The Femme Fatale in Raymond Chandler's "The Big Sleep"

Seminar Paper, 2004

11 Pages, Grade: 2

Abstract or Introduction

According to Janey Place, “the dark lady, the spider woman, the evil seductress who tempts man and brings about his destruction is among the oldest themes of art, literature, mythology and religion in western culture.” She appears in many different forms and many different situations. In the following, I will have a look at the origins of the femme fatale as she is depicted in The Big Sleep. In the first part of the essay I will concentrate on the main female characters and try to find out who appears as a femme fatale. In the second part I will work out that in forming the character of his femme fatale Raymond Chandler borrowed from a common narrative motif, especially from antique Greek and biblical sources. I will have a look at certain antique stories which I cannot retell here, such as the Greek Medea tale, Homer’s Odyssey, the story of Medusa and the biblical Adam and Eve and Joseph stories. In the third part of this essay I will have a look at how the femme fatale is set into the city of film noir and how the city again is similar to mythology.


The Femme Fatale in Raymond Chandler's "The Big Sleep"
University of Bonn
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ISBN (eBook)
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498 KB
In this essay, I'm dealing with the figure of the Femme Fatale in "The Big Sleep" and film noir.The essay is especially about the ancestors of the femme fatale in Greek and byblical mythology.
Femme, Fatale, Raymond, Chandler, Sleep
Quote paper
Ann-Kathrin Deininger (Author), 2004, The Femme Fatale in Raymond Chandler's "The Big Sleep", Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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