Wounded Gazelle Warcry
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 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, after already killing one of his "brothers", the primarch Sanguinius. One Imperium soldier (an ordinary human, temporarily retconned as 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' body, mind, and soul.
- Done in an interesting way in Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors. June acts more helpless than she really is in order to motivate Junpei into trying to protect her, as well as to throw suspicion off of herself. Also, she's trying to get him to save her twice. See Temporal Paradox.
- 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.
- In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles episode "Michaelangelo Meets Bugman Again", the villain of the week, the Swatter, an obvious ripoff of the Shredder, is causing destruction all over the city with his remote-controlled termites, and Michaelangelo tries to get Brick Bradley angry at the idea of April being in danger, which almost works, only for her to show up just in time before he can transform into Bugman, but then he gets angry anyway after she insults him for his white loincloth that is supposed to represent the ability to have inner peace, and then he transforms into Bugman.
- This tactic is frequently used by various minority groups that are known to have been victims of severe persecution in the past, to rally sympathy and support or deflect criticism even when it's deserved. Let's not go into any specifics, please.
- Many of the more fanciful descriptions of Joan of Arc imply that this trope was part of her battle strategy, painting a giant target on herself by being the standard bearer, making her troops fight all the harder to see the maiden of prophecy live to see the next sunrise.