September 29, 2010

Indication that Carmilla's a Vampire

There are many moments in Carmilla that hint at vampirism.  I went into this book not knowing that Carmilla is literally a vampire, which means if, later, I hadn't been look for the clues I probably would have missed them.  The reader is first struck by the impression of the vampire before Carmilla is even introduced in the story.

            "It was that of a young lady who was kneeling, with her hands under the coverlet.  I looked at her with a kind of pleased wonder, and ceased whimpering.  She caressed me with her hands, and lay down beside me on the bed, and drew me towards her, smiling; I felt immediately delightfully soothed, and fell asleep again.  I was wakened by a sensation as if two needles ran into my breast very deep at the same moment, and I cried loudly.  The lady started back, with her eyes fixed on me, and then slipped down upon the floor, and, as I thought, hid herself under the bed." "Carmilla"

We later hear Carmilla's version of the story but the reader must wonder after hearing her rendition whether or not she was lying.  The first thing to consider is that when Carmilla appeared to the narrator, the narrator was only six, yet Carmilla appeared the same as when she is later introduced to the story.  Like a vampire she appears not to age.  Also, Carmilla seems to be very clever because she makes her rendition sound just as frightening as the narrators and she makes herself the same age as the narrator too.  Overall her story does not seem to be 100% true if you really try to decipher it.

This is not the only occasion that Carmilla causes apprehension for the narrator.  There are many times when the narrator is made uncomfortable by something Carmilla says or the intensity that she sometimes reveals.  For example:

            "From these foolish embraces, which were not of very frequent occurrence, I must allow, I used to wish to extricate myself; but my energies seemed to fail me.  Her murmured words sounded like a lullaby in my ear, and soothed my resistance into a trance, from which I only seemed to recover myself when she withdrew her arms."

The narrator describes the feeling of being in a trance and that is the reason she cannot resist Carmilla's strange advances.  We often hear in modern literature of vampires putting their victims into trances so that they are easier to handle, but the seductiveness in which Carmilla pursues her advances on the narrator seem to be much more than the hunter and its prey.

Some other indications of Carmilla being a vampire is that in the carriage accident Carmilla was completely unharmed.  She is also described by many people of being extremely beautiful, which is a trait often times associated with vampires.
            " 'I like her extremely,' answered Madame, 'she is, I almost think, the prettiest creature I ever saw…'
            'She is absolutely beautiful,' threw in Mademoiselle…"

And lastly Carmilla shows a great ability to charm which is another trait to be connected with vampires.
            "Young people like, and even love, on impulse.  I was flattered by the evident, though as yet undeserved, fondness she showed me."




  1. You made very good points on the evidence that Carmilla was a vampire. I also talked about how it was very strange (if Carmilla was human) that in the dream she came to Laura as an older woman rather than a six year old girl. This stuck out to me right away and started to make me think about whom and what Carmilla really was. The fact that she lied about her dream just seems shady, it also proves that when she is introduced she has something to hide. There was so many signs that Carmilla is indeed a vampire, much of which you pointed out. I also talked about how uncomfortable Laura’s new friend made her sometimes. It is obvious that this book explores the sexuality of two women, and Laura doesn’t really know how to handle it. “She held me close in her pretty arms for a moment and whispered in my ear, 'Good night, darling, it is very hard to part with you, but good-night; to-morrow, but not early, I shall see you again. She sank back on the pillow with a sigh, and her fine eyes followed me with a fond and melancholy gaze, and she murmured again 'Good-night, dear friend.” (p. 261 In a Glass Darkly) Overall you made very good points and predictions to what is going to happen in the story.

  2. If i was not reading this in a vampire novel class, when i first starting reading this, I would not have realized Carmilla was a vampire. I think because I was waiting for a vampire to appear somewhere I was able to pick out things and put them together.