaks under him and he gets dumped into the river below), and accepting what would turn out to be a piece of forged evidence that ruined his career without a second thought, among other things.
    • Athena has her emotional sensitivity; she has a difficult time keeping her cool in court and can be relatively easily bullied into a Heroic BSoD, needing someone else to snap her out of it.
    • Pride is a really common one for villains; most of them could've gotten away scot-free if they hadn't overreached themselves by showing up in court where Phoenix can rip their testimony to shreds.
    • Manfred von Karma has Perfectionism, which he passed down to his protege Edgeworth and his daughter Franziska. Just being a really good prosecutor wasn't enough; he had to have an absolutely perfect win record, and he didn't care if he cheated to do it. Edgeworth eventually wised up and Franziska was never as ruthless as she liked to claim, but Manfred kept that flaw for 40 years to the point that a singular penalty infuriated him so badly that, given an opportunity, he killed the defense lawyer responsible.
    • Distrust is another repeat one. The defense lawyer Roger Hammond ruined his client Yanni Yogi's life because he never trusted his clients (and so forced the guy to plead Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity, when Yogi really was innocent), and Matt Engarde manages to ruin his own case by trying to blackmail the assassin he hired (the assassin having treachery from clients as his Berserk Button) because, being a backstabbing sociopath himself, he didn't trust that the assassin wouldn't turn on him.
    • Holding Grudges is a repeat offense-causer, and is behind some of the more sympathetic murderers committing their crimes and generally ruining the lives of innocents in the process.
    • Morgan Fey has Envy. She was passed over as Master of the Fey clan in favor of her younger sister Misty because Misty's spiritual powers were stronger, and she's never really gotten over it. She twice tries to orchestrate Maya's death because Maya is next in line to become Master, while Morgan's daughter Pearl is next after Maya. The main villain of Spirit of Justice shares this flaw, having likewise not become Queen of Khura'in because she had no spiritual powers and her sister did, and she eventually staged a coup to take the throne.
    • Dahlia has Pride and Wrath. She is quick to act against those who she feels have wronged her in some way, which generally leads to unnecessary crimes that have to be covered up with more crimes until she finally overreaches herself, and she never learns that the common denominator in all her crimes failing is her own inability to plan her way out of a wet paper bag.
    • Kristoph Gavin has several such flaws, such as elitism, an inability to let go of the past, and an absolute inability to keep his trap shut about information he shouldn't know, but his truest fatal flaw is so deeply ingrained that even he doesn't know about it: envy. He absolutely cannot stand anyone else eclipsing him in skill, or even the insinuation that anyone else is better than he is, which is why he ruined Phoenix's career; a prominent client fired him in favor of Phoenix, so he decided to frame Phoenix for forgery in revenge.
    • Wocky Kitalki has Naivete; he really doesn't understand what being a gangster entails and is quick to trust people he really shouldn't, like his girlfriend Alita Tiala.
    • Florent L'Belle's main flaw is Vanity; the cosmetics he invented really are quite ingenious and he could get filthy rich selling them, but he just can't stand the thought of "peasants" being able to emulate his look and so sticks to only using them for himself.
    • The phantom has Paranoia; they could have easily escaped the game scot-free with no one even knowing of their involvement, but they just had to get rid of anything that might remotely incriminate them... which of course put them in a position to get all their crimes exposed in front of a courtroom.
    • Geiru Toneido has her desire to live up to her father, a famous Rakugo performer, despite not having his talent. She had pinned so much of her hopes and dreams on rakugo that her mentor giving her father's stage name to someone else caused her to kill him in a fit of rage and frame his other disciple out of envy. He'd actually wanted her to realize that she was making herself miserable by focusing so heavily on rakugo and to set her free to pursue something she actually loved.
    • The villain of Turnabout Time-Traveller is called a time traveller because his fatal flaw is an utter inability to move on from his failure to save his fiancee Selena Sprocket, which causes him to mastermind a murder plot specifically to hurt Sorin, who he blames for Serena's death because Sorin caused a car crash that nearly killed both him and Serena, and Pierce's choice to save Sorin first cost Serena her life.
    • The Great Ace Attorney has its own set of flaws:
      • Protagonist Ryuunosuke Naruhodo lacks self-esteem and considers himself a poor replacement for his friend Kazuma. It takes two entire games for him to realize that Kazuma had his own flaws and couldn't be who Ryuunosuke was either.
      • Speaking of Kazuma Asogi, his problem is his recklessness and tendency to get tunnel-vision in supporting his goals; he signs up as an assassin (though he tries to reassure Ryuunosuke he had no intention of actually going through with murder) because it would get him to England to investigate his father's death, and he nearly plays right into Mael Stronghart's plans by convicting Barok as the Reaper because he personally had a grudge against Barok, though thankfully Ryuunosuke is able to get through to him in time.
