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Comparison of vampire representations: from folklore through to American popular culture

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Comparison of vampire representations: from folklore through to American popular culture

Категория: Курсовые работы

(based on vampire myth, Bram Stoker’s: “Dracula” and “The Vampire Diaries” TV series).

TABLE OF CONTENTS

INTRODUCTION………………………………………………………………...3
Chapter 1. THE ORIGIN OF THE VAMPIRE MYTHS…………………………5
1.1 The concept and the mythological image of vampire…………………...5
1.2 The reasons for the vampire beliefs……………………………………..8
Chapter 2. THE VAMPIRE THEME IN POPULAR CULTURE AND FICTION………………………………………………………………………….13
2.1 The characteristic of “Dracula” by Bram Stoker……………………….13
2.2 The vampire images in the series “The Vampire Diaries”……………..18
Chapter 3 THE EVOLUTION OF THE VAMPIRE IMAGE……………….. 21
3.1 The reasons of change in vampire representations……………………..21
3.2 New vampire image in a modern concept of permissibility of evil……24
CONCLUSION…………………………………………………………………..27
BIBLIOGRAPHY………………………………………………………………..29
Appendix………………………………………………………………………….31

INTRODUCTION

Horror is a literature or movie genre, which is designed to provoke a sense of fear. As a fiction genre horror was originated in the 16th century. During its development, the genre has attracted a growing audience. The interest in horror has increased since the advent of cinematography. Currently, millions of people watch horror movies and read scary books for leisure, relaxation, distraction from the real issues.
The image of blood-sucking vermin is known to people since the ancient times. Blood sucking beings were not always called vampires. In different cultures it could be witches, demons or spirits. However, the wide spread of beliefs around the world is astounding. These creatures was believed, they were afraid and they were hunted. When the beliefs of the past were abandoned, they turned into the fiction characters. The most popular subject of films and literature of this genre are vampires. Movies and books about them occupy leading positions in the ratings of the respective genre. The interest in vampires originated a few centuries ago. However, their image has undergone quite strong changes. Initially, vampires seemed the epitome of evil and sin. They were ugly, vicious, existing only for killing people. With the development of the romanticism the image of the vampire became deeper and more varied. It was not only a killing machine, but also the embodiment of passion. And finally, in today's world we are seeing the emergence of a positive vampire (a vampire-protagonist) that seems paradoxical and unusual. This work is devoted to the comparison of vampire representations: from folklore through to American popular culture (based on vampire myth, Bram Stoker’s: “Dracula” and “The Vampire Diaries” TV series). This work is relevant due to the fact that in the 21st century interest in the topic of vampires has got a new development. In two-thousand years the genre of romantic horror became very popular. We can observe a completely different image of the vampire appeared in books and films. Now this is not a frightening monster of nightmares, but rather a romantic hero. Such a contrast is of undeniable interest for the comparative research.
The goal of the research is the analysis of vampires’ images in various historical periods and the comparison of these images.
To achieve this goal the following objectives were set:
- to give the definition to a vampire and to study its’ mythological image;
- to identify the reasons of the widespread vampire beliefs;
- to give the characteristic to “Dracula” by Bram Stoker;
- to analyze the vampire images in the series “The Vampire Diaries”;
- to identify the reasons of changes in vampire representations;
- to examine the new vampire image in a modern concept of permissibility of evil. The object of the research is the vampires.
The subject is the representations of vampires in myths, Bram Stoker’s: “Dracula” and “The Vampire Diaries” TV series.
The theoretical basis of research are works devoted to the study of the vampire myth by authors such as P. Barber, D. Cohen, L. Kinger, J. Marigny and others.
The material for the study is: the novel "Dracula" by Bram Stoker's and the TV series "The Vampire Diaries".
The term paper consists of the Introduction, three chapters, Conclusion, Bibliography and Appendix.

CONCLUSION

In this work an attempt was made to analyze the evolution of the image of the vampire from ancient myth to modern times. According to the results of the conducted research we can draw the following conclusions.

The image of the vampire varies in different cultures and it is difficult to form the general model. Most often it is the living dead that feed on human blood and has a number of supernatural abilities and weaknesses (the main of them are the fear of the sunlight and of the sacred objects).

The widespread belief in vampires can be explained by the real factors. These include mental and physical illnesses, the behavior of some serial killers who ate the flesh and drank the blood of their victims, the existence of blood-sucking animals (especially the vampire bats), and subcultural manifestations of vampirism.

The main art work on the theme of vampirism is a novel “Dracula” by Bram Stoker. In his work, Stoker systematized the knowledge about vampires, and supplemented them with the new information. Thus, he created a kind of "encyclopedia of vampires", which was served as the basis for many artistic works.

One of the most notable modern works about vampires is the TV series “The Vampire Diaries”. It creates a new image of a vampire. On the one hand, the creators of the series retained some of the mythological traits of these beings, for example: thirst for blood and the method of their murder with a wooden stake. However, some basic mythological features, such as aversion to sunlight, had been bypassed by introducing new variables (amulets, created by the witches). On the other hand, the series supports the new image of the "positive" vampire emerged in the 21st century. This series is radically different from the classic notions of vampirism.

During the study, it was discovered that the image of the vampire evolves in accordance with the philosophy and the needs of society. Throughout its history it served as a means of intimidation, maintaining loyalty to the Church and as a product to sell. In accordance with its purpose, this image has changed from repulsive to attractive.

In 20th and 21st centuries the image of the vampire became more and more human and pleasing. This is particularly noticeable when we compare the images in the films of different periods. A new image of an attractive vampire can be regarded as one of the manifestations of the modern concept of the admissibility of evil. Good and evil often change their places. A modern teenager can’t recognize what is moral and correct, if he or she sees an attractive character of the film, who kills without hesitation and hunts innocent people to satisfy his lust for blood. By the example of the vampire image it can be concluded that the modern mass culture tends not to let good be morally justified and always right. This is a dangerous trend, especially for the teenagers. In the pursuit of ratings the creators of modern films and literature are making evil more and more popular. Trying to make their characters more sellable and interesting, they do not only force their creatures to kill and lead an immoral life. At the same time these characters (vampires) influence the spectators and make them lose a moral compass.

In conclusion we may say that the modern vampire image became more deep and interesting. However, in some cases, as we have seen in the series “The Vampire Diaries”, the actions of these bloodsucking characters violate the primary moral principles, which is unacceptable and dangerous. It would be useful to do the movies plot, setting itself the task to educate humanity and moral values among the younger generation. And let them be mysterious, exciting, beautiful, interesting, intelligent and very popular.

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