Faculty of Arts

Undergraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2014 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

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6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered, or view unit timetables.

FacultyFaculty of Arts
OfferedClayton Second semester 2014 (Day)
Coordinator(s)Dr Patrick Spedding


The unit is designed to introduce students to the development of the dark or satanic hero and the femme fatal in a range of major English texts selected to illustrate the tremendous impact and popularity of these powerful figures. Writers since the Renaissance have created powerful and seductive heroes, anti-heroes and appealing villains who advocate and personify radical individualism, self-sufficiency and ambition, but who are often isolated, gloomy and dissatisfied by their revolt against God, tmorality and society. Special attention will be given to the gendered representation of the dark hero, particularly the persistent tendency to represent or view female characters who challenge moral codes in relation to prevailing social roles of virgin/whore, good/bad mother etc. The unit encourages students to examine the relationship between the satanic heroes, vamps and villains who appear in the unit texts and the many dark heroes of contemporary culture.


Students successfully completing this subject will be able to:

  1. identify key characteristics of the Dark or Satanic Hero and the Femme Fatal;
  2. identify the historical development, and with a range of different historical manifestations, of these figures;
  3. identify the psychological, social and cultural roots of these figures and the impact they have had;
  4. identify the key critical debates concerning the Dark Hero and Femme Fatal;
  5. evaluate the relevance of these debates to the course-texts as well as to modern manifestations of these figures
  6. argue their interpretations clearly and persuasively in oral and essay form;
  7. communicate ideas and position effectively in discussion.


Written work: 65% Test (1 hour): 25%
Participation: 10%

Chief examiner(s)

Workload requirements

22 hours per semester

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study


A gateway unit in Literary Studies or permission.