      • Barok van Zieks tends to lose his ability to think rationally when people he genuinely cares for are involved. His more obvious flaw, his racism, is actually spun off from this. The reason he convicted Genshin Asogi as the Professor despite the obvious signs that it was a frame-up was because the other option was that his beloved older brother Klint was the Professor. Klint really was the Professor and Barok had all the necessary evidence to realize this... but he just couldn't bring himself to think his brother was a murderer. He instead convinced himself that Yellow Peril was a thing to avoid believing that either his brother or his close friend were monsters.
      • Mael Stronghart is a Control Freak. Which is why he set up the whole 'Reaper of Old Bailey' thing surrounding Barok and blackmailed Klint into killing people for him; he just can't accept that England's justice system might work just fine without him.
  • Corpse Party: Naomi is very much your typical Tsundere. Cute, but has a tendency to let her temper get the best of her, and is unable to admit her true feelings. Unfortunately, this is not Played for Laughs or seen as cute, as her temper, and inability to apologize, ends up getting Seiko killed.
  • Quite few show up in the Danganronpa series, and it's often exploited by the Mastermind to make the killings actually happen.
    • Mondo Owada's is his temper and sense of inadequacy. In his backstory, he, struggling with feelings of inferiority to his brother Diaiya, challenges Daiya to a race, resulting in Daiya dying to save Mondo. In Chapter 2, he, jealous of Chihiro's sense of strength, and emotionally disturbed at the prospect of the aforementioned incident coming to light, accidentally kills Chihiro in a fit of rage.
    • Sakura Oogami's flaw is her Honor Before Reason. Her devotion to her family's dojo allows Junko to blackmail her by threatening it, which ultimately leads to her death by suicide, in lieu of following Junko's orders to kill another student.
    • Celeste Ludenburg has Lack of Trust. As a gambler and a Consummate Liar, Celeste can't trust anyone. She's the third culprit, because she couldn't trust the other students and Alter Ego to overturn the game, and instead decided to play it in her desperation to get out.
    • Byakuya's is Pride. His belief in his own ability leads him to disregard the seriousness of the killing game, and his arrogant certainty of his own rightness leads to him being blindsided a couple times (despite being one of the most intelligent students) because he doesn't get that few other students see their situation as a game to be played, and place friendship above "winning".
    • Kyoko Kirigiri's fatal flaw is I Work Alone. She is genuinely trying to figure out the Mastermind's plot so she can stop it, but her habit of going off on her own without telling anyone where she is leads to other students seeing her as suspicious and plays into the Mastermind's plan to frame her.
    • Mukuro Ikasuba's flaw is Blind Devotion. Even if she personally doesn't want to go through with something, she'll do it if Junko asks, due both to emotional abuse and her training as the Ultimate Soldier. It also means that she has a severe blind spot about people she sees as commanding officers. She helps Junko with the Ultimate Despair plan despite it involving her friends and crushed being brutally tortured and murdered, and she dies because she never realized that Junko really would kill her on a whim.
    • Junko Enoshima has Lust, though not the usual version. Rather, they will take any opportunity for stimulation, even if said opportunity is exactly counter towards their normal plans. Junko killed her boyfriend and sister, both useful assets to her, just because she wanted to feel some momentary despair from killing loved ones. And when she's caught out in the first game, she doesn't try to regain control or to escape to continue her plans, instead executing herself because she liked the idea of despairing at seeing her plans fail.
    • Peko Pekoyama is unable to see herself as anything other than Fuyuhiko's tool, viewing herself and everyone else as expendable, which leads her to kill Mahiru under the assumption that Fuyuhiko would be considered the true mastermind, and thus graduate after everyone else convicted her. It didn't work, because as Monokuma pointed out, she'd acted without his orders; Fuyuhiko didn't want her to kill anyone for him because he saw her as a friend and didn't want her to die.
    • Fuyuhiko and Mahiru both have fairly hot tempers and argumentative personalities, which frequently causes them to butt heads. Because of this, their meeting to discuss what happened in "Twilight Syndrome Murder Mystery" (which reveals that Fuyuhiko killed Mahiru's friend in revenge for his little sister's death), quickly gets out of hand, resulting in Peko killing Mahiru out of a belief that Fuyuhiko wanted Mahiru dead.
    • Nagito Komaeda, ironically enough, has Despair as his fatal flaw. Despite being such a Hope Freak, he's never really experienced it for himself due to being a Cosmic Plaything. Because of this, he breaks down when he can't lie to himself about having hope anymore. This leads to him attempting to kill everyone on the island when he learns of their past as members of Ultimate Despair.
    • Jin Kirigiri, headmaster of Hope's Peak, had his devotion to the academy's mission. His desire to help talented students succeed in life meant that he had a tendency to overlook the fact that some of his more talented students were spectacularly unstable people who would likely use those talents for evil. The Steering Committee he reported to were even worse in this regard, as at least Jin realized enough was enough when a student (who was enrolled behind his back) manipulated the Student Council into murdering each other. The Steering Committee covered the incident up.In fact, the Steering Committee were so devoted to the ideal of talent that they decided to create a person who was all talent and no humanity- which turned out to be someone who had no motivation to actually do anything with his talents, and just watched the world be destroyed.
