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Tragic Mistake is the event where a hero is given a clear choice, but because they choose poorly, it results the disastrous event that brought the huge impact on their life that made them more miserable than ever. The said mistake may caused by the said hero's own flaws, but sometimes fate also pressed them to chooses poorly as well. While the hero and/or their allies may not realizing the consequence of their wrong choice, that moment is crucial to the beginning of unfortunate event that ranges from merely the hero's tragic downfall to the chain of disastrous events.

The results of this bad choice lead inexorably towards the hero's catastrophic end—had the hero chosen correctly at this point, the catastrophe could have been averted. The said mistake also the crucial part of their story.

Examples

Multimedia Franchises

Star Wars

  • Anakin Skywalker had made many mistakes prior to this point, but what pushed him irrevocably over to the Dark Side was his decision to save Emperor Palpatine, leading directly to Mace Windu's death and leaving him no chance to go back as well the downfall of the Jedi Order.
    • Another point of no return for Anakin was when he impulsively (and unnecessarily) refuses to see Padmé Amidala, trying to talk him down and Obi-Wan Kenobi stowing away on her ship, as anything but an attack on him. This results in him Force choking his wife and dueling with his former Jedi Master, ending with him having his three remaining limbs chopped off and getting burned very badly by lava. The old Anakin might have been able to find a way to save his wife from dying in her childbirth, but after waking up in the black suit, he realizes that his own fears ends up killing her.
    • Though Anakin is not necessarily blamed (again) even after his redemption and demise, the impact of both his tragic mistake and evil actions as Vader proved to be greater than either he or his son Luke expected: Ben, Luke's nephew and apprentice as well as Han Solo and Leia's son, whom upon learning Anakin's dark past as Darth Vader, decided to embrace the dark side and become Kylo Ren, causing a major setback on Luke's dream to restore Jedi Order to the point that he went to exile until Rey discovered him and give him hope.

Live-Action Films

  • Carlito Brigante: Carlito's case mostly involving poor judge on a character that he supposedly either spare or not: Carlito had the troublemaking Benny Blanco at his mercy but let him live because he was a reformed man. Carlito also knew never to trust Pachanga and said he'd take care of him but he never found the time.
  • Claire Dearing: Claire's mistake that led her indirectly contribute destruction and deaths in Jurassic World at hands of Indominus rex was her ignorance with the fact that dinosaurs actually have emotion and feelings instead of simply beasts with no intelligence as well as and gives Owen cold shoulder on her poor management on Indominus. That's until she realized that whatever treatment that she arranged for Indominus wind up destroyed what has left of her innocence where the hybrid killed many people by manipulating pterosaurs and raptors where Zach and Mitchell nearly became the the hybrid's victims as well as threatened the fate of the park.
  • Roger and Anita Radcliffe: When Roger and Anita go out for a walk to the park whilst taking Pongo and Perdita with them, they didn't take enough precaution in ensuring Pongo and Perdita's pups' safety from dalmatian kidnappers: Two bandits named Jasper and Horace Badun who are watching them from the shadows has study the whole situation in their house as they easily break in, lock Nanny in the cupboard, and stole the puppies without leaving traces. When they returned home, Roger and Anita feels saddened with what has happened and their mistakes that gave the thieves advantages. Fortunately, a group of farm animals whom knew where the thieves hiding at able to save the day by incapacitate the thieves includes their leader Cruella de Vill one by one not only to save Pongo and Perdita's puppies, but also other kidnapped homeless dalmatian puppies.
  • Rex (Babe): Rex was insulted at Babe's action of herding the sheep, he attacks Fly furiously injuring her leg. Arthur Hoggett sees this rushes to break them up, in his rage Rex accidentally bit his right hand in the process, causing Esme Hoggett to glare at him for it. When Babe tries to talk to him, he chases him away in anger, but he was held back by his leash with Arthur Hoggett witnessing him, calls the vet. The Vet then sedates him, losing his ability of herding the sheeps in the process. When Babe runs away thanks to Dutchess the Hoggett's nasty cat revealing to Babe that farmers eat pigs, Rex now realizes how Fly is heartbroken is without Babe and how much good he has done, regrets his behavior earlier, rushes to find Babe and probably scolds Dutchess furiously for saying those terrible words to Babe.
  • Chance: Chance has a fear of going to the "bad place". When Chance, Shadow and Sassy are been put into their cage at the airport by their owners so that they all could get board on the plane, Chance panics thinking that he and the others will be take to the pound despite Shadow's pleads that they will not take to the pound, he breaks free from his cage and foolishly returns to the airport lobby ultimately leading him and the others to be left behind.

