Vampires are and have been known to be contradictory individuals in many of the works they are portrayed. In John Polidori's "The Vampyre" this theme of contradictory nature is apparent. This theme is brought to light due to the character Lord Ruventh. In the first part of this novel we are introduced to Lord Ruventh through the eyes of Aubrey. He is described as a pale fair gentleman with a strong gaze and allure that allowed him to be desired by woman. We later find out he is a vampire, which presents the contradiction that he is actually a blood thirsty monster yet he is so desirable by woman as a fair mysterious gentleman because they do not know the truth until it is too late. Lord Ruventh represents a mysterious figure with “…dead grey eye[s], which, fixing upon the object's face, did not seem to penetrate, and at one glance to pierce through to the inward workings of the heart; but fell upon the cheek with a leaden ray that weighed upon the skin it could not pass.” (Polidori, Ch.1) Normally a figure that no one seems to know and spent his times at parties just staring down the good looking woman would not only seize to be invited, but would most likely be thrown out of the event. This brings me to my second contradiction.

Lord Ruventh’s characteristics that some might consider odd in today’s day in age allowed him to be invited to every event and occasion because people had a thirst to be in his presence for that fact that he “engaged their attention.” (Polidori, Ch.1) These characters were far too distracted and mesmerized at the fact that Lord Ruventh was so mysterious that they all failed to see his true evil intentions. This contradictory theme of the vampire, having been made in the first vampire novel ever, had a huge part in the vampire characters made from then on. A major example of this is the vampire characters in the most famous vampire novel of all time, Bram Stoker’s Dracula. And this novel, which had a major influence from "The Vampyre," set the stage for vampires for the rest of time so it’s the work of John Polidori which is owed thanks.


1)    Polidori, John William, and George Gordon Byron Byron. The Vampyre: A Tale. Albany: Printed by E. and E. Hosford, 1819.

2)    Stoker, Bram. Dracula. 1897. New York: Oxford University Press, 1990.

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