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Feb 18, 2011

Has Twilight Re-"Vamped" the Vampire?

 Image of Edward Cullen - Image provided by Ezyan Y.

Vampires used to burn in the sun and drink human blood, but now they sparkle and have gone "vegetarian." One might ask, did Twilight "de-fang" the vampire?

Vampires, werewolves, witches, ghost…you can’t turn on the TV, buy a new book or go on the internet without one of these “supernatural” beings being front and center. It used to be that all of these were looked down upon, evil if you will...that was until the phenomenon of Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight Saga.
How Twilight Has Changed Vampire Image
You had your Charmed ones, your Dean and Sam Winchester, Angel, Buffy, and Ghost Whisperer…all of which took it upon themselves to fight against evil, vampires included. Then, in steps Edward Cullen and the rest of the Cullen family.

Sparkling bodies aside, when Twilight came out, vampires were starting to be seen as something other than evil. They were tortured souls that didn’t ask for their fates. They were human beings that happened to be dead. They had feelings, loved ones, and a desire to be human again. Stephenie Meyer crossed a line that was never crossed before, if it was, it didn’t have the same impact as her story had. For the first time, a human fell in love with a monster… a conceptual Beauty and the Beast story, except this time the beast stays a beast. Bella had to learn to love Edward, though it wasn’t hard, and had to except him for the undead being that he was. In the same token, Edward had to take every bit of strength he had not to kill her.
Along with putting vampires in a better light, Twilight also paid homage to the werewolf, shape-shifter actually, showing that they were aggressive but very protective of family, friends, loved ones, and members of their tribe. Though werewolves could practically match the strengths of a vampire and could actually kill them, Twilight brought the two together by spinning a tale of love that was strong enough for them to risk their lives and work together.

Accepting the Vampire

Books about vampires have been around forever, it seems, but the outbreak of vampires in movies and television shows has only happened a few times. An article written by Margot Adler in February 2010 for NPR.org called For Love of Do-Good Vampires: A Bloody Book List states that vampire obsessions break out when real life is troubled. “Vampires have been used again and again as a way to speak of our fears and concerns.” Adler goes on to state that vampires emerge when chaos ensues on the planet. An example would be during the Cold War in the 1980’s when there was another major breakout of the vampire craze. The draw of immortality, being able to not care about anything but yourself and being able to over-power everyone has its appeal during time of crisis.
Today you have Vampire Diaries, True Blood, Being Human, and the Twilight Saga to fill you up if you are vampire deprived, each one luring mere mortal beings into the seductive life that is immortality. Not to mention the countless books that are out there that are taking advantage of this major craze. Escape into a fantastical world is a means by which people get away from their own troubles where they themselves can become invincible. That seems to be the real appeal of the vampire and why it continues to live on as if it's an actual immortal being.

Behind Vampire Lure

Why is the proverbial Prince of Darkness such a draw when you are speaking of an evil being becoming good? Maybe we feel there is darkness in each of us and by accepting such a malicious creature, like a vampire, turning their lives around and becoming good, than one might be able to also turn their life around and become a better person. It could be that this world is such a wicked place wrought with death, crime, war, and hatred that an inherently evil being, such as the vampire going against its natural urges to destroy, gives hope that maybe human kind can also go against its harmful nature and actually take care of each other and this planet. Though for some it could simply be that a vampire’s bad-boy persona is just sexy.
Whatever the reasons are behind the seduction of vampires, Twilight brought out a sort of admiration for the tormented individuals. The vampire’s primitive existence, untouched and uninfluenced by people and time, was changed when the Cullen’s decided to become a part of society and care for the living after a past of destroying so many lives. It’s as if they were paying penance for all of the destruction they had caused. With the “new” vampire image that is present in every vampire show and story now, it is easy to look past what these creatures really are and you no longer view them as monsters but real people, blurring the line between fantasy and reality. This goes without being said; though at times it is necessary, vampires are just a figurative expression of the fear of losing the most precious thing we have, our mortality. Fear of death and the unknown is inherent in all of us, it’s the knowledge and belief of what happens next that brings peace to the soul and gives you real appreciation for the life that you do have.
Has Twilight "De-fanged" the Vampire?

Though they may not feast on humans, turn into bats, or burn in the sun, it doesn't mean that they are any less fierce. They still can kill just as easily. The biggest difference is the Cullen's dedication to love, loyalty, and preservation of human life. This is what makes these vampires more human than monster. De-fanged or not, Stephenie Meyer's love story shows that love has no bounds and death can not stand in the way, making it easy for anyone to fall for this unorthodox Romeo and Juliet.



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