Mal Mariee YKTTW Discussion
Young woman unhappily married to a jealous older man; frequently seen in medieval literature.
The mal mariee (French for "badly married") is a young woman unhappily married to a much older man. She is almost always innocent and beautiful, and was likely married against her will. He is probably ugly, probably cruel, and definitely obsessively jealous; he often keeps her imprisoned (most iconically, in a tower) to avoid her interacting with other men. This never works. The more he tries to keep her for his own, the less she wants to do with him - and sooner or later some handsome young knight, poet, or fairy will find a way to romance her. Sub-Trope of Sympathetic Adulterer very common in medieval literature, particularly in troubadour and trouvere poetry and the lais of Marie de France. A Forgotten Trope now, though it may get nods in stories with medieval or medieval-inspired settings.