Dramatically Missing the Point

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Sometimes people can miss the point of things, due to being dense, stubborn, or lacking context, but the story treats this as a serious thing. The consequences can vary though, from a misunderstanding, to a tragedy, or even a Happy Ending.

One of the most common forms is someone being sad, seemingly due to a small trigger, and another person thinks it's just that trigger instead of the bigger picture.

Although this can be caused by people being stupid or delusional, as with an Irrational Hatred, often they can simply be naive, like people who don't realize that are being asked out, or confessed to. This also could apply to when the mentor/Parent/Acquaintance leaves some sort of instructions or advice that is tragically misinterpreted. Likewise, ignoring another person's feelings may come to a head with a declaration of "Did You Think I Can't Feel?"

Also, this can happen in Comedies, it's just not meant to be silly ways of missing the point.

Compare Comically Missing the Point, Poor Communication Kills, Could Have Avoided This Plot, Ignored Epiphany, Dramatic Irony, Selective Obliviousness.

No real life examples, please; Real Life is not dramatic. No Real Life Examples, Please. And don't forget that all examples must be In-Universe. No just accusing people or characters of this.

Examples of Dramatically Missing the Point include:

Anime and Manga

  • In Bleach, the New Captain Amagai Arc has a villain whose motivation is that Head Captain Yamamoto killed his father. The only other clue he had is that the father's dying words were "Bakkoto," the MacGuffins and Empathetic Weapons featured in the arc. It turns out that the father's last words were actually "Beware the Bakkoto" and that Yamamoto killed him because he was possessed, making the entire arc a Shoot the Shaggy Dog Story as had he not sworn revenge, the original villain's schemes would have still outed him as a villain and Amagai would still be alive.


  • The script for Pretty Woman started out a lot more tragic. One plot point was Edward renting a white fur coat for Vivian to wear during her hired time. When she is sad over their time nearly being up, he thinks it's just because he made her give the fur back.
  • In Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, Valeris airs her concerns to Spock about this new Federation-Klingon peace. SF Debris noted Spock doesn't realize how concerned she is at this moment.
  • In White Christmas, Betty is upset at what she thinks is Judy's betrayal at leaving the act to get married and Bob's double-dealing by using the show for publicity. Bob, on the other hand, doesn't understand why she won't sing for him and thinks she's just being difficult.


  • In Harry Potter, Voldemort falls afoul of this trope with regards to the Elder Wand: he knows that the wand passes to whoever defeats its previous master, and interprets this as the wand going to whoever killed the last master. It fails to occur to him to think about non-lethal defeat, so he assumes that the wand's ownership should pass from Dumbledore to Snape when Snape killed the former. In fact, Draco Malfoy had already disarmed Dumbledore and become the rightful owner of the wand, which then passed to Harry when Harry disarmed Draco. This contributes to Voldemort's downfall in more ways than one, since it also leads him to kill Snape, who then passes the knowledge of how to defeat Voldemort on to Harry in what are probably the only circumstances under which Harry would actually believe him.
  • Vlad Tepes in Count and Countess, who doesn't understand why it's bad to conscript children into his army, nor why Elizabeth Bathory is so upset when her daughter dies.

Live Action TV

  • Soap: Burt's doctor calls him in to tell him that he's got a rare disease.

Burt: OK, then what's the treatment?
Doctor: Burt, there is no treatment.
Burt: So, what, it just goes away by itself, huh?



  • Death of a Salesman Willy Loman ends up killing himself, thinking that he will give his family a lot of money. At his funeral, at least one character points out that Willy could have chosen another path and have been happier for it. One of his sons, Happy, declares that he will succeed where Willy failed. He's blatantly ignoring the fact that Willy was no good at being a salesman and Happy has no reason to assume that he's any better, and that if any lessons were to be learned from events it was that it's more important to find something you're good at which makes you happy and look for success there, rather than follow someone else's idea of success.

Western Animation

  • In the South Park episode "Kenny Dies" (in a semi-parodical tone) where the boys are told Kenny is diagnosed with a terminal disease. "But he's gonna get better, right?" inquires Stan. A somber music plays in the background as the adults exchange saddened looks.