Mischief for Punishment

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

Princess Christine: What a wonderful place! I hope you'll send me here for punishment some time.
Dark Prince Egon: You'll have to be awfully bad...

Princess Christine: Oh, I will be!

Alice is up to something that would get her punished if she'd get caught. However, she's not planning to get away with it. On the contrary, getting punished is at least part of the point. Maybe she consider the punishment to be a form of Unishment, or maybe getting caught is a part of some bigger scheme. The former is often related to Happiness in Slavery or Casual Kink, while the later is often related to I Surrender, Suckers or Xanatos Gambit. Note that the difference is in the motivation, not in the act itself.

While this trope is usually played for Rule of Funny or Rule of Sexy, it can also be played for Rule of Creepy as a twisted masochistic version of Entitled to Have You: "I can do whatever I want to you against your will, because I'd enjoy if you get mad at me or beat me up."

May result in either Threat Backfire or Can't Get in Trouble For Nuthin'. Compare Briar Patching, Get Into Jail Free.

Examples of Mischief for Punishment include:

Comic Books

  • In City of Dreams, Christine is eager to indulge her masochism. See page quote.
  • In one Fables short story, Mowgli makes sure to get locked up by his enemies. Not because he likes it in itself, but because it's preferable to being out in the open as the monsters he have unleashed go berserk.
  • Small Favors play this for laughs as part of a very Friendly War.
  • In the Backstory to Watchmen there was the villain Captain Carnage who tried this but didn't do so well.

Laurie: Hey, you remember that guy? The one who pretended to be a supervillain so he could get beaten up?
Dan: Oh, You mean Captain Carnage. Ha ha ha! He was one for the books.
Laurie: You're telling me! I remember, I caught him coming out of this jeweller's. I didn't know what his racket was. I start hitting him and I think "Jeez! He's breathing funny! Does he have asthma?"
Dan: Ha Ha Ha. He tried that with me, only I'd heard about him, so I just walked away. He follows me down the street in broad daylight, right? He's saying "Punish me! Punish me!" I'm saying "No! Get lost!"
Laurie: Ha Ha Ha. What ever happened to him?
Dan: Well, he pulled it on Rorschach, and Rorschach dropped him down an elevator shaft.



  • Dinah Glass in The Demon Headmaster. She knows something is off about her school and is afraid but doesn't know why so she decides to get in trouble and see what happens to her.
  • One rather epic scene in Slave World is when Ruth attack Lady Isobel in front of a lot of witnesses. Ruth had just been declared innocent by the court, which mean that she would be shipped back home to her own timeline - and thus lose her beloved Isobel forever. By attacking her, she made herself guilty of a real crime. Just as she intended, she was promptly sentenced to be Isobel's slave.
  • Immediately proceeding the events of Warbreaker, Vasher got into a barroom brawl with a priest, just so he'd be thrown into the God-King's dungeons so he could get some Breaths from a captured rebel.

Live Action TV

  • In one episode of Castle, a man intentionally lets himself be arrested for murder. It turns out, he was a rogue spy, killing a spy sent to bring him in, and he needed to get the files on a certain person.
  • At least one con on Leverage involve one member of the team being taken into the security room for minor purposes, to case the place and maybe plant a bug.

Web Original


And what, exactly, constitutes a violation of the dress code at Gonzales High School? The obvious stuff, like wearing clothes that expose underwear. But how about cargo pants, baggy pants or T-shirts? In other words, if you look like a normal member of the community, you could be violating the school dress code and will be forced to dress like an inmate. No more dress code distractions in class now! Of course, this whole system means that the students would have to experience some shame and ridicule wearing the jumpsuits for it to be effective ... which is the exact opposite of what happened. According to one student, "I talked to some of my friends about it and they said they are not going to obey the dress code just so they can wear the jumpsuit."


Western Animation

  • Happens in an episode of Family Guy after Stewie misbehaves, is hit by Lois, and realizes he enjoys the abuse. He spends the rest of the episode trying to get into trouble just so that she'll spank him again.
  • On Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends, Bloo tries to get himself grounded so he wouldn't have a disgusting-looking dish being prepared for that night's dinner.