Is love more intense when it’s mixed with revulsion? Is beauty more captivating when it’s shadowed by decay? There exists a persistent theme throughout art: that beauty is a facade, that behind the seductress lurks a monster, tempting us to death and ruin. In the most captivating moment from the Lord of the Rings film trilogy, Frodo and Sam are crossing The Dead Marshes, led on by Gollum. Little torches coming out of the bog mark the bodies of dead warriors. Gollum warns his companions not to follow the lights, but Fordo is entranced, falls in and is pulled under by zombies. The scariest part isn’t that he gets pulled under against his will, it’s how his will is bent until he longs to go under. The beauty of the flames is enchanting, disarming; how compelling it must feel to hear the piper for eternal bliss, to just let go and ignore the horror beneath the surface.
Shown above, Beethoven Frieze by Gustav Klimt.