Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Lord Byron, the Prototype for a vampire

Lord Byron, as many of you know, was John Polidori's inspiration for The Vampyre.  Polidori adapted a short story written by Byron in 1816 into his vampire novel.  As a result, Byron himself became the prototype for the traditional vampire character.  There are a couple of aspects to Byron's real life that are integral to the early vampire character.  The first of these aspects is the charismatic, aristocrat.  Byron himself was of noble descent.  He possessed many friends and was an influencer of people; an author.  This prototype is also followed in the early, popular vampire tale of Lord Dracula, and is mimicked by the character Lord Ruthven.  In addition to this, Byron was described by his ex-wife as someone with great charm, but possessing a dark side.  This again fits into the vampire character created by Polidori.

High society in this story is not any different than high society of today in my opinion.  These people posses enough money, power, and influence to do and go where ever they please.  Lord Ruthven is no different.  He and his travelling partner Aubrey journeys take them to Rome, Greece, and England.  I believe that the vampire character is a response to this culture in that it is a flaw in an otherwise flawless figure; the noble.  Polidori, probably like many of his other non-noble constituents, must have believed that people with this sort of power and wealth must have some skeletons in the closet (no pun intended).  Furthermore, this theory seems to fit into the idea of paranoid Gothic, whose central theme is an oath between two men.  This oath could be between aristocrats to keep these secretive, vampire transgressions between them.

1 comment:

  1. I agree that Lord Byron was a very interesting figure, and it was very interesting to find out some background information about him. He seemed like a man who led a very excessive lifestyle, and I think it was really interesting to hear that he had been described as charming, as well as dangerous. I find that to be a really interesting combination of traits. I feel like that kind of person is scary on a more realistic level, which adds a whole new level of depth to the vampire.

    Also, I found your comparison of Lord Ruthven to modern day high-society to be right on the money. Lord Ruthven is a very good representation of the corruption that can be found in people who let their power and charisma take over them. This was another detail that helped add to the realism of Ruthven’s character, thus making him that much more intimidating (but at the same time magnetic and interesting).