Seduction  

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The Capitalism of Seduction (1981) by Michel Clouscard

The Birth of Venus (detail), a 1486 painting by Sandro Botticelli
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The Birth of Venus (detail), a 1486 painting by Sandro Botticelli

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

In sociology, seduction is the process of deliberately tempting a person into an act. It can be used seriously or jokingly, frequently refers to sexual behavior, and may refer to an act that the other may later regret and/or would normally not want to do. Famous seducers from history include Messalina, Cleopatra and Giacomo Casanova; as well as the fictional characters Lilith, the Sirens, Faust, Lothario and Don Juan.

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History

Seduction is a popular motif in history and fiction, both as a warning of the social consequences of engaging in the behaviour or becoming its victim, and as a salute to a powerful skill. In the Bible, Eve offers the forbidden fruit to Adam. Eve is not explicitly depicted as a seductress but some extra-Biblical commentary and art promote this viewpoint. Eve herself was verbally seduced by the serpent, understood in Christianity to be Satan; the Sirens of Greek myth lured sailors to their death by singing them to shipwreck; Cleopatra beguiled both Julius Caesar and Marc Antony, Dionysus was the Greek God of Seduction and wine, and Persian queen Scheherazade saved herself from execution by story-telling. Famous male seducers, their names synonymous with sexual allure, range from Genji to James Bond.

In biblical times, because unmarried females who lost their virginity had also lost much of their value as marriage prospects, the Old Testament Book of Exodus specifies that the seducer must marry his victim or pay her father to compensate him for his loss of the marriage price: "And if a man entice a maid that is not betrothed, and lie with her, he shall surely endow her to be his wife. If her father utterly refuse to give her unto him, he shall pay money according to the dowry of virgins."

English common law defined the crime of seduction as a felony committed "when a male person induced an unmarried female of previously chaste character to engage in an act of sexual intercourse on a promise of marriage." A father had the right to maintain an action for the seduction of his daughter (or the enticement of a son who left home), since this deprived him of services or earnings.

In more modern times, Frank Sinatra was charged in New Jersey in 1938 with seduction, having enticed a woman "of good repute to engage in sexual intercourse with him upon his promise of marriage. The charges were dropped when it was discovered that the woman was already married."

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Seduction" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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