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Laura (Carmilla)

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Laura is the main character and protagonist of Sheridan Le Fanu's classic vampire tale, Carmilla.

Appearance/Personality Edit

Throughout most of the story, Laura is a young English woman of 18-19 years old. She is described by Carmilla in chapter 3 as "...a beautiful young lady, with golden hair and large blue eyes, and lips..."[1]. According to Carmilla, Laura's appearance had not changed much since they last met when they were each six years old [1]. As the story was set during the Victorian era, Laura dresses in traditional Victorian clothes.

Laura's personality can be described as frightful, social, and extremely caring towards the people around her. As a child, Laura was extremely sheltered by her servants due to a dream she had about a frightening visit from Carmilla when she was about six years old [1]. Ever since that dream, Laura had not been able to sleep in her room alone until she was fourteen years old [1]. Later in the story when she began to have more nightmares about Carmilla, she once again had difficulties being alone and sleeping by herself, so she had a servant or someone else accompany her wherever she would go [1].

Although Laura had spent much of her childhood by herself in her Schloss, she was a very social person. She expressed her loneliness to her father on multiple occasions, and whenever she expected a visitor she would be very excited to meet them. For example, in chapter 2 when Laura found out that her expected visitor (General Spielsdorf's daughter) had died, she grew very upset because she had looked forward to it for months to be able to finally socialize and befriend a girl her age [1].

One of the most prominent personality traits of Laura is her care towards the people around her - especially towards Carmilla. Laura expresses her care towards the servants in her house, her father, and her two governesses on multiple occasions; however, her relationship with Carmilla is unique from these other relationships. Since Carmilla filled the role of Laura's companion that she had been wanting throughout her entire life, Laura expresses her fondness of Carmilla often - in both a friendly and romantic manner. For example, when Carmilla was missing in chapters 7 and 8, Laura was extremely worried about her and in turn, extremely relieved when she found her safe and sound in her room [1]. Throughout Carmilla, Laura finds herself enchanted by Carmilla's beauty as she repeatedly describes her as such on multiple occasions [1].

Implications on Victorian Ideals of Gender and Sexuality Edit

As opposed to the character of Carmilla, Laura represents a much more tame representation of sexuality in Le Fanu's Carmilla. Where Carmilla openly expresses her love for Laura by kissing her, cuddling her, caressing her, etc., Laura does not express her fondness of Carmilla in such a direct manner. In fact, Laura's character serves as more of a "traditional" representation of Victorian sexuality. During the Victorian Era, women were expected to act like the "angel in the house," which was a domestic, pious, and submissive role [2]. Laura's conservative behavior contrasts with Carmilla's sexual behavior.

References Edit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 https://d2l.arizona.edu/d2l/le/content/563364/viewContent/4935345/View
  2. https://www.bl.uk/romantics-and-victorians/articles/gender-roles-in-the-19th-century

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