    • Kaede Akamatsu has a tendency to push her own personal sense of justice (what she believes is "right"), regardless of the consequences, which leads her to setting a trap to catch the Mastermind, even though she doesn't even know for definite that there is one. There is a mastermind, but Kaede's attempt to set a trap and kill the mastermind results in her being framed for the mastermind killing Rantaro, and thus being executed.
    • Kirumi Tojo has Perfectionism. She will always go above and beyond to fulfil any task given to her, which leads to her murdering Ryoma when she's led to believe that staying in school would lead to her failing in her role as Japan's effective Prime Minister.
    • Gonta Gokuhara is very gullible, which makes him easily manipulated by Kokichi and really comes back to bite him when Kokichi manipulates him to killing Miu.
    • Miu Iruma's is her abusiveness and lack of trust, as she is unable to put aside her fear that one of the other students may kill her and use her talent to work together, thus leading to her plotting to kill Kokichi and graduate, an attempt that is thwarted when Gonta kills her on Kokichi's suggestion.
    • Tenko Chabashira's protectiveness over Himiko almost directly results in her death, literally volunteering to take Himiko's face in a death trap, albeit unknowingly.
    • Kaito Momota's arbitrary trust in people is often completely misguided, and while he does have a point about The Power of Friendship, this attitude nearly gets everyone killed in the fourth chapter because the Awful Truth is too much for him to bear.
    • Kokichi's is his constant lying to everyone. Though his lying tendencies do help out the group and allow him to outwit the culprits several times, it also gets in the way when he's genuinely trying to accomplish a goal and the other students don't believe him. It really comes back to bite him in the aftermath of Chapter Four Miu and Gonta are dead, which is almost entirely his fault, and the group turn their backs on him when he falsely claims to be the Mastermind. When the group are shown a Flashback Light concerning Ultimate Despair, they assume Kokichi is a member. When Kokichi kidnaps Kaito, Maki goes after Kokichi and confronts him. When Kokichi tells her (truthfully) that he has no idea what she's talking about, Maki naturally doesn't believe him and shoots him with a poisoned arrow, which will slowly kill him.
    • Himiko has two, her childishness and unwillingness to face her feelings. During the second trial, she thinks her magic show is more important than clearing suspicion of her, so she stubbornly refuses to explain how her trick works until Shuichi figures it out himself and she's forced to confirm it. She's also a major suspect in two different trials because her childish nature makes her an easy target to frame. Then in the third trial, her grief over Tenko's death looks fake because up until then, she expressed nothing but annoyance towards her. It's only when Himiko remembers Tenko's last words to her, that Himiko is finally able to finally grieve for them and begin to express herself to honour her friend's memory.
    • Angie's is that she's a Tautological Templar and believes herself to be in the right in everything because she is acting out Atua's will and she never considers other people's feelings because of this. She sets up a student council which is basically just a cult that answers to her and enforces rules she made up, dividing the students sharply into two factions. Her belief that everybody will abide by the rules she and the student council set up end up directly contributing to her death, since she went to her lab alone at night to try bringing Rantaro back from the dead, accidentally stumbling on Korekiyo while he was setting a trap. He easily knocks her out and kills her, and her body isn't discovered into the next day because she wouldn't open the door to anyone except the student council and Kokichi was forced to pick the lock when Himiko couldn't get Angie to respond.
    • Tsumugi's flaw is her escapist tendencies; she immerses herself in the fictional worlds she cosplays to the point of actively rejecting reality. She's such a fangirl of Danganronpa that she helped re-create the killing game and killed two people herself (killed Rantaro and got Kaede framed for it) as the Mastermind, and dies in the end because she couldn't bring herself to end the franchise.
  • Fate/stay night: Shirou's selfless need to help others is identified as a sign of his twisted, distorted view of the world pretty much right off the bat. What this really means, though, and the extent to which his distortion reaches, is only fully revealed in the latter routes.
    • Archer's flaw was his idealism which led him to being estranged from other people and finally executed for crimes he did not commit. He might have accepted this but his idealism also led to him becoming a Counter-Guardian, an existence which consisted solely of killing people rather than saving them.
    • Sakura's fatal flaw is her self image, which is horrible enough to become the primary cause for everything going FUBAR in Heaven's Feel.
    • Kiritsugu wanted to save the world. It cost him his wife, his daughter, and his life. He admitted that he had never done a single act of good, nor saved a single person, until he pulled Shirou from the fire which was caused by his own actions.
    • Kotomine is unable to find any joy or pleasure in anything good, and can only find satisfaction or happiness in the suffering of others. He struggled for a long time to deny this flaw, to work around it, or to correct it, even going so far as to marry and have a child. His only sadness upon her death was regret that he hadn't killed her himself. With the help of Gilgamesh, he surrendered to his own need for evil.
