Vampire Evolution: Dracula and Carmilla

Today, the gothic genre continues to provide a lucrative way of connecting the historical romance or fantasy as well as monsters or aliens’ cultures that depict a real meaning in the present life through a combination of various cultural reactions. Indeed, the hallmark of such gothic narratives is based on deliberate archaism. For instance, Sheridan Lefanu’s Carmilla (1872) and Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1990), as well as other vampire narratives are heavily classified as horror fictions as the manner of their narration create fear and anxiety to readers. Furthermore, the description of vampires such as Carmilla and Dracula leaves a vivid figure in the mind of the reader which later develop to a weird environment full of superstitions. The setting of the vampire literature is greatly associated with dark and astonishing features such as caves thus creating a state of dilemma in readers’ interpretation. Readers are left to wonder if actually the vampires exist or are just fantasies. Both Lefanu and Stoker are believed to use similar approaches and figurative in developing their stories.

Some critics claim that the author of Dracula must have borrowed certain gothic elements such as the use of the first-person narrative as well as coherent descriptions and dialogues to make his genre more remarkable and captivating. Indeed, Sheridan Le Fanu, Irish author has been named as the father of gothic genre for his outstanding mastery in writing vampire literature. This psychoanalytical approach will address the ever doubtful caption of vampire existence and if they ever existed, their influence in the society today.

The journey of vampire literature started way back in the sixth century but gained popularity in the eighteenth century after Carmilla corresponded to the dejected atmosphere of whether monsters, aliens and other imaginative creatures existed. Le Fanu created vampires, through Carmilla, in which he demonstrated that evil is part of humanity and not outside as it was purported to be in previous literature. Earlier, the ghost story was stemmed from cultural and religious misgivings on the response to the imperialism that was so rampant in Western Europe during the Victorian era. Carmilla provided a firm ground of ghost stories since it was published and other writers interested in vampires such as Bram Stoker based their writings on Le Fanu’s work. For instance, Stoker’s vampire Dracula presented another twisted in which vampires were described and perceived to be in nature. Dracula’s description creates a weird and hermity creature that is far away from human resemblance.

According to Stoker, Dracula was a “weirdly hairy aristocrat” with massive eyebrows, hair at the center of the palm, pointy ears and teeth, bush curled hair all over the body. Such a narrative instilled fear among its audience as they could not understand if such beings ever existed in the society. After the original version of Dracula, many writers and film directors have developed their Dracula in the adoption of Stoker’s Dracula. For example, Terence Fisher, the film director, scripted a film The Horror of Dracula that equally popularized the fancy vampire across the world. All along, the vampires were perceived as a bad omen from the otherworld and they caused terror something that still common in the present society. Such narratives spark unknown fear and anxiety about the future since the more the vampires and monsters come closer to humanity the greater the fear of being controlled and eventually being replaced.

However, unlike Stoker who brought a bad notion about the vampires, Le Fanu’s Carmilla reveals the other good side of the vampires. His description on Carmilla makes the reader want to know whether the beauty she poses surpasses that of a normal human being. The vampire Carmilla is attractive and very seductive. Such interjections give the readers an opportunity to view the vampires in another perspective different from the common illusion. Laura, a special character in the novel, falls for her attractiveness and feels fulfilled and content with Carmilla’s presence as initially, she was lonely. Carmilla coming into the life of Laura is the turning point towards her own miseries. For instance, innocently Laura develop a sensual relationship with Carmilla who turns out to be a female vampire. At night, Carmilla seduces Laura in order to take advantage of her naivety to suck blood.

At first, Laura is excited about the feeling of satisfaction but later she discloses her disgust and embracement about the relationship. She says, “Sometimes after an hour of apathy, my strange and beautiful companion would take my hand and hold it with a fond pressure, renewed again and again; blushing softly, gazing in my face with languid and burning eyes, and breathing so fast that her dress rose and fell with the tumultuous respiration. It was like the ardour of a lover; it embarrassed me; it was hateful and yet over-powering; and with gloating eyes she drew me to her, and her hot lips traveled along my cheek in kisses; and she would whisper, almost in sobs, “You are mine, you shall be mine, you and I are one forever.” Then she has thrown herself back in her chair, with her small hands over her eyes, leaving me trembling (76)’ The confusion arises on whether the vampires experience affection as shown by Carmilla in the context above. However, it comes to attention that homosexuality, which is in most cases is unacceptable in many social settings at this time, occurs between Carmilla and Laura. Therefore, Laura’s social lifestyle is greatly influenced by the presence of the vampire Carmilla something that affects her relationship with other characters in the novel.

