Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Femme Fatales of English Literature Essay -- Symbolism Seduction Women

Femme Fatales of English Literature The femme fatale, a seductive woman who entices men into perilous and compromising positions by way of charisma and mystery, is a classic, and often enthralling, character who can be found in many sources of literature and mythology of various origins and eras (â€Å"Femme Fatale† 1). â€Å"If the goddess of virtue is a lily and the vamp is an overripe red rose, the femme fatale is a Venus flytrap.† (Billinghurst 1). In the simple quote above, Ms. Jane Billinghurst, author of â€Å"Temptress†, provides explanation of the femme fatale by way of metaphor, likening the way in which the Venus flytrap, or Dionaea muscipula, succeeds in obtaining its next meal by way of temptation to the likeness of the femme fatale, using temptation to secure her victims, thus leading to unescapable doom (Venus’s fly-trap 1). â€Å"Temptress†, whose pages and cover alike overflow with a lavish visual collection of photographs, paintings and illustrations of the femme fatale, examines the extraordinary and fascinating history of sexual, or sexualised, women and the journey taken in receiving the infamous title of the femme fatale. This symbolic figure exists in numerous varying forms and can be found in virtually every society or culture throughout history. It is the femme fatale’s infamous aura of mystery, temptation and charms that provides the intense magnetism of this deadly female character. One of the most noted and greatly debated fatale characters of literature can be found in the Bible: Eve. â€Å"And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, this is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. . . . And Adam called his wife's name Eve; because she was the mother of all living.† (Genesis 2:21 – 3:20). Often viewed as the original and ultimate femme fatale, Eve has come to bear such a title because of her involvement in the fall of humankind and, in turn, the introduction of sin, death and destruction into the world. It is Eve herself who succumbs to the influence of temptation with the persuasion of the evil serpent, which represents Satan, in the Garden of Eden and therefore brings a... ...ncipally the cold, bitter soul of the always-mesmerizing Kathleen Mallory that gains the strongest link to the psychotic seductress type known to literature as the femme fatale (O’Connell). Throughout history the beautiful woman has been adored, loved, praised, and, by some, envied. Men worship what society has defined as an attractive woman. Many times, men even envision these women as supernatural or mystical beings. They have become the focus and subjects of many paintings, poems, legends, tales and stories, and have caused great debate. Considered not only as material beauties, they are often viewed as seductresses who tempt â€Å"innocent† men to their doom. These seductive beauties are labelled femme fatales, women who entice men with their charms and mystery. Such a character is classic, and alluring, and can be found in many sources of literature and mythology (Hass 1). The femme fatale has survived centuries of time, change and movement, and still this female beauty can be found in uncountable forms of literature and mythology. She has survived the turn of civilisation in almost every culture known to human kind, and will continue to live within the psyc hes of human kind.

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