Ah, the Temptress. She saunters in and gives you a coy smile, her eyes promising that more is available, if you’re willing. The Temptress is a fairly common female archetype though, like the Damsel in Distress, it is evolving in response to people wanting more well-rounded and less stereotypical female characters.
Common Aspects of the Temptress Archetype:
- Usually female
- Usually bad news for the Hero
- Commonly portrayed as being sensuous, but can tempt in other ways
- Used as an obstacle the Hero must overcome to continue on their Quest
The Temptress, like the Mother and the Damsel, can be more of an idea than a person. The main reason the Temptress exists, especially in a classic Hero’s Journey story, is to be an obstacle in the Hero’s way, something they must not give into, because doing so would prove them unworthy. Getting past the temptation allows the Hero to prove they are just and worthy, and to continue on with what must be done.
Most Temptress characters are women, but they do not have to be. In general, however, a Temptress character will bring a Hero character’s downfall, whether it is purposeful or not. The Temptress character can be an echo of a Hero’s dark side, showing them what they could become if they give up their ideals. But a Temptress is not necessarily evil, or even aligned with the Villain. They exist more as an obstacle and for the character development of the Hero.
Almost every James Bond movie has a Temptress in it somewhere. And the Sirens from Greek mythology are perhaps the most literal example of this archetype, as they lead men to their deaths.
Any Temptress characters you think are well done, Squiders? Like the Damsel in Distress, what are your feelings on this archetype and its use in media?
Next: The Innocent Archetype