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The Birth Of Monsters Essay

920 words - 4 pages

Each monster has its influences that caused its inception. Vampires were born of Byron’s lifestyle, sexuality, and opium use. “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” is a piece of writing about the duality of good and evil within humanity. Despite their differing influences, these books, written seventy years apart, inspire some of the same emotions in readers. What is it about the nineteenth century that caused a craving for the horrific and scary?
Byron and Polidori’s vampires are a representation for Byron’s audacious lifestyle and relatively secret bi-sexuality. Ignoring the fact that Byron was no stranger to Opium or drink, a vampire could easily be the manifestation of his ...view middle of the document...

The Victorian Era was one of liberalism and growing nationalism. This age would see the states of central Europe united into Germany and southern Europe into Italy. An unfortunate side effect of nationalism is the fear and hatred of the “other”. By creating the idea that they were “German” or “Italian” they labeled everyone else as different. This fear of otherness is an extension of human fear of the unknown, whether it is what waits in the darkness or if someone will be able to pay our rent at the end of the week. Perhaps it is this sense of “otherness” that the ugliness of monsters appeals to. Monsters, like foreigners, are different and, in extreme cases, wicked for it. By using the association of evil and ugliness, they established a trend that would prevail into such works as Disney’s “Snow White” or George Lucas’ “Star Wars”.
Beyond this sense of merely being “other”, these monsters represented situations that people faced in their lives, no matter their economic class. Sexuality and the pleasure of sex was a common issue. The predominantly Christian Europe and Victorian ideals did not condone sex outside of marriage. This, quite simply, did not appeal, and does not appeal, to many people. Vampires are a mirror of the normal Victorian man. He showed a decent public face, but was a deviant in private, a cultural connection that remains to this day in Billy Joel’s “The Stranger”.
Two other revolutions that greatly affected the culture of the time were the closely tied Market and Industrial revolutions. These were a change in the way the economy worked and the way that labor was done. The Market Revolution shifted labor away from home and collected into a workplace. The Industrial Revolution brought steam...

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