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Forbidden Fruit

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Image courtesy of Daniela Uhlig. Used with permission.
[T]he thorny topic of rules and our all-too-human desire to break them. Bucking the rules is an assertion of freedom over convention, of possibility over constraints, and of self over society.
Esther Perel, The State of Affairs

There are two closed doors right next to each other, identical in every way except one: One has a large KEEP OUT sign on it in bold, red letters. Which door is someone more likely to try to open? It's not rocket science.

Forbidden Fruit is a person, place, or thing which is absolutely irresistible to one or more characters, whose appeal lies solely in the fact it has been forbidden, prohibited, and declared unquestionably off limits. They feel they must have it only because they know they can't or shouldn't have it. Frequently takes the form of a Pandora's Box they are not to open, a Big Red Button they are not to press, an experiment they are not to mess with, a person they are not allowed to be with (romantically or otherwise) or even hear about, a potion they are not to taste under any circumstances, a Tome of Eldritch Lore containing dangerous forbidden knowledge that can drive one to madness, or a place nobody is supposed to ever visit.

Can be a result of Genre Blindness, but not usually, since the attraction of Forbidden Fruit is in and of itself contrary to logic. More often than not, the characters know that going for it would be a stupid move; they just can't help themselves. (They are particularly likely to be young.)

Needless to say, opening the forbidden door or acquiring the Forbidden Fruit leads to disaster 99.9% of the time. Used often in setting Booby Traps, where it becomes Schmuck Bait, when a villain intentionally takes advantage of the power of Forbidden Fruit to lure heroes to their doom. (Unless, of course, he is redeemed by the power of delicious fruit pies.)

The trope takes its name from the Garden of Eden story in the Book of Genesis, where Eve is tempted into eating the Forbidden Fruit (an apple, according to Fanon), making this Older Than Feudalism. note  Because of this, see also Tempting Apple, when an apple is used to symbolize temptation, though not necessarily because it is forbidden.

In his analysis of the Fairy Tale, The Morphology of the Folktale, Vladimir Propp concluded that the functions "prohibition" and "disobedience" really formed a single plot function — any prohibition was bound to be violated.

The economic principles of scarcity may go a long way towards explaining this phenomenon.

See Briar Patching when this trope is invoked by a character. See also Forbidden Chekhov's Gun, Apple of Discord, Artifact of Attraction, Curiosity Killed the Cast, Don't Touch It, You Idiot!, Schmuck Bait, and Wanting Is Better Than Having. Prime source of Cold Turkeys Are Everywhere, Do Not Do This Cool Thing, a "What's Inside?" Plot, and the Streisand Effect. Compare and contrast Thought-Aversion Failure, when someone who is told not to think about something will inevitably think about it — involuntarily (because of the way our brains function), and Forced Meme, where a blatant attempt to make something popular fails due to not having that "mystique" that draws people in.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Ah! My Goddess:
    • A human example, where ultra-popular "School Queen" Sayoko's interest in Keichii originally stemmed from his complete disinterest in her.
    • This is how Skuld got "impregnated" with her angel.
    • In one of the Ah! My Goddess "Mini-Goddesses" adventures, Skuld labels a Big Red Button "Do Not Touch", and naturally, Gan-chan and Urd fight over who will press it first. Skuld wisely re-labels it "Please Touch Me", causing them to lose interest — at which point the ever-obliging Belldandy pushes the button.
    • Aoshima is implied to lust after Belldandy because of this trope.
  • A Cruel God Reigns: Ian falls for Jeremy, and seems to love him in a deeper way than anyone else he's been with over the course of the series, but not only is he his stepbrother, but he also killed his father and albeit accidentally, his stepmother.
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist, knowledge of the Philosopher's Stone is kept under wraps by the government, seeing how it's made out of people.
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist (2003), knowledge of the stone is intentionally banned and repressed because the Big Bad knows it will make the truly desperate keep chasing the legend until they figure out how to make it — and subsequently won't back out when they figure out it's people.
  • Arguably, any person who wants Sousuke from Full Metal Panic!. Which is a lot of people. Pretty much every one of them knows that it's near impossible for him to ever return their feelings. And although each one of them normally has another person who is in love with them, they can't seem to help but be drawn to the mysterious and unattainable Sousuke. It came as a huge shock to most characters that he started to have some reciprocating feelings towards Kaname — something even she didn't know or expect (as she herself even thought that having feelings for him is hopeless, but it's something she just can't help).
  • The chosen priestesses in Fushigi Yuugi must be virgins and remain as such until they summon the deity that chose them and ask for three wishes. Cue excessive amounts of rape attempts on the heroine, Melodrama between love interests, and the like. This is taken even further in the prequel manga when, during the time of the priestesses of Genbu and Byakko, it's revealed that a wish for the priestess to be with a man she loves in the world of the Universe of the Four Gods cannot ever come true. The Priestess of Byakko, Suzuno, requests this wish, and Byakko cannot grant it to her.
  • In Mamotte Shugogetten, one of Shaorin's previous masters was a little girl. When she wanted to go to the town near their house, Shaorin told her absolutely no, because the wolves were near it. Shaorin later goes to town herself, leaving the girl all alone. The instant Shaorin leaves, the little girl leaves as well. This leads to the girl being fatally injured by the wolves and dying in Shaorin's arms.
  • The sealed door at the Fuuka Shrine in My-HiME, episode 6. Mai and her friends are warned ahead of time by Shiho's grandfather never to open it, out of fear of unleashing a great evil. Midori, who had been sneaking around the place all day playing Adventurer Archaeologist, gets locked inside the shrine with seemingly no way out. She didn't hear the warning. Guess what happens next.
  • Naruto has a literal Forbidden Fruit called the Chakra Fruit from a tree in the backstory. During an era of war, a princess ate the fruit of the God Tree to gain its power to end the conflicts by force. Her son was born with similar powers, the Sage of Six Paths. The Tree became enraged by this, turning into the Ten-Tails. The rest is history. It is later revealed, however, that the Tree never reacted to the theft of the fruit. It was Princess Kaguya who became corrupted by her power, then, in anger of her sons inheriting it, absorbed the rest of the Tree and mutated into the Ten-Tails in an attempt to overpower them and reclaim the power she felt was rightfully hers.
  • One Piece:
    • When the Straw Hats get to Skypeia, they are told by one of the natives that there is a portion of the land that you can never, ever set foot on, because it's the domain of the almighty god, Enel. Luffy hears this and is immediately eager to go there as soon as possible, despite Usopp drilling into his head that they've been told they must never go there.
      Luffy: (smiling) Oh, really.... there's a place that nobody may enter? I see... A place that nobody may enter...?
      Usopp, Chopper, Sanji, and Zoro: (thinking) He's going for sure...
    • Implied with Boa Hancock. She's declared the "most beautiful woman in the world", and can mesmerize and have pretty much any man she wants. Guess who she ends up falling for? Luffy, the Chaste Hero who will absolutely never return her feelings. It's even implied that she fell for him because he was "not like the others", with him calling her a "stupid lady" and telling her to shut up.
    • In a more literal example, the Devil Fruits, which give the eaters superpowers but make them unable to swim, even taking away their buoyancy. And due to the fact that that world is mostly water, it's a heavy price to pay for anyone who would be a major part of the plot; pirates (and even Marines who combat them, and to some extent other people regardless of how they live) who eat it (including Luffy, the protagonist) are willingly risking their lives.
    • Saint Jaygarcia Saturn of the Five Elders expresses outrage that humans, despite being repeatedly told that doing a few specific things (such as investigating the Void Century) is strictly forbidden, inevitably feel a compulsion to do them anyway.
  • Rebuild World: The Rival Katsuya, being a prideful and envious Satire of a Stock Shōnen Hero, seems to have his interest in women be directly proportional to their closeness to the protagonist Akira. Regarding Elena, Sara, Reina, and Sheryl. All this being a Green-Eyed Monster, when his unit is literally called "The Harem Squad" by detractors due to it having so many young women in love with him in it. So it may have more to do with his envy of Akira’s recognition from the veteran hunters who bully him.
  • Sakura Gari: The one person Souma finds himself truly falling in love with is the only person who has absolutely no interest in him. As a matter of fact, it's addressed that the main reason he fell in love with Masataka was that Masataka was "different from the others". And Souma, of course, unaccustomed to not getting sex from someone he wants, proceeds to tie Masataka up and rape him repeatedly.
  • Yuu and Mika are this for Ferid in Seraph of the End. They're an important part of the Seraph of the end experiment and its considered taboo to interfere with the vampires plans for them, it's also illegal for them to drink blood directly from humans, and drinking blood is considered to give both the biter and the one getting bitten a feeling of immoral pleasure. Guess what Ferid does to Yuu in chapter 46 and also his biting of Mika which Mika lampshades as being illegal. The fanbook also states his greatest fantasy is sucking Guren's blood when he's at the height of his glory before Guren's comrades.
  • In episode 57 of Sgt. Frog, Viper the Elder captures Kururu with a trap hidden in a box marked "Don't you dare open this!" As he goes to open the box, Kururu even remarks "That just makes me want to open it even more."
  • Marube of Yuureitou wants to sleep with his transgender male son Tetsuo and lusts after him and also molests his adoptive daughter. He also tries to rape Taichi, molests him when he's Disguised in Drag, and has him dress in drag in the first place. He states his reasons for doing all this is because he gets off from it.

