Interview with the Vampire | Study Guide

Anne Rice

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Course Hero. "Interview with the Vampire Study Guide." July 13, 2017. Accessed July 16, 2020.


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Interview with the Vampire | Plot Summary

See Plot Diagram


In the late 20th century, a vampire named Louis de Pointe du Lac tells his life story to a young interviewer in San Francisco. The self-indulgent 25-year-old Louis owns a plantation in 1791 near New Orleans. Louis suffers the abrupt death of his religious younger brother, Paul, and blames himself for Paul's demise. Louis loses himself in self-destructive behavior until he is bitten by a vampire named Lestat. Lestat offers to turn Louis into a vampire in exchange for a place to live for himself and his elderly, blind father. Mesmerized by Lestat and believing immortality to be appropriately self-destructive, Louis allows himself to be changed, and immediately sees all the beauty and wonder of his former human life.

Living on the plantation Pointe du Lac, Louis and Lestat don't get along well. Louis feels conflicted by his vampire nature, not wanting to kill humans because of the inherent evil in the act, but struggling to survive without human blood. Cruel and vengeful, Lestat, on the other hand, kills with glee. Lestat refuses to share any knowledge about his origin or the history of vampires with Louis, which Louis resents. When the plantation's slaves grow suspicious of Louis and Lestat's unnatural habits, Louis and Lestat must kill them and burn the plantation to the ground. They seek refuge for a night in the home of a woman named Babette Freniere, whom Louis greatly admires and has helped in the past. Babette treats them like devils, once again confronting Louis with fear of his own evil essence.

Louis and Lestat move to New Orleans, where Lestat urges Louis to embrace his nature, pointing out that only by drinking human blood can vampires feel any peace. Louis feeds on a beautiful five-year-old orphan named Claudia. Horrifyingly, Lestat turns Claudia into a tiny vampire as a way of tying Louis to him forever. They live as a typical family for nearly three quarters of a century. Claudia finally begins to recognize the limitations of her perpetual youth, and she hates Lestat. Having lived as a human so briefly, she identifies herself as a vampire, and she wants Lestat to explain her origins. Though angry with Louis for his role in freezing her small life, she decides to free them both from Lestat's power. Louis begs her to reconsider, but Claudia tricks Lestat into drinking poisoned blood and attempts to kill him. But as Louis and Claudia make plans to travel to eastern Europe to investigate their roots, Lestat returns. The vampires fight and their house burns. Louis and Claudia escape to their ship, hoping Lestat is finally dead.

In eastern Europe, Louis and Claudia are both disappointed when they discover fearful, superstitious villagers and mindless, zombie-like vampires. Neither these mindless supernatural beings nor the villagers who fear them have any information to offer. Louis and Claudia travel to Paris, where they discover a coven of vampires running a theater for humans, where they perform real feedings on stage for an oblivious audience. The ostensible leader of the group, Armand, takes an instant liking to Louis, and Louis sees in Armand the combination of knowledge and power that could put his troubled mind at ease.

Despite the hope Armand provides, another vampire, Santiago, creates danger. Rumors have swirled through the vampire community that Louis and Claudia killed their maker. If Santiago can prove Louis and Claudia to be killers, he will be given permission to kill them in turn. This fear, as well as the understanding Armand that wants Louis all to himself, leaves Claudia desperate. She demands Louis turn a grief-stricken doll maker, Madeleine, into a vampire companion. If Louis leaves her for Armand, she must ensure another vampire cares for her. Louis has a moral code against the creation of new vampires, but his devotion to Claudia drives him to do as she wishes. As Louis imagines extricating himself from his comfortable life with Claudia to go to Armand, Santiago and the other vampires kidnap them, with the help of the newly arrived Lestat. The vampires bury Louis in a coffin, under a brick wall. Armand rescues him the following night. Determined to save Claudia, Louis rushes back to the theater but is too late: Claudia and Madeleine have been burned to ashes.

Louis takes action against the vampires, torching their theater as they sleep. Angry and sorrowful, Louis tries to believe he and Armand can still love each other. They travel the world looking at beautiful art for the next century, but Louis finds himself detached from all human emotion. Even returning to New Orleans and seeing Lestat, frail and deteriorating, does nothing to rouse Louis's former passion. Armand blames himself for destroying what he loved best about Louis because he (Armand) killed Claudia. He leaves Louis. Alone, Louis tries one last time to redeem himself by recounting his life as a cautionary tale. This plan backfires: the interviewer begs Louis to turn him into a vampire. Feeling like a failure, Louis bites the boy and leaves him to his fate. The boy revives and sets out for New Orleans to find Lestat.

Interview with the Vampire Plot Diagram

ClimaxFalling ActionRising ActionIntroductionResolution2134675


1 Louis struggles with his vampire nature.

Rising Action

2 Louis and Lestat turn Claudia; they live as a family.

3 Claudia tries to kill Lestat, and she and Louis run away.

4 Louis and Claudia travel in Europe in search of information.


5 The vampire coven kidnaps Louis and kills Claudia.

Falling Action

6 Louis burns down the theater.


7 Louis says goodbye to both Lestat and Armand.

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