Category: Vampire Mythology

“As predators, we have a glut of weapons in our physical arsenal… much, much more than really necessary. The strength, the speed, the acute senses, not to mention those of us like Edward, Jasper and I who have extra senses as well. And then, like a carnivorous flower, we are physically attractive to our prey…We’re also venomous.”(TW20)

Strengthspeed and appearance have been discussed elsewhere in the lexicon, but there are other traits that the vampires have to entice their victim. The most obvious of these is smell; even Edward’s breath lures Bella to him. “Sweet, delicious, the scent made my mouth water.” (TW13) It literally pulls his victim towards him, so that they are entirely vulnerable to attack. As Edward states in TW13, it’s hardly necessary as he’s so strong and fast that a chosen victim couldn’t escape anyway. In that sense, he’s “the world’s best predator,” (TW13) and he knows it.

The additional “weapons” that Alice, Edward and Jasper have are clearly outlined during “Twilight”. Edward has the ability to hear thoughts, regardless of whether they are human or vampire, with just “one exception” (TW8) – Bella Swan.  Alice’s gift is to be able to see future events, although these are subject to change as the people involved make their decisions (TW14). Jasper can alter the mood around him, which is something that Bella notices the first time she meets him: “A feeling of ease spread through me,” (TW15) even though she was understandably nervous about meeting the Cullen family.

The most stereotypical weapon that a vampire has is their teeth. Meyer’s vampires are somewhat different to the vampires of legend in this regard as her “vampires do not have fangs” (PC1). Instead, their teeth are razor-sharp, and combined with their strength, it makes it very simple for them to rip their way through flesh to drink blood. The “human neck is like butter,” she explains. “This isn’t the neat-and-tidy, two-small-holes-in-the-neck kind of vampire attack that you see in other vampire mythologies.” (PC1) This leads us onto the fact that the vampires are venomous. Edward does pull away from Bella when he kisses her: “he’s just worried about her safety. Yes, the venom does pose a danger to her. It’s not like acid … it has to be in the bloodstream to cause any problems, it won’t hurt her skin. However, say she had a sore in her mouth, or that she’d bitten her tongue”. Even if that wasn’t the case, Edward’s teeth are sharp as razors. She could cut her lips or tongue on them easily.” (PC5) Venom is the thing that causes someone to turn into a vampire, and this is dealt with fully in a later section of the lexicon.


The ability to use superhuman strength is one of the characteristics that set vampires apart. Edward’s physical strength is seen in stark contrast to the fragility of human Bella: “You are so soft, so fragile. I have to mind my actions every moment that we’re together so that I don’t hurt you. I could kill you quite easily, Bella, simply by accident… I could reach out, meaning to touch your face, and crush your skull by mistake.” (TW14)

His strength leads to one of the tensions in his relationship with Bella, namely that he can never let down his guard for fear he will either accidentally hurt her, or let his vampiric nature seize the blood he so desires. He can certainly move her effortlessly, as we see when he carries her to the school nurse, “as easily as if I weighed ten pounds instead of a hundred and ten.” (TW5) Edward’s strength can be most clearly seen in the incident where he saves Bella from Tyler’s truck. Not only is he not injured himself but he even forces the metal out of the way by the pressure he exerts on it. “I had seen the” very distinct dent that fit the contours of Edward’s shoulders…as if he had braced himself against the car with enough force to damage the metal frame.” (TW3)

Yet, Edward’s “iron strength” (TW13) is nothing compared with what it would have been after Carlisle first changed him. Meyer states that: “New vampires are also immensely strong for their first year of life, also a product of the excess of blood left in the body.” (PC1) This would imply that a vampire’s strength dips before a feed, and their energy/strength levels are refuelled by hunting. When asked about this, Stephenie Meyer explained that hunting makes a “minimal difference” (PC5) to the physical strength levels of a vampire, as even a thirsty vampire is capable of great feats of physical strength. Stephenie Meyer is clear that vampire strength is very much dependent on the individual. Emmett was colossally strong as a human, and even more so as a vampire, but each individual vampire has their own personal range. However, it’s important to remember that, “skill is going to count more than strength,” (PC5) so an experienced vampire could still outwit a newborn one in a fight.

A vampire’s diet does not have a massive impact on the levels of strength. “Human blood does make them stronger than animal blood, but only fractionally. Big game (bears, wildcats, predators) makes them stronger than the “weaker” blood of herd animals.” (PC5) Ultimately, physical strength is always going to come down to the individual vampire, rather than secondary factors like their diet. Strength, of course, isn’t always physical. It is impossible for a vampire to die through physical starvation (TW15), but what the lack of blood intake does alter is a vampire’s mental state. After Carlisle realised that he had become a vampire, he tried to destroy himself. “He grew very hungry and very weak. He strayed as far as he could from the human populace, recognising that his willpower was weakening too.” (TW15)

Vampires are less capable of acting with rational thought, and therefore more likely to act through their natural animal instincts when they are thirsty. This explains why Bella is in so much danger when Edward hasn’t been hunting. Edward does show an inner strength in resisting the lure of Bella’s blood. Edward admits that at times he wondered if he was “strong enough” (TW14) to resist his natural urges. Finally, his inner strength comes to the fore as he admits “I couldn’t live with myself if I ever hurt you.” (TW13)


When vampires are changed from humans, they acquire certain superhuman abilities; speed is one of these. Edward is capable of moving so quickly that no one spots him at all. The incident where Bella was about to be crushed by the truck is one such example of Edward moving in this way: “All I know is that you weren’t anywhere near me. Tyler didn’t see you either.” (TW3)

It isn’t until chapter 13 that we see the true nature of this speed, where the distance covered in several hours of hiking is retracted in a matter of moments, with Edward carrying Bella on his back. The speed with which he races is shown to be entirely effortless, and is pure exhilarating enjoyment: “He streaked through the dark, thick underbrush of the forest, like a ghost. There was no sound, no evidence that his feet touched the earth. His breathing never changed, never indicated any effort. But the trees flew by at deadly speeds, always missing us by inches.”(TW13) This speed is terrifying to Bella, but merely “second nature”(TW13) to Edward.

