RARA-AVIS: The role of the femme fatale

From: Michael Robison ( zspider@gte.net)
Date: 11 Aug 2003

Mark Sullivan wrote:
> miker, while I agree that "manipulation through sexual attraction is the
> key" to a femme fatale (nice turn of phrase, by the way), I'm not sure
> that applies to The Talented Mr. Ripley. While Ripley was certainly
> sexually attracted to Dickie Greenleaf, I don't believe Dickie
> manipulated Tom. As a matter of fact, for the most part he seemed
> oblivious to Tom's attraction. Very slight spoiler -- When he did
> become aware (or at least his fiancee did), he rejected Tom, with fatal
> consequences. However, Tom doesn't really fit the mold either. He may
> have mooched off Dickie, but he didn't really manipulate him. So if he
> was a femme fatale, he was a pretty incompetent one, as he was not able
> to attract his prey.

************** I was seeing Dickie in the role. Used him, rejected him. Not manipulation for ulterior motives, I'll admit. I remember that line in the movie where the girl mentions that when Dickie pays attention to you it's like the sun shining on you, and beyond that it's cold.

I haven't even read the book, so I was just hazarding a guess that there might have been some element in it.

Nevertheless, the role of femme fatale deserves examination. I am afraid I oversimplified it. The femme fatale is not necessarily manipulative, is she? Sometimes it is just the attraction that seals the doom, isn't it? Like Charles Williams's RIVER GIRL?


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