Monday, April 18, 2011

Queer Theory Between Desiderio and the Ambassador

Angela Carter's The Infernal Desire Machines of Doctor Hoffman There is one part in this novel that I wanted to elaborate on and show how queer theory is presented. Though there are several instances where homosexual references are made in Carter's novel, the way Desiderio describes the Ambassador is the one specific part of the book I am analyzing. When Desiderio, the male protagonist, first meets the Ambassador, a young male, he describes the Ambassador to the reader. The way in which Desiderio describes him is very feminine, giving the Ambassador "woman-bearing" qualities. "Around his eyes were thick bands of solid gold cosmetic and the nails on his long hands were enamelled dark crimson, to match the nails on his similarly elegant feet, which were fully exposed by sandals consisting of mere gold thongs. He wore flared trousers of purple suede and used several ropes of pearls for a belt. I saw that he seemed to move in soft coils" (Carter 32). According to Desiderio's description of him, the Ambassador dresses very femininely and is a "soft" character. This description in itself is a homosexual reference and can allow one to believe the Ambassador to be homosexual. With that mind frame, Carter also describes Desiderio as being infatuated with the Ambassador. Desiderio says "I think he was the most beautiful human being I have ever seen. He was a manicured leopard patently in complicity with chaos" (Carter 32). This gives off the feeling that Desiderio is infatuated with the Ambassador and that Desiderio himself may also be homosexual. Also, Desiderio says that the Ambassador reminded him of a girl that he wished he was romantically involved with. If this doesn't give off a homosexual feel, then it definitely represents a bisexual relationship. To further support the theory that Desiderio could be homosexual or bisexual, I want to look at the scene where he is raped by nine acrobats. When Desiderio joins the professor's circus, nine acrobats also join. These acrobats, that are male, all take turns rapiing Desiderio. Desiderio does say that it was the worst pain and experience he has been through, this could be to, perhaps, hide a certain homosexual or bisexual sexuality. With Dr. Hoffman's desire machines, the idea that perhaps Desiderio secretly wanted the acrobats to rape him comes into play. With that, I believe there is some sort of homosexual or bisexual characteristic about Desiderio. And just a short comment to add, Desiderio nevers gets the girl in the end, but kills her.

1 comment:

  1. Also, we see that Desiderio is consistently drawn to strong masculine figures, whome he refers to as his "masters"--he names the Count, the bay, and the Minister specifically--all three of which are symbolized throughout the novel at specific points with penis imagery.