Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Vampyre

While reading The Vampyre by John William Polidori a few things stood put to me. First, during the “Introduction” it was said that, “A stake was driven entirely through the heart and the body of Arnold Paul, at which he is reported to have cried out as dreadfully as if he had been alive. This done, they cut off his head, burned his body, and threw the ashes into his grave. The same measures we adopted with the cor[p]ses of those persons who had previously died from vampyrism. Lest they should, in their turn, become agents upon others who survived them.” Reading this excerpt it made me think of how vampires nowadays are portrayed to “die.” So this story was written in 1819 so it is pretty much ancient. It says that to kill a vampire you have to stake it, then cut off its head and then burn and bury it. So how does this portrayal affect the portrayal modern day writers’ use? Well, in the Sookie Stackhouse books (True Blood) and in the Vampire Diaries series to kill a vampire all you have to do is stake it and it turns into dust. So there is one part of Polidori’s ideas. In the Twilight Saga, to kill a vampire it has to be ripped into pieces by another vampire and then burned. So this is also a take on Polidori’s story. It is crazy to think that ideas from stories that are almost 200 years old are still used today. Another thing in this story that caught my eye is when Lord Ruthven made Aubrey swear not to tell what he truly was. When I first read this conversation I really did not see any big deal about it but then at the end of the story I see its significance until this happened, “He began to speak with all his wonted warmth, and to congratulate her upon her marriage with a person so distinguished for rank and every accomplishment; when he suddenly perceived a locket upon her breast; opening it, what was his surprise at beholding the features of the monster who has so long influenced his life.” This makes me wonder whether Lord Rithven’s whole plan was to get shot on purpose so that Aubrey would make the oath and not be able to say anything about the true identity so that he could take his sisters life. I guess the reason that I think this is because most vampires in stories are made to look like they are bad and deceiving.

1 comment:

  1. I really enjoyed the passage from "The Vampyre" that you included in your post. I actually used the same one in mine. It just has such a nice, visual quality to it that makes it very exciting and memorable. Perhaps that is why is has stood the test of time and carried over to so many other forms of vampire fiction.

    I also enjoyed it because of its plain and straight-forward wording. It kind of takes all of the romanticism and mythology right out of the whole ritual. I found this interesting because it made me think that perhaps it wasn't really started as a ritual at all. It almost sounds as if it was meant to convey that the village people were confused and scared, which is what lead them to so thoroughly dispose of the body.

    The passage itself pretty much disproves that idea, but it still seemed like an interesting thought. Because now, to kill a vampire seems like this magical ritual (like what you were talking about in True Blood and Twilight), but the way it read in the story, it seemed more like an angry mob lynching someone.