Carmilla is very similar to a lot of the works we've read about vampires thus far. We have all the same themes, the most prevalent being obsession and homoeroticism. But Le Fanu switched it up this time a bit by making the vampire female. Along with "The Vampire in the House" I feel like this introduced a whole new set of topics to think about.
While reading "The Vampire in the House" I kept thinking that everything comes back to the Victorian-era male's view on what a female should be. This idea of a "hysteric woman" is not something I am unfamiliar with but this is the first time I've seen it connected with a vampire.
It just seems like these Victorian male intellectuals were so stressed out by the fact that women might know something about sex that they had to label any woman who showed signs of not being completely clueless as an invalid or vampire. "A hysterical girl," Wendell Holmes says, "is a vampire who sucks the blood of healthy people around her." He even gives us an example as to why this is true by saying, "I may add that pretty surely where there is one hysterical girl there will be soon or late two sick women." It just seems so blatantly obvious that since these men couldn't fathom why women might be the least bit unhappy (umm maybe it was because they had almost no rights and were expected to live as their fathers and husbands directed no matter what), they created this idea of a hysteric woman. Heller explains this in the text by saying, "Moreover, as all this male nervousness about voracious women suggests, both the female hysteric and the female vampire embody a relation to desire that nineteenth-century culture finds highly problematic."
Further, in the introduction to "Carmilla", Dr. Hesselius's friend talks about this "mysterious subject." Vampirism is not the only "mysterious subject" he is talking about. The underlying subject in "Carmilla" is that of femininity. "This image of femininity recalls Weir Mitchell's reference to hysteria as 'mysteria,' an emblematic illness for women who have traditionally been the great enigma."
The main theme of "Carmilla" however, may very well be that of lesbianism and its epistemology. Men seem to be very worried that women will know discover sexuality too soon and that they will discover it in the wrong context. It is obvious that Carmilla has some sort of sexual attraction to Laura. Laura recalls that Carmilla would gaze into her eyes, blushing, and breathing fast, "