The Vampire Tale As A Sub Genre Of The Gothic

1353 words - 5 pages

The Vampire tale As a Sub-Genre of The Gothic

Here I will expound upon how the vampire tale is undoubtedly a sub-genre

of the Gothic Genre. I will also attempt to tackle the tricky question of

whether the vampire tale falls within the subsection of the terror gothic or

the horror gothic. In order to emphasize my points and observations I will

refer to two scenes in the short story appropriately titled The Vampire, by

John Polidori.

In the Vampire several elements of the Gothic are readily discernible. More

so in this tale because it is so short, succinct and rather straightforward.

The protagonist, a young orphaned Englishman named Aubrey enters the

cosmopolitan scenes of London and crosses paths with Lord Ruthven, a ruthless

vampire, who despite his insipid, dead personality and pallor, excites a

certain sense of morbid wonderment in young Aubrey. Eventually Aubrey goes off

to foreign lands with Lord Ruthven and while away his astute observations of a

strange lurking evil element are proved accurate when he receives a letter from

home. Aubrey falls in love with a Grecian girl who he tries to save from the

jaws (literally) of peril in the form of a vampire. Unfortunately e fails at

this attempt and his love dies. After this episode the protagonist sinks into a

delirious feverish state. He eventually heals from this trauma, but is rendered

more sedate and haunted by the host or at least visions of his departed lover.

He and lord Ruthven decide to set sail for new sights in Greece and are soon

attacked by banditti whereupon Lord Ruthven is shot. It is at this time that

the dramatic crux of the tale is hastened; Aubrey makes the fatal mistake of

making an oath that he will not tell Lord Ruthven's secret. Ruthven supposedly

dies there, but his corpse is absent without leave a few days later only to be

found later back in Aubrey's social circuit trying to sadistically and wholly

unabashedly court Aubrey's sister. The protagonist's dilemma is that he

believes he is bound to the honor of his word and cannot tell the secret that

eventually consumes him. So his teacher gets married to and eventually

victimized by a vampire.

The story ends with a mounting bang that's any thing but anti-climactic. The

author even ends the story with an exclamation mark. A point that should be

well noted for it displays the tone and purpose of the telling of this

particular tale. Before I press on into the territory that will illuminate the

exact specifications this mark or contrast this work with a specific, brand,

formula and genre I want to briefly note upon some deviations from the general

subject matter and nuances that we've reviewed thus far in class.

First of all this tale is strangely folkloric. Despite part of its setting

being cosmopolitan London, there's almost a sitting around the fire fable-like


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