Femme Fatales Essay

Femme Fatales Essay

Length: 1356 words (3.9 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

According to thefreedictionary.com, a femme fatale is a woman of great seductive charm who leads a man into trouble or comprising events. This same definition applies to the poem “La Belle Dame Sans Merci.” The poem by John Keats, a man describes a lady who is so lovely but eventually leads him to troubling events. Through the theory of femme fatales, and “La Belle Dame Sans Merci” (The beautiful lady with no pity) the poem portrays the woman as evil through the dangers of her appearance, personality, romance, and power. The poem shows that love is not what it appears to be and leads the eager, gullible knight to compromising situations.
The narrator meets a pale broken hearted knight loitering in the forest. The pale knight describes a beautiful woman as “faery’s child” (15) with “wild eyes” (16) to the narrator. The woman is beautiful but she is cruel. She does everything in her power to get the pale knight to fall in love with her. First, she uses her beauty and charm to seduce the knight by saying she loves him. Then she invites him to her “elfin grot” (small cave) (29). There she makes him fall asleep and he has nightmares of pale kings and queens shouting “La Belle Dame Sans Merci.” The knight wakes to find himself on a cold hillside all alone and no beautiful woman to be found.
The Woman with no pity uses her appearance to lure the knight in to her ways. This strategy is common practice for a seductress or an enchantress. For example, the popular girl in high school who would flirt with the smart guys just to get them to help her with her homework or other things she needed. The seductress in the poem flirts with the knight to bring him back to her “elfin grot” (small cave) to use him for pleasure (29). The enchantress ...


... middle of paper ...


...e” as another deluded lover dooms himself” (137). His interpretation of her gestures (flirting with him) is what leads him to his fate. He is left on the hillside with a broken heart because he was gullible and eager for the woman to love him. He should not have rushed into believing that he was in love with the woman when actually, he barely knew her. Love is not rushed; however, it is learned over time.









Works Cited
Bloom, Harold. How to Read and Why. NY: Scribner, 2002.Print
Keats, John. “La Belle Dame Sans Merci.” Poetry Readings. Composition and Literature; English 1102 (Professor Benita Muth). Macon State College. March 2012. MSC Vista Platform.Web.
Little, Judy. Keats as a Narrative Poet. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press, 1975.Print.
Moise, Edwin. “Keat’s LA BELLE DAME SANS MERCI.” Explicator 50.2 (1992): 73. Print





Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Femme Fatales of English Literature Essay

- 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 (“Femme Fatale” 1). “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 “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 temp...   [tags: Symbolism Seduction Women Essays]

Better Essays
3637 words (10.4 pages)

The Femme Fatales Lady Macbeth and Serena Pemberton Essay

- William Shakespeare commented on the length of life when he wrote that life is simply a march toward death in his play Macbeth. Characters known as femme fatales are well aware that life is short, and they will not waste it. These striking, driven, intelligent women are prepared to take life for all it has, and nothing will stop a true femme fatale from pursuing her course of action. Macabrely fascinating, these women appear again and again in both classical and modern literature. Perhaps the archetypical example of a femme fatale, the Lady Macbeth of Shakespeare’s Macbeth serves as a loose model for Serena Pemberton of Rash’s Serena....   [tags: Literary Analysis, Feminism]

Better Essays
976 words (2.8 pages)

Derby Dames and Femme Fatales: An Analysis of Roller Derby Empowerment for the Feminist Cause

- With the help of performers such as Drew Barrymore and Oscar winner Ellen Page, roller derby as a pastime and athletic competition is becoming more than a bizarre occurrence. In its original form, roller derby was an “endurance competition where skaters traveled the equivalent of a trip between Los Angeles and New York.” As time went on, roller derby “evolved into a violent contact sport often involving fake fighting. But after nearly dying out in the nineties, derby has been making a comeback.” (Cohen and Barbee)....   [tags: women´s role, ellen page, feminist support]

Better Essays
1238 words (3.5 pages)

The Fatale : The Femme Fatale Essay

- The femme fatale theme constitutes the straightest forward and most open strike on traditional womanhood as we know it today. This type of character constantly refuses the social norm of being a loving mother and a faithful and loyal wife. The idea of marriage for the femme fatale is very confining and tedious. She uses her skills of deceit as well as her sexual attractiveness to secure her independence from the institution of marriage. She remains passionately and viciously independent even after her destruction becomes unavoidable....   [tags: Dido, Aeneid, Virgil, Carthage]