Comics

  • When Peter Parker arrogantly refused to stop for five seconds to stop a crook rushing past him, telling the cop chasing the guy it wasn't his job, his life was changed forever; the same crook would later murder his uncle. While that mistake defined what he is, the lesson was learned in the harshest way possible.

Cartoon and Animated Films

  • Marlin: Out of his own fear over Nemo's safety and trauma over his loss by an agressive barracuda that massacred his eggs and killed his wife Coral, when he tries to advices Nemo to avoid the diver's boat, his overprotectiveness and fear get his best on him and resulting his son provoked to rebels and taken away by divers. Nemo managed to prevent him from repeating the same mistake when rescue Dory and unfortunate fishes whom snared by fishermen's net.
  • Ash Ketchum: In Pokémon Scent-sation! - He believes that perfume is a waste of money, which gets him kicked out of the shop for being very rude. Worse, the same people working in the shop work in the Celadon Gym and also forbid him from challenging Erika, the Gym Leader. Then he asked for Team Rocket's help to get in; but after James, Jessie and Meowth escape with the perfume formula, they blew up the Gym by detonating a bomb. Ash realizes he made a terrible mistake and feels very guilty, he should've apologized instead of sneaking in.
  • Mr. Potato Head: Despite that Andy Davis already missed Woody, he mistakes Woody for murdering RC who was actually trying to rescue Buzz Lightyear who was been attacked by Scud Sid Philip's dog and he orders the others to toss him overboard. While celebrating Bo Peep then see Woody riding in RC with Buzz, realizes that Woody was telling the truth. He then realizes what he has done and help them board their vehicle, though as retribution of his bad actions, he had to put himself back together due to RC accidentally crashed on him in Buzz and Woody's attempt to put him back into truck. He is then scolded by Buzz Lightyear for it after he requested for a rest during the rescue mission on Woody.
  • Anger: In a desperate attempt to make Riley happy again, Anger comes up with an idea of running away from San Francisco and return to Minnesota. However, the idea of running away proved to be a tragic mistake as the emotion console began shutting down and Riley was turned into an apathetic person without any feeling at all. When Joy and Sadness returned, Sadness was able to fix the console by removing the idea so Riley can change her mind.
  • Megara: Motions of events that led to Megara's heroic sacrifice that caused his current lover Hercules mourns over her dead body can be traced back from when she made a deal with Hades to save her first boyfriend's life (which in TV Series revealed as Adonis). Unfortunately, he later left her for some other woman, abandoning her and leaving her heartbroken and a prisoner of Hades. This traumatized her so much that she became bitter, though when finally met Hercules whom became her true love, she finally given chance to redeemed herself by sacrificing herself to save Hercules where the process not only to allowed the demigod to reclaimed his powers and freed her from her pact with Hades, but also resulting her demise. Fortunately, she later get better after revived by the demigod whom reclaimed her soul.
  • Mr. Incredible: Because he arrogantly detested Buddy Pine's attempt to aid him and recklessly saved a suicidal man whom doesn't wanted to be saved as well as disasters that he unintentionally caused, he not only forced all Supers to retire and into hiding (which somehow also decrease the crime rate), but also turned Buddy into the ruthless supervillain Syndrome whom sought to make the term "superheroes" redundant to the world which includes murdering huge number of Supers populate.
  • King Triton: Because he hated humans and learns that his daughter Ariel has fall in love to a human whom she saved from drowning that he loses his temper and begins destroying her collections and completely ignoring her pleads to stop, but he then realizes what he has done and leaves her in shame, this also lead Ariel to search of Ursula the SeaWitch.
  • Wyatt: Wyatt's tragic mistake was his show-off habit not improved the trouble that he and his friends face, but rather worsen it instead.
