Vampires are mythical creatures that have surely become a giant part of American culture or society. The myth of the vampire (from which I know) started with Vlad the Impaler, or Dracula. He was the Prince of Wallachia in Romania. He was part of a heavy resistance against the Ottoman Empire. He had some successes but he is most well known for his treatment of enemies. He often impaled his enemies on a stick, which is to say, he left a sharp pole in the ground and left his enemies upon it (I’d use a picture but it’d probably be edited :[ ). He then left the bodies to rot. This creates a very cruel and terrible image for the vampire to follow.
Vlad was the inspiration for one of the most well known vampires of all time, Count Dracula. As we see in the quintessential vampire book, Dracula, the vampire is a black arts studying, cunning, sneaky, and blood-sucking creature. He has super natural strength, shape-shifting powers (he can turn into a bat, a rat, a wolf, vapor, and fog), cannot be harmed by conventional means, and can be rejuvenated by the drinking of blood. He was said to only be killed by decapitation and a wooden stake to his heart. He often appeared as on older fellow but grew younger as he drank more blood. He did have flaws as he was; weak in sunlight, driven away by crucifixes, garlic and sacramental bread, and not able to pass over running water unless it is at low or high tide.
As much as these vampire traits have been established, the American culture now sees the vampire in a completely different light. Instead of the terrifying murderer Dracula, we now have vampires like Edward Cullen. Edward has the same basic traits of Dracula as he has supernatural strength and ability, craves to drink blood, and he is affected by sunlight (sparkling = weakening?). But the image of the vampire has been tainted so that now teenage girls want a vampire to protect them and be their lover instead of the murderous rage of Dracula. This is a good example of how American culture and entertainment works. One good book (I’ve never read Twilight but I can assume that it is a good book for entertainment purposes) can change the outlook of one of the most famous and iconic characters in all of mythology. I may be speaking for myself, but after Twilight came out, I have never seen so much vampire material like movies, books, and television shows.
I’m not saying that this is a totally bad thing. I am open to change and do believe that things evolve over time for the better. I just want to know if this new type of vampire is for the better. Have vampires changed enough that the “Cullen” vampire be its own archetype of mythical creature versus the Dracula type? This simple idea is based completely on opinion, and with American individuality, we know we can get a lot of varying opinions.