?

Log in

No account? Create an account

sweettalkeress in twilight_sucks

An insight into Carlisle's character, courtesy of a character from "Shiki"

So, this past Halloween I had the
privilege of watching an absolutely-amazing vampire horror anime
called “Shiki.” I've already spoken of “Shiki” here, but the
reason why I bring it up is because now that I've seen the show in
its entirety, there is one character who is leading me to a deeper
understanding of what likely makes Carlisle Cullen tick.


As I watched “Shiki” one character
who particularly captured my attention was a cowardly, childish older
teenage boy named Masao Murasako, who becomes a vampire. Now, the
interesting thing about this character is that he's never actually
shown biting or killing anyone to drink their blood—in the only
scene we get of him drinking blood, it comes from a glass an older
vampire provides for him. Based on his interactions with the other
vampires, many fans of the show have speculated that he never attacks
or kills anyone at all, on or offscreen—which is something, given
that other characters who are more openly regretful of killing humans
are shown drinking blood repeatedly. The thing is, though, Shikiverse
vampires have to drink human blood or else they'll starve to death,
and since Masao is never shown passing out from lack of food it seems
as though he has to be getting blood from somewhere. So even if he
himself never attacks anyone, some human somewhere still has to die
so he can eat. And he's never shown to have any scruples about this
(admittedly, there's long stretches of time where he's not onscreen).
Indeed, the most commonly-accepted interpretation of Masao is that
the only reason why he doesn't kill more humans is that he's too
scared to (though scared of what is never made clear).


This, I think, is true of Carlisle as
well, and I have a theory that it's the entire cornerstone to his
“thou shalt not eat humans” philosophy. Think about it: Carlisle
does not drink human blood and finds the practice distasteful, as any
good vampire should in a world where vampires can subsist on other
animals. This is held up as a reason why he's super compassionate.
Yet we see that he doesn't have any problem with other vampires who
do kill people—he allows visiting friends to eat humans and doesn't
do much more than give his own charges a slap on the wrist when they
“slip up.” Indeed, apart from the humans he interacts with in
professional capacity and Bella, he and those he's responsible for
seem to view humans as utterly beneath their notice. He treats the
people he transforms into vampires as though they should be grateful
he turned them, and indeed, there's no reason to think he ever asked
their permission, except maybe in Edward's case.


Does any of this make him sound like a
compassionate guy? Hardly. I'm certain that the only reason why
Carlisle doesn't kill humans is because he's too scared to. True, he
doesn't need to fear getting killed by them, but I can think of other
reasons why he might be scared: maybe he's scared of committing a sin
like murder because even after all these years thoughts of the old
scriptures still burn in his head. Maybe he's scared of having his
reputation ruined and suffering a narcissistic injury. Maybe he just
doesn't want to leave all his great property behind and relocate
again. Or maybe he's scared of admitting that he's a monster or a
slave to his murderous impulses the way the common plebes are.


So why create “companions” in
vampirism, rather than just skip off by himself and not kill any
humans, if he's so arrogant and self-righteous? Again, it all leads back to Masao.


Toward the end of “Shiki,” things
are starting to look bad for the vampires as more and more villagers
get wise to them and how to kill them. So Masao goes to a pretty
female vampire named Megumi and asks her if she will run away with
him rather than stay and get killed. Megumi rebuffs him and accuses
him of just wanting her with him so he's not the only one to disobey
the older vampires' instructions (they're on orders to stay and fight
against the villagers).


Now compare this to Carlisle. Carlisle
turned a few other people into vampires and then indoctrinated them
into his “no-eat-humans” philosophy (sure, he also picked up
Alice and Jasper, but they were notably younger and more vulnerable
than he was at the time). Why? The official reasons vary, but my
theory is that (at least subconsciously) it's because he was too
scared to be the only vampire around who didn't drink human blood,
and too scared to change any of the other vampires' minds, and so
instead he just created new ones and told them not to eat humans so
that he wouldn't be the only one. He allowed them to return to him
after “slip-ups” because that way he would still have enough
people around to shelter himself from facing the bare truth of how
unpopular his decision was. After all, eating humans is tempting, and
if Carlisle permanently turns away or kills his disciples because
they give in to temptation, then he'll be left with nobody before too
long. He'd have no support group to hide behind—and he certainly
doesn't want that.


