The stories are the romantic nickname of literary language of the realities that we can’t fully explain. A epistemology approach that allows harmony between useful and beautiful. All the creatures that appear during the stories are, in fact, metaphors of the most repressed and hidden or insidious fears of ours, let’s say that too few of them belong to the Good. Two of the most representative terrifying subjects that grind our existence are the mortality and the dark side, the Evil that exist in each and every one of us.
Just like the werewolf, the wolf symbolizes our animalistic tendencies in the social space and the primitive fear of being eaten alive by another entity, so the vampire has a very interesting and profound symbolism.
Since Twilight we do not even know anymore what’s with these fanged guys in vintage cape. OK, it’s interesting how Pattinson’s skin glows like a diamond powder, but both this series and the Vampire Diaries ones, tend to be teenage soap operas. The vampires have all the right to modernize – let’s think about “Only lovers left alive”, but where are the primordial attributes such as sensitivity to the light, no shadows, the changing into bats or the aversion towards silver or holy water? Where is all the jazz?
Let’s start with the beginning. The vampire always aroused sympathy, be it in stories, romance movies, comedies with Leslie Nielsen or Vlad Tepes, this Dracula that brought us (Romanians) popularity. Usually we imagine him an introvert, a loner, standing on the dark in his lonely castle, never finding his love or rest. And that’s with a good reason.
Before the famous “Dracula”, an erotic-horror-fiction-novel by Bram Stoker, there weren’t any side effects of the light contact, crucifixes and other. According to the legend, the vampires feed with the essence of life, killing their victims. They are emotional creatures because sometimes they visit the loved ones. Their skin is dark, not pale, rather purple-crimson, with blood stains coming out of their nose or mouth. The fangs are optional.
The term seems to have its origin from several languages. An example is from the Hungarian word “vampir” and from the Turkish “upior” or “upyr” that means witchcraft.
In the medical context, the vampire idea binds itself to certain diseases. Porphyria involves the appearance of skin blistering when the skin contacts the sun light, and baldness; haematodipsia is a disease that involves an extreme hedonism defining blood lust;hemeralopia means going blind during day time;Anemia was considered a sign of a vampire attack.
In the present literature and folklore, this creature became very loved and even cool. The Vampire gained accentuated sexuality, sensuality but also the stigma that attracts as a forbidden fruit. It’s a dual monster caught in dualities and contrasts, between grief and cruelty, loneliness and vanity, pride and tenderness – ideas that make him a cocktail in the archetypes space of good and evil, eroticism and danger of death. Its role of the deadresurrectedis better assigned to the zombie creature, the vampire being rather trapped in a limbo existence type, between life and death.
Vampires have been, as they say, the lords of literary creations and cinematographic productions for hundreds of years, because we are uncontrollablyattracted by the enticing gothic context, the ancient mystery and the insidious symbolism.
What we like about vampires is that paradoxically it seems that the metamorphosis, its evolution, is in reverse: they are trying a sensible humanization of the monster. This is based on the cultural politics, the social context, the anthropological one and so on. This transforms the most desired human weakness: the zeal, the desire. The longing desire for the frorbidden fruit. Of eternal life. The vampire becomes the archetypal figure of longing for something elusive.
The simplistic image of a dead creature, resurected and imortal, requires, in a modern context, the constant reevaluation, because as it could be observed over time, in the most recent artistic representations, especially literary, the vampire has been modernised and found a good place in the folklore and the collective memory. The first ones that created a vampire prototype were the writers: John Eilliam Polidori with „The Vampyre”, in 1819 – a paper that was wrongly signed with the name of Lord Byron, a patient of Polidori; Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu with “Carmilla” in 1872 – that gave birth to the heterosexual and lesbian female vampire prototype and influenced Bram Stoker’s “Dracula”(1897). Even in the 21th century literature remained the playground of the continuous transformation of the vampire, from the romantic-fantastic writings to historic thrillers. You have to remember the current series that are based on these writings, like “True Blood”, “The Vampire Diaries” or “Twilight Saga”. In these creations, the vampire is far away from being a bloodthirstymonster
To be a vampire, either you are born so or become one. Often, the vampire is depicted as physically superior with supernatural strength, fighting skills and sharp senses. And now, in the modern context, it becomes sexualised, extraordinarily beautiful, irresistible for both humans and their peers. The physique does not vary much from sylphid silhouettes to the muscular ones, but they keep their specific traits: the white-purple colors of the dead skin, ravishing beauty, sharp teeth and long hair thrown back.
The Vampire precursors are mentioned by the Mesopotamian, the Hebrew, the Greek and the Roman. According to them, the vampires are demons and spirits that feed on blood, descendants of evil spirits, of suicides, of those who were buried wrong or of witches. The Vampire myth was so striking, that people who were suspected of vampirism in Europe were mass executed. Often confused with Greeks werewolves and Romanian ghosts. In Europe it was amass hysteria that criminals who fatally stabbed their victims in the chest, accidentally or not, were accused of vampirism.
In Ancient Greece you had to place a silver coin between the dead’s teeth to prevent his submission to an evil spirit. In Europe, poppy seeds were planted or sand was placed on the grave, to keep the creature distracted counting threads. In this manner, rice was planted in China. You could figure out a vampire by sending a virgin boy riding a white or black horse, in a cemetery. When the horse neigh next to a grave, clearly there was a fanged-one. There was said that you could kill it with mustard seeds (the vampire counts the seeds until the sun rises and burns it), wild rose, garlic, mirrors and given that vampires were enemies of the Russian Orthodox Church, with crucifixes and other religious objects.
The irresistible hunger for blood is a constant hunger for eternal youth, this being often associated by the younger generation, with consumerism in contemporary society.
A vampire tends to a deep and even paradoxical level, towards death. According to Heidegger, for people it’s important to be aware of death. Death gives us the lust for life, it pushes us towards action and experience. Without death, without clear information of the end of existence, the German philosopher thinks that people would understand themselves as “being for eternity through a succession of empty moments”. If we correlate this idea with the vampire curse – not being able to die and live condemned to eternity, without purpose and meaning, does this ring a bell?
Therefor the vampire becomes a fantasy of the immortality that “steals” us. An attempt to avoid deception of the death, like the death rituals, the howls and other traditional customs to emphasize the fear of death. The vampire becomes a fantasy that distracts us from the point of life, mortality, being blocked by the human condition in time and space.
The vampire is also an illusion that feeds on youth (blood), which is a strong feature of the finality of life, of transience. Lust for youth and eternal life hides, in fact, a desperate craving for death, this death that vampire cherishes.
Countess Elizabeth Bathory (1560-1614) seems to be one of the “real vampires”, as she was accused of biting young girls, torture them and use their blood to bathe for maintaining her youth.
www.facts.randomhistory.com, “The Vampire in Contemporary Literature and Popular Culture” by Lorna Piatti Farnell