    • Saber's selflessness was her downfall in life. As King Arthur, she chose to become her ideal of the perfect regent, ruling without surrendering to her emotions and taking every action possible for the good and safety of her kingdom. However her perfectly just rule and emotional distance from the people led to many feeling she was in some way inhuman. This in turn led to civil war started by Mordred, the "son" created by Morgan le Fay whose love she rejected and subsequently allowed to turn to hate, and her death.
    • If Gilgamesh ever ever fought at full power, no one and no Hero in the Holy Grail War would be capable of defeating him. But due to his arrogance he never fights at his full potential and underestimates his opponents, and thus he gives them just enough of an edge in that overconfidence to surprise and finish him before he can correct his mistake.
  • In The House in Fata Morgana, two of the three people who ended up killing Morgana have serious fatal flaws that result in everything going wrong for all of them.
    • Mell's is cowardice. He imprisons Morgana from his fear of Yukimasa, in spite of his beliefs that he's doing wrong. He refuses to tell anyone or speak against the lord and Yukimasa because he's afraid. It is noted that while his fear is understandable, it ultimately ended up causing Morgana's death.
    • Jacopo's is pride. In his pride, he refuses to talk to anybody about his problems, which only makes everything worse for everyone and ends up in him killing almost everyone he cared about before he became a lord, and dying by one of the few remaining ones in turn.
  • Explored with each character on Illusionary Trauma, with each route showing the flaw of the character and how it affects them.
  • Makoto Itou, the protagonist of School Days, is a poor communicator and extremely indecisive, traits that do not serve him well when multiple girls start fighting for his affections. In the bad endings, these flaws can be literally fatal for either him or one of the girls he's involved with.
    • How it's played depends on the particular adaptation. In the original visual novel this can be played straight or subverted since the player controls Makoto's choices. In the anime he's these with a heaping of Jerkass thrown in for good measure. In the manga it's played more sympathetically, with Makoto being more genuinely unable to decide on what to do, but because he takes too long to commit to a decision, the situation still ends tragically.
  • Shinrai: Broken Beyond Despair
    • Rie's fatal flaw, by her own admission, is her adamant refusal to suspect her friends of any wrongdoing, especially not her best friend Runa, even when faced with the possibility that there's a murderer among them. This leads to some friction between her and Taiko, the latter of whom's investigating the killings and considers Runa a possible suspect, although Runa is, indeed, innocent.
    • Taiko's fatal flaw is his tendency to let his friendship with Kotoba cloud his judgment. To his credit, he doesn't hesitate to call Kotoba out when he takes his perverted antics too far, but he's also initially unwilling to believe that Kotoba was stalking Momoko, or that she'd used him in her plan. After Kotoba is badly burned or killed(depending on player choices) as a result of the killer's plan, Taiko becomes irrational, and insists that Kamen is guilty, even though his theory has more than a few holes in it.
    • Momoko's fatal flaw is her trust issues. In the past, she was overly trusting, resulting in many people taking advantage of her. As a result, she became unable to trust others, apart from her best friend Kamen and her boyfriend Hiro, and it took two years for her to truly open up to the former. Runa suspects that if Momoko was betrayed by either of the two people closest to her, it would break her, and for good reason. When Kamen tried to warn Momoko that Hiro tried to cheat on her with Kamen, Momoko refused to believe her, and threatened to end their friendship if Kamen continued trying to get between them. Momoko then discovered messages from Hiro on Kamen's phone, and concluding that Hiro and Kamen had betrayed her, plotted to murder Hiro, kill herself and frame Kamen.

    Web Animation 
  • Dreamscape: The Overlord of Evil's god complex makes him believe he is invincible and holds all the cards, which means he is not prepared when the tables get turned on him.
  • Happy Tree Friends: Almost all the characters have fatal flaws. Lumpy is inept at everything he does, Nutty is constantly hyperactive and addicted to sugar. Flaky has fears and phobias about just about anything and everything. These flaws do indeed prove to be fatal by the end of the episode. Sgt. Flippy's untreated post-traumatic stress disorder, always proves to be fatal for everyone else around him by the end of the episode.
  • In If the Emperor Had a Text-to-Speech Device the fatal flaw is Arrogance. Like in Warhammer 40,000 the Emperor staunchly refuses to admit that he was wrong but even more than that constantly belittles everyone including his most loyal Custodian "Little Kitten" and thinks he's smarter and greater than everyone else (which he is). By doing this he causes Horus to start the Horus Heresy and put him on the Golden Throne and unable to communicate for ten millennium, Magnus the Red falling to Chaos after he failed to heed his warnings, lose Kitten's faith in him along with the position of Captain-General of the Adeptus Custodes, and cause Magnus to try to run the Imperium himself. It's Played for Laughs in "The Emperor and Kitten Play a Children's Card Game" short where the Emperor gives Kitten a "terrible" Yu-Gi-Oh! deck so he can beat Kitten in two turns with a deliberately broken deck that takes the bulk of the episode to do. Only to be beaten with two cards that exploit the fatal weakness of the Emp's strategy. He doesn't take losing very well.
