Karen vs. Becky Learn The Difference! A damsel in distress is a young woman in danger.
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The damsel-in-distress , persecuted maiden , or princess in jeopardy is a classic theme in world literature, art, film and video games, most notably in the more action-packed. This trope usually involves beautiful, innocent, or helpless young female leads, placed in a dire predicament by a villain , monster or alien , and who requires a male hero to achieve her rescue. After rescuing her, the hero often obtains her hand in marriage. Though she is usually human, she can also be of any other species, including fictional or folkloric species; and even divine figures such as an angel , spirit , or deity. It is an archaic term not used in modern English except for effect or in expressions such as this. It can be traced back to the knight-errant of Medieval songs and tales, who regarded protection of women as an essential part of his chivalric code which includes a notion of honour and nobility. The damsel in distress theme featured in the stories of the ancient Greeks.
Top definition. A usually beautiful, virginal, virtuous, and hopelessly passive young woman constantly in need of rescue by the dashing hero. She is portrayed as rather asexual and usually a foil for the assertive but dangerously seductive femme fatale. While the damsel in distress makes appearances in many folk stories dating back to Antiquity and features in a few fairy tales, this passive heroine does not seem to make regular appearances until the Victorian era; the Middle Ages were idealized as a time of pre-industrial innocence and the Victorians projected their ideals of men and women onto their Medieval ancestors; the Industrial Revolution was in full swing and women, displaced from farms and entering the middle class, lost some autonomy over their lives and became more ornamental, more dependent on their husbands. Damsels in distress are often shown tied to railroad tracks, to sawmill conveyor belts, or offered as sacrifice to a dragon or King Kong until her knight in shining armor arrives to save her in the nick of time. A damsel in distress would not have fared well in Medieval Europe. Generally, European women in the Middle Ages were not expected to be these timid shrinking violets; Christina of Markyate who resisted a forced marriage and followed her dream of becoming a holy woman , Marjorie of Carrick , Christine de Pisan a proto-feminist of sorts , Margery Kempe another mystic , and Nicola de la Haye led her castle against a siege in her 60s are just a few of examples of women who took the reins in their own lives. Women of that time and place were in danger of abduction, especially if they were wealthy The average "knight in shining armor" was a mix of professional assassin and local rapist, so the damsel often arranged to be kidnapped by her preferred suitor or even do the abducting herself: Marjorie of Carrick c. Marjorie, out hunting at the time and far from upset by the news, was so taken by his beauty that she took him back to her castle and held him captive until he agreed to marry her; she must have done something right, because they were married within days.