  • Shifu: Shifu's tragic mistake prior to events in Kung Fu Panda was during trained Tai Lung, he was so proud of his talent that he forgot to taught his said student humility, which contributes to the tiger's fall from grace when it's revealed that he was not meant to be Dragon Warrior. Master Oogway also pointed out that due to the said mistake, Tai Lung's arrogance turned into the very darkness that consume his heart and made him evil.
  • Nakoma: Nakoma's tragic mistake of sending Kocoum after Pocahontas, resulted in the warrior getting killed by the settler Thomas, John Smith accused of Kocoum's murder, Pocahontas getting harshly blamed for her foolishness causing his death, and even leading to war between the Native Americans and the English Settlers.
  • Simba: Simba's tragic mistake that resulted Scar to usurp the rule over Pride lands as to listen Scar in the first place.
  • Mowgli: Mowgli realizes that Bagheera was right on how he ensured his safety from Shere Khan during the dire situation. He should go to the Man-Village to be safe from Shere Khan.
  • Terra: In Teen Titans 2003 TV Series, in a desperate attempt to control her earth powers, Terra chooses to join Slade whom promised her to trained her after failed to have Beast Boy keep this from other Titans, which turned out costs her friendship and love with Beast Boy.
  • Steven Universe: Steven's tragic mistake which endangered his friendship with Garnet is refuses giving the mirror to her and in blind anger, hits Garnet in the heat of their argument.
  • Bart Simpson: He as a nightmare and feels very guilty for burning Lisa Simpson's centerpiece, something which made him realized that it was a mistake and he must undo before it gets worse.
  • The Powerpuff Girls sad that they got so tempted by their new toys, they think the Professor is dead because of them, but in truth, he's alive, because there were only toy guns.
  • Alex the Lion: Alex's ignorance with life outside the zoo and lack of control over his feral side (which he recently discovered) counted as this, as it led him blinded by feral instinct to devour his own friend Marty(where he would've succeed had Julien not interfered).
    • The second tragic mistake that Alex done was when he listened to Makunga whom uses his lack of knowledge about cultures of his kind against him and his family(by lied to Alex that the fight with Teetsi would be dance contest, but in reality it was mortal kombat) as means to take over the pride.
    • However, Alex's very first tragic mistake was not entirely his fault, as Marty also share the blame: Marty's own tragic mistake was in form of wish to go to the wild was without concerning his friends' well being, particulary Alex as well as not realizing that the wild is the place where carnivores won't hestitate to devour weaker animals.
  • Cera: Cera's ego led to the death of the other dinosaurs and her friends being endangered from taking the wrong path. She however was too headstrong to admit her mistakes.
  • Sulley: Sulley's tragic mistake was letting out his signature roar to scare a robot child for simulation, which horrified Boo so much that she became too scared of him, which interfered their relationship.
  • Wreck-It Ralph: Ralph's tragic mistake was trying to earn himself a medal so that he would win the respect and hearts of other video game characters, especially the Nicelanders. But by doing so, he game jumped to Hero's Duty caused a lot of damage in his absence, his game was "Out of Order" and think that Mr. Litwack was planning on unplugging it if Ralph didn't come back. He also accidentally took one of the game's Cy-Bugs into Sugar Rush, whose candy allowed the bug to multiply itself into an enormous frenzy swarm of giant bugs with the potential to decimate the arcade.
  • Tarzan: Tarzan's tragic mistake of bringing the humans to the gorillas, caused him to fight the gorilla leader Kerchak just to protect his new friends, only to betray their family and disobey Kerchak's orders to protect their family, which leads him to renouncing his membership to the gorilla family, sadly discovering his true heritage that he is a human, saying goodbye to his adoptive mother Kala, as well as leading to the hunter Mr. Clayton to betray him, Jane and her father by setting the evil hunter's plan to capture the gorillas into motion.


