Interview with the Vampire.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


In the Théâtre de Vampires, we as the reader (and also the audience) are placed in a voyeuristic position throughout the entire performance.  We are shown an actual death, though the audience besides Louis and Claudia think it is acting.  In general, we think death to be a private thing, ideally in a warm bed surrounded by everyone that we love.  However, in this theater they make it a public event.  We set our eyes on this act and know what is happening and that her fears and pleas for her life are real.  This knowledge of ours makes the act more personal, and much more horrifying than for the humans seated in the audience. 
Another way to look at this as not just death, but sexual defloweration.  In my posts about Dracula I mentioned how the Count taking the blood of Lucy and Mina could be seen as a sexual encounter; an exchange of fluids.  She is implied to be a virgin “The soil on her mean blouse and skirt was not stage paint, and nothing had touched her perfect face, which gazed into the light now, as beautiful and finely chiseled as the face of a marble Virgin, that hair her haloed veil.” (Page 217).  Even the first bit on her neck was written in a very sensual way.  “And now, turning her slowly to the side so that they could all see her serene face, he was lifting her, her back arching as her naked breasts touched his buttons, her pale arms enfolded his neck.  She stiffened, cried out as he sank his teeth, and her face was still as the dark theater reverberated with shared passion.  His white hand shone on her florid buttocks, her hair dusting it, stroking it.  He lifted her off the boards as he drank, he throat gleaming against his white cheek” (Page 222).
It’s interesting how we see her progress through several stages of dying throughout this short performance.  She starts with disbelief, stating “ ‘No,’ she protested in disbelief. ‘I have so many years, so many. . . .’ “ (Page 219).  Then she starts to bargain for her life.  Saying that she does not care that she will grow old and gray.  “ ‘Let me live, please,’ she begged, her face turning away from him. ‘I don’t care . . . I don’t care!’ “ (Page 220).  She then slides into an acceptance of her fate (even though the vampire dazed her). 

3 comments:

cmose said...

I think that you have identified a recurring theme in many of these vampire novels. There is a deep connection between sexual exploration/encounters and vampirism. Almost all of the acts of becoming and being a vampire have some sort of sexual connotation that can be connected to them.

This is very evident when you discuss the first bite. "..as the dark theater reverberated with shared passion" seems to echo the sensual nature of a vampiristic act. We see this time and time again with vampires; from the sexual encounters in Carmilla and Dracula to the scenes of Theater de Vampires. I do believe that this fits with the vampire persona. They seem, in many ways, to represent our deepest/darkest desires (eternal life, no consequences, etc). Sexual freedom could included in this in many ways.

Emily Zettle said...

I wonder why vampires are one of the only creatures connected with sexual tension? They are the undead, and their original origins aren't all that sexy at all rather they were rotting corpses. They were basically zombies but people don't pine over zombies. According to Dracula, they can also have connections with wolves and Dracula was hairy which a lot of people could see as a turn off. I think its funny how contemporary movies turn vampires into sex symbols, humanizing them and veering away from their monstrous origins. I mean in Interview, the vampires are so human looking one doesn't even know they're vampires unless they look closely at their eyes or nails or the dead give-away fangs of course. I think Anne Rice turned the tables for vampire literature by making them sexy for the new generations. Maybe it's just that the definition of sexy has changed over the years and so no matter what, people feel desire when they think of vampires.

Adam said...

Great job at recognizing the aspects of voyeurism with the theater. I really enjoyed these points. You mention: Another way to look at this as not just death, but sexual defloweration. In my posts about Dracula I mentioned how the Count taking the blood of Lucy and Mina could be seen as a sexual encounter; an exchange of fluids. I wonder how else this could be looked at, since a vampire consumes, and consuming is destroying something and also having it become a part of oneself. Perhaps the fear of sexual deviation overpowering the Victorian man?

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