The Sympathetic Modern Vampire: Hypersexuality And Homoeroticism In Anne Rice's Interview With The Vampire

1832 words - 8 pages

Anne Rice's The Vampire Chronicles series have been stated by many various scholars that they represent less a dramatic shift in the portrayal of the vampire. Usually, the vampire – from early folklore to nineteenth-century pieces of literature – has been portrayed as a figure of fear, but it has been claimed by many to shift from a standard figure of fear to one of sympathy. Not only that, but it has also been argued that Rice's vampires are more of a continuation of nineteenth-century trends in vampire literature. While there are many levels of sympathy and moral ambiguity, a big one of those the concern and consideration of the public display of affection. Normally in vampire narratives, such as Dracula, male vampires only make advances towards females.
However, also in Dracula there comes a close moment where he nearly bites Jonathan Harker, but to save face, the narrative would spare Dracula of any sort of near-homoerotic moments with a, for lack of a better term, the concept of “the heterosexual mask”. Although Dracula didn't make the cut with this, Anne Rice decided to take the next step forward with the concept when she wrote Interview With the Vampire. There is an obvious bit of hypersexuality in vampire narratives, but in certain ones there are some instances of homoeroticism. When those two elements are brought together, it definitely makes for an interesting presentation.
The sympathy and moral ambiguity brought on in Interview with the Vampire does not stand alone – there are beliefs that it stems from some early nineteenth-century pieces as well. For examples, look at John Polidori's The Vampyre. In many instances it can be questioned whether or not Aubrey really is actually Lord Ruthven, and the whole time simply living out a fantasy. This line of questioning can definitely be seeing as an attempt to explore one's own moral ambiguity, because of the deliberate vagueness presented by the origins of where a vampire might come from, such as in Interview where Louis is speaking to Armand and Louis gives him a line of questioning about how Lestat came to be a vampire.
“Surely you know how you were made, by another” / “Yes, but the one who made him” - Louis' general curiosity about this throughout the entire novel proves that there is a sense of not being definitive on purpose, and even through explaining everything to the interviewer over time he still seems to not understand or get the so-called “purpose” of everything that came to be from the moment that he was turned by Lestat. If that were not enough, almost every single instance of Louis and Lestat together in a scene definitely has some unmistakeably easily conspicuous homoerotic and hypersexual moments within the narrative. Of course, this has not only been present in Inteview with a Vampire. In the history of vampire narratives, hypersexuality and homoeroticism goes all the way back to J. Sheridan LeFanu's notable work known as Carmilla.
With the titular character...

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