Janus-Faced Trickster

    General definitions of the adjective Janus-faced, as given from Dictionary.com all contain aspects which apply to the phrase from the text The Beautiful and the Ugly are One Thing, the Sublime Another: A Reflection of Culture:

  1. Having two faces, one looking forward, one looking backward, as the Roman deity Janus.
  2. Having two contrasting aspects, as the alternation of mood in a capricious person.
  3. Two-faced and deceitful.
  4. Aware of or concerned with polarities; seeing different and contrasting aspects.


   Trickster (as a noun) – the one who tricks and deceives, a cunning or deceptive character appearing in various forms in the folklore of many cultures.


   Based on what the definitions give and after analyzing the text, it can be concluded that beauty is ethnocentric and is always double sided, which then relates to the two-faced and deceitful identity of the Roman god Janus. This shows that the same person or object might have contrasting personalities and appeals to the eyes of different beholders. What society currently considers beauty can be turned into embarrassment in the future. The noun trickster in “Janus-faced trickster” shows the deliberate deceptiveness of beauty by having the fine line between beauty for one, and the ugly for other. As said from the sentence where the phrase is found from the text  “The Beautiful and the Ugly are One Thing, the Sublime Another: A Reflection of Culture” by Stanley Diamond: “The trickster may appear as the supreme creator… In the Janus-faced trickster, the beautiful and the ugly spring from the same body.”

4 thoughts on “Janus-Faced Trickster”

  1. I really had no idea what this phrase meant until I read your definition. This reminds me of the show American Horror Story: Freak Show where there is a character named Edward Mordrake who was born with a second face on the back of his head. The face would say depraved notions that only Mordrake could hear which connects to what you said about Janus being two-faced and deceitful.

  2. I was not really able to get the reference that the author was trying to make until I saw your post. And I agree with you that truth is double-sided.

  3. I think you did a wonderful job of conveying how profound the sentence about the Janus-faced trickster is. I love how you tied in beauty’s deception into the word. I never really thought of beauty being described that way, and this has given me a whole new perspective on what society considers beautiful and ugly.

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