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When a character learns An Aesop, this is (mostly) treated as the "right" thing.

However, things don't always turn out that way...

This is when a character learning an Aesop ends up causing one of several problems down the line, to the point that the character (and/or the universe) was better off not learning the Aesop.
Twilight's Kingdom Enterplay poster

Don't worry, Twilight...it's Future Twilight's problem now.

This can be intentional on the part of the writer, or it can't. As such, even though this almost always results in Broken Aesop, whether the Aesop was meant to be sincere at the time it was written varies from story to story.

Examples of Unwitting Aesop of Doom include:


Anime and Manga

  • After the Cell Saga, Gohan learned the Aesop that Chichi is right in that he should focus on getting an education and to avoid risking his life in combat...which leaves him completely unprepared for Buu's attack.

Film - Animated

  • A central Aesop of Mulan is that Mulan needs to follow her dreams rather than be told what her role in society should be. Unfortunately, this ends up causing trouble in the sequel, as Mulan enforcing that Aesop means a political alliance isn't made, and thus China isn't strong enough to defend itself from the Huns.

Films - Live Action

Live-Action Television

  • At one point, Willow learns the Aesop that magic is an addiction, and learns to stop using magic. Later seasons show that Willow's belief in magic as an addiction and her refusal to use magic had disastrous consequences.


Western Animation

  • In My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, Twilight Sparkle learns in "It's About Time" not to get worked up over warning signs of impending doom. This allows future villains to get the drop on her, leading to the catastrophic events of "Twilight's Kingdom" and "The Cutie Remark".
  • In Star vs. the Forces of Evil, Star Butterfly learn the Aesop of not discriminating against monsters. This aesop ends up biting her in the ass, big time: Mewmans and monsters are shown to be utterly incapable of coexisting peacefully, and the whole thing escalates to the point when Star has to commit a mass genocide on ALL magical beings, also leading to the surviving population of Mewni being relocated to Earth, with all the Fridge Horror that it implies.
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