'The world, the flesh and the devil embodied in a woman, and speaking in a woman's voice: the siren incarnate against whom you have to plug your ears, or else, like Adam, you will feel the plunge as you fall. It is odd how wholeheartedly women have given themselves to play this part - to believing it, too. Or perhaps it's not all that odd: the femme fatale offers more opportunities than several of the other sacrificial parts in the repertoire. But it is remarkable how the constituent elements of the contemporary fatal woman, the stories that underpin her charms, as well as the ornaments she assumes, match the fulminations of two thousand years ago against the counterfeit of women's fascination and the seductions of their tongue.'
Marina Warner (1992), Watch your tongues