Yes—Carlisle Cullen, the Meyerpire who's supposedly a model of compassion and overall virtue, comes off

under scrutiny looking no better than a “Shiki” character who was
intentionally written as selfish, cowardly, and lacking in empathy.

In fact, in some respects he actually
comes off as worse than Masao. Masao is scared of the other vampires
and lacks courage of his convictions, but he's a kid, who probably
had serious psychological issues even before becoming a vampire and
who in becoming one suddenly found himself thrust into a completely
unfamiliar situation with almost no warning. This may have once been
true of Carlisle, but he's had centuries to get his priorities
straightened out, and he still hasn't taken a firm stance about how
wrong it is to kill and eat humans. Additionally, in the couple of
scenes where Masao does try to be nice, he seems to mean it, though
he inevitably fails because he has no clue how to talk to people. To
use the example I mentioned earlier, after Megumi chases him away he
laments the fact that he can't save her—to himself, in a scene
where nobody else is around (and, indeed, in this scene he's
intentionally trying to avoid detection). So it's clear that he
genuinely cares about her, and wants to be her little knight in
shining armor, even if she would never believe him and he'd be no
good at it. Carlisle, though, constantly gets praised by Edward,
hardly an impartial observer, or he just brags about his
accomplishments himself. It isn't clear that his desire to help
people is genuine—he seems to be more interested in projecting a
positive self-image than actually extending real good will toward
anyone.


Which, I think, brings us back around
to my initial point. Carlisle is scared to be thought of badly, and
so he doesn't eat anyone, because he's afraid of people seeing him as
a monster. This is not unreasonable, and may even be something of a
net plus given that it makes him unwilling to eat humans. On the
other hand, he's so scared of being thought badly of by the other
vampires, that he doesn't try to change the minds of any vampires who
are actually his equals (which may be a twist on the old geek social
fallacy—conflict is always worse than whatever the conflict is
about). So instead, he takes innocent people in vulnerable positions
and turns them into vampires as well, and then he persuades them not
to drink human blood while they're malleable and inexperienced, all so that he
can feel better about his own decision not to succumb to the peer
pressure of the rest of the vampire world.


So there you have it, folks. Carlisle
Cullen is just Masao Murasako, only with prettier looks and better
publicity—and even fewer sympathetic qualities!  

Comments

. He treats the people he transforms into vampires as though they should be grateful he turned them, and indeed, there's no reason to think he ever asked their permission, except maybe in Edward's case.

In fact, he didn't ask any of them. He found Esme when she was dying from a suicide attempt as the result of losing her son and post-partum depression. Edward's mother asked Carlisle to turn Edward while he was dying of influenza; Edward had no say whatsoever. Rosalie was dying on the street as the result of a brutal gang rape; Carlisle happened to spot her and thought that someone so beautiful dying would be a criminal waste--especially since he believed that she would make an ideal companion for Edward. (She didn't, because Edward was disgusted at the thought of having someone "impure" as a partner. Way to victim-blame, Wardo.) Carlisle never asked Rosalie if she wanted to become a vampire; Rosalie herself told Bella in Eclipse that Carlisle only told that she was becoming one after the transformation process--and its attendant agony--had started. And Emmett was dying and unconscious after being mauled by a bear. He didn't ask to be changed; Rosalie begged Carlisle to do it. Not one of them had a choice in the matter.

And not only were any of them given a choice, but this becomes Fridge Horror when you take Meyer's own canon into account. According to Meyer, vampires are frozen physically, mentally and emotionally in the state that they were in when they died. Obviously she doesn't follow through with this, as this would involve unpleasant consequences for her beloved Cullens...but think about what it should mean.

* Rosalie shouldn't be having house-shattering sex with Emmett; she should be eternally frozen in the terrified, traumatized mindset of a rape victim who was assaulted by someone that she knew and trusted...and his friends.

* Edward should be forever locked in the feverish delirium he was in when he died.

* Esme should be in the worst state of all--that of an abused, grieving, suicidal mother who longs for real children (rather than young-seeming vampires who, in the cases of Jasper, Alice and Edward, have been vampires longer than she has) and for death, and yet cannot have either.

