The Femme Fatale as a Monster
Since creation, when Eve gave Adam the forbidden fruit from the Tree of Knowledge (The Student Bible, Genesis 3), women have been portrayed as flawed creations and therefore monstrous. It is a woman's sex drive and sexuality that can lead to her monstrosity. The femme fatale, which means "A woman of great seductive charm who leads men into compromising or dangerous situations" ("femme fatale") represents one type of female monster. Films such as Adrian Lyne's Fatal Attraction (1987) and stories such as Geoffrey Chaucer's The Wife of Bath use the femme fatale as a means of making a woman into a monster.
In the movie Fatal Attraction, Dan (played by Michael Douglas) has an extramarital affair with Alex (played by Glenn Close) one weekend while his wife (played by Anne Archer) and daughter are away. After spending the weekend with Alex, Dan tells her that they must break things off because he loves his wife. Alex, however, has different ideas and refuses to take "no" for an answer by telling him, "I won't be ignored, Dan!" Alex uses her sinister attraction to inflict chaos by stalking Dan, briefly kidnapping Dan's daughter, boiling the family's pet rabbit, and trying to murder Dan's wife, thus becoming the femme fatale. Alex's monstrosity is her ability to seduce Dan and then lead him into a deadly situation in hopes that her actions will bring her closer to Dan. That she is willing to commit murder in order to take over as Dan's wife further contributes to her monstrosity.
In the prologue of Chaucer's The Wife of Bath, Alisoun of Bathe is introduced as a rebellious, unladylike woman who has been married to five different men over whom she has gained dominance. By today's standards, being married five times is of little importance. However in the 14th century, when the tale was written by Chaucer, the Catholic Church ruled and a woman being married more than once was considered sinful. In her prologue, Alisoun takes on this...
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