Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Vampire Diaries: The Psychology of Compulsion

At the beginning of the season, I didn't actually set out to make a habit of reading a lot of episode discussion and THEN writing about a popular point of contention, but that seems to be where I'm headed recently, so . . . okay!

This week, I've seen a lot of discussion about Klaus's compulsion of Stefan. The issue, in brief: Klaus compelled Stefan to turn off his emotions, but last season, Rose claimed that the emotion switch didn’t really exist, especially for older vampires. So should Klaus have been able to do that?

I'm theorizing that, at least for compulsions of a primarily psychological nature, if the compellee believes something is possible, it works. Turning off emotions doesn't break the laws of physics or anything, and I think if you really, completely believed you had to do it, you would. So even if there’s actually no emotion switch, if Stefan believes there is, Klaus can play upon this belief and the compulsion will work as intended. And so far as we know, Stefan believes in the switch.

Does Klaus? That's an interesting question, if not necessarily tied to whether the compulsion would work. After all, vampires compel people to believe things that they themselves know to be untrue all the time. But it would be interesting to know if he believes in it - though I'm assuming he doesn't. Does anyone remember whether any of the Originals have addressed this question?

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