Association of Women with Serpent and Devil or evil is common in today’s popular movies and literature. A large number of movies have been made on serpent woman, or Nagin-Kanya, both in India and the West in the last century. But the root of this popular trend lies in Genesis of the Bible, and its interpretations by the theologians and the church fathers. In India, this motif came with British literary and cultural products through colonization. Though we get references of figures (Ulupi in the Mahabharata, myth of snake-goddess Manasa) similar to the western serpent women in pre-colonial Indian literature and myth, they stand apart from the western serpent women for several reasons. Firstly, the serpent-women in pre-colonial literature are hardly demonized and denigrated like their western counterparts. Secondly, fatal temptation and destructive eroticism lie at the centre of the serpent woman myth in western literature and culture after Christianization. This article aims to trace the origin of serpent-woman myth and its cultural construction as well as representations in India and the West.

Note on the Author

Suman Chakraborty, Research Scholar, Department of English, Vidyasagar University, West Bengal, India.