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For if you wants to understan' an enemy, you gotta walk a mile in his shoes. Den, if he's still your enemy, at least you're a mile away and he's got no shoes.
Plateau, Troll philosopher, Discworld

Character(s) are forced to experience life from another's perspective. An Aesop results.

For the non-aesopic variant, see Sympathetic POV. Can be caused by a Karmic Transformation.


Examples of In Another Man's Shoes include:

Anime and Manga

  • In episode 21 of Rune Soldier Louie, Melissa covers for Merrill when the latter is sick, and generally fails horribly. Interestingly, the main thing she learns from this isn't to appreciate Merrill's skills, but Louie's.


  • Basically the entire point of Avatar, as well as District 9, though that's more of a Karmic Transformation.
  • The plot of Source Code, where a man is plugged into a machine that allows him to experience the last minutes of a dead man's life.

Live Action Television

  • The plot of nearly every Quantum Leap episode had this as a large component, if not the entire premise.
  • The recent Lifetime Movie of the Week To Be Fat Like Me had a thin and popular teenager being forced into a fat-suit.
  • In Red Dwarf Rimmer is forced to act the part of Ace Rimmer (what a guy!) for the rest of his life, whilst Ace dies as Rimmer. Doesn't quite fit the above tropes, as he exits the series in this way, and we never see him drop the act.
  • One episode of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air had Will's fat jokes annoy Uncle Phil's personal trainer to the point where she challenges him to spend time in a fatsuit to see exactly what his uncle goes through. Rather famously, it includes him trailing his girlfriend Lisa on suspicion that she's cheating without realizing that his pants are dropping.
  • This is the basic premise of Undercover Boss. CEOs and founders of companies go undercover as normal entry level employees. Most of them haven't done that type of work in years, if at all. Hilarity Ensues.


  • This one goes back at least as far as Shakespeare: in Henry V, the title character disguises himself as a common soldier in order to learn the thoughts of the men he's about to lead into battle -- a scene Data recreates on the Holodeck in The Teaser of the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "The Defector".

Real Life

  • In 1697, Russian Czar Peter the Great traveled to western Europe incognito and spent several months working in a Dutch shipyard, in order to study the customs, traditions, and technology of the Western powers.
    • See also Gustav II of Sweden some decades earlier, who traveled incognito (and much more concealed than ol' Pete) as Captain Gars (Gustavus Adolphus Rex, Seciae; Latin for "Gustav Adolf King of the Swedes"). His "alter ego" becomes a convenient political device, at the end of the novel 1632, and is used on occasion throughout the earlier parts of the series.
  • Taken literally with Walk A Mile In Her Shoes: The International Men's March To Stop Rape, Sexual Assault & Gender Violence. The male marchers can't always manage a full mile in high-heeled shoes, but they try.
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