Being grief-stricken and suicidally depressed forever--that's a wonderful fate. But Carlisle condemns Esme to this. Why? Because, in canon, he saw her when she was about sixteen or seventeen and thought that she was hot. He sees her suicide as an opportunity for him to hit that. And please note--Esme wasn't the first vampire Carlisle made. Edward was. AND he had spent ten years with the Volturi before that. Canonically, he's supposed to have learned a lot from them. He knows how vampire physiology works...yet he blithely goes on transforming people who are in no position to refuse and then indoctrinating them.

I think that you're right when you say that he's afraid of killing humans; perhaps he knows better than the younger members of his coven how vulnerable his kind are (for the venom running through their stone bodies is flammable, and it's not THAT hard to break stone). Not killing humans certainly isn't a moral issue for him; he has no problem when his guests kill humans, and he, like the rest of the Cullens, was in no hurry to rush off to Seattle when thousands of humans were being slaughtered by Victoria and her newborn army.

What wonderful compassion you've got there, Carlisle.


Edited at 2012-12-08 11:49 am (UTC)
Edward was disgusted at the thought of having someone "impure" as a partner. ACTUALLY?! :| I did not know this. Just another thing to add to the list of how stupidly fucked up Twilight is.
Yep. See below. It's openly stated in the text that Wardo is dismissive of and disgusted by Rosalie.
Where was that stated?

Chapter 7 of Eclipse. Here's the passage. Rosalie is telling Bella--who isn't interested--what happened when she was turned into a vampire.

"Then I was in a bright room, and it was warm. I was slipping away, and I was grateful as the pain began to dull. But suddenly something sharp was cutting me, my throat, my wrists, my ankles. I screamed in shock, thinking he'd brought me there to hurt me more.

Then fire started burning through me, and I didn't care about anything else. I begged him to kill me. When Esme and Edward returned home, I begged them to kill me, too.

Carlisle sat with me. He held my hand and said that he was so sorry, promising that it would end. He told me everything, and sometimes I listened. He told me what he was, what I was becoming.

I didn't believe him. He apologized each time I screamed.

Edward wasn't happy.

I remember hearing them discuss me. I stopped screaming sometimes. It did no good to scream.

"'What were you thinking, Carlisle?' Edward said. 'Rosalie Hale?'" Rosalie imitated Edward's irritated tone to perfection.

"I didn't like the way he said my name, like there was something wrong with me.

'I couldn't just let her die,' Carlisle said quietly. 'It was too much — too horrible, too much waste.'

"'I know,' Edward said, and I thought he sounded dismissive. It angered me. I didn't know then that he really could see exactly what Carlisle had seen.

"'It was too much waste. I couldn't leave her,' Carlisle repeated in a whisper.

"'Of course you couldn't,' Esme agreed.

"'People die all the time,' Edward reminded him in a hard voice. 'Don't you think she's just a little recognizable, though? The Kings will have to put up a huge search — not that anyone suspects the fiend,' he growled.

"It pleased me that they seemed to know that Royce was guilty.

"I didn't realize that it was almost over — that I was getting stronger and that was why I was able to concentrate on what they were saying. The pain was beginning to fade from my fingertips.

"'What are we going to do with her?' Edward said disgustedly — or that’s how it sounded to me, at least.

"Carlisle sighed. 'That's up to her, of course. She may want to go her own way.'


So...Edward is standing in front a woman who has been gang-raped, mutilated--because 300-year-old Carlisle was a dumbass who thought for a long time that the mutilations he received from his killer were necessary to turn a vampire--turned without her consent, which is metaphorical rape, and then forced to endure hideous pain. And HE'S not happy. He's irritated at the mere thought of having her around. He's dismissive. He's disgusted by her. And he thinks that it would have been better if she died; after all, to quote him, people die all the time! And he's so indifferent to her feelings that he says all this in front of her AS SHE IS DYING.

Given his virginity fetish, which shows up multiple times in the books, it's not hard to figure out why Edward dismisses and is disgusted by the victim of gang rape. And Carlisle the Supposedly Compassionate doesn't even call him on his cruel words. He's all "But I made her for YOU!"


Edited at 2012-12-08 07:26 pm (UTC)
Very good analysis. My first reaction to this post was that Carlisle didn't have much of character. Now I see that he does have a character-a total idiot with a lack of basic empathy.