    Board Games 
  • Risk: Legacy is a campaign-oriented version of the classic board game, with a series of envelopes that you're supposed to open over a series of fifteen games; they contain various items that affect the layout of the board, the abilities of the various factions, and other things that change how future games are played. There's one sealed envelope at the bottom of the box that simply reads "DO NOT OPEN. EVER". The contents of this envelope vary between different copies of the game, whose effects include awakening ancient beings, unleashing a supervirus, or knocking the world out of orbit and introducing drastic weather conditions.

    Comic Books 
  • In the Garfield: His 9 Lives story "The Garden", Cloey and the orange kitten live in a magical garden created by Cloey's Uncle Todd. The one rule he gives them is to never open the crystal chest on the checkered toadstool. So they don't, because they love Uncle Todd and would never do anything to upset him.
  • In Level Up, Dennis's father always thought video games were a waste of time and never let him play them when he was a kid. After his father's death, Dennis becomes a complete video game addict.
  • My Little Pony Micro Series: Jade's office which she makes very clear to Twilight not to enter. Naturally Twilight can't help but sneak a peek when Jade goes off to run an errand.
  • Ms. Marvel (2014) kicks off with Our Heroine drooling over bacon sandwiches in the local convenience store. Sandwiches which, as a Muslim, she can't eat. But that smell...
    Kamala: Delicious, delicious infidel meat...
  • A seedy pimp in Transmetropolitan pointed out that he pimps retards and other "naughty" girls because it's what his clients want. "If it ain't kind of creepy and dirty and mysterious and forbidden, guys don't get off."
  • Rogue of the X-Men is this for Gambit. Her mutant powers keep her from touching others or else they will be rendered comatose. Gambit, relentless and successful womanizer, finds himself stuck on the notion of a woman that even he can't have. It helps that the two have a fair deal in common, having similar cultural backgrounds and being on the wrong side of the law before joining the X-Men, making her that much more irresistible for him. Needless to say, they always take advantage of any time her powers are down.
  • In "The Wooden Box" in Uncanny Tales from the Grave #4note  a trenchcoat-wearing man with a skull for a face leaves the title object at a pawnshop while warning the proprietor not to open it. Naturally he does, only to find it empty. In the last panel, his own face has been replaced by a skull.
  • Part of the summon ritual in Fine Print involves eating a fruit that looks like a golden apple.

    Comic Strips 
  • Defied in one FoxTrot comic. The first panel shows the door to Jason's room, with a sign saying "Keep Out!" with a skull and crossbones on it. The next panel shows a sign added with an even graver warning, the third panel a third sign with an even graver one. The fourth panel shows Jason inside his room, sulking (with a bucket of water balanced on top of the door), saying, "Reverse psychology is overrated." (Of course, it's very likely that his siblings are simply wise to his tricks.)
  • A Non Sequitur strip shows a man in a hotel lobby looking at a sign that says, "Absolutely NO rhinoceroses allowed!!" The caption reads, "How to get everyone to suddenly want to own a rhinoceros."

    Fairy Tales 
  • Appears in the "Bluebeard". A mysterious nobleman leaves his young wife a key to a door which she must never open. Of course, she does open it and discovers the mutilated corpses of his former wives.
  • In "The Blue Mountains" and "The Raven", the hero must stay awake to greet the heroine and fails.
  • In "The Dancing Water, the Singing Apple, and the Speaking Bird", on his third quest, the older son disobeys the hermit's commands, and is turned to stone; his younger son followed; only their sister saves them.
  • In "East of the Sun and West of the Moon", the heroine disobeys the bear's warnings not to speak with her mother alone.
  • In "Fair Brow", the main character's wife forbids him to tell anyone who paints the paintings he sells.
  • "Faithful John" is forbidden by the old king to let the prince see a portrait, but when the prince becomes king, he overrides him.
  • Hans Christian Andersen wrote "The Garden of Paradise". The forbidden fruit is a kiss.
  • In Joseph Jacobs's "Gold-Tree and Silver-Tree", after Gold-Tree is enchanted into her sleep, her husband the prince remarries and forbids his second wife to go into the chamber where her coffin is. The second wife disobeys and revives Gold-Tree. This one is actually a subversion; while the second wife does disobey her husband, no harm comes from it, and once Gold-Tree's evil mother is out of the picture, both princesses and their prince live Happily Ever After.
  • In "The Goose Girl", the queen gives the princess a handkerchief with three drops of blood in it and orders her to take great care of it; the princess is careless and loses the handkerchief, which had protected her.
  • In The Brothers Grimm's "Iron Hans", the prince disobeys his father's order not to let Iron Hans free, and is kidnapped; then he disobeys Iron Hans's order not to let anything into a well, and is exiled.
  • In "Little Red Riding Hood", the little girl leaves the path, which her mother had forbidden.
  • In "The Golden Bird", the older sons disobey the fox up front, and after initial obedience, the youngest son disobeys him repeatedly.
  • In Asbjørnsen and Moe's "The Mastermaid", a prince working for a giant is forbidden to go through a door. Fortunately, he disobeys and finds the Mastermaid, who tells him how to survive.
  • In "The Nine Peahens and the Golden Apples", the hero opens the twelfth door his wife had forbidden.
  • In "Our Lady's Child", the heroine looks through a forbidden door and is punished until she confesses.
  • In Strega Nona, a young man named Anthony works for the kindly old titular character. She has a magic kettle that she uses to conjure pasta, and she tells him not to touch it. Naturally, he disobeys her.
  • "Tatterhood": The title character forbids her family to watch while she fights witches and trolls; when her sister does, her head is turned to a calf's head. Not to mention Tatterhood's existence came about because her mother ate something she was forbidden to.
  • In Franz Xaver von Schönwerth's "The Three Flowers", a wood sprite warns several times main character Katie that she must NOT pick the beautiful flowers growing on the grave of the stranger man whom her brothers killed to protect her. Nonetheless, Katie ends plucking the flowers when she wants to adorn herself on her wedding day, and her brothers instantly become turned into stags. In order to break their curse, Katie must remain silent for seven years.
  • "The Death of Koschei the Deathless": Prince Ivan opens the cellar's door which his wife explicitly told him to never open, freeing the undead sorcerer Koschei.
  • "King Goldenlocks": The titular prince releases a gentle giant, disobeying his father's orders, and must flee for his life.
  • Though it is very prevalent in fairy tales — still, there are also a multitude of fairy tales aversions, a small sample of which: "Bearskin", "The Gingerbread Man", "The Rose Tree", "The Three Aunts", and "The Three Spinners".
  • "The Enchanted Quill": The talking crow invites the three sisters to visit his castle. Upon arriving, the crow takes the youngest sister to one room in the castle after warning her sisters against spying on them. The two sisters peek through the keyhole anyway and see the crow has become a handsome prince and is talking animatedly with their sister. Then the castle disappears, the prince reverts back to his bird form, and he scolds the two sisters for ruining one chance to break his curse.
  • Alexander Afanasyev's "The Soldier And Death": The soldier is warned against to spend the night in the tsar's demon-haunted palace. He decides to do so anyway, and although he is not eaten by the demons, it kickstarts a chain of events which ends up with him being barred from the Afterlife.

    Fan Works 
  • Fate/Long Night: Illya gives Robert Baratheon permission to sleep with any of her maids except Sella and Leysritt, which only makes him want them more.
  • Limpet AU: Humorously reference in "Meet the Skywalkers", where Luke introduces Rebel Sabacc to Vader's crew during his time aboard the Executor. Vader quickly puts the activity on the top of his "Disallowed Activities" roster (above Mouse Droid Racing and Cockroach Olympiads), and as a result it became the most popular activity on the ship.
  • The Outside: Ryuuko very much wanted to go outside and experience things that aren't her house but Satsuki, an agoraphobic, forbids it. Of course, Ryuuko's not keen on that idea and decides to rebel. When she does get a taste of the "Outside" (by poking her head out a window), she wants more, especially when she meets Mako.
  • Vow of Nudity: Spectra loves to make clothing, despite (or because) her curse leaves her unable to ever wear any, and she often sneaks out to her late parents' abandoned tailory to design fabulous dresses of every make and model.
  • In Where Talent Goes to Die, Sae Edogawa's father, a police detective, forbids her from reading mystery novels since he doesn't think they're very realistic or portray police in a good light. Unfortunately for him, he neglects to tell Sae this, so Sae, intensely curious, reads mystery novels in the library and even brings them home until she gets caught. Once she does hear her father's reasons, she decides to write one he'll approve of, setting her on a path to become the Ultimate Mystery Novelist.

