Thursday, March 29, 2012

Know Your Archetype: The Temptress

It's always a dame.

Ah, the Temptress: the other woman, the she-devil, the hussy.

In Azeroth, aside from some players who may or may not be female tempting players with flirtatious sexual overtones, (I'm not sure what button* is your feminine wiles buff, but hey, you'll have to answer to your game-girl sisterhood on that one), the Temptress is the ultimate self-actualized chica. She really doesn't care whether or not she's liked, but succumbing to her charms is non-negotiable. It starts off with heavy dose of Circe, a dash of Eve, a great haircut from Delilah, and the Southern drawl of Scarlet. of "Don't Give a Damn, not in the letter "A." Hester Prynne is so misunderstood. Which brings me to this thought: why is the temptation in mythology always in female form? Is it just because women aren't often the protagonists in tales? I know we need to change that. And speaking of the Scarlet Letter, Hester Prynne is indeed the protagonist, and is Dimmesdale the tempter? He pays the price for it though, and most temptresses don't. Okay, except for maybe Cleopatra and that incident with her asp.

The temptresses in the game tend to be the succubi,  the Night Elf handmaidens, the charming-whipping-put-you-to-dreamy-sleep-slip-a-mickey-in-your-mead types. Which leads me to this, too: there aren't enough female bosses in the game. Oh, sure, there's Queen Azshara, Lady Sylvanas, and Tyrande, and this monument to "Not Everyone Should Wear Lycra:" Queen Therazane. While doing research again, I see that even Rades has mentioned this.  I don't consider Tyrande  a temptress, though. She's solidly in the 'mother' wing of archetypes. And I'm not sure who would be tempted by Therazane, but to each his own.

The Temptress uses sex and hedonism to get the hero off-task, and I'm not going to try to say it delicately. What I appreciate about femme fatales in mythology/legends is that they are so unapologetic about it, too. Circe doesn't give one fig if Odysseus gets home to a hot supper; Calypso does, and that is the heartbreak. But Circe, nope. One more man-bear-pig and she's good to go. Stick around, boys. Men are their playthings, their toys. And this begs the question, when one has little power, is sexual power better than nothing? (I swear I do not ask these rhetorical questions because I have answers - I really wonder about this stuff sometimes. That's a lie. I've spent a lifetime thinking about it in one context or another. Maybe I'll get a chance to see my friend with the PhD in Medieval Women's Theatre/ Literature and discuss sexual-historical paradigms in gender-politics. Or maybe we'll just have a martini. Heck, what am I thinking? We're WOMEN! We can do both!

But who in game might be a temptress given the various classes/races? I would say Trolls and Night Elf Druids, and Worgens, too. It's the shape-shifting, seductive dances, and dreamy green sleep that produces this tempting effect. But really--the shape-shifting. The ability to be many things at once, ferocious and primal--very intense stuff.

In looking for images I ran across this:

and it reminded me of Bettie Page, 1950s "star." Nothing is ever new, is it?

*Can you imagine the icon for that spell? Think about it. Use your imagination.

In any case, Bear's post and links today have me all kinds of laughing. Check it out.

Update: Forgot to add this theme song: Tempted/Squeeze

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