Anime and Manga

  • Digimon Adventure:
    • Tai Kamiya:When he was young, Tai Kamiya's younger sister, Kari, almost died due to his own negligence. Tai arrived home to find his sister (who was 4 or 5 at the time), staying home from kindergarten due to an illness. He took her outside to the playground to practice kicking the soccer ball, when she suddenly collapsed onto the ground. She was rushed to the hospital as her illness worsened, and Tai's mother, scolded and yelled at him for recklessly endangering his little sister's life. Kari remained in the hospital for weeks with possibly pneumonia, and almost didn't make it. When their parents finally brought her home from the hospital, Kari apologizes to her brother for not being to kick the ball very good, tells him that he'll never want to play with him again, causing Tai to break down in tears of guilt.
  • Sayaka Miki: Though it could be said that Sayaka Miki's deal with Kyubey in the first place is the mistake that leads to her downfall, her actual act of Hamartia is when she refuses to cleanse her Soul Gem, because she's full of despair from seeing Kyousuke Kamijou (her childhood friend) accepting Hitomi Shizuki's love confession. Her despair not only turns her into a witch, but also leads to her and Kyouko Sakura's death.
  • Harogumo Ootsutsuki: He realized that he has done this by having Asura as his one and only successor, unknowingly allowed Black Zetsu worsened the rivalry between Asura and Indra that would lasts for generations everytime they reincarnated into their descendants. This ultimately undone with the brothers' latest incarnation, Naruto and Sasuke, eveuntually ended their feud for good.
  • Alain: When Alain began his journey as a trainer and met up with the Team Flare leader, Lysandre, he was told that his team is using Mega Evolution energy to protect the Kalos region and help Chespie's recovery. He was later told to capture the Zygarde core whom they've called Z-2. However, when Team Flare attacked Lumiose City and abducted Ash after the Kalos League, Alain came to realize that everything Lysandre and his team ever told him were lies as they manipulated him to gather the Mega Evolution energy to recreate to world with Zygarde under their control. Alain felt betrayed by them and began to feel a great sense of guilt in him as he collapsed in frustration and anger. It wasn't entirely his fault, he was only doing this for Mairin and Chespie's sake.
  • Shinji Ikari: Shinji Ikari's tragic mistake is refuse to do anything when dealing Evangelion Unit-03 when realized that there's a pilt that trapped inside (Toji in original anime and manga of Neon Genesis Evangelion while Asuka in remake), provoke his father Gendo to activate his Eva's dummy system against his wishes that resulting Bardiel killed with its occupant injured/killed. However, the true tragic mistake was when hoping he can improved his relationship with his father Gendo, as ever since Gendo abandoned him, they have doomed to can never rekindle whatever family relationship that they had.
  • Edward and Alphonse Elric: A tragic mistake that started it all: Edward and Alphonse tried to performed alchemy to revived their deceased mother, but something went wrong which resulting Edward loses one of his arm and his leg while Alphonse lost his whole body that his soul embedded on a huge suit of armor to keep him alive. That tragic mistake is what started their journey for potent Philosopher Stone to undo damages that done to their bodies as well as made them sensitive about it. In fact, Edward would extremely angry toward alchemist whom went the path (breaking laws of alchemy) that made them suffer but indifferent with error that they done and even take pleasure from it, such as Shou Tucker.

Live Action TV

  • Supernatural:
    • Dean Winchester: Threatened Sam Winchester that he would sever their bonds and walked away from his life as means to convinced him not to drink more demon blood and abandoned Ruby so Lucifer won't free, but backfires with Sam became succumbed with her influence. When Dean decided to rekindle their relationship, he was unable to prevent Sam from freed Lucifer.
    • Castiel believed that he doesn't need Winchesters' help when tries to settle things right in Heaven since many angels prefer to start-off apocalypse, he resort to seek the cooperation from demon for the gateway of Purgatory, kills several angels whom happened to be in his way, and absorbs every single one of souls in Purgatory to put an end of the civil war. He even decided to took over God's role over the management of the universe, only to realized that Leviathans, whom he accidently absorbed, used him as means to entered Earth and killed him from the inside.

