Welcome Welcome!!!

I am new to blogging, so please give me time to get everything perfect :)

Monday, September 6, 2010

"The Vampyre" and It's Influence on the Modern Vampire

Click Here for Link to Image

Click Here for Image Link

     The vampire has long been a belief in many cultures. Stories have been passed down through the ages about these creatures for many thousands of years, through out many different places in the world. There are vampire stories that date back to the times of Classical Greece, Mesopotamia, and even ancient India. In most of these stories the vampire is depicted as an ugly, evil creature that preys on the lives of their previous family members, and fellow villagers. They are seen as wholly dead, and only rise to take the lives of the living and return to their graves. In these stories they do not live among humans, converse with humans, or in any way associate themselves into the human world.

      The short story "The Vampire" by John Polidori is one of the first stories to assimilate the vampire into the human world, and paves the way for our own modern idea of the vampire. In his short story his character Lord Ruthven lives with in society, sleeps in a bed, and is able to mesmerize his human audience. In essence he is even more dangerous than his predecessors since he has the ability to blend into society. Lord Ruthven is still evil and through out the story corrupts young innocent girls for his own pleasure, however he does it under the guise of a normal man. He hides his evil side from the world in order to obtain what he wants. A true predator lying in wait for his next victim. The men and women he meets are fascinated and intrigued by his appearance instead of appalled and it makes their curiosity rise, such as it did to Aubrey, that it attracts people to him, instead of frightening them away.

    The vampire was no longer a mindless creature that haunted you in the middle of the night creep through your windows while you were sleeping. Now the vampire could be in the same room as you, and you wouldn't even know it. They were still evil creatures, but also beautiful, intelligent, and resourceful. Instead of a complete monster, the vampire began to take on a more human persona.

     Once this story was published it paved the way for more vampire authors, including Bram Stoker, who used Polidori's idea of the more human vampire. To this day many of the stories that are published about vampires portray them as more human than monster like. Some even picture the vampire as a hero, a monster with a heart. Instead of the reader being frightened by a monster, they can relate to the character, learn with the character, and fall in love with him.

     So then one may ask which vampire persona is scarier? The vampire monster whose only thought is to destroy and kill, or the vampire human, who can think and act and blend in with the world. At least with a vampire monster you know that it is coming, with a vampire human you would have no idea until it is to late. .


  1. I like how you posed the idea of the dangerous vampire being one that can in fact blend into modern society. This concept I had not pondered in my reading of the story. The vampire was before seen as this illusive creature that came out of the depths at night to feast on the blood of humans. I also liked the way you pointed out his waiting and the hiding of the evil side as a way to get what he wanted. He was as you stated a true predator. Human or vampire is an interesting concept. Should we as humans view vampires as what they are, being blood sucking creatures? Or should they be viewed as they have more recently as a human with this concept of romanticism? I feel that vampires had more going for them when they were the scary creatures that could torment the young to the old in films and novels. I feel they lost a lot of credit by going into the area of love and lust.

  2. I also agree with you that the vampire is more dangerous and scary when it can be mistaken for a human. The fact that it can blend seamlessly into society and appear totally normal and not even leave a trail of bodies behind makes so much scarier because you have no idea who it could be considering that in "The Vampyre" he could go in the light. I definitely like the fact that Lord Ruthven is not at all like what I think of as a vampire. He seemed to feed mainly on a woman’s virtue and purity instead of blood (until the end that is.) It definitely gave me something new to think about for vampires as characters. I think that that quality might have made the vampire seem much scarier for readers at the time this story came out because they were so obsessed with the idea that women were pure and that idea was so important to them. Men would refuse to marry woman if there was even just a rumor of her impurity and women would be banished to the outskirts of society for bring impure.

    I actually think though, that the vampire in modern novels/ movies moving in to the realm of lust and love as the natural progression of their character (or society's need for the character.) Look at a character like Dexter. He is a serial killer and yet people like him, not only that but they root for him. I think that people are looking for characters that have redeemable characteristics ( or maybe we have become perverse and sadistic in our tastes) and society is pretty obsessed with sex (unfortunately.) Sex sells so all types of scenarios / character/ plots that would not normally have sex in them do.

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. I think it is really interesting that you point out that the vampires in this story could be out during the day and blend in with society. While I was reading this story I did wonder if these vampires could go out during the daylight because it was never specifically said. But now that you make a point to say that it they could be in the daylight it really makes me wonder why the vampires in this story can be out in the light but not in others. I do agree with the fact that vampires would be scarier if they were not noticeable and just blended in. Like in the story Aubrey’s sister married a vampire not knowing until she met her death what he really was. When you say that, “Lord Ruthven is still evil and throughout the story corrupts young innocent girls for his own pleasure, however he does it under the guise of a normal man.” This makes me wonder how many people still do this today. I mean how many men/women hide “other sides” of themselves from society to get what they want. It does not have to be in terms of sex only but also in terms of tax fraud and other things. It’s kind of creepy to think of all the similarities this short story has to modern day circumstances. Another thing in this story that reminded me of modern day things is the oath between Aubrey and Lord Ruthven. Some modern day “oaths” are gang memberships. In the story Aubrey was sworn to secrecy about Lord Ruthven’s true identity so he could not tell his sister and save her life. In gangs everyone is sworn to secrecy and if they do not keep the secrets it could result in them losing their life.