Vampires today, particularly after Anne Rice's five-book series, the Vampire Chronicles, are portrayed in quite a different light than the vampires of ages past. Gone is the garlic and cross that offers protection, gone is the vampire's fear of all light and gone is their distant, in-human nature. (Whyte 2) In fact, most vampires are portrayed as both beast and man, struggling to retain their humanity as the lust for blood seems to never diminish and eternal as they are, their inner conflict spans to infinity. This duplicity is highly reminiscent of the paradoxical nature of the trickster archetype. Tricksters embrace creation just as easily as they revel in destruction, both beautiful and ugly, sometimes heroes and sometimes villains--still, tricksters are never merely good or evil. Although the various incarnations of the trickster archetype in world mythology differ more than they are alike, some elements exist that are common to all. The modern literary vampire may be understood as the embodiment of the trickster archetype. I will base this examination primarily on Anne Rice's Interview with the Vampire.
Because tricksters are a cross-culture phenomenon, found in nearly every culture, and in a variety of disguises, trickster research has discovered it is very difficult to pinpoint what exactly makes a trickster what he is. Although it is often readily apparent that a trickster is, in fact, a trickster, supporting this claim is often rather difficult. Thus, few common elements have surfaced, but I feel they are enough to provide sufficient light to the image of the vampire as a trickster in one of his many disguises. To begin with,...
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...mselves from themselves.
Although I use the words "he," "his," and so on to denote tricksters, I must very clearly state that tricksters are not necessarily male. The use of these words is in no way an attempt to promote a sexist outlook of the trickster phenomenon. In fact, many tricksters are androgynous.
Christen, Kimberly A.. Tricksters & Clowns. ABC-CLIO, 1998.
Kaufmann, Walter. The Portable Nietzsche. New York: Penguin, 1984.
Radini, Paul. The Trickster, A Study in American Indian Mythology. New York: Schocken Books, 1972.
Rice, Anne. Interview with the Vampire.
Whyte, Lesa. "Vampire." Encyclopedia Mythica. 14/07/02. http://www.pantheon.org/articles/v/vampire.html
Musinsky, Gerald. "Trickster." Encyclopedia Mythica. 14/07/02. http://www.pantheon.org/articles/t/trickster.html
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