Can anyone explain to me why 'Berenice' is often referred to as a vampire story?  Poe seemed to have a preoccupation with teeth (shown also, for instance, in 'Metzengerstein' and 'Hop-Frog'),...

 Can anyone explain to me why 'Berenice' is often referred to as a vampire story? 

 Poe seemed to have a preoccupation with teeth (shown also, for instance, in 'Metzengerstein' and 'Hop-Frog'), so I don't understand why the preoccupation with teeth in 'Berenice' necessarily makes it a vampire story. 

Asked on by fabian25

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lynnebh | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted on

Ah, well there are other things about vampires besides "teeth". For example, they are immortal:

But it is mere idleness to say that I had not lived before - that the soul has no previous existence. You deny it? - let us not argue the matter. Convinced myself, I seek not to convince. There is, however, a remembrance of aerial forms - of spiritual and meaning eyes - of sounds, musical yet sad - a remembrance which will not be excluded; a memory like a shadow - vague, variable, indefinite, unsteady; and like a shadow, too, in the impossibility of my getting rid of it while the sunlight of my reason shall exist

Also, what is the strange illness that Egaeus and Berenice have and why do they always have to stay in the shadows? Vampires do not like light:

Through the gray of the early morning - among the trellised shadows of the forest at noonday - and in the silence of my library at night - she had flitted by my eyes

And then one day Berenice appears before him, but she doesn't seem alive. It sends a chill through him:

An icy chill ran through my frame; a sense of insufferable anxiety oppressed me; a consuming curiosity pervaded my soul;

And he looks upon Berenice, more dead than alive, and her mouth is open and he sees her teeth:

The eyes were lifeless, and lustreless, and seemingly pupilless, and I shrank involuntarily from their glassy stare to he contemplation of the thin and shrunken lips. They parted; and in a smile of peculiar meaning, the teeth of the changed Berenice disclosed themselves slowly to my view.

And then after she dies, one night he sees the blood and gore and the 32 teeth!

AGHGHGHGHG!!!

My personal opinion is that this very gothic tale by Poe is more of a ZOMBIE tale than a Vampire tale. Night of the living dead, as it were. If Berenice were a vampire, she would need those teeth. Ah, but maybe SHE is not the vampire. Or maybe HE is the vampire and SHE is the zombie. What do you think?

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