In a world of supernatural creatures, there is always someone whose aim is to hunt the creatures of the night. Usually, the hunter is portrayed as the hero for they stop the monsters; however, supernatural creatures are not inherently bad just as humans are not inherently good. This brings us to Kate Argent: an aunt, a sister, and a daughter. In the show Teen Wolf she is portrayed by actress Jill Wagner, who is a typical bombshell blonde. She is conventionally beautiful with blonde hair and bright eyes along with a perfect body anyone would kill for. On the outside, she is immaculate but on the inside… a killer. She is a wolf in sheep’s clothing and uses that fact to her advantage. She is the opposite of what is classified as a monster on the outside but her actions and how she treats other human beings as well as supernatural beings is what shows her as what she really is: a monster. To prove this, follow the three theses from Monster Culture (Seven Theses) by Jeffrey Jerome Cohen, that Kate Argent corresponds with: Thesis 1, Thesis 6, and Thesis 2.
Kate Argent’s first qualifying factor as to why she is considered a monster is through Monster Culture (Seven Theses) by Jeffrey Jerome Cohen. The first being Thesis 1 which is “The Monster’s Body is a Cultural Body” which means the creation of Kate Argent is directly related to and reflects how society is at the time of creating it. She is not the type of monster expected from a show about werewolves. Werewolves would typically be the monster while the hunter saved the town from said monsters but on this show, the stereotype is flipped on its head. The reason Kate Argent complies with the first thesis is due to the shift in society. Historically speaking, if the person was in any way viewed as different from the norm, they were condemned by the community and most likely punished for it. An example of this would be the Salem witch trials. In Teaching the Salem Witch Trials through Place and Time by Jerra Jenrette, Mary Jo Melvin, Deborah Piper, and Rebecca Schaef, they write about the events of the Salem witch trials;
“When Betty Parris, Abigail Williams, and Anne Putnam Jr. began exhibiting strange behavior in the winter of 1691-1692, their families could not identify the source of their “fits.” Members of the local community suspected witchcraft. The ensuing events, which came to be known as the Salem witch trials, escalated to such a frenzy that practically everyone in the town and village of Salem was touched. The Salem witch trials of 1692 took the lives of 24 people, 20 of whom were executed and four of whom died in prison” (Jenrette et al. 213).
This passage starts off with these three women exhibiting “weird” behaviors which could be subjective. This could mean a number of things but the second these women started doing anything remotely different or out of the ordinary, they were condemned to death. Now, however, times are different and society has shifted enough to start accepting those who are viewed as different. This is where Kate Argent comes in. She represents the idea of difference being bad enough to fear and hate and this is how her character takes on her title as a monster. She portrays an extremist view that is taught to her from a young age. She grew up in a hunting family which had a mantra that was passed down through the family, “We hunt those who hunt us”. Kate interprets this as meaning something vastly different. Due to this ideal, she “hunts” a family of werewolves, the Hales. She separates a 15 year old from his family and manipulates him into an illegal relationship due to her being an adult and him being a minor. She then weasels information about his family from him while committing statutory rape and then proceeds to commit arson and murder by locking 11 of his family members – a mix of werewolf and human – in a house and burning it to the ground. The action of murder alone usually condemns a person to the title of monster but she goes further than that with other pieces such as rape and ephebophilia, or “a sexual attraction to a teenage girl or boy who is not at the legal age of consent” (Urban Dictionary). All in all, the first indication of her being a monster is the fact she is represented by the society we live in today but a major factor of her being a monster is the fact she goes above and beyond what is considered humane and morally good.
Another theses she fits in is Thesis 6, “Fear of the Monster Is Really a Kind of Desire”. Thesis 6 states, “we distrust and loathe the monster at the same time we envy its freedom, and perhaps its sublime despair” (Cohen 17). The reason behind this being in correspondence with Kate Argent’s qualifications for being a monster is through two pieces. First off is the fact she is genuinely beautiful. Kate’s actress Jill Wagner is beautiful by society’s standards and in the show Kate uses that to her ability by getting the attention of her prey through sexual means. She manipulates her prey to do her bidding through sexual favors and relationships; “The monster awakens one to the pleasures of the body” (Cohen 17). This idea of a wolf in sheep’s clothing is where the story of little red riding hood comes in. In the story of Little Red Riding Hood, the grandma of Little Red gets eaten by the wolf and then the wolf proceeds to dress up like the grandma to trick the little girl and eat her. Then a hunter comes in and saves the day, saving grandma and Little Red (Brother’s Grimm). This story is symbolic to the show Teen Wolf. Kate Argent sees herself as the hunter and does what she thinks is right and believes that the wolf is always bad. In the story line however, she is actually the wolf and manipulates a young teenage boy, who would be Little Red in the story, and gets his entire family killed save for a few poor souls. She uses her sexuality as a way to take out an entire family. The second reason thesis 6 applies to her is due to her doing these forbidden things and getting away with it for almost 10 years that most people can only fantasize about it. The thrill of the desire to do the forbidden is what draws people in the the idea of desiring the monster. Kate is desirable not just in body but she actually gets away with what she did. It takes almost 10 years for it to catch up with her but the idea of getting away with such unbidden acts is a desire that culminates in society. The idea of monsters having the power to do what they want and “where taboos were eliminated or exchanged for others” (Cohen 18) is what draws in this desire, the idea of being free to do what we want, even if it goes against our own morals. It’s the thrill that draws out this want for the taboo.
