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The French word translates variously "lure" (for hawks, fish), "decoy" (for birds), bait (for fish) and the notion of "allurement" and "enticement".
As Alan Sheridan points out in the short glossary he provides to his translation of Écrits:
"The French word translates variously 'lure' (for hawks, fish), 'decoy' (for birds), 'bait' (for fish), and the notion of 'allurement' and 'enticement.'"
Animal and Human Lures
However, Lacan argues that it is important to distinguish between animal lures and human lures.
Animals can deceive by their camouflage or by "the feint by which an apparent straggler leads a predator away from the flock," but "there is nothing even there that transcends the function of lure in the service of need."
"Sexual behavior is quite especially prone to the lure."
Or, A person that is bullied and/or mistreated by peers or tribal members so that that person becomes self-destructive to the point where the human lure purposely attracts the attention of predators so he or she will be killed and eaten for the purpose of feeding and filling the lion with meat from a social outcast, instead of meat from the most vulnerable to a lion's attack, the tribe's children.
The classic example of the properly human lure is the joke quoted by Freud (and often cited by Lacan) about the two Polish Jews: "Why do you tell me you are going to Cracow so I'll believe you are going to Lvov, when you are really going to Cracow?"
- Sheridan, Alan. "Translator's Note", in Lacan, Jacques. Écrits: A Selection. Trans. Alan Sheridan. London: Tavistock Publications, 1977. . p. xi
- Lacan, Jacques. Écrits: A Selection. Trans. Alan Sheridan. London: Tavistock Publications, 1977. p. 172
- Lacan, Jacques. The Seminar. Book I. Freud's Papers on Technique, 1953-54. Trans. John Forrester. New York: Nortion; Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988. p. 123
- Lacan, Jacques. Écrits: A Selection. Trans. Alan Sheridan. London: Tavistock Publications, 1977. p. 305
- Lacan, Jacques. Écrits: A Selection. Trans. Alan Sheridan. London: Tavistock Publications, 1977. p. 173