    • As the Emperor says "Like fucking father, like fucking son": Magnus the Red has the same problem of arrogance as the Emperor. Possessing great wisdom and knowledge Magnus believes himself to be smarter and better than everyone around him (which he is), including his father (which he's not), but his arrogance is also very fragile as he complains like a whiny teenager when his father bullies him (which is a lot).
  • The Most Popular Girls in School: Deandra's is Gluttony, and playing all sides to satisfy said gargantuan appetite.
  • Overly Sarcastic Productions: According to Red, Hubris.
  • In Red vs. Blue:
    • Carolina's Pride and her need to be better than Agent Texas has caused several issues for herself, her teammates and others. By taking the two A.I. meant for Washington and South so she could compete with Tex, Carolina only fueled South's envy and eventually resulting in South leaving her brother for dead. During a training simulation with Tex to capture the flag, Carolina accidentally killed Biff, Temple's dearest friend and callously dismissed the event, having been more focused on defeating Tex. This would lead to Temple's Start of Darkness and years later, hatch a plot to kill all remaining freelancers and the UNSC due to the latter's involvement.
    • Speaking of South Dakota, her fatal flaw is Jealousy. She can't stand being Always Second Best to her brother, and Washington preventing her from getting an A.I. like North Dakota (by having a mental breakdown when implanted with Epsilon, but details) led to her resenting him and potentially her later betrayal.
    • Washington's flaw is Revenge. Despite being a generally nice person, when he feels that he's wronged (which, given he's a Butt-Monkey, happens fairly often), he'll go to some spectacular lengths to get vengeance. This is why he brought down Project Freelancer and allied with the Meta against the Reds and Blues. His time with the Blood Gulch Crew has softened him up considerably.
    • Sarge's flaw is his need for war; he's a Shell-Shocked Veteran who doesn't know what to do with himself if he isn't fighting someone. This is why he's so adamant on fighting the Blues even when it's fairly obvious that the fight is unnecessary and made-up. It's also why he temporarily joins the Blues and Reds before coming to his senses.
    • Grif's is his Sloth, but not in the normal way (that's mostly for comedy purposes); he's prone to being an Achilles in His Tent.
    • Simmons'is need for approval; he's such a kiss-ass partially because he sees Sarge as a replacement father figure, and he's afraid of standing up for himself.
    • Tucker's fatal flaw is surprisingly not Lust. It's his tendency to make reckless decisions. It's this flaw that causes Wash to get shot in the battle with the Blues and Reds, taking him and Locus out of the equation and later giving him brain damage.
    • Felix's fatal flaw is his massive ego. Felix ultimately causes more problems for himself than he can deal with by being as boastful and arrogant as he possibly can to people he should really just shoot dead when he has a chance. Also if he feels even the slightest bit upstaged in any way he will quickly abandon rational thought just to soothe his injured pride. This trait eventually gets him killed. He went after the Reds and Blues because he couldn't stand that they nearly killed him when destroying the Purge Tower and was horribly outmatched. It also causes Locus to turn against him in the end because Locus realizes that Felix knew he couldn't cope with the trauma of war and went out of his way to keep Locus under his control by not letting him do so. The reason for that? Locus was the better soldier.
  • RWBY:
    • Yang's impulsive personality makes her impatient, quick to anger, and prone to thrill-seeking, obsession and dangerously thoughtless acts. As a child, her obsession with finding her birth mother meant that, the moment her father's back was turned, she dragged her sister on a quest to locate Raven. All she found was a nest of Grimm. If not for Qrow turning up just in time, both girls would have died. Although she now controls her obsession with her mother, she revels in thrill-seeking and weaponises her quick temper: combining her wrath, impatience and Semblance allows her to win fights very quickly without bothering with either strategy or temperance. This fighting style makes her quite predictable to the villains, enabling Neo to defeat and almost kill her without receiving a single hit in return and also enabling Emerald and Mercury to disgrace her as a ruthless fighter who will hit an opponent who is already down.
    • Blake Belladonna has issues that stem from a deep self-loathing about her own failings, such as perceived cowardice and guilt about things she has no control over, often fleeing those who would help her. She asks her father why her parents would still love her after what she's done and tells Sun that she isolates herself to prevent others suffering the consequences. Yang, Ghira and Sun all point out in different ways that Blake's self-flagellation isn't helpful: Yang notes the self-destructiveness of obsession; Sun reveals that pushing friends away is the worst kind of hurt; and Ghira simply states that she will always be loved, no matter what.
