Signes apocalyptiques: l’infanticide magiqueet l’enfant monstrueux (litérature, peinture, cinéma)



This paper, which is part of a larger research project, proposes a comparison between different arts (literature, painting, cinema) and their representational strategies, taking as a starting point the ritual infanticide. Two main cases of infanticide are considered here. In the frst case the children are murdered in order to serve at the making of magical potions meant to help the witches in controlling all human beings: they are sacrifced to the Evil Spirit. In the second case, the baby is a monster, as a result of the mother’s sexual intercourse with the Devil or with some supernatural Beast. In both cases, the child is seen as a messenger of the End: the apocalyptic meta-phors are recorded each time they appear in the works analyzed here. For a better understanding of the fears related to the infanticide, a real case, that of the great murderer Gilles de Rais, is studied in this paper, in relation to some works of art inspired by his life and facts.

Keywords: Apocalypse, infanticide, witchcraft, Antichrist, risk, literature, painting, cinema, Gilles de Rais