    Films — Animation 
  • In Disney's Aladdin, the title character and his monkey Abu are warned to "touch nothing but the lamp" when going through the underground treasure caves. When Aladdin tells Abu to "Wait Here", Abu sees a giant gem and can't help himself; his greed overcomes him and he grabs it, unleashing a tidal wave of lava on them.
  • In Beauty and the Beast, the Beast tells Belle that she can go anywhere in his castle except for the West Wing. Naturally, Belle rushes to explore the West Wing the moment she has the chance. She eventually finds the enchanted rose there, and when the Beast learns she disobeyed him, he's rightfully angry.
  • In Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland, Nemo is given a key that unlocks every door in Slumberland, except for one with a sinister-looking symbol which leads to Nightmareland. Naturally, resident troublemaker Flip convinces him to do just that, and all hell breaks loose, literally.
  • Scar from The Lion King uses this on Simba to lure him to the elephant graveyard, where he is attacked by the hyenas who live there.
  • Shrek has the nervous Donkey having to be goaded into crossing a rickety rope-and-plank bridge over a volcano. He says, before they set out, "Don't look down." Donkey actually manages not to, though he seems like he's about to try once or twice... and then he puts a foot wrong and ends up with his face poking through a gap in the planks. "SHREK! I'M LOOKIN' DOWN!"
  • In Son of the White Horse, the three original princes' wives are forbidden from unlocking one specific door in their castle. Bored with her life, the Copper-Haired Autumn Princess eventually opens the seal out of curiosity, unleashing the dragons that kidnap the princesses, kill their husbands, destroy their kingdom, steal the World Tree and bring about the downsides of history, like gluttony, war, urbanization and pollution.
  • Turning Red: After Ming makes it clear to Mei that she can't go to the 4*Town concert, Mei defies her by going anyway. Ming becomes upset and accidentally breaks the necklace containing her panda spirit, causing Ming to transform into a kaiju-sized panda out of anger.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Avengers (1998). While going to have tea with Mother, Steed warns Mrs. Peel not to take a macaroon because they're Mother's favorite. Guess what she does during the meal to tease him because he's so straitlaced. At the end when she and Steed have tea with Mother again, she deliberately doesn't take a macaroon as a gesture of friendship to Steed.
  • Friday the 13th (2009): Nolan admits that as soon as Trent forbid him from taking his boat for a joy ride, the temptation to do so became irresistible.
  • Represented by the Holy Grail in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. The grail could not leave its resting place and acted as a forbidden fruit that no-one was supposed to obtain. Dr. Elsa Schneider discovered this the hard way when she tried to take the grail out of the temple and triggered a Cataclysm Climax. She found herself suspended above a deep chasm with a choice to let Indiana pull her to safety or reach for the grail. Obsessed, she thought she could reach it, but fell to her death when her hand suddenly slipped out of its leather glove. Indy himself almost repeats the tragedy until his dad calls him Indiana rather than Junior, which is enough of a surprise to make Indy listen and climb out.
  • Kiss of the Damned: Maia dangles Anna, a virgin, in front of Xenia, a Vegetarian Vampire who hasn't drunk human blood for forty years and finds a virgin's blood particularly tempting. She gives in.
  • Pan's Labyrinth: The Pale Man would like to draw your attention to the wonderful food before him and away from his hands. And his mouth. And his ''face''.
  • One segment of Tales from the Darkside: The Movie involves a man who witnesses a demonic monster brutally murder someone. The monster spares his life on the condition that he never tell anyone else about it. Years later, the man is married to a beautiful woman and has two children... guess what he does? The minute he tells his wife about the monster and the killing, she turns into the monster and kills him, then leaves with her now-equally demonic-looking children.
    • This is very similar to the "Yuki-Onna" (snow witch) segment of the Japanese anthology ghost film Kwaidan. Only difference is, the Yuki-Onna spares her husband's life on account of their kids.

