The Question of the Monstrosity of Female Attraction in “Carmilla” (BSP Blog Post 6)

At the end of “Carmilla,” Laura writes of her ambiguous feelings towards Carmilla and how she still imagines she hears Carmilla’s footsteps outside the door. Eight years have passed since the events Laura writes of, and yet her feelings seem unchanged from those she writes of during the events. Why is this? Although the story never gives a definitive answer, and much interpretation is left to the reader, I think it is safe to say that these unclear feelings stem from the fact that she was seduced by a female vampire. The conflicting feelings she writes of have to do with both the fact that she is attracted to not only a female, but to a vampire. I think this makes her question if her being attracted to a female that turns out to be a monster makes her attraction to a female monstrous.

Laura states, “I experienced a strange tumultuous excitement that was pleasurable, ever and anon, mingled with a vague sense of fear and disgust…I was conscious of a love growing into adoration, and also of abhorrence” (Ch. 4). These paradoxical feelings are seen throughout the story. However, it is somewhat unclear if these feelings are ambiguous because Carmilla is a female or because she is a vampire. Even at the end, Carmilla seems to refuse to accept the fact that Carmilla was a vampire. I think this inability to reconcile the fact that Carmilla was a vampire shows Laura’s refusal to admit her feelings. The truth is that she was abhorred by her feelings because society would not have accepted their relationship. However, her true feelings were that she was attracted to Carmilla and wanted to be with her. By not admitting that Carmilla was a vampire, she is able to refuse to accept that her attraction was monstrous (in the eyes of society).


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