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So You Love Vampires…The New Byronic Monster

The Vampire Diaries Photo: CW | So You Love Vampires...The New Byronic Monster
The Vampire Diaries
Photo: CW

Vampires, as evidenced by Lord Ruthven, have always had an erotic magnetism.

What is a monster?  Consider the handsome Lord Ruthven of The Vampyre. Seductive and wholly evil, he mercilessly kills women, leaving one with “blood…upon her throat” (Polidori 39). He’s a vampire, a creature that drains the blood of his female victims dry. Appealing and alluring on the surface, he hides his true nature; a monster that lurks in the night.

RELATED Who is your Vampire Soulmate? Take Our Quiz!

The Classic Horror Monster

Vampires, as evidenced by Lord Ruthven, have always had an erotic magnetism. Back then, however, monsters were still just monsters. Vampires, while sexually tempting to the female characters (i.e. Aubrey’s sister who Lord Ruthven seduces, marries, and then murders), were still evil and not worth saving.  When Dracula boasts, ‘“Your girls that you all love are mine already…to be my jackals when I want to feed,”’ we cannot identify with him because his monstrosity has no redeeming qualities (Stoker 312).

Bela Lugosi as Dracula (1931)
Bela Lugosi as Dracula (1931)

The Byronic Hero

Another type of monster, however, was also introduced in the 19th century by Charlotte and Emily Bronte. Heavily influenced by the Byronic Hero of the Lord Byron persuasion, the two sisters created a new subtype of the Byronic archetype, the romantic Byronic Hero struggling with the monster within. This internalized form of monster can be found in characters like Mr. Rochester of Jane Eyre and Heathcliff of Wuthering Heights. Both characters struggle with inner demons while looking for redemption in the love of a woman.

Blend the Classic Monster With the Byronic Hero and VOILA…You Have The Byronic Monster

The vampire, amongst other literary monsters, eventually evolved into a new monster frequently seen in present day. This new monster combines the old horror monster and the Byronic Hero struggling with the monster within to ultimately create a romantic figure that now has redeeming qualities. Today, vampire stories featuring this relatively new amalgamation, appeal heavily to a large audience (particularly women such as myself).

The monster, as seen from the vampires in paranormal romance fiction and vampire television shows like The Vampire Diaries, Being HumanMoonlight, Blood Ties, True Blood, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, can now possess redemptive qualities alongside their already existing monstrous traits. They can be both monster and a romantic Byronic Hero, “a boldly defiant but bitterly self-tormenting outcast, proudly contemptuous of social norms but suffering for some unnamed sin” (“Byronic”). The new vampire, while not innocent, is a monster we can root for. The new vampire can become a monster we love.

Why Do We Love the Byronic Monster?

So, my question for all the vampire lovers out there is what makes these romantic monsters attractive?

RELATED: Read about our Top 20 Byronic Heroes in Film

From my personal viewpoint, the new monster is a brooding, bad boy. Who can withstand the bad boy that finds redemption in the woman they love? It’s the vampire’s allure as a Byronic Hero. It’s about the focus. And it’s about the moodiness, the selfishness, the arrogance, the lack of following rules, the temptation, and the obsession. When considering Heathcliff and Mr. Rochester’s characteristics, one particular trait stands out: passion. It’s their passion for Jane and Cathy that always bring me back to two of the best novels of all time. It’s the same reason I will always be drawn into the world of vampires and romantic monsters.

And to leave with the perfect example of the old versus new vampire, check out this fabulous promo of Moonlight done by the CBS Eyelab:

Moonlight Promo: Vampires Creepy Vs. Sexy

Do you have a favorite vampire in fiction, film or television? Sound off below…


“Byronic.” The Oxford Dictionary of Literary Terms. Oxford Reference Online, 2008. Web.

Polidori, John William. The Vampyre: A Tale. Public Domain Books, 2004. Kindle Edition.

Stoker, Bram. Dracula. New York: Signet, 1992. Print.

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By on August 18th, 2013

About Autumn Topping

In second grade, Autumn wrote her first story, “The Spinach Monster,” and hasn't stopped writing since. Intrigued by the tales her grandmother told of vampires, witches, and ghosts as a girl, she's always been drawn to the fantastic. Later, Autumn studied English and Creative Writing (continuing her love for classic literature and everything old-fashioned) and graduated with an MA in Children’s Literature and an MS in Library & Information Science from Simmons College. Currently, she co-runs this lovely site and works as a YA Librarian.

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4 thoughts on “So You Love Vampires…The New Byronic Monster”

  1. I really liked this article. I’ve never been a big fan of vampires so it helped explain the allure of modern day vampires and romantic attraction.

  2. I do like a good dose of broodiness but I must say I love a vampire who accepts and embraces who he is too. Damon, certainly, from TVD embodies this but my very favorite interpretation of this has to be Henry Fitzroy.

    Henry didn’t spend a lot of time dwelling on what might have been and it made him even more sexy to me than someone who fights against their nature. Although I like that too! LOL

    Great article!

    • I LOVE Henry Fitzroy and I love the ones who embrace their nature as well. We have this theory (influenced from Stein) that Byronic Heroes should actually be separated into three types. Henry would be a type one (the type more likely to embrace their nature), type two… (the brooders) and Type 3 a combination of both. Anyway, thank you!


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