Femme Fatales

Topics: Gender role, Gender, Femme fatale Pages: 3 (1124 words) Published: May 2, 2010
Famous Femme Fatales in History
A femme fatale is defined throughout history as a woman of great seductive charm who leads men into compromising and or dangerous situations, just as the character Carmen in Prosper Merimee’s short story Carmen. Carmen is an excellent example of female independence and a threat to the traditional female gender roles put forth by society both in the 19th century and now. She is a direct threat to the patriarchal role of Don Jose and the ultimate symbol of the femme fatale. The iconic figure of the femme fatale has existed in one form or another in nearly all cultures throughout history. She makes one of her earliest and most profound appearances in Biblical myth, under several different guises. Without a doubt, the most talked about and debated fatale character from the Bible is Eve: She is viewed as a famous femme fatale because she brought about the fall of humankind and in turn introduced sin and death into the world. She succumbs to the temptation of the serpent in the Garden of Eden and is responsible for Adam's fall. She tempts him with her beauty and sexuality to eat the forbidden fruit. God recognizes Adam and Eves' transgressions and punishes them accordingly. Eve is condemned to pain during childbirth and subordination to men. Adam is cursed with having to toil and suffer for nourishment by working the land. Although many academics view Eve as the first true fatale, some believe another character of Jewish tradition is more fitting to the role: this woman is Lilith. In Jewish legend, Lilith is Adam's first wife, and she is both sexual and in control. Unlike Eve who was born of Adam's rib, God created Lilith from clay, just like her mate, and is therefore more his equal. Lilith demonstrates her independence, a key feature of the femme fatale, by leaving Adam because of their sexual incompatibility. According to legend, Adam and Lilith fight because Adam only wants sex in the missionary position and Lilith doesn't...

Cited: Lee, Elizabeth. "Artistic Portrayals of the Femme Fatale." The Victorian
Web. 24 Jan. 2009 http://www.victorianweb.org/gender/fatalart.html.
Korn, Michelle. "Misunderstood Femme Fatales." Morbid Outlook. 24 Jan.
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