The Seductress uses her looks and charm to gain the upper hand in any situation. She’s a survivor, independent, clever and savvy. She’s also a notorious cynic, and can find herself isolated through her own tactics as she manipulates and takes from those around her without giving anything in return.
In the end, a Seductress relies on no one but herself. She’s a free agent, even if she’s posing as a trophy wife.
“A natural temptress, she creates a fantasy world…she has a streak of distrust a mile wide and ten miles deep. Her true desires and motivations are carefully concealed behind a sensual smile. Knowledge is power, so she makes sure no one knows her.”
Megara (Disney’s Hercules)
“I’m a damsel. I’m in distress. I can handle this. Have a nice day.”
Meg is not your ordinary Disney heroine. She’s a cynic. She’s level-headed. She’s caustic. She finds most people to to be petty and dishonest, even thinking that the hero’s farm boy innocence is just an act when they first meet.
And to top it all off, she works for the villain as bait to lure warriors to the dark side.
But Meg hides her heart and intense loyalty with her sarcastic quips and cold indifference. She sacrificed her soul to Hades to save her first love…who then ran off with another woman. Yikes. It’s understandable that she’s not the biggest fan of declaring her love for anyone after that (as shown in this classic song.)
Naturally, she ends up with Wonder Boy—someone who continues to surprise her (even beyond the godly powers business) by not being a terrible person. He’s definitely a Best Friend archetype.
Scarlett O’Hara (Gone with the Wind)
Scarlett is spoiled, vain and often selfish. She’s adept at playing the part of a flirtatious Southern Belle, hiding her intelligence to gain the good favor of the men around her.
But when the Civil War hits, we discover Scarlett’s intelligence and strength. She hardens and survives. She vows to never go hungry again.
For the longest time, Scarlet thinks her only power is to flirt and seduce. Even when she goes to see Rhett to get money for taxes, she’s trying to act like a Southern belle, hiding her destitution by wearing old curtains and rooster feathers. She eventually becomes a ruthless business woman, saving her family and her beloved Tara, but she will transform into a coquette when there are gentlemen present. She knows what is expected of her and she will play the part to get what she wants.
Mystique is a shape shifter. She can take the form of anyone, sound like anyone, be anyone. And she uses this to her advantage. She’s the main infiltrator on the mission, the seductress and spy. She’s quiet and mysterious. Even her teammates know very little about her, and she isn’t one to volunteer information.
Much like her appearance, Mystique’s allegiances shift through the movies. She’s definitely pro mutant (something that she can hide, but chooses not to as a power move) but she makes no promises.
We’ll cut the difference and call her an anti-hero. She can be loyal, but her first priority is herself. She will be anyone and hurt anyone to move forward. She pretty much sums up the ruthlessness a Seductress can hide.
Next up we have a staple archetype that hasn’t grown old yet: The Bad Boy.
This series is based on The Complete Writer’s Guide to Heroes & Heroines: Sixteen Master Archetypes by Tami D. Cowden, Caro LaFever and Sue Viders.