We see the speed of all the Cullens again during the baseball game. Emmett is described as “a blur around the bases” (TW17) and Edward can move so quickly that he is able to intercept a ball that has been hit “like a meteor.” (TW17) Esme tells us that Edward is the fastest at running, and the baseball game certainly bears this out. Obviously, Edward becomes slower when he is carrying Bella. He is acutely aware that he cannot outrun the visiting vampires with her.

It is not just physical movement that can be exceptionally fast. Speech too can be faster than the human ear can make out. “Edward was growling something too fast for me to understand, but sounded like a string of profanities.”(TW18)

His love of speed is also picked up in his driving. As Bella puts it: “He drives like a maniac. It was terrifying.” (TW10) He enjoys the speed of the car, and grumbles that 80 is “driving slow.” (TW10). He has fast reflexes and Bella notes that it all seemed “effortless” (TW14) to him.


Edward’s eyes are a very prominent feature in the book; in fact, it is one of the first things that Bella ever notices about him. His eyes change colour very frequently, depending on how thirsty he is, or when he last fed. Bella initially notices that: “His eyes were black, coal black.”(TW1) When Edward’s eyes are so dark, his thirst for blood is at the fore. When they are his lighter “golden” (TW12) or “topaz” (TW11) colour, that reflects that his thirst is sated and he has been hunting recently.

The shared colour of the Cullens eyes is not co-incidental. It is a hallmark of the “vegetarian” vampire who does not feast on human blood. We can see the clear contrast between their eyes and those of James, Laurent and Victoria which are “a deep burgundy colour that was disturbing and sinister.” (TW18). This redness of the eyes indicates that these vampires feast on human blood. Meyer writes that, “If a Cullen were to drink human blood, his/her eyes would turn burgundy.

It takes about two weeks without blood for vampire eyes to go entirely black. If that Cullen then returned to an animal diet, his/her eyes would return to dark gold. Brand-newly created vampires are recognizable by their eyes, which are a vivid, bright red due to the massive amount of human blood (the blood that was already in the human at the time he/she was changed) that lingers in the tissues. That red fades slowly over the course of a year.” (PC1)


All of the Cullen family in ‘Twilight’ are described as breathtakingly beautiful; in fact, this and their aloofness in the cafeteria of the school is the first thing that draws Bella’s attention towards them.

“Their faces, so different, so similar, were all devastatingly, inhumanly beautiful.” (TW1)
Although Bella is immediately drawn to Edward, we have frequent repetition of just how attractive all of the vampires are. Carlisle is described as looking “more like a model than a doctor” (TW24), Rosalie is so gorgeous that “the perfect blonde girl” (TW1) is “beyond belief”, Emmett and Jasper are “intimidating and flawless”, Alice is “striking” (TW Epilogue), and Edward is described as “dazzling” (TW2) and “too beautiful to be real” (TW13). Esme, whilst not as prominent in the novel as the others, still “had the same pale, beautiful features as the rest of them” (TW 13).
We discover that their perfect “marble” (TW13) features are merely part of their arsenal of weapons to make them enticing to their prey.

Ironically, many of the words Bella chooses to describe the vampires are an inversion of the stereotypical beliefs about the creatures. Edward is frequently described as an “angel” (TW23) or mention is made of “his angel’s face” (TW13). His eyes are “golden” at times (TW13) and the constant reinforcement of the positive imagery and implications supports the fact that the Cullens are, indeed, an altogether different version of vampire to that covered by legend.

It is worth noting that in Meyer’s world the transformation from human to vampire intensifies everything, including looks.
“The change into a vampire makes an average person stunning and a beautiful person absolutely beyond breath-taking. The reason Rosalie is such a beautiful vampire is because she was the most beautiful girl in Rochester, New York when she was human.” (PC4)
Therefore, as Meyer herself concludes, all of the Cullens were physically attractive to start with, and their transition to vampire state merely enhances what was already there in much the same way that Carlisle believed that a person’s greatest gift was taken with them (such as Esme’s capacity for love) and made stronger.

Their movements are described as fluent and fluid, very graceful. Alice’s movements in particular are equated with being like “dancing’, and are set in stark contrast to Bella’s own clumsiness.

The uncivilised vampires are described somewhat differently, their walk being “catlike” and “on the edge of shifting into a crouch” (TW18). The woman is described as having a posture that is “distinctly feline” (TW18) From their description alone, they are seen as far more animalistic, wild and uncontrolled than the “urbane” (TW18) Cullens, although they are capable of cursory civility.

James is the only vampire in the book who isn’t described as attractive; in fact he is “nondescript” (TW18). Meyer explains this as James:
“was quite unattractive as a human. This is rare, because even vampires are drawn by beauty. They tend to, when looking for companionship, choose exceptional humans.” (PC4)


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