There are many different Widow tropes, and although they're used especially commonly in a few particular genres (The Western
and Romance), they can pop up just about anywhere.
Widows can be depicted positively, yet are just as often depicted negatively. It seems that society can not decide if Widows are Wonderful or Wicked. This could be because they are single women who have experienced sexual relations, but quite legitimately. This places them in a moral gray area, by old-fashioned standards; they are either viewed as a potential threat to virtue, or they might instead be used as a way to write in an "experienced woman" character who is also virtuous.
During the mid- to late-1960s TV sitcoms centering on female characters frequently depicted them as widowed (this being when divorce was still considered objectionable to depict), including The Lucy Show
, The Doris Day Show
The Ghost and Mrs. Muir
, Julia, etc.
Subtropes of the Wicked Widow
The Wicked Stepmother
is often, though not always, a Wicked Widow.
Subtropes of the Wonderful Widow
Once each Widow subtrope is launched we can move the short descriptions to those pages.