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“Historical past isn’t type to individuals who play God,” quips James Bond to supervillain Safin within the trailer for No Time to Die.
The movie’s launch has been delayed but once more, to April 2021. It would mark Daniel Craig’s swansong as 007 and hypothesis continues as to who would be the subsequent Bond. Will or not it’s Idris Elba, Tom Hardy or maybe a lady?
Bond has lengthy been criticised for his sexist attitudes, with even Judi Dench’s M in GoldenEye (1995) dubbing him a “sexist, misogynist dinosaur” . However what if we view him via the prism of Greek mythology? Is Bond, in actual fact, a recent incarnation of Dionysus, the god of wine, pleasure and fertility?
In Greek mythology, the gods punish mortals for the sin of hubris. In our pop-culture pantheon, Bond is a deity.
Dionysus travelled all through the traditional world, generally by boat within the Aegean islands, generally in a winged chariot. Bond additionally circumnavigates the globe, equally at house on yachts or in helicopters. However his chariot of alternative is an Aston Martin.
Its emblem? A pair of wings.
A black, feminine 007? As a lifelong James Bond fan, I say convey it on
Secrets and techniques of wine – and martinis
Wherever Dionysus went he initiated his followers within the secrets and techniques of wine-making. Wherever Bond goes he initiates the mixologist within the secrets and techniques of constructing the right Vesper martini.
In Ian Fleming’s Diamonds are Endlessly (1956), Bond tells the bartender to mix three measures of Gordon’s gin, one in every of vodka and half a measure of Kina Lillet with a thick slice of lemon peel and poured right into a deep champagne goblet. In On line casino Royale (2006), he provides the martini have to be shaken “till it’s ice chilly.”
In contrast to mortals, Bond’s prodigious consumption of alcohol does him no hurt, certainly he’s hailed as “the perfect shot within the Secret Service.”
In a research of the novels revealed within the British Medical Journal in 2013, researchers estimated Bond consumed a median of 92 models of alcohol per week with a most every day consumption peaking at 49.8 models.
There have been days when Bond abstained — 12.5 out of a complete 87.5 days — however principally as a result of he was being held prisoner.
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Weapons of disguise
Dionysus carries a thyrsus: a sacred pinecone-tipped workers wreathed in vines. The thyrus is a phallic image, generally displayed with a kantharos wine cup, denoting feminine sexuality.
© The Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA
The union of the 2 created a strong illustration of fertility and rebirth. Dionysus additionally turned his thyrsus right into a harmful weapon by secreting an iron tip in its level.
As a undercover agent, Bond conceals his Walther PPK pistol in a hidden holster, however one in every of his most deadly weapons is disguised as a cigarette – a potent image of sexual union in cinema, the place smoking a cigarette signifies the completion of copulation.
In You Solely Reside Twice (1967) the villain makes the deadly mistake of permitting Bond “one final fag.” It seems to be tipped with a rocket-propelled bullet, proving that cigarettes aren’t simply deadly for people who smoke.
Gods of possession
Dionysus was deeply enticing to his feminine followers, Maenads, who would drink themselves right into a frenzy to be possessed by the god. Likewise, Bond is pursued by a bevy of gorgeous girls — Pussy Galore, A lot O’Toole and Honey Rider — panting to be possessed.
As with the Maenads, devotion to Bond comes with its perils. In Reside and Let Die (1973), Bond woman, Solitaire loses her psychic powers after an in depth encounter of the passionate type with Bond and turns into a goal for heroin baron, Dr Kananga.
In Goldfinger (1964), Jill Masterton is punished by the eponymous villain for betraying him to Bond, dying of pores and skin suffocation when he covers her in gold paint.
This places a brand new spin on the Midas fantasy by which Dionysus granted the king’s want to be blessed with the golden contact, solely to find that it’s a curse making it unattainable to eat and even embrace his daughter with out turning her into steel.
Ecstasy and demise
In historical Greece, the quantity seven was sacred and composed of the quantity three (the heavenly male) and the quantity 4 (the heavenly feminine). Bond’s quantity within the secret service — Agent 007 — is thus the right quantity to signify a modern-day fertility god.
Like Dionysus who’s depicted in quite a lot of kinds which vary from an older, bearded god to a long-haired youth, Bond has appeared in quite a lot of guises from the debonair David Niven to the strapping Daniel Craig.
But no matter his age and physique, Bond’s twin Dionysian nature brings both divine ecstasy in mattress, or brutal demise to his foes.
Dionysus virtually dies earlier than he’s born however his father Zeus saves him. Later he returns from the lifeless after he’s dismembered by the Titans.
Bond says, “You solely reside twice: as soon as if you end up born and as soon as whenever you look demise within the face.”
Like Dionysus, Bond is resurrected in Skyfall (2012) after he’s unintentionally shot by Moneypenny. The bullet penetrates his physique inflicting him to fall off a prepare and right into a waterfall the place he sinks to the underside. However Bond is immortal. He returns to avoid wasting one other day.
When it lastly reaches cinemas, No Time to Die would be the final hurrah for Craig, however gods don’t die. Bond will reside on.
Nicole Lenoir-Jourdan doesn’t work for, seek the advice of, personal shares in or obtain funding from any firm or group that might profit from this text, and has disclosed no related affiliations past their educational appointment.