  • Iason Mink of Ai no Kusabi had this in spades for his human Sex Slave Riki that he was forbidden to sleep with as an Elite due in part to Curiosity Is a Crapshoot. This unfortunately leads to Curiosity Killed the Cast.
  • Lampshaded in A Brother's Price. Cullen, who is introduced by sneaking into Jerin's room, tells him that "even the air smells better" now that he is in a place where he decided to go. (While not technically forbidden from talking to Jerin, he was supposed to stay in his own room at that point in time.)
  • In The Amazing Days of Abby Hayes, Laurie follows an extremely strict diet, avoiding pretty much everything that isn't fresh, natural, or organic, which means that she eats practically nothing but nuts, crackers, and seeds. Sticking to her diet isn't a problem for her, but she also imposes it on her five-year-old daughter Wynter, who naturally takes every opportunity she sees to eat foods like hot dogs, ice cream, candy and chocolate behind her mother's back.
  • The Casteel Series: Invoked. Heaven moves in with her grandmother and her grandmother's husband, Tony Tatterton. Tony allows her to live with them on several conditions, one of which is that she stay away from his brother Troy. Heaven ignores this, and she and Troy end up falling in love. When Tony finds out, he admits that he'd been hoping that might happen and that the reason he'd forbidden her to have any contact with Troy was that "the forbidden fruit is often the sweetest." Then this trope hits again, hard, when it's revealed that Tony is Heaven's real father, making Troy her uncle.
  • The Change Room: Eliza first heard about masturbation and other sexual activities from a pamphlet the Jehovah's Witnesses gave her as a pre-teen when her mother was taking her family to the Kingdom Hall. She was curious about these forbidden things, and soon learned more in the public library, with her masturbating soon after for the first time, aroused partly by the taboo of them. Her lover Shar also has it suggested by a friend that part of why Eliza attracts her is because she's married.
  • The Chronicles of Narnia:
    • The Magician's Nephew:
      • The primary reason Digory rings the bell in Charn is to find out what will happen, but the warning of unspecified danger in the bell's inscription doesn't help, either:
        Make your choice, adventurous Stranger;
        Strike the bell and bide the danger,
        Or wonder, till it drives you mad,
        What would have followed if you had.
      • This is why Queen Jadis climbs the garden wall and steals apples of immortality which are offered freely to anyone who comes in by the gate and takes them for the sake of others. Digory, who learned his lesson after the incident with the bell, is not tempted by this warning; Jadis gives him pause only when she tells him the fruit could cure his mother's illness.
    • In The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Lucy, reading through a spellbook, comes upon some forbidden spells. Aslan's intervention helps her resist the temptation to cast a spell that would make her the most beautiful woman in the world but cause misfortune to others, but as a direct result she immediately makes up her mind to cast another spell which will tell her what her friends think of her (and regrets it, since it shows her one of her friends bad-mouthing her to another girl).
  • Confessions: Augustine and his friends steal from a pear tree purely for the sake of taking what they aren't allowed to take. The connotations of taking fruit from a tree is an intentional parallel with the Book of Genesis, which informs Augustine's opinion of his own evil.
  • Discworld:
    • In Thief of Time, Susan wonders why someone would build a clock that stopped time and then realizes: "If you put a large switch in some cave somewhere, with a sign on it saying 'End-of-the-World Switch. PLEASE DO NOT TOUCH', the paint wouldn't even have time to dry."
    • In Hogfather, Ridcully finds a door marked, "Do not open under any circumstances." So, naturally, he orders it opened, just so he can see why it was sealed shut. By the end of the book it is sealed up again, but the groundskeeper makes sure not to seal it too well as he knows that the next Archchancellor will want it opened again. He knows how wizards think, apparently.
    • In The Last Continent this is further lampshaded, as the wizards prop open a window to another dimension/time and hang a sign on it saying, "Do not touch the window, not even to see what would happen."
    • In Lords and Ladies, the stone circle is specifically not forbidden territory because of this trope; the people who aren't forbidding it don't want people going there at all.
    • In Carpe Jugulum, a shrewd vampire aristocrat turns out to have named his home "Don'tgonearthe Castle", in the happy knowledge that this will guarantee a steady supply of passing travelers to snack on.
    • The Unseen University Challenge includes a passing mention of the not-entirely-complimentary nickname "Merkins" for Americans, with a footnote whose text is "do not look this word up in the dictionary" but the subtext is "the dictionary's over there, what are you waiting for?"
    • The Patrician has been known to make Vimes take a case by forbidding him to investigate. Although he once accidentally went a bit too far and actually discouraged Vimes from investigating when he secretly wanted Vimes to do so. Balance is important when invoking this trope.
  • A favorite device of Edgar Allan Poe in many of his short horror stories — "The Tell-Tale Heart" and "The Black Cat", for example — involves a character/narrator who is overcome by the urge to kill someone/something for no other reason than because he knows it is wrong and he shouldn't. He is aware of this psychology, he has no reason to give in to these urges, but it drives him crazy until he does. Poe's own term for this phenomenon is "the Imp of the Perverse."
  • Enchanted Forest Chronicles: Played with in Dealing with Dragons. After accidentally unleashing a djinn from an unlabeled bottle (that one character had been warned not to touch but the other hadn't) Cimorene thinks fast enough to recover the situation, seals the spirit in the bottle again, and then makes an "idiot-proof" label that explains exactly why it shouldn't be opened to prevent future mishaps. Oh, and the incident also furthers the plot.
  • In John C. Wright's The Golden Age, Phaethon is warned that he can recover from his Laser-Guided Amnesia only at the price of exile.
  • The Biblical Forbidden Fruit Bookends Good Omens. The opening scene depicts the aftermath of Adam and Eve's expulsion from Eden from the viewpoint of the novel's two decoy protagonists, while the penultimate scene depicts the Anti-Anti-Christ stealing apples because "there never was an apple, in Adam's opinion, that wasn't worth the trouble you got in for eating it." As an added bonus, two of the thieves of forbidden fruit were actually named Adam.
  • In the revised edition of The Gunslinger Walter O’Dim leaves a note stating that if a woman says the word "nineteen" to a man he has brought back from the dead, that he will tell her the secrets of the afterlife, and it will drive her mad. He signs the note with a smiley and follows this with "P.S. Did I mention the word is NINETEEN?"
  • Harry Potter:
    • Ironically, in the first book, there is a corridor that is designated as forbidden, which the characters only end up in by accident. Apparently, everyone else took Dumbledore's warning of a "most painful death" seriously. The same goes for the actually named Forbidden Forest, which the characters only wind up in because circumstances force them, and which most people avoid due to rumours of it being filled with horrible beasts (though the Weasley twins had apparently made attempts to enter it). However, the forest is entered again in nearly every book; Hagrid once held classes in there (though Hagrid is of the opinion that nothing in the forest would harm anyone with him because its denizens know him so well, and he seems to be right for the most part).
    • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix: Hermione delightedly explains that Professor Umbridge has done the one thing that will guarantee every student will read Harry's interview with Rita Skeeter: ban it.
  • The Heirs of Alexandria: The Orpheus/Euridice scenario occurs in This Rough Magic with the unhappy ending avoided. Everyone was amazed when they reached the surface and the distrustful and suspicious protagonist had managed to not look behind him. Turned out that he hadn't just been capricious when he had that soldier polish his armor so much. He made sure to walk behind that soldier and could see his wife's reflection behind him in it.
  • A Hole in the Fence: Courquetains would be a typical French town if it were not for the Forbidden Zone which lies beyond the Epnoi Forest, guarded by a huge police cordon. Nobody knows what lies beyond the wood, but the kids from the town are obsessed with sneaking past the guards, going into the restricted area and finding out. After catching protagonist Grisón once again, brigadier Beauras sarcastically remarks that neither of those kids would even think of walking near the forest if it was not forbidden.
  • The Knight Of The Swan: In many variants of this Chivalric Romance, the knight arrives to aid a lady, marries her or her daughter, but forbids anyone to ask what his name or origin is. When this is broken, he leaves.
  • In Little Women, right after Meg has decided to reject John Brook's proposal out of fear, Aunt March arrives, jumps the gun, and orders her not to accept him. Meg's response: "I shall marry whom I please, Aunt March, and you can leave your money to anyone you like!"
  • Oddly Enough: In "Herbert Hutchison in the Underworld", at the entrance to Hell, an angel presents Herbert with a box and tells him not to open it. Naturally, he can't resist the temptation, and opens it to reveal another box, then an envelope inside that box, and finally a letter inside the box — which tells him he failed the Secret Test of Character, and is now doomed to Hell for all eternity.
  • In "A POISON TREE" from Songs of Experience, the narrator's foe covets and steals an apple in the knowledge it belongs to the narrator. Of course, it turns out to be poisonous.
  • Played unusually literally in Christina Rossetti's Goblin Market, where magical fruit serves as a temptation to young women. Seeing as Lizzie gives Laura more of the fruit by letting the goblins press it to her lips and then letting Lizzie kiss the juice off of her, it's safe to say that the fruit is a metaphor for sex.
  • In the first Song of the Lioness book, Duke Roger invokes the hell out of this trope as his second kill-the-Crown-Prince plot when he tells Jon and the other pages how terribly dangerous the Black City is, so much so that even Roger wouldn't try messing with whatever's there. Predictably, Alanna soon catches Jon sneaking off.
  • Tolkien's Legendarium:
    • The Hobbit: Gandalf and Beorn warn Bilbo and the dwarves many times to stay on the path in Mirkwood, emphasizing that it's the only safe place there. Or rather, safest. Near the end of the long and frightening trip through, exhausted and low on supplies, they spot the wood elves' feasting off the path, and despite Thorin clearly remembering the warning, they decide to approach and beg for food. Unfortunately, true to Gandalf's warning, they get lost, are quickly ambushed by the Spiders, and even after escaping, the wood elves take them prisoner. (Not that being captured was a bad thing at this time.)
    • The Fall of Númenor: The Edain are gifted with greater longevity, advanced technology, an idyllic island...and the warning that they can go wherever they want but Aman. When the Men start mumbling about being forbidden from going to the Undying Lands (wrongly believing they would become immortal), the Valar's Messengers once again explain the motives of the Ban to them (the Undying Lands cannot make someone immortal, and in fact would shorten the lives of mortal folks who stepped foot on them; and Men are not meant to go to Aman because it is a haven specifically built for Elves. Men have their own haven which Elves are banned from), but the Edain refuse to listen. At one point the Númenoreans decide to invade and conquer Aman, whereupon Eru removes the continent from the planet, making impossible for them violating the Ban again.
  • Twilight (2005): Edward Cullen is like the "forbidden fruit" to Bella when she first meets him in. In fact, the hand holding an apple on the cover is a reference to this trope.
  • Wolf Hall portrays Henry VIII's attraction to Anne Boleyn as having a lot of this trope in it. Between the Pope's refusal to annul his marriage to Katharine of Aragon and Anne's refusal to actually sleep with him out of wedlock, Henry is in a fever pitch to have her. Once they're actually married, his attraction to her cools (especially since they have bad luck getting a son despite her delivering a healthy daughter right away). He still has the satisfaction of spiting the Holy Roman Emperor, but Thomas Cromwell maneuvers the ambassador into acknowledging her and thus Henry finally wins that contest of wills; soon after he orders Cromwell to get rid of Anne. Henry's attraction to Jane Seymour follows much the same pattern—when she rebuffs his advances in a profession of modest chastity, it just makes him want her more.
  • Lampshaded by Piers Anthony in the Xanth series. All knowledge not suitable for children (foul language and especially sex) is supposed to be protected by a literal Adult Conspiracy (The Color of Her Panties employs the Conspiracy as a major plot element). With a name like that, children in Xanth are practically compelled to try to break the Conspiracy (though breaches don't appear to occur very often).

