In today’s fashionable terms, Louis, a young boy, and Natalie, a beautiful woman, are a mother and son who love and destroy each other. The two completely opposing elements of deep love and brutal killing are surprisingly delicately balanced in this mother and son. The mother uses every means to kill the child, but never wishes him dead; the child, aware of his mother’s motives, tries to cooperate with her in exercising her ‘right of handling his life’ over him. Thus, the child is pushed to death again and again by his mother, saved by her when he is on the edge of death, and then pushed to death again by her.
Evolutionary psychology has explored the phenomenon of infanticide in humans in detail, which is generally regarded as a kin investment and genetic screening behavior, but it does not seem to point out that infanticide is also a self-increment strategy for women. In Euripides’ works, Medea’s infanticide of her brother is essentially a form of self-enhancement, particularly in terms of self-belief. Natalie’s development of this strategy in the face of the difficulties met in life makes her unable to stop, resulting in the strange and dazzling human tragedy between herself and Louis.
At the same time, Natalie discovers another, more effective strategy: showing weakness. There is a line in Hamlet that says, “Tender, thy name is a woman! The weaker a woman is, the more protective she is of men. The more weak women are, the more powerful and powerful men are. Thus, women’s weakness has changed from a natural disadvantage to an acquired competitive advantage in mating competition and becoming the sharpest weapon in her survival strategy. For example, women are better at portraying their own tragedies, making people easier to believe that they are the ones who are hurt the most of a failed relationship and deserve sympathy. Natalie uses her loneliness and helplessness when her son’s life is in danger to successfully gain males’ sympathy and the security necessary for survival. But this unjustifiable tactic appears extremely despicable under the cruel premise, thus, produces a sense of absurdity and futility that makes the deeper tragedy of women’s lives obvious.
Unfortunately, the portrayal of Natalie’s characteristics is so superficial that it is difficult to look past her beauty to her inner pain. One can only conclude that she is “the most poisonous of women” and “a whore”.