English Lit - How Far is Anne Rice Successful in distancing her characters from the stereotypical Vampire?

Authors Avatar

How far is Anne Rice successful in Interview With The Vampire in distancing her characters from the stereotypical vampire.

The vampire is a mythical creature; in all likelihood, one of the most well-known. The vampire myth began in the cases of Peter Plogojowitz and Arnold Paole in Serbia; both suspected to have become vampires after their death. Shortly after, one of the first pieces of literature to be published on the subject was the short German poem The Vampire (1748) by Heinrich August Ossenfelder. Though the vampire of modern fiction was created as a character in 1819 with the publication of The Vampyre by John Polidori, it is Bram Stoker's Dracula, published in 1897 that has quintessentially created the stereotype for vampires; a volatile temper, incapable of forming romantic ties, pitiful of humans and hardly ever intimate with their own emotions, often seen as the very embodiment of evil. The degree to which Rice is successful in distancing her characters from the stereotype varies. Firstly, it should be noted that it was in the later part of the 20th century that saw the change of behaviour in vampire literature from that of the embodiment of evil to that of poetic tragic heroes, which Rice eventually adopted and transformed into The Vampire Chronicles.  Rice appears to have attempted to twist the myth of the vampire both in physical terms and in terms of behavior and temperament; arguably to create a modern version of it.

The first and most obvious manner in which Rice breaks traditional vampire literature conventions is by having the central character, Louis De Point Du Lac, give a first person account of the story, which is different from most depictions of vampires in literature; an example of this would be from Dracula ,of whom we only have an idea of from the description of other characters in the book, rather than a first person account. This allows the reader to see the world through the eyes of the vampire and thus, getting a closer account than which could have been attained in novels like Dracula. In addition to that, Louis’ first-person narrative helps us discern in-depth traits about his character whereas the traditional vampire had little more depth than an instinct to kill and an air of superiority as displayed in Dracula. The somber tone of Louis’ storytelling could be argued to be a result of the loss of Rice’s daughter Michele to leukemia. The predominant first-person narrative also helps set a backdrop for the existential elements of Louis’ character; he desperately tries to find meaning in his existence, even to the extent of contemplating supernatural entities. The novel doesn’t entirely contain Louis’ narrative; it also contains a third person narrative at times and the novel opens with it. This could be argued to be employed as a means of introducing an impartial tone in the text when describing the actions outside of Louis’ narrative, helping the reader to place themselves in the shoes of “the boy” in the book; as a mere listener. This establishes a sense of intimacy with Louis which wasn’t present in novels like Dracula.

Join now!

Louis’ existential traits come under focus frequently throughout the text. For example, he says:

“Do you see what I am! Why, if God exists, does he suffer me to exist!” (page 162) – This shows the height of frustration in Louis’ search for meaning, and was said moments before he fed on a priest. Louis, in voicing similar dialogues regarding the meaning of his existence, represents, to an extent, humankind and it’s own search for meaning. Vampires were not traditionally used as a mirror to the human condition before Rice’s vampire fiction. Other dialogues in which this and ...

This is a preview of the whole essay