The Vampyre By John Polidori Essay

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In John Polidori’s short story “The Vampyre”, a strong emphasis is placed on its depictions of pastoral countrysides and old aristocracy. We see these depictions in the travels of Aubrey through the pre-industrial states Italy and Greece and in his occasional partner Lord Ruthven. Through these depictions, the story appears to be responding to the times it was published in, times of immense social and technological change which Romantics such as Polidori tackled through their writings. The drivers of this disruptive change during Polidori’s time are two revolutions, that is, the Industrial and French -- both of which brought the Romantics much cause for lamentation or celebration. As such, a couple questions appear when considering these depictions, that is, what is Polidori doing with these depictions, is he lamenting the changes that are to come throughout these quaint countrysides? Is he criticizing old aristocracy through his depiction of the licentious vampire Lord Ruthven? It appears that Polidori is a reactionary in one sense and a progressive in the other, when ruminating over these depictions. Through his idealization of the ancient countries of Italy and Greece, it seems he is yearning for the past, one in which the countrysides of England were not defiled by canals, manufactories, and commercial farming estates. He chooses the ancient states of Italy and Greece as they are the cradles of Western civilization, emphasizing the sanctity of such pastoral scenes, and
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