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Matron Chaperone
Falling asleep on the job is unwise

The duenna (or chaperone) is a Stock Character whose main purpose is to provide an obstacle to the male Love Interest. Almost always a comedy character, she is older than her charge and intent on protecting her from the debauched hordes of unmarried men who (according to the chaperone) are waiting around every corner. Needless to say, said young ladies are as anxious to get rid of her as her suitors. May also be an Old Retainer.

Usually a devout older woman who may be very naÔve about the world, though a common variation is one who has had a very eventful life, and thus knows exactly what to expect from young men.

See also: Moral Guardians, Overprotective Dad, Maid And Maiden (the maid is chaperoning and the maiden is being chaperoned).

Examples:

  • Ruy Blaz: A minor character shows up to tell the queen that while the queen is out hunting, she is not allowed to dance, eat sweets or basically enjoy herself.
    • The pastiche movie La Folie des Grandeurs expands this character quite a bit, by making her think Ruy Blaz is secretly in love with her. Hilarity Ensues.
  • One story by Jean De La Fontaine concerns a wife escorted by a chaperone, which greatly limits her extraconjugal affairs.
  • Garulfo: Noťmie is an example of the "interesting life" variant:
    Hephylie: "What would you know of men, you who've led such a chaste and devout existence?"
    Noemie:' "Believe me, princess, after 25 years in the papal convents, I know quite a bit on the subject."
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "The Dauphin": Salia, the future queen of Daled IV, is accompanied by her governess Anya, who is very protective of her. When Wesley is attracted to Salia and they get together, Anya turns into a giant monster and breaks into Wesley's cabin to stop them.
  • Dot Matrix from Spaceballs has this as one of her functions, even if she's actually not older than Princess Vespa.
    Dot: That was my Virgin Alarm. It's programmed to go off before you do!
  • Cyrano de Bergerac: Roxanne's chaperone is actually named Duenna.
  • Done as a Running Gag in Robin Hood: Men in Tights, which has Maid Marian's guardian, Broomhilde, repeatedly foil Robin's attempts to score with Marian. One instance has Robin blow a kiss, but Broomhilde promptly snatches it out of the air before it can reach Marian. And this one:
    Broomhilde appears suddenly and prevents a kiss between Robin and Marian.
    Broomhilde: "Ah-ah!"
    Robin and Marian sigh and roll eyes.
    Broomhilde: (sternly) "No ding-ding without the wedding ring."
  • Marianne for Sophie in Der Rosenkavalier.
  • Occasionally referenced in the works of Robert A. Heinlein. If they're set before World War II, then chaperonage was an issue to be confronted.
  • The Nurse from Romeo and Juliet.
  • In William Hope Hodgson's Carnacki The Ghost-Finder short story "The Horse of the Invisible", while Beaumont and his fiancee Miss Hisgins are together, they're chaperoned by her aunt.
  • In Code Geass, Alicia Lohmeyer's role seems to be less to protect Nunnally's virginity (Nunnally is blind and in a wheelchair and hasn't started dating yet) than to keep her from getting too far out of line politically. She appears to be a Shout-Out to Miss Rottenmeier from Heidi, Girl of the Alps.
  • In Heidi, Fršulein Rottenmeier's role seems to prevent the title character (who is a rather adventurous 5-year-old) from having too much influence on her ward Klara, who is very frail.
  • In Drowtales, Lady Ariel's slave Vaelia assigns herself the role of Duenna (Ariel is a shapeshifter). Also played with in that Ariel doesn't exactly want the attentions of her male suitor either, and is too young to really understand what he's trying to do to her.
  • Rose's mother Ruth in Titanic.
  • In Airborn, Ms. Simpkins fits this to a tee; she's not very brave, tries to keep her charge Kate from doing anything fun, and is especially suspicious when any young men are around.

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alternative title(s): The Duenna
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