Apparently, Debra Merskin, associate professor for the school of journalism and communication at the University of Oregon, as claimed that the vampire protagonist from the teenage vampire series Twilight, is a sociopath. From the Sydney Morning Herald:
I don't know. I'm not convinced. I like vampire stories typically because they echo some themes from my own life, not surprising if you believe (as I do) that the vampire myth originates from sociopaths. I'm no expert on the Twilight series, but to the extent that Edward acts like a vampire I'm not surprised people would think he is sociopathic. However, I thought the whole point of the series was that Edward does not act like a vampire? A chaste defanged vampire?
Writing in a recent issue of the Journal of Communication Inquiry, Merskin argues that Edward has all the hallmarks of a "compensated psychopath".Unlike full-blown psychopaths, compensated psychopaths have learnt to conceal their limited emotional repertoire and "pass" as normal. "While he is incapable of feeling compassion, or remorse, there is an awareness that the full-blown psychopath doesn't have - that these feelings do exist in the world but he is somehow lacking," Merskin explains via email.Edward, she says, ticks all the boxes.He's psychologically immature; although born in 1901, Edward is fated never to develop beyond the age of 17.He's socially withdrawn, living far out of town, and he's controlling. He frequently belittles Bella, saying she's emotionally unobservant, she's absurd and, most patronisingly, "You've got a bit of a temper, don't you?"Edward's inability to love is the crucible for the romantic tension throughout Twilight. "I don't know how to be close to you. I don't know if I can," he says to Bella. And, perhaps most tellingly, Edward admits: "I'm not used to feeling so human. Is it always like this?"
Merskin says these types aren't new in literature and cinema. Oscar Wilde's Dorian Gray, serial killer Patrick Bateman in American Psycho and Wall Street's Gordon Gekko are all examples of compensated psychopaths.
But unlike Edward, none of these fictional characters was presented as boyfriend material. This, Merskin says, makes Edward novel. It also makes him concerning- especially given that its target audience is young women and adolescent girls.