Consider Glenn Close in the movie “Fatal Attraction.”
As the weekend fling of babe magnet Michael Douglas, she can’t get it through her head that she is nothing more than that. Why would he possibly want to go home to Anne Archer (possibly because Anne Archer is a comely brunette who's not a psychopath, but that's beside the point). The point is Michael Douglas was a cheating horndog. So, Alex Forrest (the character): is she the villain or the heroine? “I won’t be ignored, Dan.”
Madame is going to butterfly you... with that chef's knife
Those are powerful scary words to manchilds everywhere. Juvenal, who was the Rush Limbaugh of the Roman Empire, squawked that “it’s … a feeble, tiny mind that takes pleasure in revenge… no one delights more in vengeance than a woman.” (And since he wasn't worried about losing advertisers, he had the cojones to not apologize afterwords, as if.) It is not known how he died, but it is reasonable to suspect that it may have involved at least one shiv wielded by a member of the opposite sex in a particularly tender, vulnerable part of the body. Much later, Nietzsche echoed Kipling when he wrote “In revenge and love, the woman is more barbarous than man.”
Salome (with the head of John the Baptist) by Titian
So, is it true? Are women more prone to take up the steak knife or throw gasoline and a match to the bed? We look again to literature, film and music to ponder this timeless question. Let’s take a look at Salome, shall we? Dutiful daughter? Seductress? Candidate for Dancing With the Stars? Depends on the version of the story that you read. In the Biblical tale, Salome was the daughter of Herodias and stepdaughter of Herod Antipas, ruler of Galilee in Palestine. John the Baptist denounced the marriage of Herodias and Herod, because they were in-laws:
Herodias had been previously married to Herod’s half brother Philip. (Ooops!) Herod imprisoned John for his blunt speech, but was too much of a wuss to put the renowned prophet to death. Herodias, however, had the cojones in the family and pressed her daughter Salome to "seduce" her stepfather Herod with a dance, in exchange for whatever she wished. At her mother's urging, Salome thus asked for the head of John the Baptist-- on a platter, no less. The entranced Herod did her bidding, and Salome delivered the plate, head and all, to mama.
Salome 2.0: the Rita Hayworth version
Oscar Wilde wrote a shocking version of the story as a play, which later inspired Richard Strauss to translate it into an opera. In these versions, Herod's lust for Salome is manifest and Salome uses his weakness to gain the upper hand by twirling through the infamous "Dance of the Seven Veils." She, in turn, has the hots for John the Baptist, which is not a feature of the original plot. John, being a budding saint, of course rejects her advances and the only way Salome can have any part of him is by literally demanding his head. Salome fulfills her desires by kissing the cold, dead lips of John's decapitated head. And so she had morphed from dutiful daughter to murderess, one of the first of many femme fatales, and perhaps the origin of the idiom“I lost my head.”
Losing one's head is definitely fatal; losing one's hair not so much -- unless you are Samson and you fall under the spell of the temptress Delilah, who sells you out for a few pieces of silver (this seems to be a recurring theme in the Bible).
Samson did survive, eventually recovered his manhood with his hair, after begging God's forgiveness for various sins, including his infatuation with Delilah, and used his renewed strength to bring down the temple of Dagon, killing many Philistines. As well as himself. (Ooops.)
From Salome and Delilah, it’s not a long leap to Hollywood’s Evelyn Draper,
Clint Eastwood’s psychotic one-night stand in Play Misty for Me, or Catherine Tramell, another one of Michael Douglas’s crazy chicks in Basic Instinct, or the real-life Lorena Bobbitt, who captured the public’s imagination (in one way or another) in 1993, when she took a knife to a precious part of her abusive husband’s anatomy. Or to paraphrase Doralee Rhodes (Dolly Parton’s character in Nine to Five), turned him from a rooster to a hen in one slice.
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