Better Essays
1115 words (3.2 pages)

Keechie: Femme Formidable Essay

- Keechie: Femme Formidable INSTRUCTOR'S COMMENT: This is an extraordinarily accomplished essay: beautifully written, critically perceptive, and nicely related to the critical discourse on Altman and film noir. Saving the quotation from Anderson for the very end is a nice touch because it brings the reader back to the frame of reference: the process of adaptation. The little note about first shots of Cora in two versions of The Postman Always Rings Twice makes an extremely clear point of comparison with which to think about Altman's very different agenda....   [tags: Film Movie Essays]

Free Essays
1646 words (4.7 pages)

Misinterpreting Women in Film Preserves a Stereotypical Patriarchal Society

- ... It is vital to relook into the attitudes, brought forth unconsciously, when interpreting films. The overgeneralization of the “femme fatale”, is a rigid stereotype that disregards true portrayal of women. Furthermore, this leads to the reflection of “femme fatale” onto women in reality, causing a blur between oneself and the imposed personality. Additionally, the exaggerated use of heroines as the sole exemplar of women conceals the gender prejudice and injustice rampant in society. As such, culture variations results in the use of “femme fatale” to categorize “femme modernes” to cope with the fear of changing gender roles and in turn, the term “tabula rasa” is employed to discriminate w...   [tags: “femme fatale, prejudice, hierarchy]

Better Essays
567 words (1.6 pages)

Gender Inequality Within The Yellow Wallpaper

- The Yellow Wallpaper, the female protagonist is described as having “typical nervous depression—hysterical tendency” a euphemism to explain the woman’s behavior that is in conflict with the patriarchal view (Gilman, 1892). The Yellow Wallpaper is an example of how mental illness has long been utilized as a plot device to explain the actions of the femme fatale that do not conform to the patriarchal or societal views. Femme fatales are characterized as a woman who tempts men into dangerous and usually destructive circumstances (Snyder, 2001)....   [tags: Gender, Gender role, Femme fatale, Feminism]

Better Essays
1302 words (3.7 pages)

The Black And White Film Noir Directed By Charles Vidor Essay

- “There never was a woman like Gilda!” This American black-and-white film noir directed by Charles Vidor in 1946, starring Rita Hayworth, was showing indeed a new type of American woman: the independent femme fatale with a heart. The “film noir” is a “genre of cinematographic film marked by a mood of pessimism, fatalism, and menace. The term was originally applied (by a group of French critics) to American thriller or detective films made in the period 1944–54” (Oxford Dictionary). It usually includes the perspective of an antihero facing the violence of an urban and modern environment....   [tags: Gender, Woman, Femme fatale, Gender role]

Better Essays
1744 words (5 pages)

The Femme Fatale: Alex Forrest & Lady Bertilak & Alyson of Bath Essay

- ... (Ellis 120) Alex monstrosity is shown at the end of the movie when she tries to kill Beth. In Contrast, Alex was portrayed as independent, successful and tough woman in a man world. “She has a man's name, smokes, and drinks and uses unladylike language, suggesting that she identifies with the tough, competitive man's world and thus is behaving inappropriately. Alex lives in New York City, which stands for anonymity, urban sophistication, sin and fast track living.” (Bromley & Hewitt 20) Alex is what most women want to become successful and powerful; however, some of them want a family also, but it is sometimes difficult to have both....   [tags: Geoffrey Chaucer, Garden of Eden, Adam, Eve]

Better Essays
1154 words (3.3 pages)

The Big Sleep, The Postman Always Rings Twice, and Gilda's Adherence to the Noir Genre

- ... She is very mysterious as well as coy when it comes to withholding information from detective Marlowe. Vivian does show vulnerability over time as she develops feelings for Marlowe amidst the dangerous environment they are inhabited. However, the younger sister Carmen Sternwood played by Martha Vickers could have a femme fatale essence about her. The meeting between Marlowe and Carmen is both edgy and seductive as the shot pans from the ground then proceeds to her figure to present an overly flirty Carmen....   [tags: femme fatale, shadows, film]

Better Essays
1515 words (4.3 pages)