Interview with the Vampire | Study Guide

Anne Rice

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Interview with the Vampire | Part 3, Section 3 | Summary



A week later Louis and Claudia accompany Madeleine to burn her shop. Armand appears in the aftermath, leading Louis to a high tower and urging him to embrace his vampire power and climb without fear. Armand wonders why Louis hasn't visited him recently. He boldly states he wants Louis, and asks him to let go of Claudia. He explains most vampires die because they cannot keep up with the changing world, and eventually, they kill themselves. Armand wants Louis because Louis captures the spirit of the 19th century; Armand finds Louis's immersion in unhappiness and moral quandary appealing. Louis admits how counterintuitive it was to create Madeleine, but Armand admits he mentally coerced Louis into doing it. He soothes Louis's outrage by saying Madeleine will be completely devoted to Claudia and will take good care of her. He urges Louis to push Claudia out of Paris before Santiago acts on his distrust and kills her.

Back at the hotel, Claudia senses Louis has been with Armand and plans to leave her. She asks him to leave Paris with her and to stay away from Armand, but Louis claims only Armand can teach him to find his own strength. Claudia understands Louis's love for Armand, which she compares to Louis's love for herself, a flawed creature. As they sit together, Santiago and the other vampires burst in. Louis tries to defend Madeleine and Claudia, but Santiago overpowers him and drags him to the theater where Lestat waits. Lestat demands Louis be returned to him and only Claudia be punished for the attack against him. Louis tries to bargain with Lestat, promising to return if Lestat lets Claudia go free, but neither has any power against Santiago. Santiago locks Louis in a coffin and buries it under a brick wall.


This section functions primarily to characterize the growing love between Armand and Louis. Armand substantiates Claudia's fears by admitting his desire to secure Louis for himself. Like Lestat before him, Armand pushes Louis to embrace his vampire nature, teaching him to scale a rock tower, and openly sharing what little information about the history of vampirism he has. Armand's resounding message, which explains his obsession with Louis, warns that vampires must change with the world or risk self-destruction. Armand craves Louis's human curiosity, moral quandary, and soul searching because it allows him to engage in the modern world, thus staying relevant. Armand's desire forces Louis to choose between his two loves—choose Claudia and know Armand will die without him, or choose Armand and hope Claudia can survive without him. The conflict forces Louis to confront his duality and choose which "nature" to embrace, human or vampire.

As Louis and Claudia watch Madeleine's doll shop burn, Claudia muses, "Fire purifies" to which Louis responds, "No, fire merely destroys." Claudia's idealistic stance about fire's symbolism aligns with Louis's concepts of rebirth and redemption, yet although Louis seeks the same kind of atonement, he recognizes its impossibility. Indeed, by the end of the next section, Claudia herself will be destroyed by fire, destroying the last vestiges of Louis's humanity in the process. Louis's redeeming act, turning Madeleine into a vampire, also becomes meaningless. Without hope of redemption, Louis has no choice but to destroy.

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