Unformatted text preview: Ravi Schwartz Mrs. Reed British Literature March 14, 2016 Vampyre.
by John William Polidori, Lord Byron’s physician and friend, was the first written english tale focused on the subject of vampyrism which would inspire Bram Stoker's vampire novel
, and shares an origin with the classic horror story of Frankenstein.
In the year 1816 in which Mary & Percy Shelly, Clair Clairmont, Lord Byron, and John Polidori were gathered at the Villa Diodati, Switzerland; Lord Byron suggested, on one night, that each should write a horror story; that night both
The Vampyre recounts the last years of Aubrey’s life and his encounter with the vampyre Lord Ruthven. As the story unfolds there are many different topics which could be discussed, but the appropriate for this story would be the themes of betrayal and friendship, for it’s hard to have the prior without the later. The story begins in London where Aubrey, our fun loving protagonist who enjoys the little things in life, meets Lord Ruthven, his antagonist who is self absorbed, keeps an unemotional appearance and does things only for the fun of it never caring about consequences, at a regular social gathering. After a period of getting to know each other Lord Ruthven invites Aubrey to come along with him on a tour with him. Aubrey still perplexed by his singular character agrees. As they spend more time together one may begin to notice the very deceptive nature of Lord Ruthven. This makes it no surprise when some of his actions are questionable, to say the least. It should be noted that Lord Ruthven had control over every aspect of his life, he would take, by way of gambling, a pompous youth’s money and and make their pride betray themselves. Yet he did not take advantage of everyone. He would then lose all of his winnings to a poor old man. From this first event we can tell the Lord Ruthven seems to have some supernatural powers and a lack of compassion for certain people, but offers others who he deems worthy an open hand. The two would eventually travel to Rome where Aubrey would betray Lord Ruthven. In Rome Lord Ruthven had decided to seduce a local female youth of inexperience, when Aubrey had discovered his intentions he became morally obligated to betray his friend and warn the girls family. Aubrey then deciding he could no longer accompany his friend crafted an excuse and he and his friend parted ways. This Betrayal is committed by who is assumed to be the ‘good guy’ of the story and while his intentions are just the action taken is still betrayal. This separation would not last long, however, Lord Ruthven would find a ill Aubrey in Greece and nurse him back to health. The two make up and decide to travel together again. Soon after, however, they are attacked by robber and Lord Ruthven is shot and killed. Before dieing he makes Aubrey take an oath that he will not speak of his death to anyone for one year and one day. The next day Aubrey would wake to find the body of his friend missing. An extremely distraught Aubrey would then return to London haunted by the events that occurred over his tour. He is plagued by visions of Lord Ruthven and bound by his oath is unable to tell anyone of what happened or what he is seing. He is considered crazy by his friends and family this leads him to being locked up in his own house. Aubrey finds out his sister is going to be married, however when he sees a picture of the man she is about to marry he finds out to his own horror that he has been betrayed and it is none other than Lord Ruthven. In the end Aubrey dies of illness and his sister is killed by Lord Ruthven the vampyre. As the book closes the final act of ultimate betrayal is made. Lord Ruthven not only is directly involved in the the death of his once friend Aubrey, he marries and kills Aubrey’s sister and had ostracized him from society tormented his mind all the while. The actions taken by Lord Ruthven in this book are completely unexcusable, yet they are in some way understandable. John Polidori does good to give the reader some background in the history and lore of vampyrism. It is said “the deceased is not only doomed to vampyrise, but compelled to confine his infernal visitations solely to those beings he loved most while upon earth—those to whom he was bound by ties of kindred and affection.” Therefore the reader must understand that the action Lord Ruthven took were a necessity in some ways. To continue his life a vampyre must kill victims, but the only victims that count are the ones that he loves. This means that a vampyres entire existence is based around betraying those he is close to. While not in any way excusing the actions taken by Lord Ruthven gives allows the reader to be more understanding of this character's thought process. ...
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