New Criticals

The figure of the homo sacer is analogous to the mythological wargus, or wolf-man. Agamben writes:

The life of the bandit, like that of the sacred man, is not a piece of animal nature without any relation to law and the city. It I, rather, a threshold of indistinction and of passage between anima an man, physic and nomos, exclusion and inclusion: the life of the bandit is the life of the loup garou, the werewolf, who is precisely neither man nor beast, and who dwells paradoxically within both while belonging to neither.

The figure of the "monster" in various cultures has always been fascinating, and the most important monsters are always these hybrid creatures that are both Other and Us at the same time. The terror and curiosity they inspire cannot be explained in terms of pure externality—the "monster" is terrifying precisely because he is made possible by "us" and is often completely indistinguishable from "us." The monster is always a mirror. The werewolf moves among us during the day, Dracula seduces us by his eternal youth and immortality, Frankenstein is the consequence of our own reason gone mad—the "monsters" of society never emerge ex nihilo from elsewhere, but expose precisely those "monstrosities" that are at the heart of society itself, the, to riff on Benjamin's phrase, "divine monstrosities" that make society possible at all.