Follow TV Tropes


Playing With / Ignored Epiphany

Go To

Basic Trope: A villain or morally grey character has a My God, What Have I Done? moment or Heel Realization, but ignores it.

  • Straight: Knight Templar Bob is sent to root out "corruption" in Troperville. When this leads to Troperville being set ablaze, Bob cries "My God, What Have I Done?" — but then corrects himself with "What have THEY done?!"
  • Exaggerated: Troperville is destroyed and several innocents are killed, including Alice, an Innocent Flower Girl Bob had befriended. Realizing that he caused her death, Bob just laughs bitterly.
  • Advertisement:
  • Downplayed: Bob sees Troperville is in danger, and places many orders around the city that restrict the lives the of citizens. While he gets complaints, he also sees that his laws work, so he resolves to keep them until he comes up with something better to quell the complaints.
  • Justified:
    • Bob has Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!.
    • Bob didn't realize what he had become immediately, and was too caught up in his own personal goals to understand this until his epiphany. While he has genuine doubts at first that what he did to Alice and Troperville was right, he rationalizes his actions to himself by saying that he's gone too far to give up his aims, and it's too late for him to change anyway.
    • Bob is too arrogant and stubborn to really admit that he's in the wrong, so he quickly rationalises his behavior.
  • Inverted:
    • Bob just suddenly changes, no realization of his previous actions or anything.
    • Advertisement:
    • Bob realizes that what he's done is wrong... and he likes it, diving into outright villainy in short order.
  • Subverted: Bob, upon his Heel Realization, pulls a Heel–Face Turn and joins La Résistance.
    • Bob ultimately ends up admitting to himself that he's just as responsible.
  • Double Subverted: However, he then betrays them to The Empire, forcing a small splinter group on the run.
  • Parodied: The big bad always has a epiphany whenever he does anything, even good. After searching his soul for a second, he ignores it.
  • Zig Zagged: After Troperville is torched, Bob joins La Résistance — just so he can hand them over to Baron Van Bition and end the conflict once and for all. He winds up befriending Claudia and finds himself Becoming the Mask, only to decide that he can't betray the empire and goes through with his original plan. Claudia escapes the slaughter, joins the other survivors and eventually confronts Bob with his flawed logic. Bob acknowledges this, but insists he's come too far to give up now, forcing them to fight.
  • Advertisement:
  • Averted: No character who realizes what he does fails to reform.
  • Enforced:
  • Lampshaded: "What, you expected me to leave a cause that I've known to be right for so long?"
  • Invoked: Baron Van Bition has conditioned Bob to ignore any thoughts that his path might be the wrong one.
  • Exploited: Baron Van Bition takes advantage of this moment to convince Bob to do even worst things, on the grounds of sunk cost.
  • Defied:
    • "I'm not going to put off these thoughts any longer."
    • "No! You're not going to escape your conscience; I won't let you!"
  • Discussed: "You're not going to learn anything from this, are you?" "Yeah, like the Big Bad will really reform."
  • Conversed: "This show is full of My God, What Have I Done? moments, but this one seems to have been a false alarm."
  • Deconstructed: The Hero demands that Bob own up to what he's done; Bob realizes that he knew it was wrong, and he's been in denial ever since.
  • Reconstructed: Bob knows that he was wrong, but realizes that he enjoys it and it's impossible for him to turn away, thus officially pulling the Redemption Rejection.
  • Played For Laughs:: Bob lays out, in detail, how he has realized lighting things on fire is bad and it's hurting his nation and it made his girlfriend dump him and his job has bad dental... and then decides to keep doing it on a whim.
  • Played For Drama: : Bob is so firm in his denial that what he's doing could be wrong that it's trivial for the Big Bad to make him an Unwitting Pawn.
  • Implied: Before setting Troperville on fire, Bob is seen looking a little wistful before snapping out of it. It's not clear why, but it looks like he may have had some doubts that he ignored.

Maybe I should press the 'X' Button and stop Reading TV-Tropes... hmmmmm... or maybe I'll just click on a few more... starting with Ignored Epiphany.