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Interview with the Vampire | Character Analysis

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Louis de Pointe du Lac

Louis is the vampire protagonist who tells his story to the interviewer. In the 1790s the death of his brother sends him into a spiral of self-destruction, which results in his allowing Lestat to turn him into a vampire. Louis's story spans almost two centuries; he is around 185 years old in the present. Totally conflicted over his physical state, Louis cannot accept being cut off from humanity and the mortal desires for love, goodness, and beauty. He fights the idea of inherent evil and questions the metaphysical origins of vampires, like a modern day Adam seeking the knowledge of the creator. He fights the vampire's natural urge to kill humans, although killing provides him peace and fulfillment. When he gives in to his desire for human blood, he follows his own strict moral code, only killing strangers. He also refuses to create new vampires because he feels responsible for the death and destruction new vampires will wreak in the future. Tormented, Louis feels at odds with other vampires, who urge him to give in to his essential nature. He continues to live by the familial codes of humans, finding it difficult to let go of his vampire companions, despite their strained relationships. Louis finally learns to detach and give up the last dregs out of his human nature after Armand helps kill Claudia. Spiritually broken, Louis shuns emotion and attachment. His last attempt to do good, telling his cautionary tale of despair to the young interviewer, has no effect on the boy's romantic vision of an immortal life. Louis feels, ultimately, his entire existence has been a meaningless failure.

Claudia

Claudia is Louis and Lestat's "child," a five-year-old orphan they turn into a vampire. Louis attacks Claudia when he cannot contain his desire for human blood, and rather than letting her die, Lestat turns her into a vampire to keep Louis from leaving him. Claudia becomes an amalgam of her "fathers"—she shares Louis's appreciation for literature and philosophy but enjoys hunting and killing as much as Lestat. Claudia quickly forgets her human existence and becomes tormented by her unfulfilled life. She lives as a vampire for 70 years and has the wisdom of her age, but her small body keeps her a child in the eyes of the world. She resents that she never experienced life as a grown woman: she has no sexuality and cannot be a mother—she is even too small to create another vampire. Though she senses what she has lost, Claudia shows a great capacity for feeling, loving Louis as her companion and champion, but hating him for his role in her early death. She acutely feels the pain of missed opportunities and her own childish impotence. Disconnected from humanity, Claudia urgently seeks to know her "own kind," to understand the origins and history of vampires, but what she and Louis find in Europe only disappoints her. In a double-edged act of self-sacrifice and self-preservation, she demands Louis create a new vampire companion for her in Madeleine. Claudia knows Louis wants to leave her, but she cannot survive alone. She does not feel human but acts in ways that show a sense of humanity. Claudia dies when jealous vampires in Paris kidnap and burn her.

Lestat de Lioncourt

Lestat is the vampire who creates Louis and Claudia. Mysterious and coy, Lestat refuses to spend time analyzing or remembering. He lives in the moment and for the pleasure of the kill—a vampire of action rather than of thought. He relishes his vampire nature and tries to persuade Louis to similarly embrace his essence. Lestat feels insecure about his relationships, using what power he has to manipulate Louis into staying with him. He fears being alone and is driven by revenge. After Claudia "steals" Louis from him and tries to kill him, Lestat helps Armand and his vampire coven kill her, knowing it will break Louis's heart. His desire for luxury and status is partially explained by his childhood, when his rural upbringing could have been overcome through an education but was thwarted by his father. Lestat has a passion for high art, like opera and Shakespeare, yet also enjoys treating his victims like toys, making them love him before he kills them, representing to Louis the worst of vampire behavior. As the world changes too fast for Lestat to keep up, he longs for a return to his initial life with Louis; he was more reliant on Louis's companionship than his money, though he never admits it. At the end of the novel, Lestat feels despair at the modern world and falls into a suicidal demise.

Armand

Armand is the oldest living vampire at over 400 years old. He lives in the Parisian vampire theater as the leader of the vampire coven. He has the power of mental coercion, causing others to follow his will without ever knowing they've been tampered with. Armand had a loving creation story with his vampire maker, but after centuries of existence he begins to despair of the changing world and his place in it. He feels immediately drawn to Louis as a passionate, knowledge-seeking "man" of his age, and hopes Louis can connect him to the 19th century. His essential nature of evil—his need to completely possess Louis without the distraction of Claudia's love—leads him to kill Claudia. Despite this betrayal, Louis becomes Armand's companion, although he is now detached and indifferent. Without the anchor Louis could represent, Armand experiences the despair immortality can engender.

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