Analyzing Character Archetypes: The Seductress

Love her, or hate her, the seductress is an effective character across all media.  Society has given this femme fatale a bad reputation.  Her open sexuality, and using her image for manipulative means have put a black mark on her character.  Modern society keeps telling her it is not okay to flaunt her sensuality, and being the centre of attention will gain her the label of prostitute or slut.  Despite this, her body and beauty are part of her identity, the seductress is a strong woman who lives for the moment.  She loves her body and knows, just like everyone else, that her perfect looks are an image of power.

Her character goes deeper than the superficial. The seductress is smart, creative, and a muse to those around her.  Though she fears doing anything alone, when it comes to her creative projects, she is driven and gives her all.  Sure footed, this strong character makes calculated moves and can see the simple solution to life’s problems.  Her friendships with women are valuable to her.  At times, she has difficulty understanding characters less intense than her own, and combats that by pushing other woman to flaunt their sensuality the way she does.  Sympathetic, the seductress will always try to heal a scorned friend, and inspire in her own sensitive way.

Not without her own internal struggle, sex is typically the cause and solution to her insecurities.  She craves being the centre of attention and likes being in control, but will not openly say so, and never dominate.  Desire follows her where ever she goes, and she loves the thrill of the chase.  But, this often misunderstood woman longs for a deep connection.  Forever the mistress, her sexuality is a deterrent in terms of marriage and monogamy.  Men find it difficult to see the seductress in the role of wife and mother and see her charm as manipulative.  Unfortunately, because, her youthful, and sunny disposition would be a positive in the family role.  She continues her promiscuousness through many relationships and sexual experiences, turning the wisest of men to blubbering fools.

Her biggest fears lie in losing her allure.  Her youth, image and charm is what keeps the attention on her and gives her power.  Unspeakable rejection and aging, the two biggest motivations for her to continue on the path she is.  Sensitive to jealousy, she does not want other woman to hate her for her desire to be the centre of attention, so she surrounds herself with woman who are as strong and outgoing, or who idolize her.

There is a dark side to this character as well, the femme fatale.  Trusting no one, she uses her charm and sexuality to gain her own self-satisfying needs.  Her body is a weapon, she uses to lure men into her web.  Money and power drive her to manipulate others with sex; in which she remains emotionally detached from.  Keeping an unreadable expression, she plays the part of the chameleon to infiltrate herself as the centre of attention.  Inside, she is deeply emotional with a kill or be killed mentality, criticism being her breaking point of a normally hard and stoic attitude.

The seductress or the femme fatale, is a powerful character, often seen as the perfect image of beauty.  Used in literature for her ability to control and manipulate, her fears and insecurities are great tools for an emotionally layered character.  One of the oldest archetypes for women, she can be seen in biblical stories, Shakespearean plays and most famously the historic figure of Cleopatra.  Many modern versions can be seen in films such as Fatal Attraction, Gone With the Wind, and Cruel Intentions.  The most blatant example in modern literature would be the immortal Fae, Felurian in The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss.  Commonly used in comic books as well, there are many examples from Black Widow, Mystique, to Poison Ivy, or even Harley Quinn will play this part.

A dangerous and powerful archetype that adds depth and intrigue to many stories.  The seductress has the power to enter a scene and change the entire direction.  Do not underestimate her abilities or intelligence, often she has her own motives and knows just how to achieve them.  Love her, or hate her, when the seductress enters, she is not to be ignored.

Thanks booknerds, time to go clean up a bit before my seductress turns into a femme fatal on me.

Be certain to check out the start of this series here @ Analyzing Characters, and the first archetype breakdown The Recluse.


5 Comments Add yours

  1. Olaf Lesniak says:

    Seriously this is the best description for Emma Frost aka the White Queen!

    Liked by 1 person

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