Video Games

  • Reasons why Kessler, Cole's alternate future self goes back in time to hardened his past self's life was due to his tragic mistake where he chooses to flee along with his family when The Beast emerges and killed all life in spite the fact he actually have powers to fought him, resulting Kessler the last lifeform on earth due to The Beast's rampage.
  • Dante Aligheri: Though his actions heinous enough to be considered as MEH, it's actually a tragic mistake that led Dante to redeem himself over the course of his journey in Hell to rescue Beatrice where the said mistakes are:
    • Having an affair with a whore that made him betrayed his love for Beatrice,
    • Allowed himself to be misguided by priest whom falsely claimed that his soul won't be damned during Crusade (the said priest's claim later revealed to be false due to killing is always a sinful act)
    • Angrily and selfishly killed captured non-Christian prisoner of war whom intended to be held for negotiation.

Literature

  • Seerow, the Andalite Prince whom feels pity on Yeerks, parasitic slugs whom can only see, hear, or interact with their surroundings when possessed a creature, provided them Andalite Technology in hopes of making their life better. This unfortunately led the Cataclysmic event called Seerow's Kindness, where the evil Yeerks emerges and began their crusade for enslaving all lifeform as much as they could in the entire universe.
  • Harry Potter:
    • Harry Potter refuses to be taught Occlumency by Snape because of their hatred and mistrust for each other where much to Harry's shock, their said hatred and mistrust for each other were caused by Snape's own bad history with James Potter long before James himself changed into better man due to his love with Lily. This allows Voldemort to send him a false vision of Sirius held captive so that Harry could run to his rescue. This results in the all-out fight that ends with Sirius' death, since in his impulsiveness Harry also neglected a device which would have allowed him to communicate to Sirius immediately and verify that he's fine.
      • Severus Snape also have tragic mistakes of his own, where he ruined his friendship (and any chance for romance he might have had) with Lily when he chose the Dark Arts and became a zealous Death Eater. He then relayed a prophecy to Voldemort which cause him to target Lily's son, resulting in the murder of her and James. While he eventually decided to be the ally for Harry from there on, his own personal hatred with James winds up worsen his relationship with Harry until he eventually revealed his true agenda when Voldemort killed him for mistaking him as the master of Elder Wand that led Harry to forgive him. In certain point of view, had Snape put aside his difference with Harry (which in turn convinced Harry to do the same) from the moment where they met in Harry's first year in Hogwarts, he won't have to failed in taught Harry Occulumency that winds up resulting Sirius' death nor have hostilities that they had now at least until Snape seemingly murdered Dumbledore which actually done as mercy kill.
    • Among unfortunate mistakes that Albus Dumbledore ever done, the most tragic one was tempted to start a plot against Muggles with Grindelwald, and in his lust for power caused his sister's death when his brother confronted Grindelwald. 
    • Horace Slughorn's tragic mistake was allowed the young Voldemort Tom Riddle to flatter him too much and revealed to him information about making seven Horcruxes for maximum power, which resulting deaths that the future Dark Lord required to create his said Horcruxes, Hagrid being reduced to the gamekeeper as the partially succeed framing attempt as means to cover his tracks, and Lily's own death. Fortunately, he had the chance to redeem this through her son Harry whom working on helping Dumbledore' investigations.
    • Sirius Black' tragic mistake was when he let Wormtail to be the secret keeper to protect Potters, only for Wormtail betrayed them and brutally massacred innocent muggles and framed the crimes to him, resulting him sent to Azkaban until he uses his Animagus powers to escape. Other mistake would be mistreating his house-elf Kreacher, resulting the house-elf betrayed him and leaving him to die at hands of Bellatrix.
    • Albus Severus Potter and Scorpius Malfoy's attempt to alter the past to improved their current reality with a Time-Turner proved to be tragic mistake as the second attempt to alter the past resulting the bad future that only happened should Voldemort succesfully killed Harry Potter. Though they managed to restore the reality back to when it previously was prior to their travel back in time, such attempt to undo what they did is not enough as Delphni, whom revealed to be Voldemort's daughter that believed that Voldemort's defeat supposedly not happened, tries to save Dark Lord and it took their efforts and aid of their parents as well as Ron's family to stop her.
  • Stacey Johnston and Richard Gibson: When Stacey went to get the mail, she found a videotape that was given to her by Seth Wilson. But as she and Richard saw the whole videotape about Quincy Maroone secretly blaming Jason for shoplifting and making them the most hated boy in Nevada, they realize that their son is innocent and Maroone's evil intentions toward them. After they confronted the villain for his crimes, Maroone and his thugs capture them and lock them in the basement before they could call the police.

