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Elizabeth Bathory Essay

2019 words - 9 pages

Elizabeth Bathory has been portrayed over time as one of the most prolific and sadistic serial killers the world has known. She was nicknamed "The Blood Countess", and also "Lady Dracula". Elizabeth Bathory is reputed to have not only drunk but bathed in the blood of young virgin girls. She is perhaps less well-known only than the infamous Vlad Dracula, who was an inspiration for Bram Stoker's fictional Count Dracula. During the years since Dracula was published, the Blood Countess has exercised a powerful fascination on many writers and film-makers. However, recently, there have been many books and films that go against the usual image of Bathory, and take a new look at her. Through my ...view middle of the document...

While her behavior toward servants is legendary today, it was not uncommon among aristocrats to exercise their power in brutal beatings and even death for those they considered lesser beings. After fathering four children with Elizabeth, three boys and a girl, Nadasdy fell ill in 1601 and was confined to his bed until he died in 1604, leaving Elizabeth at the age of 44 ("Blood Countess," par.2). She moved at once to their castle in Vienna, where she had a more active social life, but eventually returned to her estates, castle Cesjte, in Hungary where she had more privacy for torture sessions (Ramsland, par.1). There are some accounts that say it was Nadasdy who taught Elizabeth how to torture the servants. One of his alleged methods was to spread honey over a naked servant girl and leave her tied down outside for the bugs to nibble and bees to sting. He also showed his wife the art of freezing a girl to death during the winter by pouring water over her body until it hardened and she was unable to move (Ramsland, par.1). Elizabeth continued to use torture after her husband's death, and even refined her methods. Valentine Penrose, who was a historian, has written many books on the crimes of Elizabeth Bathory during the middle of the 1990's. Valentine claims that Elizabeth Bathory first started killing her servants due to lesbian urges which she was having during her adolescences, and soon the only way to feed these urges was through the sadistic killings of these young servants ("Blood Countess," par. 1). It is also at this time a legend was told that she discovered, on striking a servant girl who accidentally pulled her hair while combing it, that blood appeared to reduce her the signs of ageing on her skin ("Blood Countess," par. 4). This leads to the torturing of her slaves and draining their blood in order to bath in it. In the name of vanity and beauty, she was soon entwined with witchcraft, cannibalism and vampirism, killing hundreds of servant virgins in her reign of cruelty. It was little known that she was not alone in her vile activities. Others knew, approved and participated with her. In fact, there was a widow of one of her tenant farmers named Erzsi Majorova who encouraged her to kidnap girls from the lesser nobility ("Báthory's Accomplices," par.3). When the crop of peasant girls had run out, Elizabeth offered to teach courtly etiquette to young women from noble families, and when they arrived at the castle she had her pick. After the murder of such young lady in 1609, which Elizabeth tried to stage as a suicide, the authorities finally decided to act (Ramsland, par. 5). This suspicious incident, coupled with many other rumors over the years, required action. King Matthias supported it, because Elizabeth had been asking him to repay funds he had borrowed from her husband, and if the rumors proved true and she was arrested, he would be free of his debt (Gelhaar, par.6). In other words, everyone would win except the lady in...

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