    Live-Action TV 
  • The TV content rating system introduced in the US in 1996 had the same effect to TV that the "Parental Advisory" stickers listed below had to music. They only let kids know which TV shows were not recommended for them, and therefore, the shows that were totally awesome.
    • FoxTrot lampshaded this in a 1997 strip with Jason flipping through the channels and continuing to change each time he came across something labeled TV-Y, TV-Y7, TV-G, and TV-PG, until he yells, "Is there nothing for a kid to watch when his parents aren't home?" Then he comes across a program rated TV-MA, and says, "Finally."
    • Then in 1997, it seems the Moral Guardians had clearly not learned their lesson and expanded on this mistake when they pushed for even more detailed content warnings. In addition to the rating of the show displayed in the upper corner, they had to have letters indicating the content of the show such as L for language, S for sexual situations, and V for violence. This only helped kids even further with identifying the shows they wanted to watch.
    • The Onion lampshaded this with a story about the nation's teenage boys lobbying Congress to demand a more precise rating system with explanation such as how, if a teenage boy is to make an informed decision about whether a particular program is worth watching he needs to know exactly what it contains, and a boy complaining about how he sat through an entire program rated TV-MA that had no sex or violence.
    • When the UK's Channel 4 launched in 1982, with a mandate for adventurous, push the envelope programming, it made a huge fuss of prefacing its late-night risque movies with a red warning triangle. This had the inevitable effect of attracting viewers rather than warning them off as the practice quickly became infamous. It was dropped not too long afterwards. But C4 retained its reputation for being slightly dangerous.
  • The Rev. Eric Camden of 7th Heaven points out in one episode that ever since his wife put him on a diet, all he wants to do is eat. This is actually why a lot of diets fail in real life. It's not healthy to think of food (of any sort, unhealthy or not) as forbidden, or to think of occasionally eating the wrong food as "cheating" or "slipping up". That kind of thinking leads to people just plain giving up on dieting.
  • Symbolically invoked in Battlestar Galactica. When Ellen is trying to convince Boomer that the Final Five had the right idea, they are eating from a bowl of apples. At some point, they offer one of them to Boomer who refuses, symbolising that they prefer to remain on Cavil's side.
  • Caitlin's Way: When Caitlin and Griffin are looking for a shortcut home, Caitlin instantly wants to cut through a field with a NO TRESPASSING sign simply because she saw the sign there, calling it "an invitation".
  • The programme Derren Brown: Trick or Treat had fun with this. One episode involved a member of the public being challenged to go five minutes without pressing the Big Red Button that would kill a kitten. After five minutes of bleeping 24- style countdown, and repeated reminders to not kill the kitten, she eventually did it at the last second. The lights went out. When they came back up, the kitten was fine. The woman's psyche...not so much.
  • Doctor Who:
    • The show runs on this trope. Ever since the very first episode, neither the Doctor nor his companions have been able to resist sticking their noses where they know they don't belong. Have you got that feeling that you shouldn't be poking around somewhere? Poke away! Mysterious deserted city that everyone wants to get away from? Must investigate! Impossibly ringing phone that a mysterious stranger tells you not to answer? "Hello?"
    • The Christmas Invasion:
      • The Doctor:...And how am I gonna react when I see this? A great, big, threatening button. A great, big, threatening button which must not be pressed under any circumstances, am I right? Looks like some sort of control matrix. [...] I really don't know who I am. I don't know when to stop. So if I see a great, big, threatening button which should never ever ever be pressed, then I just want to do this: [presses button]
    • "The Impossible Planet"/"The Satan Pit": The Doctor, when confronted with a large pit, in the centre of a planet referred to as Hell, which is in orbit around a black hole, with the Devil attacking, discusses with a scientist why they have an urge to jump down the pit, and how the feeling is. The Doctor resists at first, but later has no choice but to abseil down. When he runs out of rope but not pit, he gives in to the temptation to fall. However, the Forbidden Fruit in this instance is good — if he hadn't given in, the Satan-like alien would have been able to escape and take over the universe.
    • "The Crimson Horror" lampshades it:
    Vastra: If our stratagem succeeds, Jenny will infiltrate deep into the black heart of this curious place.
    Strax: And how will she locate the Doctor?
    Vastra: To find him, she needs only ignore all keep-out signs, go through every locked door, and run towards any form of danger that presents itself.
    Strax: Business as usual, then.
    Vastra: Business as usual.
  • Father Ted:
    • One episode features two big red shiny buttons beside each other in an airplane cockpit, labelled "Emergency" and "Dump Fuel". When first introduced, and told not to push them, Father Dougal finds they're irresistibly calling to him. Naturally, later in the show, an emergency occurs and he is told to press the "Emergency" button. Three guesses what goes wrong... To top it off, the Captain of the aeroplane does not know what pressing the button marked "EMERGENCY" actually does as they've never had to press before. Those in the cockpit decide not to panic the passengers by telling them what's going on and just follow procedure and push the button. Unbeknownst on the flight deck the button triggers an alarm in the passenger section and the word "EMERGENCY" comes up on all the displays and is repeated over-and-over on the PA system.
    • Before the start of the series, Dougal evidently once faced the same problem on the bridge of a SeaLink ferry.
  • Fawlty Towers: In "Communication Problems", Basil simply cannot resist the temptation to bet on a horse, that a departing guest says is well worth a flutter. He does this knowing that betting would incur Sybil's wrath.
  • In an episode of Friends, Joey develops a crush on the new nanny Ross and Rachel hired for their daughter. He even lampshades the trope by name when Ross and Chandler disapprove thinking that his advances will scare her away. It turns out she was actually a lesbian.
  • Full House: D.J. Tanner went through the Pandora's Box-scenario with a gym bag belonging to her Uncle Jesse.
  • Good Omens (2019): One of Agnes Nutter's prophecies is a subversion. It appears to allude to a forbidden apple, but it refers to an apple that is literally impossible to eat: the company called Apple.
    In December 1980 an Apple shall rise no man can eat.
  • Season three of Heroes introduces Hiro by him watching a video will of his father Kaito telling him he just inherited a safe, and never to open the safe, or the world may end. The very next thing Hiro does is open it. Kaito apparently expected nothing less of his son, seeing that the safe contains a note telling Hiro to unpause the video, in which Kaito immediately goes "I told you not to open it!"
  • Robin from How I Met Your Mother suffers a horrible case of this. One time, she was informed by a doctor that she is allergic to lobster and compulsively eats an entire plate of lobster until she swelled up. In that same episode, she repeatedly kept trying to get Barney to sleep with her after he tells he is done going after her. She was also extremely jealous of Barney's new relationship with Patrice and took extreme measure to try to break them up. A previous episode had Robin heartbroken upon finding out that she can't have kids, despite how much she dislikes children. In short, Robin is always obsessed with getting whatever she can't have regardless of whether she even wanted it to begin with.
  • Last Man Standing: After Mandy turns 21 years old, she discovers that she doesn't like drinking wine as much as she did when she was underage and not legally allowed to consume it.
  • Lizzie McGuire The episode "First Kiss" has Lizzie getting her first boyfriend, which her dad isn't too thrilled about, but her mom assures him that the number one way to make a boy even more appealing to a girl is to tell her she can't see him.
  • Malcolm in the Middle: Malcolm and Reese find a door with a sign saying it's for authorized personnel only AND "forbidden". Malcolm is hesitant but Reese sways him with "They wouldn't put something like that up unless there was something really bitching on the other side." Malcolm turns to the camera and says "I can't find a flaw in his logic." The next scene, the two are hauled by a security guard. While Malcolm openly blames Reese, he admits that "It was pretty bitching" making this a bit of a subversion. While they did end up disciplined for their antic, considering the lives of the cast, this case seems to be more an acceptable consequence.
  • In one Married... with Children episode, Al was accidentally circumcised and had to abstain from sex for a month. For most of their marriage, Al put great effort into avoiding sex with his wife. But now that it was forbidden, she suddenly became some sort of irresistible sex goddess whose every casual action seemed to turn him on. This trope would also explain why Al is so obsessed with younger women even though Peg is quite the MILF: he's attracted to what he can't have.
  • In Masters of Sex, while it becomes an academic success, the book about the study of human sexual response barely sells its first edition. Masters has the idea to wrap it under plain brown paper to elicit curiosity from the public as something mysterious, illicit. It quickly finds a second wind among regular readers.
  • The kids of Salute Your Shorts get back at a spoiled brat who's made their lives miserable by telling her she's now free to "trash whatever you want to trash, destroy whatever you want to destroy..." except press "that little red button over there," which promptly sets off a well-organized Booby Trapped room that leaves her covered in egg yolks, spaghetti sauce, and feathers. Not only that, she sets it off just in time for Ug to step in and allow all the other campers to immediately pin her for all the messes earlier. Given her condition, Ug considers it case closed and ices the cake by ordering her to clean up the mess with a toothbrush.
  • Star Trek:
    • In the Star Trek: The Original Series episode "Requiem for Methuselah", the only part of Flint's mansion that Rayna Kapec is forbidden to enter is one specific room. Guess where she wants to go more than anywhere else? Flint doesn't want her to go in there for a good reason. It's the laboratory where she was created: she's a humanoid robot.
    • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Averted in the episode "Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges" in that as long as it was illegal Admiral William Ross was one of the few Starfleet officers who did not drink Romulan Ale, only sampling some when it was no longer forbidden in the Federation. When Ross learned just how potent Romulan ale was after having his first sample, Romulan Senator Cretak noted when Ross admitted that it was his first time consuming the ale that it being illegal never stopped most Starfleet officers from having some.
  • Underbelly faced this problem on its release, as the court cases for Victor Brincatt and Thomas Hentshel (the people behind the murder of Jason Moran at his kid's Auskick clinic) and other cases in the Melbourne Gangland War were proceeding at the time. Out of fear that the jury would be influenced by the show it was banned in Victoria, with one notable exception being episode five. Freak weather conditions in Tasmania bounced the signal to Victoria, allowing people in the state to get their first glimpse of the show.
  • An episode of Will & Grace featured Jack finding a mysterious locked room in Karen's apartment that even Rosario is afraid to enter. Jack relented after Karen literally wrestled him away, only to fall into the room on accident. The room is a nursery that Karen set up after a pregnancy scare; the fact that she kept it at all is a major Pet the Dog moment.