    • Cinder Fall is an egomaniac, whose flaw is accompanied by sadism, an insatiable hunger for power and a severe case of pettiness. This has led to her losing badly several times. Cinder's driven to uplift herself while bringing everyone else down, even if she has to pause to waste time gloating instead of completing the plan without incident. If someone she perceives as beneath her gets the better of her, she will pay them back in the worst way possible, even if doing so is either pointless or detrimental to the long-term plan. If she thinks there's a way to fulfill Salem's mission and get what she wants she'll go for it, no matter how risky it is. Her cruel, arrogant lust for power finally gets the better of her near the end of Volume 5, when she falls for Raven's decoy and exposes herself to defeat by Raven's hand. In Volume 7, her need to gloat to Fria instead of immediately taking Fria's power gives the ailing Winter Maiden time to focus her mind and protect herself just long enough for help to arrive. Cinder then wastes even more time to take revenge on Winter for cutting off her Grimm arm, distracting Cinder from killing Fria and allowing Penny to become the new Winter Maiden instead.
    • White Fang High Leader, Sienna Khan sums up Adam Taurus's weakness as short-sightedness. He possesses the charisma to lead Vale's faction of the White Fang in any endeavour he supports; even when many Faunus lose their lives during the Volume 2 finale, he is confident that his followers will continue to do his bidding. Claiming he's inspired by Sienna's strength, he joins forces with Salem to destroy Beacon Academy. Sienna is furious because Adam cannot see that his actions have justified humanity's hatred and fear of the Faunus and that the White Fang is now more of a target than it ever was. Blake explains to Sun that Adam symbolises the concept of 'spite' to her; the world hurt him, so he intends to hurt the world right back; he neither cares nor comprehends the wider consequences of his actions. He believes in Faunus superiority and plans for a day when humanity will be forced to serve the Faunus, but he's willing to ruin his own plans for short-term gain, such as the destruction of Beacon Academy or putting a hit out on Blake's family just because they oppose him. Murdering Sienna to obtain control of the White Fang and trying to assassinate the Belladonnas motivates a previously neutral Menagerie to form an army for the sole purpose of stopping him from doing to Haven Academy what he did to Beacon; his ability to control the White Fang is therefore destroyed by his own weakness almost as soon as he set his plans in motion.
    • Ozpin's desire to stop Salem is ultimately hampered by his inability to give a straight answer to any question regarding the situation or his past. He implies to the heroes that his behavior stems from a desire to avoid being betrayed, leading him to engage in deflections, half-truths, lying by omission and pure deception. While he wants the heroes to trust that he has good reasons for his decisions, his tactics inadvertently alienate his allies. Ironwood's frustration with Ozpin's passivity leads him to go behind Ozpin's back and override Ozpin's responsibility for protecting the Vytal Festival while Raven abandoned him and his cause by investigating the truth for herself. Ruby's group learn the truth through the Relic of Knowledge, leading even the loyal Qrow to turn on him; his response is to lock himself deep inside Oscar's mind where even Oscar can't go. When Ironwood asks Oscar why Ozpin kept secret the truth about Salem, Oscar reveals that Ozpin keeps his secrets because he's terrified people will lose all hope.
    • General Ironwood is a good man, but his ability to do good is hampered by his paranoia. His default tactic to any threat is overwhelming military force, which puts him at odds with Ozpin, Glynda and Qrow when he arrives in Vale with his army; while he thinks the show of force makes people feel safe, Ozpin points out it'll just make them wonder what the threat level is. While he expects others to trust him, Glynda points out that he's not willing to trust others in return. The mistrust and paranoia mean that he doesn't follow orders well because he's willing to turn on allies as soon as they do something he doesn't like, such as reporting Ozpin to the Vale Council after the first time the Grimm breach Vale's defenses. It also makes it easy for Cinder's manipulations to target him when the virus she uploads into Beacon's security network allows the villains to take control of the army he wasn't supposed to bring to Vale. Later, the villains pull similar moves on him in Atlas, ramping up his paranoia until he's willing to put Mantle under curfew, contemplate martial law and circumvent the democratic mandate of the Atlesian council just to get things done without having to share any information. The villains find him easy to manipulate while his allies find him difficult to work with. When Cinder breaks into his office just to leave a Black Queen chess piece on his desk, Ironwood's paranoia manifests in a panic of second-guessing whether every decision he's made has played right into Salem's hands. After Salem manifests in his office, revealing her forces are on the way to Atlas, Ironwood orders the arrest of Teams RWBY and JNR, Qrow and Oscar. Convinced he's now exhausted his troops trying to evacuate Mantle, he dooms the city to death by deciding to fly Atlas higher into the heavens and orders the arrest of everyone who's not on board with that plan to ensure they can't thwart him.
    • Clover Ebi's flaw is his loyalty to Ironwood. In "With Friends Like These", when General Ironwood ordered the arrests of RWBY, JNR, Oscar and Qrow, Clover blindly follows his orders, which is one of the factors that leads to the Manta crashing. During his fight with Qrow and Tyrian, Clover is so focused on following orders that he initially focuses solely on Qrow, leading Tyrian to manipulate the situation in his favour and ultimately kill him.