The last thesis Kate Argent fits in is Thesis 2, “the Monster Always Escapes”. This proof follows after Teen Wolf season 1 episode 12 where Kate Argent meets the end of her life… or so we think. Specifically in season 3 part B at the very end of episode 12, two of the main characters and love interests are talking about dreams and whether Derek, one of the main characters, is really seeing Kate Argent to which Stiles, another main character and love interest replies that he’s dreaming. When Derek comes to, he sees Kate, back from the grave and with supernatural powers. It is later revealed that she was revived because the scratch of a werewolf can turn someone and the claw slashes were deep enough to kill her for a time but brought her back in the end. The only fate she suffers is her first initial death and rather than her staying dead, she comes back. When she comes back to life, she uses what she had before but adds in supernatural powers to her arsenal and uses them to capture and then torture Derek Hale, the teenage boy she originally manipulated, raped, and then murdered his entire family. Not only does she come back but she ends up ultimately escaping the hands of the law and the claws of revenge by running off to mexico and then escaping the grip again and is pursued continuously but never caught.
Kate Argent is a terrible human being and an even worse supernatural creature but because of those things, it concludes she is an amazing monster the viewers just want to hate. She follows the qualifications of a monster which proves her to be a good monster. She has no redeeming qualities which make her easily hate-able but she held that allure to drag the viewer in. Overall she is a monstrous being and an abomination who deserves the fate she was condemned to, being the monster she always hunted.
Cohen, Jeffrey Jerome. “Monster Culture (Seven Theses)(Extract).” Speaking of Monsters, 2012, pp. 3–20., doi:10.1057/9781137101495_2.
This was used and implemented due to it having the criteria I used for the monster I studied. It was extremely informative. I’m not sure if I still have to explain why it’s scholarly but it is a highly known piece of work and was given to the class by Professor. It helped with my essay and putting the proof that Kate Argent is a monster under true light.
“Ephebophilia.” Urban Dictionary, http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Ephebophilia.
This is used to explain Kate and her creepy fascination towards teenage boys. If you watch the show, she actually makes multiple passes at another character who is 16, further pushing forward the fact she is a ephebophile. I’m not sure if this should be qualified as a scholarly source but it is a dictionary with reliable definitions for the current English language.
Grimm, Jacob, and Wilhelm Grimm. Grimm’s Complete Fairy Tales. Barnes & Noble Books, 2009.
This is where Little Red Riding Hood came from and its obviously scholarly because it is where one of the first versions of the story came from, in the collection of fairy tales by the original Grimm brothers. It was used to compare the story of Kate and her manipulation of Derek to the story of Little Red Riding Hood.
Jenrette, Jerra, et al. “Teaching the Salem Witch Trials through Place and Time.” Historical Journal of Massachusetts, vol. 40, no. 1/2, Summer 2012, pp. 212-231. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=31h&AN=98382273&site=ehost-live.
This article was used for it’s information on the Salem witch trials. It was used to compare how being different got people killed before and although it still can end in death, being different is more accepted than it ever was. This is a scholarly article because it explains what the Salem witch trials were but also how to implement them into texts and teachings.
Reynolds, Angela J. “The Better to See You With: Peering into the Story of Little Red Riding Hood,1695-1939.” Children & Libraries: The Journal of the Association for Library Service to Children, vol. 16, no. 1, Spring 2018, pp. 14-20. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=ehh&AN=128367901&site=ehost-live.
This article was used in seeing how the story of Little Red Riding Hood fit as a comparing factor to the plot of season 1 in Teen Wolf. It explains how the story can be interpreted and how it has adapted over time. It also explains the significance of pieces of the story that helped me with coming up with how Teen Wolf tied in to Little Red Riding Hood. This is scholarly because it is written by a librarian who was on a committee that reviewed children’s books and audios.