Vampires are complicated, illumined creatures that exhibit both fascinating and horrifying vampirism. Critics such as Greg Buzwell believed that Stoker’s Dracula reflected the actual fear that haunted the people of Western Europe as a result of rampant immigration, moral degeneration, among others. Indeed, a deeper critical analysis of the novel reveals the conflict between the traditional and modern ideology. For example, the Dracula had the ability to walk in the streets of London unnoticed while leaving behind stains of his vampirism. In the actual context, the vampire revealed the effects of immigration in future, that, is, increased crimes and rise of slum communities if the immigration was unrestricted. Therefore, the fear of immigration is confirmed with the murders of the Ripper in 1888. In order to stem immigration, Stoker introduced Dracula in form of a vampire to create fear and terror. Also, Dracula’s tainted blood signified the effects of sexual promiscuity that would later result in a massive outbreak of sexually transmitted diseases. Such embarrassing diseases are associated with moral degeneration. Today, immigration is the contributing factor of disease spread resulting in premature deaths of young people in society.

Similarly, Le Fanu’s vampire Carmilla naturally looks seductive and everyone including Laura falls for her despite her not being interested in knowing her origin. Evidently, Carmilla manages to seduce Laura despite being of same-gender thus lesbianism is an act of moral degeneration that the author flashed to the society using gothic genre. In modern society, issues such as sexual orientation such as lesbianism and other forms of sexual relationships continue to have different views as some people fear social morals will be degraded. Furthermore, the religions and certain cultures greatly condemn same-sex relationships in fear of losing moral values. Therefore, it is accurate to state that vampire fictions though they propagate fear and horror among the communities, on the far end, they significantly shape the social norms and values that uphold human dignity in some societies.

The evolution of vampires has resulted in the actualization of vampire existence in which earlier people have a negative perspective of vampires. For instance, they believed that vampires ate people and were hungry for human blood and not any other animal, thus people feared to be associated with them. In addition, witchcraft and other ghost killers have gained facelifts since the evolution of vampires especially as they are perceived to be the main cause of premature deaths in society.

Anne Rice the author of Beautiful Vampire also known as Self-Loathing vampire came at the prime time when the debate about the existence of vampires was intense and people had developed a negative attitude towards vampires. Indeed, Anne Rice in her novel uses terrifying metaphors that hold captive the attention of the readers and change their perception towards the vampires alongside monsters and aliens as all are categorized as supernatural beings. Anne’s vampire seemed to advocate for civil rights and gender equality thus the novel revealed the nature in which the American economic dominates in the world. Although Le Fanu’s Carmilla remains were thrown in the water after burning them becomes a bother to the grown-up Laura after ten years. The aspect derived from this context twist the need for peace and not to rely on the past experiences full of terror and disgrace. Therefore, in support of the thesis, vampires shaped the manner in which the people from the surrounding area fear to go against the doctrines set aside by forefathers.

The middle class then believed in the imaginary creatures called vampires and had the opportunity to kill them though it was an abomination as they treated them as their god of fear and horror. Such vampires in society continue to gain popularity as more people continue to believe their existence. Today, there are lots of movies that various directors have designed their vampire outlook and later programming them to perform various commands. Similarly, in order to effectively present the vampire in its accurate context, Stoker used metaphors that matched with the real life, as well as Irishness thus giving a clear and precise impression about the Dracula. For instance, Stoker introduces Lucy at the climax of the novel where the Victorian feminine portrays selfishness among the modern women. Lucy together with Murray is feminine who experience different fates.