    • Harriet Bree has two, her loyalty to Ironwood and determination to follow orders. At the climax of Volume 8, despite the rest of the Ace-Ops realizing how far Ironwood has fallen and turning on him, Harriet not only continues to support him, but attempts to personally carry out his plan to bomb Mantle on principle. By the time she comes to her senses, Dr. Watts has hacked the bomb so it can't be stopped, and Vine is forced to sacrifice himself to protect everyone else from the explosion; Harriet is left horrified and grief-stricken over the fact that someone she cared about is dead as a direct result of her actions.
  • Supermarioglitchy4's Super Mario 64 Bloopers:
    • Fishy Boopkins' flaw is his naïve, friendly nature. Boopkins is one of the few main characters who is unambiguously nice. It's his biggest strength, as he manages to befriend characters that the others would normally never have a chance of doing so (he proves instrumental in recruiting Axol), but it's also his biggest weakness as he's a Horrible Judge of Character, which leads to him being manipulated by people (Bob), keeping company that most people would find unsavory (Saiko, Bob) or straight up repaying his kindness with evil acts ( Waluigi, the Anime Cartel, Bob). For better or worse, it's his most prominent character trait aside for his love for anime.
    • Bob's flaw is his desire for fame. Bob desperately craves approval and attention from others, and will do anything to get it, even if it means doing morally dubious actions like betraying his friends or engineering events so he can look good. Even when he does get recognition, his unquenchable thirst for more fame usually leads to him ruining whatever good he has going for him in the first place.
    • Meggy has several:
      • Her overeagerness has led her to take out a target with brute force and overwhelming firepower. Of course, now she's just revealed herself to the enemies... This bites her in "Final Fantasy Mario" when it leads to the alarms being set off and alerting the entire base to her, Mario and SMG4's presence.
      • Her competitive spirit often causes her to become overzealous when it comes to training, which usually leads to trouble whenever she ropes her friends into joining her. Meggy often pushes her teammates way too hard and is extremely harsh when they fail to meet her personal high standards. "Meggy's Bootcamp" reveals that this overly competitive desire stems from her self-esteem being damaged by her failures in the Splatfests, and her guilt over treating her friends like crap only makes her feel worse.
      • She keeps her real emotions hidden behind a confident mask, bottling all of them up. When her suppressed emotions become too much to handle she lashes out at anyone nearby, which only makes her undergo Heroic Self-Deprecation, which she tries to hide by bottling her emotions up... "Meggy's Bootcamp" and "There's Something Up With Meggy..." show the effects of this, with Meggy having a Heel Realization in both episodes before running away and when confronted, breaking down in tears or shutting down entirely.

    Web Comics 
  • In Anecdote of Error, Atshi absolutely cannot handle failing, or even being perceived as a failure. This causes her to ignore warnings that the school is under attack, and to try to take out the invaders herself, only to fail miserably. She also absolutely will not allow anyone else to risk their life on her behalf, even if they are much better equipped to deal with the problem than she is, which culminates in her sneaking out to Luntsha’s espionage mission in the middle of a warzone.
  • In Concerned Gordon Frohman's fatal flaw is his stupidity. Not only does he frequently put himself into life-threatening situations, but he's also too stupid to realize when people are trying to help him, such as when he gets angry with his brother for "shoving him" when the latter pushed him out of danger many times since they were young. In the end, he drives away the Vortigaunts that might have saved him after accidentally deactivating the "Buddha" cheat for invincibility, and ends up bleeding to death.
  • In Golden, a take-off of the standard fairy tale, the hero (and his less useful older siblings) are all sent off on the Quest because of their father's fatal flaw: GREED. The king wants gold very, very much. In fact, that whole family loves gold just a little too much to be healthy.
  • The Order of the Stick:
    • Vaarsuvius has the fatal flaw of Pride in their magic power and intellect, which both leaves them wide open for the trauma factor of being completely powerless to stop horrible things from happening to their friends and loved ones and drives them to accept a Deal with the Devil rather than experience that feeling of helplessness again. Later they start working on that, though, and are limiting themselves to low-level enhancements unless they need them, as opposed to just going all out.
    • Redcloak has a mixture of Pride and the Sunk Cost Fallacy. While he tells himself, over and over, that he's come too far to turn back, the simple truth is that there's one thing he can't do: admit he's made a mistake. So far, this has cost him his brother, one of his eyes, and the chance to actually accomplish his self-proclaimed goals.
    • Haley's flaw is greed, although unlike most examples, she's vaguely justified in this: her father is being ransomed for a small fortune and she became an adventurer to get enough money to save him from further imprisonment. At one point, the gold and treasure she owns is destroyed in a fire, and Haley's shock is so great that it renders her literally unable to speak for the next hundred or so strips. (One of the reasons she likes Elan so much is because his presence encourages her away from this.)
    • Miko Miyazaki, a massive Knight Templar who refuses to believe that anything she does is wrong. Instead, she imagines a massive plot brewing behind the scenes just to enable this belief. It's only when she's moments away from death that she starts to question any of her actions, but by then, it's way too late.
