The Vampire I have chosen to stand aside Lord Ruthven in Polidori’s The Vampyre is Selene from the popular movie series Underworld written by Danny McBride and directed by Len Wisemen. In a setting where there was war between vampires and Lycans – werewolves – Selene is a “Death Dealer”, a group of vampires assigned to hunt and kill the Lycans, and she is especially invested in this role she has been given because she’s avenging the death of her family, who she’d led to believe was caused by the Lycans. The obvious similarities are in the basic similarities of most of history’s recounts of vampires: pale, extremely eye-catching for being so alluring, believed to live off blood and to be immortal. However, with Selene and Lord Ruthven, they both are described to be particularly stoic – Selene, “…steely-eyed…” and Lord Ruthven, “…dead grey eye…” A quote from Polidori’s narrate of his character, “He gazed upon the mirth around him, as if he could not participate therein.” Selene is also expressed to disregard the festivities and merriment of her coven.
The contrasts are more of note, though, when considering Selene and Lord Ruthven’s roles in their respective stories. Lord Ruthven, and vampyre’s as a whole, seems to be the offender when they are described to evoke not only awe but fear so overwhelming that it “…made their blood freeze…”. Polidori expresses this in many points of the story, “… if it had before entered into his imagination that there was an evil power resident in his companion … that his character was dreadfully vicious…”. Selene is portrayed in a more “heroic” light, if only because the story is mainly from vampires and her perspective, who hold much disdain for the Lycans, and touching on her avenging the death of her loved ones, as mentioned. I see this as, over time, people have tried to place vampires in a less fearsome light, making them into beloved characters that become more relatable as they’re given more “human” characteristics like being able to experience love and grief, than just monsters who’s only purpose is to wreak havoc and murder.