Why keep a beautiful, dead woman in a glass box?

We touched in class briefly on the necrophilia issue of Blancanieves which has strong parallel from the original story of the Grimm brothers. There, of course, is Carmencita at the end of the film in the casket at the freak show after being kissed by strangers and then sleeping beside the dwarf who is in love with her (don’t remember his name), but another scene which I thought was interesting was when the stepmother’s lover took Carmen to the woods to kill her. He strangles her until she looks dead and then he is compelled to kiss her.

Gina and I had a class with Mercedes last semester where we read Maria de Zaya’s Desengaño Septimo and I wanted to share a quote from there where the protagonist doña Blanca is being killed at the hands of her husband and father-in-law: “La sangre comenzó a salir, doña Blanca se desmayó, tan hermosamente, que diera lástima a quien más la aborreciera, y quedó tan linda, que el principe, su esposo, que la estaba mirando, o enternecido de ver la deshojada azucena o enamorado de tan bella muerte.”

What is it about “tan bella muerte” that in this scene makes the man fall in love with his wife who he has been mistreating and abusing their entire marriage, or causes someone on the brink of committing murder to stop because he is overcome by lust? This is a perverse aspect of the original Snow White where the prince falls in love with someone who appears dead. Would a dead man ever be kept or described in this way? Is a dead woman more beautiful because she poses no threat but yet still possesses her aesthetic value (if you are into pale, decomposing bodies)?


One thought on “Why keep a beautiful, dead woman in a glass box?

  1. Interesting! Your comment also reminds me of Pedro Almodovar’s movie “Matador”. The two protagonists (male and female- I can’t remember their names though) seem to feel drawn to death itself. The man used to be toreador till he got injured, and the woman was a big fan of him. I wonder if their actions could be explained with the term “death drive” rather than “necrophilia”(or i wonder if the two terms are linked?), since different from the movie Blancanieves where the stepmother’s lover feel lust at the moment of seeing the girl almost dead, the protagonists do desire their own death and eventually kill themselves. Now that I rethink about the movie, the passion they have for the corrida de toros seems to sprout from that obsession for death. What is that something about the death that intrigues people?

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