    • Nale is a Smug Snake who thinks It's All About Me. His massive ego and tendency to slip into Evil Gloating have only hampered his ability to competently execute plans in the past, resulting in numerous defeats and a trail of kobold corpses in his wake. It's even noted in-universe that if Nale wasn't such an arrogant egomaniac, he would actually be dangerous. He ends up in over his head when he makes a series of incredibly short-sighted choices on account of his pride, which first costs him Girard's gate, then his adventuring party, and finally his life.
    • Tarquin can be very dangerous, but he thinks It's All About Me and starts falling apart when Elan refuses to be The Hero and tells Tarquin that he isn't the Big Bad.
  • Each major character of The Noordegraaf Files has some major flaw that troubles them throught the story. Time will tell if they overcome said flaw, or — tragically — don't.
    • Theo, the protaganist is a Wide-Eyed Idealist, and an extreme Optimist, which, while allowing him to be very charismatic and friendly, also causes him to underestimate the possible danger some situations can hold. It's hinted that this optimism is a self — made "defense mechanism", as he's horrified of death (or anything to do with it), and uses this to try and avoid confronting said fear.
    • Katrina, the main heroine of the comic, comes across as a very friendly and outgoing young girl, but has deep problems with depression due to... whatever happened to her. She's not telling.
    • Violet, a young and slightly unhinged girl is definitely a Blood Knight, and has serious problems dealing with anger and self — worth. She's been known to go into a sort of martial frenzy, losing complete control of herself and attacking whatever is nearby, friend or foe. Most of the other characters, even her boyfriend, are scared of her. It's been hinted her worst fear is killing her loved ones due to this instability, and shuts herself out from the world because of this.
    • Akila, Katrina's best friend (and possible lover) is too seductive and flirtatious for her own good, and also has serious issues with self — worth. She's the only non — human character in the comic, and therefore feels nobody will truly love her for who she is, causing her to overcompensate and flirt with everyone, causing it hard for people she truly does love to notice her affections.
  • Unordinary: All of the characters are flawed, with some of those flaw being very prevalent to their personalities.
    • Arlo's fixation on keeping to the school's established power hierarchy keeps Arlo stuck from ever trying to improve the bullying problems that go on amongst the school's lower tiers, which he finally becomes aware of after a group of Mid-tier students kidnapped and beat up a depowered Sera. John eventually calls him out for it in chapter 132, and threatens to destroy the hierarchy that Arlo is desperately trying to hold on to.
    • Blyke's short temper causes him to act before thinking. For example when Blyke witnessed John hit away Remi's hand, his reaction was to fire an Energy Beam warning shot to stop crippled John without realizing just how overkill such a lethal ability was for that use; even aiming away he shot very close to both of their faces. Isen later calls Blyke out on this, saying that Blyke would have done something stupid had Isen revealed to him that John is the masked Joker who's been beating up other Wellston students.
    • Isen is a coward. Particularly towards people who are stronger than him, such as Arlo and John, which Isen's only answer is to either be their loyal lapdog, or avoid them. This causes him to break John's arm when trying to get answers for Arlo when John cottons on to Isen's pretense for their conversation being false, he also breaks down when Volcan kills a woman he's tracking nearly resulting in Remi's death when Blyke has to take the time to snap him out of it in order to find their friend who was being attacked by the serial killer.

    Web Original 
  • In the first season of Cobra Kai, this wasn't much of an issue. But the timber gets laid after the tournament, when Daniel introduces Robby (Johnny's son) to Miyagi-do. Then in the second season, almost everyone's core character defect is revealed: Daniel's pride, Johnny's gullibility, Sam's Never My Fault inclinations, Tory's envy, Demetri's snarky needling, Hawk's insecurity-fueled Hair-Trigger Temper, Moon's ditziness, and Robby and Miguel's respective and collective disregard for reason. The school brawl on the first day, between the Rival Dojos (whose sensei were doing the best they could to move on but still had some unfinished business), and brought them face to face with their ultimate failures.

    Web Video 
  • In The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, Lizzie's pride and stubborness has caused misunderstandings and problems between her and others, particular Darcy and Lydia. Fortunately, through Character Development, she starts to work on improving from those flaws.
  • The Nostalgia Critic is trying to work on his temper and cynicism, but his insecurities about seemingly never being good enough are still getting in the way.
  • Something Awful: Dungeons & Dragons: Minerelle's Cowardice, Joey's Greed, Miriam's Anger, Gibnaf's Idealism, and Kod's Pride. The former is particularly notable as Minerelle's strict running policy led her away from Joey and Kod, meaning when she went down there was no one to save her from being Killed Off for Real.


Alternative Title(s): Tragic Flaw


Robbing Fort Knox

Brain realizes too late that there's a major flaw in his plan to steal the gold of Fort Knox.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (15 votes)

Example of:

Main / DidntThinkThisThrough

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