Why is it, in life and in fiction, that we’re so drawn so readily toward the Bad Boy or Bad Girl? Some psychologists call this fascinating quality of attraction the dark triad. According to this observation, people who exhibit a seductive blend of narcissism, Machiavellism and psychopathy tend to be unusually successful in business and in bed. This dark triad of personality disorders reads like a menu for demonic lovers; two even draw their names from Greek mythology. A Narcissist turns inward, fantasizes about power, and demands constant admiration from his companions. The Machiavellian manipulates people without regard for the consequences, while the remorseless psychopath feels little empathy for anyone but himself. If this chilling cocktail of disassociations sounds like a tailor-made lure for Catherine Earnshaw or Mrs. Jean Reynolds, then those ladies are in good company. Dark triad people, real and fictional, exert a sometimes literally fatal attraction upon us. M. Scott Peck calls such men and women “people of the lie”: folks who break rules and excite us because they seem to get away with it. In their disregard for consequence, they reflect what we may feel but dare not perform.
…Traditionally, the Demon Lover is male, ruthless, seductive and often bestial. Even in cities or royal courts, his features and mannerisms link him to wild places. He is, as they say, a “beast” – a fox, a wolf, a goat, a stag. He’s horny with or without antlers; like Heathcliff, he’s got “eyes full of black fire.” As shadows are, he is dark – perhaps not in skin, but in temperament.