  • The "Parental Advisory" label put on some albums in America (and on American albums sold overseas), also known as the "Tipper Sticker" after the Moral Guardian who pushed for it. A number of people have observed that putting a Parental Advisory sticker on an album only makes young people want to listen to it more. Indeed, the design of the sticker has attained cult status and can be found on T-shirts, signs, and similar paraphernalia. One such person was George Carlin, who entitled one of his albums Parental Advisory: Explicit Content.
  • "Forbidden Fruit" by The Band.
  • One Direction fans have been told repeatedly to stop shipping "Larry Stylinson." While all the other boys are loving with each other all the time, Harry and Louis never even sit next to or speak to each other. So of course, everyone loses their shit when they touch.
  • Mentioned in Walking in My Shoes by Depeche Mode.
    The countless feasts laid at my feet
    Forbidden fruits for me to eat
  • "Beans in My Ears", by Len Chandler, covered by The Serendipity Singers, involves a bunch of kids being told not to put beans in their ears, so immediately doing so. According to The Other Wiki, doctors complained that the song inspired kids to put beans in their ears.
  • In "River" by Eminem:
'Cause now with her in the womb
We can't bring her in this world, shoulda knew
To use protection 'fore I bit into your forbidden fruit — fuck!
  • Nautilus Pompilius: In the song "Goodbye Letter", American popular culture is called a forbidden fruit. For the Soviet Union's citizens, it is desirable precisely because it is forbidden. The lyrical hero of this song says goodbye to both the imposed hatred and the infantile aggrandizement of America.
  • Promotional copies of albums intended for critics and radio stations come with warnings stating that they belong to the record company and are not to be sold. This just makes promo copies that much more collectible. Promo copies are openly traded despite the stern warnings. The record companies never enforced the rule, and a 2011 court case in the U.S. found that promo copies are gifts and that the first sale doctrine applies, meaning that radio stations and critics are free to do with these copies whatever they want because promo copies belong to them.

    Myths & Religion 
  • The Trope Namer comes from the Book of Genesis. God gives free rein to the first two humans over everything in the paradisal Garden of Eden, except for one tree, because eating of its fruits will cause them to die. Unfortunately, a wily serpent manages to tempt the two into eating the fruit out of their desire to be god-like, leading them to be expelled from the Garden and introduce humanity to pain and death. The exact species of fruit wasn't mentioned. Much like Four Is Death, it's portrayed as an apple because the Latin word for apple, malus, also means "evil".
    Genesis 2:16-17: And the LORD God commanded the man, "You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die."
    • Additionally, the second tree in the center of the garden became the new forbidden fruit. The reason specifically mentioned in Genesis as to why Adam and Eve were kicked out of the garden and security posted at the gates was to prevent them from eating fruit from the tree of life.
  • Classical Mythology:
    • The Greek gods gave Pandora a box and told her not to open it. She opened it, and the world's evils came out. Note that in the original Greek, Pandora has a pithos, meaning "jar." It became a "box" due to a translation mistake during The Renaissance. However, "Pandora's box" is now so iconic that it's usually kept as a box in modern adaptations. Pandora being motivated by curiosity is also a late addition to the story. In Hesiod's Theogony, she's never told not to open the jar/box nor is there any indication that she doesn't know what's in it. She doesn't have a stated motive in Hesiod's version, but the implication is that she just did it For the Evulz.
    • Depending on the version, Pandora herself was created by the gods and given to Epimetheus, brother of Prometheus. Before he was imprisoned by the gods, Prometheus warned his brother never to accept any gifts from the gods. However, Epimetheus became so enchanted with Pandora that he accepted her (and the box she was carrying) without worrying about his brother's warning.
    • In the tale of Cupid And Psyche, jealous Venus sends Cupid to use his arrows to cause Psyche (whose beauty is praised above Venus) to fall in love with the most hideous thing in the world. Cupid bungles the assignment and pricks himself with love's arrow, falling in love with Psyche instantly. Psyche finds herself living the good life with a god, but on the condition that she never sees her new husband. Naturally, this works out no better than any of the other examples on this page. Not to mention how, when Venus ordered her to bring her a portion of Persephone's beauty, Psyche was warned not to eat anything in the underworld except for bread and also not to open the box Persephone gave her. She obeys the first order but disobeys the second, and would have likely slept forever had Cupid not intervened.
    • A very similar fate befalls Semele, one of Zeus's lovers.
    • Another Greek example is the tale of Orpheus and Eurydice. Orpheus was a famed singer whose fiancee, Eurydice, was bitten on the heel by a poisonous snake and killed, while she was fleeing centaurs who were trying to rape her on her wedding day. Grieving for his lost wife, Orpheus traveled to the underworld and sang to Hades and Persephone, begging them to release Eurydice and allow her to live the rest of her life. They were so moved by his song that they relented, saying that Eurydice's spirit would follow him out of the underworld and she would be restored to life once they reached the surface. The one caveat to this agreement was that Orpheus was never to look back when he was leaving the underworld. Orpheus climbed back out the way he came but, as he reached the surface, suddenly began wondering if Eurydice was really following him. Unable to quench his doubt, he turned to check if Eurydice was behind him. She was just a few steps from leaving the Underworld and returning to life but, since he had broken his pledge, her spirit sank back into the underworld and, despite much more begging on Orpheus's behalf, Hades and Persephone wouldn't give him a second chance.
    • The Odyssey: Aeolus was a king that Odysseus's party stopped to visit on the first year after winning the Trojan War. He entertains them well, and they stay for a month at his island, then say their goodbyes. To speed their journey, Aeolus gives Odysseus a bag made from the skin of a nine-year-old ox, and inside it is the North, South, and East winds. After ten days of smooth sailing that would probably set some records, they come within sight of Ithaca. Odysseus goes to sleep after handling the bag for so long, and his companions, thinking there's gold from Aeolus in the bag, go to peek in it. The other winds burst out, and swept the ships away from their own country, eventually leading to everyone but Odysseus's death, and for him, his homecoming is delayed by nine years.
  • In Japanese Mythology, Izanami died after giving birth to Kagutsuchi, and Izanagi traveled to the underworld to retrieve her after she ate food that made it impossible for her to return to the world of the living. Upon finding her, she made him promise to not look at her until they escaped. Guess what he did. He saw that she had become a hideous beast and began to flee from her, which evoked her wrath and caused her to send her minions after him to trap him in the underworld, though he did end up escaping.
  • Native American Mythology: A Lakota story features two hunters seeing a woman. One just wants to sleep with her, but the other recognizes that she's a holy woman. The first one gets consumed by a cloud and all that is left of him is bones. Then she delivers modern ceremonies to the Lakota people.

    Tabletop Games 
  • 4e D&D's H1 module, Keep on the Shadowfell, has a door with a sign that says "Danger! Stay away!" and then scratched below "REALLY!" Guess how many adventuring parties DON'T go through that door?
    Inside is a room that holds a very vicious blue slime monster (that has TPKed many a party attempting said module.)
  • Pretty much every Tabletop RPG Dungeon Crawl ever. As in:
    Old Guy in Tavern: There's an ancient ruin over yonder said to hold a terrible curse. Legend says that there are creatures in there that will drive you mad! Nobody who has ventured in has ever returned alive!
    Adventuring Party: Thanks, old man. Next stop: Evil Ruins!
  • In Paranoia, the Commies initially didn't exist — they'd disappeared long before Alpha Complex was built, but The Computer mistook civil defense files from 1957 as being up to date. Then some citizens got so fed up with The Computer that they decided to become the thing It hated most, even knowing nothing else about it. And devote themselves to the ideals of Groucho Marx and John Lennon.
  • In Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000, one of the ways Tzeentch gains worshipers is to tempt mortals with the idea of knowledge forbidden by their leaders. It is invariably a Batman Gambit that ends with the person in Tzeentch's debt and forced to act as his pawn.
  • In a Magic: The Gathering article, Mark Rosewater used this to explain the goblin mentality, with a button and telling people do not touch that button! It would scramble the page.
  • Everway supplement "Spherewalker Sourcebook", story "The Serpent of Ice". A magician who lives behind a waterfall tells a tribe of hunters that they can take all of the water they want from below the waterfall, but not to take any from the spring that feeds the waterfall. The chief of the tribe and her son decide to take water from the spring anyway, and the water turns into a serpent that kills the son.

