The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

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The personification of sadomasochistic ideals in the novel comes from Martin Vanger, head of the Vanger companies and, unknown to everyone, a serial rapist and murderer. For example, Vanger may very well have felt that his father, Gottfried Vanger, by raping him as a child, had forced him to not only become the man he became, but to accept his “fate.” Stekel and Brink also explained why many serial sadomasochists kill their victims, something he labeled the death clause. The death clause explained the idea of “the parapathic amalgamation of death and normal intercourse” (Stekel and Brink 2: 246). That is, that the algolagnic behavior is so ingrained into their mind, that they can only derive normal sexual pleasure through the ultimate pain one can inflict, death. The death clause is something that Vanger seemed to very much experience, and it would explain not only his torture chamber, but why he killed almost every girl he raped.
Vanger is not an isolated example; numerous times in this Swedish novel do misogynistic and sadist examples appear. Nor does the book portray an isolated culture of sadists in Sweden, as is evidenced by Lisbeth Salander who says that, “by the time she was 18…did not know a single girl who at some point had not been forced to perform some sort of sexual act against her will” (Larsson 228).
The first sadist scene experienced in the book comes from Nils Bjurman, Salander’s court-appointed guardian. As stated previously, he expected a quid pro quo relationship and he enacted his sadistic pleasures on her twice. It is important to note how he focuses in on what she does not enjoy. “So you don’t like anal sex” (Larsson 250), he asks, and once she affirms that statement, he has found her weakness; a we...

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