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symbolism of vampires

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erika clark

on 21 April 2014

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Transcript of symbolism of vampires

Psychoanalytical Intrepertation
Understanding the fascination with narratives and images grounded in vampire mythology.

Freudian Perspective
Jungian Perpective
Freudian Perspective
Unconscious is repository for denied desires, impulses, and wishes of sexual and destructive behavior.

View vampires in terms of incest, homosexuality, sadism, masochism.

Example: Pointed fangs signify phallic symbols used to indicate and amplify the 'oral aggression of vampire.
Jungan Perpective
Human psyche shares "collective universal images and motifs which come from the collective unconscious."
The vampire represents the archetypal character 'the shadow'

The vampire is the epitome of natural fear of theft

Vampire come from the idea of vampirism being the darket and most extreme form of theft, naturally feared by all humans

Blood=life: the archetypcal symbol for the "soul"
It all started with Dracula
Versatile enough to represent fears about race, nation, and sexuality. Combines fears of the foreign and the perverse.

Fear of racial other and racial mixing.

Western European anxieties regarding Eastern European immigrants and the potential loss of supposed racial/ethnic purity.

The Semitic threat in 19th century Europe.

Dracula, hybrid of racial other, barbaric immigrant from without and the alien jew within.
symbolism of monsters
American Vampire
The figure of the vampire has undergone a variety of transformations in the borader cultural and political scope.

Contemporary vampire is much more "domesticated" and no longer a figure of relatively uncomplicated evil, famously represented by Dracula.

Blade (1998), Len Wiseman's Underworld (2003), and first season of HBO's True Blood (2008)attempt to rewrite early racist and sexist vampire narratives.
Gone are coffins and capes, vampires are now just one of us.
"BLADE"
Throwback to an earlier vision of the vampire as a blood thirsty monster that looks on humanity as a food source.

Two Races:
The 'pure blood', born from other vampires.
Those that were once human, turned vampire.

"STD vs pure blood"

Blade is half human and half vampire. A reference to mixed race.

He believes his inherently evil, self-hatred.
Desire to protect the humans, kill vampires allows blade to reject vampirism and regain humanity
"UNDERWORLD"
Vampires represented as aristocrates, live in castles, appear as more civilized compared to their racial enemies: the werewovles or lycans.

Lycans dwell in subway and sewage systems. More 'animalistic' in their form and behavior.
Were once slaves to vampires, and continously disapprove vampires stereotyping them.

The vampires fight to retain their 'superiority' wage a genocidal war.

Lycan's strategy in the racial war: prove that the two races can be mixed/combined. Succeed in making a hybrid not abomination.

Historical discourse
"TRUE BLOOD"
Legal discourse and social practice
rather than 'monstrosity"

Vampires=blacks in their fight for equal rights.
Vampires depicted as oppressed and vulnerable.

Reversing role of 'monstrous race'
Vampires blood is drug to humans, they are the hunted rather than hunter
Fanbanger killer in season one.

'Bite mark' on woman:
Not a sign of tainted blood, but tainted through sexual encounter with vampire.

Female body represents boundaries between races that can be easily breached.
WEREWOLVES
"Wolf"

Jack Nicholson gets bitten by wolf on a full moon, develops keen senses, hairy, wolf features, eats and hunts animals, eventually people.

Must carry internal "analogue of the wolf" in order to be turned into a werewolf.

Represents vicious life in corporate America; lose of sexual and social restraints, and the consequences.
"From the day we are born, there's a struggle between peaceful and violent."

Can't tame what is meant to be wild

Bad guys
"The Howling"
"Wolfman"
Even a pure and good man can be a wolf.
"American Werewolf in London Transformation"-1981
"Jacobs Transformation" 2011
WITCHES
A "witchcraze" rippled through Europe 1300s-1600s

Strong belief that the devil could give certain people, witches, the power to harm others, in return for their loyalty.

Most of those executed were women.
Salem
Salem witch trials occured in colonial Massachusettes between 1692 and 1693.

More than 200 people were accused of practicing witch craft and 20 people were executed.
The Crucible
Although witches took a backseat to vampires for nearly a decade, now they can be seen everywhere including on mainstream television:
AHS:coven

Lifetime: Witches of East End

Sleepy Hallow

The Originals

reboot-Charmed
Witches , the new vampires?
Witches
Unlike the female leads in vampire stories, women in witchcraft stories are:
Strong
well rounded
Capable characters
with rich interior lives

Displays more options of female leads for young girls and women, who are the primary audience, to look up to.

Oedipal sucking of blood from victims body.
Vampire myth representative of "sexual obssession and deviances.
WEREWOLVES
Historically represent our inner savagery and hate for other humans

Separation from intellect (represented by the sun) and truth (silver bullets)

Contemporary allegory for
AIDS?
WEREWOLVES
Why does it matter?
Monsters have been a part of human history since before history was recorded. They embody what we are afraid of in each other, and they are a primary example of how we enforce the other-ing of people.

In pop culture, they represent the changing views of society with respect to sex, class, and race.
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