Why she becomes the "fairest of them all".
Purity as a character trait is a very common concept in fiction. Going back to some of the earliest mythology, purity is treated as an ideal goal for everybody to strive towards. Purity is usually defined as a total lack of sin with an unrivaled dedication towards the ideals of the culture. In this sense, outside of deconstructions
, purity is almost always analogous to goodness. It is often analogous to virginity as well, but not entirely bound to it. This can often go to supernatural lengths.
Going more in depth, a character with this trait (usually female, but male examples aren't that uncommon) is treated both by the narrative and by many (if not all) of the characters as being a shining example of good. Almost always beautiful
, she often gives off a soft radiance that tends to attract animals
. Almost exclusively soft-spoken, polite, optimistic, and just all-around pleasant to be around. The general message tends to be that this is a near-angelic person and should be given the utmost respect.
Probably one of the first tropes to be consumed by the overly-inclusive Mary Sue
label to such a point where any character like this will be immediately labeled as one regardless of context. Because of that, it isn't quite so common any more but is still a decently popular template in some circles.
Tropes that often invoke this:
Add examples here of purity that don't quite fit in any of those articles:
Anime and Manga
- Sailor Moon dedicated its third season to a MacGuffin hunt involving "Pure Hearts", a crystalline object residing within people with a pure and just dedication towards a goal. Not played entirely straight in the fact that even bitter, cynical characters have them as well.
- In The World God Only Knows, Tsukiyo is seen as this, especially by the goddess Vulcan, who shares many of the same refined sensibilities she does.
- In Saint Beast, this is what the angels believe they and Zeus are supposed to be, but slowly start to learn it is not what they are.
- Penelope from The Odyssey. She was never was tempted by her suitors and worked hard to outwit them so they'd leave her alone. She also spent most of her time in mourning. Slightly to be expected since she's the image of an ideal Greek woman.
- In The Stormlight Archive, Sylphrena and other honorspren are literally made out of the idea of honor.
- Warhammer 40,000 has a few:
- There is Sanguinius, Primarch of the Blood Angels, complete with golden armour, gargantuan silver-white wings, badass Papa Wolf trait and Heroic Sacrifice without ever swaying from his path, all the while being beloved by all for his nobility and generosity, which became something of his nickname; the 'All-Beloved'.
- On the other side, there are the "Grey Knights", secretive warriors who are to a Space Marine what a Space Marine is to a normal human. They are completely immune to demonic possession and thus untaintable. Until we learn that they have become this by way of 666 Mind Rapes by which they continually get possessed and exorcised by/from deamons.
- The High Elf Everqueen in normal Warhammer. Basically a Disney Princess but with magic, daemons can't even be near her or else they burn.
- Kairi, and the other six Princesses of Heart in Kingdom Hearts.
- Also Ventus, since Master Xehanort took away the darkness from his heart.
- Subverted with Sera from Digital Devil Saga. She fits the criteria of being a Mystical Waif, a MacGuffin Girl and The Ingenue - mostly because she can talk to God. But this turns out to bite her in the ass: she was partially responsible for God absorbing the Earth's data; created AIs of people she knew (which were eventually used in a survival-of-the-fittest experiment to create powerful warriors) and was generally manipulated by her own mother, Serph and a lot of the other scientists. She also takes a level in badassery in the second game.
- Talim, from the Soul Calibur Series, is by far the most pure character in the cast, and yet that doesn't stop her from being a Badass Cute Bruiser.
- Viki from the Suikoden series.
- A few others, such as Luserina and Sharmista, could fit this trope as well.
- Amberle from Lusternia. Unfortunately, she didn't realize she was living in Lusternia, and was the first to be killed in the war against The Soulless Ones.
- As mentioned above, very popular in classic Disney movies. Later princesses (Ariel, Belle, Jasmine) were notable for going against their cultural norm (this was, obviously, post-feminism), but the originals were played straight.