Quotes

Fear: Guys, we can't make Riley feel anything.
Anger: What have we done?
~ Anger realizing his tragic mistake which literally shuts down the console.


Darth Sidious: Lord Vader... can you hear me?
Darth Vader: Yes, Master. [Vader looks at Sidious] Where is Padme? Is she safe? Is she all right?
Darth Sidious: It seems in your anger, you killed her.
Darth Vader: I...? I couldn't have! She was alive... I felt it![Vader growls, and his Dark Side strength crushes everything around him in the room. He frees himself from the metal stretcher, and steps off. The Emperor has a smirk on his face]
Darth Vader: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!
~ Exchange between Vader and Sidious where Vader, formerly Anakin, realized that he ended up killing Padme


Tigress: Shifu found him as a cub and he raised him as his son. And when the boy showed talent in kung fu, Shifu trained him. He believed in him. He told him he was destined for greatness. It was never enough for Tai Lung. He wanted the dragon scroll. But Oogway saw darkness in his heart and refused. Outraged, Tai Lung laid waste to the valley. He tried to take the scroll by force and Shifu had to destroy what he had created. But how could he? Shifu loved Tai Lung like he had never loved anyone before. Or since.
~ Tigress explaining to Po about Shifu's tragic mistake in training Tai Lung was not to taught him humility, which resulted him in becoming an arrogant and heartless villain.


The dead remember our indifference; the dead remember our silence. I came here tonight to be congratulated. But today, when I visited the Red Cross camps, overwhelmed by the flood of refugees fleeing the horror of Kazakhstan, I realized I don't deserve to be congratulated. None of us do. The truth is, we acted too late. Only when our own national security was threatened did we act. Radek's regime murdered over 200,000 men, women and children and we watched it on TV. We let it happen. People were being slaughtered for over a year, and we issued economic sanctions, and hid behind the rhetoric of diplomacy. How dare we? The dead remembered. Real peace is not just the absence of conflict, it's the presence of justice. Tonight I come to you with a pledge to change America's policy. Never again will I allow our political self-interest to deter us from doing what we know to be morally right. Atrocity and terror are not political weapons, and to those who would use them, your day is over. We will never negotiate. We will no longer tolerate and we will no longer be afraid. It's your turn to be afraid.
~ President James Marshall revealing a tragic mistake that cost countless lives.


King Triton (to Seahorse Herald):"Any sign of them?" Seahorse Herald:"No, you're majesty. We searched everywhere. We found no trace of your daughter or Sebastian. King Triton:"Well keep looking. Leave no shell unturned, no coral unexplored, and let no one in this kingdom sleep until she's safe at home. Seahorse Herald (bowing his head):"Yes sire. (leaves) (King Triton sits on his throne with his hand on his face sadly and ashamed):"Oh, what have I done? What I have done?
~ King Triton ashamed of destroying Ariel's grotto, her human collection and the statue of Prince Eric, leading her to run away with Sebastian and Flounder in search of Ursula the Sea Witch.


Cera was still too proud to admit that she'd gone the wrong way.
~ The Narrator describing Cera's mistake of not listening to her friends, and taking the wrong way to the Great Valley.


So we walked and walked. And just for a IittIe change of pace, we waIked some more. Questions began racing through my mind. Where were we? How were we gonna get home? Who decided a Chihuahua was a dog? And, most importantIy, when were we gonna eat?
~ Chance's tragic mistake of escaping from his cage while loading on the airplane leading him and the others to be left behind


(Jane: Clayton betrayed us all. I'm so sorry, Tarzan!) No! I did this. I betrayed my family. Kerchak was right!
~ Tarzan's tragic mistake of leading the humans to his gorilla family, and betraying his family by disobeying Kerchak's orders.


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