Abstract

abstract:

This essay aims to provide a conceptualization of monstrosity in the case of Anne Rice's vampire archetype, not as effaced or eroded by humanity but performed under the pressure of a so-called morality compass. Through the treatment of agency in contrast with a determinist compulsive thirst, we can understand the vampire as a social creature that needs humanity both as an antithetical point of reference for its otherness, and as a goal in order to achieve reaggregation in the mortal world. By relying on Judith Butler's model of agency presented in her theories of gender identity as performative, on Sigmund Freud's theories regarding the compulsion to repeat, and finally on Brooke Kroeger's concept of passing, I propose an analysis of Rice's vampires as creatures endowed with an agentic power that stems from the struggle of performing the compulsive monstrous acts in a way that would somehow appease their guilty consciousness. I will explore the various modes in which vampires present their agentic power, namely the alternative modes of feeding, the choice of humans to transform, or the vampires' struggle to pass for humans as acts that, although monstrous, bypass the vampires' moral compass.

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Additional Information

ISSN
2161-2188
Print ISSN
2161-2196
Pages
pp. 97-121
Launched on MUSE
2020-02-18
Open Access
No
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