    Video Games 
  • In the video game Blasto, the player would run across large buttons labeled "DO NOT PUSH". Pushing them kills you instantly... most of the time. One rather nasty one scrambles the buttons on your controller, making it next to impossible to figure out how to access the menu and get out of the game. And some are beneficial.
  • In the original Space Quest, the escape craft that Roger had to use early in the game had a button that said "Do Not Push". Pushing it took him to a crazy other dimension called the Daventry Zone which was actually the world that King's Quest took place in, resulting in a Nonstandard Game Over. (Of course, simply seeing it may have been cool enough to try it, so long as you saved the game first.) The VGA remake changed this to Roger being transported to Conquests of the Longbow and suffering a fatal crash.
  • Hoborg's crown in The Neverhood becomes this. It's the one thing Klogg could not have in the new world, but it was all that he wanted. When Klogg eventually stole the crown, it transformed him into an ugly-looking creature, corrupting him. (Not that Klogg really seemed to care.) If Klaymen takes the crown for himself, it transforms him into a creature similar to that of Klogg, corrupting him as well. It’s only by doing the right thing and returning the crown to Hoborg that Klayman can get a happy ending.
  • The Path. Like you're really going to stay on it.
  • Dawn of War. "You stupid humans! You mustn't destroy the Artifact Of Doom! You don't know what you're doing!" Worked like a charm, naturally.
  • Dragon Age: Origins:
    • Mentioned in an amusing conversation with Leliana, where she talks about being in the cloister surrounded by chaste young women. She says that being forbidden fruit "added to their mystique." The really amusing part comes from the Warden's "Is your fruit forbidden?", to which Leliana responds "My...fruit? I can't believe I'm having this conversation."
    • Ser Cullen, a Templar at the Circle Tower, is revealed to have a long-standing crush on the Female Mage Warden. Templars and mages are definitely not allowed to have sexual or romantic relationships for a whole bunch of reasons. The power imbalance is just one. The risk of being torn apart by demons is another. And Cullen discovers a third when the Tower is overtaken by demon-possessed mages; they prey upon his desire and torment him nearly to madness.
  • Dragon Age: Inquisition:
    Iron Bull: I'm just saying, Dorian. You have this picture of the Qunari in your mind. Like you see us as this forbidden, terrible thing, and you're inclined to do the forbidden...
    Dorian: I have no idea what you're talking about.
    Iron Bull: All I'm saying is, you ever want to explore that, my door's always open.
  • In Portal 2, the trope is intentionally invoked, several times. Even though you know that it's going to kill you, you just gotta try.
    • One even results in an achievement, for those interested in achievements.
  • Fallen London has quite a few storylets with the words "this will severely damage your character. Don't do it" or something like it on them. Many of them are Violations of Common Sense. They are always truthful. The wiki (filled out by the players) has precise descriptions of what happens if you do them.
    • Most notably in the "Seeking Mr Eaten's Name" quest, which is an entire, very extended storyline made of this trope. Among other things, it requires you to commit suicide seven times in a variety of horrific ways. This also has the distinction of being Forbidden Fruit in-universe; the Masters of the Bazaar will send you a cease and desist note if you take up the quest, telling you in no uncertain terms that it will destroy you. At one point, if you progress far enough, the game outright tells you that the real life Customer Support team will no longer support your account. And how does this quest end? With your character suffering Permadeath and the account being unusable.
  • In Mass Effect 2, it's revealed that the Male Commander Shepard is this to Tali, despite that she's a Quarian Admiral's daughter, meant to safeguard her people's future, but due to the bio-chemical barriers between Quarians and Humans, she could actually die from being with Shepard;
    Tali: I mean a young woman gets rescued by a dashing commander who lets her join his crew and then goes off to save the galaxy? How could she possibly develop an interest in him?
  • In Terranigma, the plot begins with Ark breaking down a forbidden blue door and opening a box behind it.
  • Around 2012, this was EA's marketing team's preferred technique. To promote Dante's Inferno, this team created a fake protest of people offended by the game's depiction of Christianity. Dead Space 2's advertising consisted solely of middle-aged and elderly people, mostly women, being horrified and disgusted at viewing footage of the game, then talking about how no one should be playing it. In other words, both of these games are selling themselves as being abhorrent to the Moral Guardians, and that alone would be appealing. Extra Credits thoroughly chewed up this marketing team in this video.
  • Hatred ended up being a best seller when first released despite being a mediocre twin stick shooter; mainly due to the insane backlash the game got with the press and Steam removing the game from Greenlight before fan outcry made Gabe Newell personally come in to put the game back up on the store. As Yahtzee Croshaw eloquently put it: "Try banny game make people wanty game more!"
  • Stellaris uses this with a side of Unexpectedly Realistic Gameplay. Psionic empires that breach The Shroud can make contact with something calling itself The End of the Cycle, promising incredible rewards - a doubling of all income, production and scientific output — if you sign this Deal with the Devil. The text box to accept this is headed with "Do not do this," but of course seasoned Grand Strategy players are going to want to see what happens and whether they can find a way to weasel out of any negative consequences. The short answer: no. Fifty years after accepting the bargain, you lose everything - every ship, every space station, every planet in your empire - except for one lonely colony led by the only leader sane enough to see what was coming. And you get to watch as a demonic super-entity proceeds to exterminate everything in the galaxy, leaving you for last. Even if other factions manage to defeat the End of the Cycle, you're stuck with a tremendous diplomacy malus for bringing it about, so they'll probably come after you next.
  • Invoked in Injustice 2 in Catwoman's arcade ending. She and Batman finally enter a long-term relationship, but she realizes she was primarily attracted to him because he was forbidden, not despite it. Also, being a billionaire's girlfriend meant she had no reason to ever steal again, boring her senseless. She leaves him to return to her old life.
  • Played with Yo-kai Watch 3, which features an actual food item called "Forbidden Fruit" (which even looks like an apple) which makes every Yo-kai who eat it to automatically befriend you, so this is quite useful to befriend those high-ranked Yo-kai you only get to battle once a day. The only downside is that it can only be found in the Cluvian Continent (the setting of the Blasters T mode).

    Visual Novels 
  • Invoked by Amy in Double Homework. A large part of her willingness to have sex and experiment sexually is due to the fact that her parents frown upon premarital sex.

  • One panel in webcomic Casey and Andy showed an Imperial Admiral laughing while putting signs around a door saying "Warning! No Bothans!"
  • Subverted in Oglaf, in which the main character is pestered by a magic door to open it. It isn't explained what's inside it, why it's sentient, or why the Mistress wants him to open it so darn bad.
  • In one Nukees strip, Gav decides he absolutely has to see what's on the other side of a door when he notices there are roughly a dozen different warning signs on it.
  • In Bruno the Bandit chess was outlawed after the king lost a game rather badly. This resulted in hundreds of illicit dens offering variations on the game to all-too-eager customers. Once it was finally legal to play again, the main characters pronounced it "dull" and were unable to comprehend their earlier fascination with it.
  • Initially subverted in one series of Nodwick strips. The sorceress She Who Must Be Obeyed had obtained a written copy of That Which Man Is Not Meant to Know, and she is smart enough not to read it because she realizes that it's obviously dangerous if no-one should know it. However, Piffany assures her that only men are not meant to know it; women can safely read it because it's something that they know already. When she reads it not revealing it to the readers, the fact that such a secret would be so devastating to men almost makes her bust a gut laughing.
  • In PepsiaPhobia, Helen thinks this is the reason Phobia likes Klepto.
    Helen: Aw, Phobia, I know the taboo of being with a slave seems exciting at first, but it all comes crashing down if my husband ever finds out who Sophia's real father is. You'll see someday this was all for the best.
  • In The Order of the Stick, Elan discovers a self-destruct device which includes some very heavy-handed warnings in Dorukan's dungeon at the end of the first story arc. Elan being Elan, he probably hit it for this reason.
    Self Destruct Rune: Do not touch. Ever. note 
  • In El Goonish Shive, Susan notes that any attraction to Justin she had was likely the result of knowing that Incompatible Orientation made sure that it would never happen.
  • In Sandra on the Rocks, Eloise wants to sleep with her her cousin, Pierre, partly because she thinks "Forbidden fruit is hot!"note  She eventually gets what she wants, but only in the Volume 3 Print Bonus story.
  • Girl Genius: At one point, the Other and Dr. Monahan get into discussion about a nearby mutagenic compound, which Monahan has — in true Spark fashion — tested on her minions, turning them into shuffling monsters. She's a little surprised the Other didn't notice the large door elsewhere telling people not to open it, but the Other retorts that she was clever enough not to. Meanwhile, Bang and a crew of sailors have in fact done just that.

    Web Original 
  • #Tweet Fur on Twitter was started because somebody noticed that one of the guidelines for using the Twitter logo was "Don't anthropomorphize the logo" and so the Furry Fandom started drawing anthropomorphic birds based on the Twitter logo and posting them on Twitter.
  • TV Tropes:
    • The ever-unobtainable All-Blue Entry.
    • We all know what happens when you invoke Candle Jack, but none of us can ever resist invoking Candle Jack. Oh wait, you can say "Candle Jack"; that meme's already dead by now. See?
    • Spoiler tags. Especially if it's a series you care about. You know you want to find out nooooo! They killed your favorite character!!
    • This is probably the main reason the Wondrous Ladies Room trope exists, and why so many things have fun subverting it or mocking it.

