Mal Mariee
Young woman unhappily married to a jealous older man; frequently seen in medieval literature.


(permanent link) added: 2011-07-12 17:39:22 sponsor: FruityOatyBars (last reply: 2012-03-15 22:13:46)

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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.
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