At some point, the Dracula expresses some affections towards Lucy and even attempt to attack her. The expression denotes the conflict that exists between the modern and the traditional beliefs. For instance, the ability of the Dracula to pass through unbelievable passes such as keyholes and empathy with wolves and bats reveals the vampire’s force or alien’s capability that science fails to defeat. Therefore, it is evident to note that science has limits, unlike supernatural beings, who have no limits.

The vampires though some anthropologists such as Nina Auerbach believes that vampires are non-existing creatures. Indeed, since the start of Carmilla as vampire literature, various writers have created vampires with different cultural behaviors and their significance in the vehicle. In so doing, people have developed positive attitudes towards the monsters, aliens, and vampires thus the sensitivity in issues is addressed and reflected in the manner in which the vampires respond to various situations in conflict; thus, they engage in a resolving approach. Examples of vampires that have been expressed include Dracula, Carmilla, Varney, and others. Auerbach, in her novel refers to Dracula as the dominance vampire during the Victorian period even though there were others complaining.

The vampires’ literature or gothic folks attempt to create a boundary between the obstacles and power which isolate the cultural as well as moral values, towards things acceptable in the society and those that are a threat to the society. Simply, one would say that vampires create a market like setting where the willing and unwilling perspectives prevail. Briefly, the vampire imagination subject people to various groups across all sorts of life sphere. Haraway contends, “base and superstructure, public and private, material and ideal” is not only unstoppable, but it also becomes desirable (165). This means that the illusion in which we have grown knowing and believing are just alternative of master narration. Therefore, the future of vampirism compels a culture that is predicated on anxiety and desires.

The vampire network has fundamental functions that address social and intellectual characteristics. According to Stoker’s Dracula, the theme of knowing enables the reader to understand other characters that form a network with the Dracula. For instance, Stoker, despite creating the Dracula, becomes worried about the intellectual capacity of the vampire Dracula not to evict God from his divine narrative. Interestingly, if God would be repositioned then the vampires would rule the universe without interruption. Therefore, the question that befalls humanity is whether they will accept and recognize vampires as supernatural beings. On the other hand, Le Fanu’s Carmilla explores the fear that human beings have to lose control over the monstrous creatures such as vampires. For instance, Laura and Carmilla engage in a network of inevitabilities that threatens Laura’s individualism as she is about to lose it to Carmilla, the vampire. Indeed, Carmilla and Laura equally suffer from fear and desire thus they bounded by masculine values. Similarly, in Charles Maturin’s novel Melmoth the Wander in which the survival of the Melmoth is based on selfish acts as he is never interested in unity and harmony. Therefore, the vampires pose a threat to de-individualize humanity from their social context by incorporating them into a vampire network which in actual sense it is homogeneity.

Today, the world is shrinking every day and in a near future, everything will be commercialized as technology would have a greater influence on how people will relate to its product. Scientific vampires such as robots continue to encroach the world especially in making work look easier, which results in more production. For example, as much as security remains very essential in every country, the government on a global scale would wish to ensure security. However, the all ‘knowing’ of these vampires as portrayed by both Carmilla and Dracula subject’s humanity to dangerous mysteris with vampires in future. Therefore, it is important for the people concerned with the absorption of technology to take necessary measures in adopting the technology. Also, it is paramount to always ensure that human beings are on the upper hand in the usage of these computers.

In summary, vampires since their evolvement continue to play a significant role in shaping the society cutting across all spheres of life. A vampire is a superstitious being that has the ability to pose threat, fear, and anxiety. Ideally, vampires, on the other hand, have enabled human beings to reflect on real issues that affect them in life. Both Le Fanu and Stoker have highlighted specific scenes in which their vampires, that is, Carmilla and Dracula respectively have positively influenced the manner in which people perceive certain issues such as sexual promiscuity, moral degeneration, among others. On the other hand, much of the vampire narratives ever written always associate vampires with surprising descriptions that create terrifying images that create fear and anxiety.

The existence of vampires remains a mysterious subject although there are traces of evidence that prove the existence of such monstrous creatures such as a vampire. However, whether vampires are superstitions or real creatures, the social structure keeps on changing with more and more views on vampires.