    Western Animation 
  • Clerks: The Animated Series: When breaking into Leonardo Leonardo's skyscraper, Dante and Randall come across a door on the roof with skulls hanging off it and 'MAZE OF DEATH' written in blood on the door. Naturally, Randall wants to go through this door, even though Dante protests and points out the perfectly ordinary door leading to the same place right next to it. We don't see the horrors that they experience when they choose door number one, but given that it apparently includes a minotaur and a Billy Crystal / Robin Williams movie, door number two seems to have been the better bet.
  • Courage the Cowardly Dog: In one episode, when Courage is searching for a storm goddess' pet dog (it's a weird cartoon) he finds that the dog has fallen under the spell of something called the God Bone, a giant bone that is so delicious that a dog who licks it will keep doing so until it starves to death. Despite a stern voice that bluntly warns anyone who enters the room of the danger, it appears that dogs simply cannot resist it. (The numerous dog skeletons surrounding it seem to prove this). Courage falls under its spell too but saves himself and the other dog by somehow managing to pick the giant bone up and carry it with him. In the end, he keeps the bone too.
  • The Cuphead Show!:
    • In "Baby Bottle", one of the two rules Elder Kettle gives to Cuphead and Mugman is to not fight while he's away; the two immediately begin fighting when he leaves. Mugman stops partway through when he realizes he doesn't know why they're fighting; Cuphead replies that they're fighting because they're not supposed to. This satisfies Mugman, and the two go back to fighting.
    • In "Sweet Temptation", the second rule of Sugarland is that anyone who discovers it can eat all of the candy landscape that they like, except for Baroness Von Bon Bon's personal castle. This is an Exploited Trope, as the Baroness is clearly using Reverse Psychology to tempt people into breaking the rules so she can turn them into candy and eat them.
  • Daria: In "I Don't", Kevin drags Mack to a bridal expo being held at the school where their girlfriends Brittany and Jodie are modelling dresses, despite being told not to. Kevin ends up namedropping the trope while explaining his reasoning for doing so, believing (incorrectly) that the girls are employing Reverse Psychology.
    Kevin: They knew if they invite us to a bridal expo there's no way we'd go near the place.
    Mack: Then, uh... why are we here?
    Kevin: Forbidden fruits, man! Forbidden fruits.
    Mack: When you hear yourself talk, does it make sense to you?
    Kevin: Sometimes.
  • Dee Dee in Dexter's Laboratory comes face to face with irresistible Forbidden Fruit (buttons, experiments, etc.) every way she turns in Dexter's lab, and goes for it every time.
  • In the Disney Doug episode "Doug's Minor Catastrophe", Roger uses this to his advantage when selling "Nic-Nacs" (a tobacco analogue that can only be sold to adults with an ID), by getting the Principal to make an announcement that they are for adults.
  • The Fanboy and Chum Chum episode "The Tell-Tale Toy" has Fanboy become addicted to an Ultra Ninja Chum Chum gets, but he's not allowed to play with it. Eventually, his addiction gets the better of him and he eventually breaks it, and tries to hide the truth. This surprisingly becomes subverted, as Chum Chum is not mad the ninja is broken, revealing he only wanted the box it came in, and was going to give Fanboy the toy. Fanboy becomes so surprised at this that he faints.
  • In the 1930s Fleischer cartoon "Koko's Earth Control", Koko the Clown and his dog walk to the North Pole, where they find a control room with levers that control weather, earthquakes, and volcanoes all over the Earth. One lever is clearly marked with a warning not to touch it. Of course, the dog (who can read) can't resist.
  • Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends, "The Trouble with Scribbles", concerns Bloo and a door marked with, what else? "STAY AWAY. DO NOT ENTER." Mind you, Bloo only becomes attracted to opening it after Mr. Herriman tells him that it contains "deep, dark, mysterious secrets" (emphasis on secrets, as Bloo can't resist knowing them and then letting them out).
  • In an episode of Futurama, Professor Farnsworth creates a box with another universe inside and orders Leela to guard it. Of course, this "forces" Bender and Fry to immediately make every effort to steal the box (Fry: "Whatever's in there, it's the only thing I've ever wanted"). Leela distracts them with a decoy filled with booze and tangled Christmas tree lights, but then finally succumbs to temptation herself and looks in the real box.
    Farnsworth: No matter what happens, no matter how great your curiosity, you are forbidden to look inside this box. Forbidden! Pretty tantalizing though...
  • Subverted in Garfield: His 9 Lives where a girl and cat live in an idyllic garden, with one condition, that a glass case must never be opened. The characters, who don't seem to have a serious thought in their heads, are tempted to violate that rule. However, while the story plays up their temptation to maximum suspense, at the climax, they leave the case alone and stay in the garden forever.
  • In one episode of Garfield and Friends, Jon bet Garfield he couldn't go five minutes without eating. Garfield figured — rightfully — that Jon thought he had no willpower, and took that bet, but poor Garfield was tempted almost constantly the entire five minutes (shown by a timer provided) everywhere he went by people offering him free food, making him wonder at one point why this never happened any other time. And the most shocking thing is, this is a subversion. He actually won the bet.
  • Jojos Circus: The first episode, "Easy as Pie", has Jojo check out her clown school classroom for the first time and set her sights on a pie-throwing robot which her teacher warns not to activate. But Jojo feels so tempted by the robot that she ends up activating it anyway, and the classroom becomes a pie-filled mess.
  • In the King of the Hill episode "The Passion of the Dauterive", when Bill starts a relationship with Reverend Stroup, he's mostly invested in it because he perceives it as "forbidden" and controversial. When Stroup decides to circumvent any controversy by resigning as pastor, Bill becomes despondent that their romance is no longer special and ends up breaking up with her.
  • In The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack episode "Mind the store but dont look in the drawer" Dr. Barber tells Flapjack "DO NOT LOOK IN THE DRAWER NO MATTER HOW TEMPTING!!!" in a very deep dark voice. Needless to say, Flap looked in the drawer.
  • This is generally the reason why Sheen Estevez is on Zeenu in Planet Sheen, as he kept disobeying Jimmy Neutron's letters that read "Sheen, do not (do this)!", resulting in him being blasted off.
  • Who can forget the History Eraser Button from The Ren & Stimpy Show, probably the most famous example of a Big Red Button you're not supposed to press that gets pressed anyway.
  • The Simpsons:
    • Subverted in a Halloween episode; when Homer sees the school thermostat with the note "Do not touch — Willie" on it, he reads it as "Do not touch Willie", regards it as good advice, and promptly turns up the heat.
    • A more straightforward example is the Halloween episode where Homer sells his soul to the Devil for a doughnut, then realizes that the Devil can't have his soul if he doesn't eat the whole thing. So he leaves a piece, marks it "Daddy's Soul Donut. Do Not Eat" and puts it in the fridge. Later, Homer goes for a midnight snack, sees his note, and goes "Mmm. Forbidden donut... chomp!"
    • There's the time when Bart is at the Wiggum household and he and Ralph get into the chief's closet which contains all his police gear, including weapons. The chief catches them and admonishes Ralph with "What is your fascination with my Forbidden Closet of Mystery?"
    • There's the Simpsons trying to get rid of a faulty trampoline, figuring that nobody will want it. Bart convinces Homer to chain it to a pole, and Snake promptly shows up and steals it.
    • In the episode where Homer starts smoking medicinal marijuana, he tells Bart that his medicine, which Bart must never use, because it will ruin his life, lets him see magical, wonderful things that Bart will never, ever experience. Ever.
  • In the South Park episode "Cartmanland", Cartman accidentally succeeds in triggering this trope when he buys an amusement park for his own private use. Before he bought it, it was losing money hand-over-fist due to lack of customers, but now everybody in town wants to go there specifically because they aren't allowed in. Other businesses soon start copying this strategy.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants:
    • The episode "The Secret Box" centers on SpongeBob's obsession with a box that Patrick carries around.
    • "The Donut of Shame" focuses on Patrick wanting to eat a donut he thought was meant for SpongeBob at a party they had the night before. Worried that SpongeBob will get upset for him taking the donut, Patrick tries to hide the truth, but it turns out SpongeBob is not mad Patrick took the donut at all — the donut was indeed for Patrick because the party they had was his own birthday.
    • In "Jolly Lodgers", when SpongeBob and Patrick constantly follow Squidward throughout Hotel Halibut to their own will, SpongeBob slyly says if he wishes to be alone, then don't go into the room behind him, because that's where the Jellyfishing Convention is. Sure enough, Squidward does end up at Jelly-Con. Which was SpongeBob and Patrick's plan all along.
  • Straight from the first episode of Teen Titans, it is made clear that one thing you do not do if you want to stay on Raven's good side is go in her room. The other members of the team are actually able to resist doing so until the episode "Nevermore", where Beast Boy and Cyborg enter by accident and then find out why... She has dangerous stuff in there. In fact, the stuff in her room even makes her nervous sometimes. In "Fear Itself", she wakes up after having a nightmare, looks around nervously, and says, "Maybe I should consider redecorating..."
  • A Thousand and One... Americas:
    • In the seventh episode, a sacred Mayan mask (namely Pakal's) is stolen, and Chris helps a priest in his quest to retrieve it. The priest explains that the mask is not meant to be taken away from its placement under any circumstances, as doing so can lead to a cataclysm.
    • In the twenty-third episode, Chris learns that the Xingu tribe does not allow women to see the sacred flutes stored in a special hut, much less play them; according to their beliefs, a huge disgrace would happen to both the woman and the rest of the tribe if she violated the rule.note  Near the end of the episode, a young girl succumbs to curiosity and sneaks into the hut where the sacred flutes are, and begins playing one despite Chris alerting her not to. Before anything bad happens, he wakes up just as his girlfriend plays a big Xingu flute in the attic where they are in the real world.

    Don't open this folder! 
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    • We'll forgive you if you hit the "Open/Close All Folders" button without looking, or if you have the "Folder View Default" profile option set to "open".


Down the Mine

Thomas finally manages to pass the lead mine's danger board… with disastrous results.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (1 votes)

Example of:

Main / ForbiddenFruit

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