The role of the helpless innocent victim
is hard to combine with taking drastic action yourself. But it can be the perfect role if your goal is to let others
take action: Your plight may give them the adrenaline rush, social justification, or whatever they need to take action and strike down your foes.
Thus, you can use your (real or more-or-less-pretended) victimhood to your own advantage, and to the advantage of the people who you rally to your aid.
Compare and contrast Wounded Gazelle Gambit
: The similarity is that in both tropes, a person uses the role of victimhood to his or her own advantage. The difference is that in the gambit they're manipulating someone to take their side (which may or may not be for the benefit of the manipulated — usually not), while in this trope they're empowering
a person or group for their mutual benefit. Also, the gambit always uses a false victimhood, while the warcry does not have to contain any deceit. On the contrary, a real plight is a better weapon than a pretended one. However, the character might blur the line between self-sacrifice and victimhood, putting themself in harm's way so their allies can get the chance to rescue them or avenge them. If such a step is taken for nothing, it might make them a Martyr Without a Cause
Depending on the setting, this warcry either can be used by individuals and groups regardless of gender or it is restricted to Always Female
. Or it's somewhere in between. In a patriarchal (male-dominated) society, it becomes easier for women to use this warcry while making it harder for them to wield power in other ways. In a setting where Men Are the Expendable Gender
, it's very hard for a man to use this warcry.
Anime and Manga
- In the first story arc of Full Metal Panic!, Kaname - realizing that the Lambda Driver in Sousuke's new Humongous Mecha works based on emotion - helps him get it to work by telling him that if he loses the battle, the villain will capture, rape, and torture her. Imagining it makes him angry and determined enough to activate the Lamdba Driver and win the fight.
- In the beginning of the World War III arc of A Certain Magical Index, Second Princess Carissa, who was leading British forces against the magicians of France, engaged in this, thinking the Knights of England weren't giving their all.
: Oh, no. At this rate, those French bastards are going to capture me and then gang rape me to death
- Needless to say, the tactic worked. However her comrade, the Knight Leader, responds to this act by trying to contact Carissa's mother for the authority to spank Carissa.
- Backfires in Digimon Adventure. Learning that Greymon's digievolution is powered by his courage, an impatient Tai attempts to force it by jumping in front an enemy attack. Since this is less "courageous" and more Too Dumb to Live, the digievolution is distorted and Greymon becomes the evil SkullGreymon.
- In an early chapter of Yu-Gi-Oh!, Anzu deliberately endangers herself in order to lure Yugi's alter ego who she has a crush on into coming out.
- In Attila, a royal Roman lady gets imprisoned in a monastery. Wanting to flee this fate, she sends a letter to Attila the Hun, who gladly takes on the role of Romantic Hero and invades the Roman empire for her sake. Attila and the lady are both portrayed as down-to-earth politicians who know exactly what they are doing. She needs freedom, he needs an excuse to invade the empire, and they could both use the good PR of an epic romantic tale for the masses to admire.
- The death of Agent Coulson at Loki's hand in The Avengers rallies the heroes to stop their in-fighting and work as a team to avenge him. After Nick Fury shows them a blood spattered Tragic Keepsake and the heroes rush off to save the day, another agent points out how Fury invoked this trope with some Fridge Logic about how the departed comrade never kept that keepsake on his person so Fury must have taken it from his locker and put the blood on there intentionally.
- In The Forever War the soldiers were given hypnotic conditioning where they were told and given (false) images of the aliens murdering and raping humans. They knew this was false but it enraged them anyway. A person's subconscious is a dangerous thing to play with.
- In Dante's Divine Comedy, Helen of Troy in hell can be interpreted as having been this trope in life, rather than the passive object of desire she was in The Iliad. Dante gives her the full blame for the Trojan War, as if she got herself kidnapped by the Trojan prince on purpose in order to give her own nation an excuse to invade Troy.
- Hel has the song Mörker, an inspirational sermon about how the protagonist lacks the strength, goodness, bravery, honesty, selflessness and overall mental health she would need to save the world alone. So we all have to unite and to it together instead. Would make a good page quote if the song was in English.
- Warhammer 40,000's backstory has this happen in the finale of the Battle of Terra. The Emperor is unwilling to hurt Horus because he's his favorite son, and still believes that he can be redeemed from what he's done. Horus rips off one of his arms and severely injures him, and this is after already killing one of his "brothers", the primarch Sanguinius. One Imperium soldier (supposedly an ordinary human but then retconned into an Adeptus Custode, one of the Emperor's bodyguards) tries to save the Emperor by attacking Horus, only to be obliterated with a glance. The Emperor takes this to mean that Horus is too far gone and destroys Horus so thoroughly that he destroys his body, mind, and soul.
- In an episode of Men In Black: The Series, J is trapped in a Lotus-Eater Machine and L enters his mind to bring him back to reality. He resists her attempts to snap him out of it, so she lets herself get mortally wounded, telling him that unless he wakes up, she will die in reality as Your Mind Makes It Real.
- An episode of The Incredible Hulk had Bruce Banner trapped under a pile of rubble and starting to die from a faulty tranquilizer. To make him turn into the Hulk and save himself, one of his friends pretends to be in danger.