Carmilla

by

Sheridan Le Fanu

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Laura’s Father Character Analysis

Laura’s father is a widower who takes care of Laura in their schloss with the help of her two governesses and a handful of servants. He is English, but he served in the Austrian military and retired in Austria. He is extremely caring and protective of his daughter, making an effort to keep her ignorant of the harsh realities of the world—for instance, after a young Laura first sees Carmilla, he insists that it was only a nightmare and that nothing can hurt Laura. Laura’s father longs to please his only daughter, as he seeks out companionship for her, first with the General’s niece Bertha and—upon learning of her death—by offering to watch over Carmilla. Laura’s father then takes a similarly protective role with Carmilla, and insists that her strange nighttime behavior has a completely rational explanation. His protectiveness and rationality prevent them from discovering sooner the true cause of Laura’s illness, as he asserts that the illness affecting the surrounding villages is nothing more than the superstitions of the poor, and he refuses to believe that they, as members of the middle class, may be at risk. He holds a strong faith in science and God, believing that everything has a natural explanation and that they need only trust in their creator to protect them. However, he clings to these values in spite of evidence to the contrary, refusing to accept the existence of the supernatural until it is almost too late. Ultimately, he accepts the truth about Carmilla and the existence of the supernatural, and he is able to save his daughter with the help of the General and Baron Vordenburg. However, he never completely comes to understand his daughter, as at the end of the novel he takes Laura on a trip around Italy in an effort to get her back to normal, not understanding that such a thing is not truly possible.

Laura’s Father Quotes in Carmilla

The Carmilla quotes below are all either spoken by Laura’s Father or refer to Laura’s Father. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Women and Sexuality Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Wildside Press edition of Carmilla published in 2000.
Chapter 1  Quotes

In Styria, we, though by no means magnificent people, inhabit a castle, or schloss. A small income, in that part of the world, goes a great way. Eight or nine hundred a year does wonders. Scantily enough ours would have answered among wealthy people at home. My father is English, and I bear an English name, although I never saw England. But here, in this lonely and primitive place, where everything is so marvelously cheap, I really don't see how ever so much more money would at all materially add to our comforts, or even luxuries.

Related Characters: Laura (speaker), Laura’s Father
Page Number: 7
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 4 Quotes

“We are in God’s hands: nothing can happen without his permission, and all will end well for those who love him. He is our faithful creator; He has made us all, and will take care of us.”
“Creator? Nature!” said the young lady in answer to my gentle father. “And this disease that invades the country is natural.”

Related Characters: Carmilla (speaker), Laura’s Father (speaker), Laura
Page Number: 40
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 8 Quotes

“I wish all mysteries were as easily and innocently explained as yours, Carmilla,” he said laughing. “And so we may congratulate ourselves on the certainty that the most natural explanation of the occurrence is the one that involves no drugging, no tampering with locks, no burglars, or poisoners, or witches—nothing that need alarm Carmilla, or anyone else, for our safety.”

Related Characters: Laura’s Father (speaker), Laura, Carmilla
Page Number: 63
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 10 Quotes

“Because,” he answered testily, “you believe in nothing but what consists with your own prejudices and illusions. I remember when I was like you, but I have learned better.”

Related Characters: General Spielsdorf (speaker), Laura’s Father
Page Number: 73
Explanation and Analysis:
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Carmilla PDF

Laura’s Father Character Timeline in Carmilla

The timeline below shows where the character Laura’s Father appears in Carmilla. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1 
Loss of Innocence Theme Icon
...castle.” Laura’s mother died when she was a child, so she lives with her widowed father and her two governesses, Madame Perrodon and Mademoiselle De Lafontaine. Her father is loving and... (full context)
Loss of Innocence Theme Icon
Love and Lust Theme Icon
...came every couple of days to give her medicine. The morning after the incident, Laura’s father tried to reassure her that everything was alright, but she didn’t believe him. He told... (full context)
Chapter 2 
Loss of Innocence Theme Icon
Love and Lust Theme Icon
...to believe, had she not witnessed it herself. She goes for a walk with her father on a summer evening along the beautiful forest which lies in front of their schloss.... (full context)
Loss of Innocence Theme Icon
Laura’s father tells her that the General won’t be arriving for another two months, and that he... (full context)
Class and Class Warfare Theme Icon
Science, Religion, Nature, and the Supernatural Theme Icon
Laura and her father meet up with Laura’s governesses Madame Perrodon and Mademoiselle De Lafontaine. As the governesses converse... (full context)
Loss of Innocence Theme Icon
Class and Class Warfare Theme Icon
...with a commanding air leaving the carriage, and a young lady being lifted out. Laura’s father runs to aid the girl and he assures the woman, who says she’s the girl’s... (full context)
Loss of Innocence Theme Icon
...has the idea to leave her daughter in the nearest village, but Laura begs her father to let the girl stay with them, since she longs for a companion after the... (full context)
Women and Sexuality Theme Icon
Loss of Innocence Theme Icon
The girl’s mother, who Laura notes has an extremely distinguished appearance, speaks to Laura’s father separately. She suddenly appears stern, and Laura wonders about the change and why her father... (full context)
Chapter 3 
Women and Sexuality Theme Icon
Love and Lust Theme Icon
...comfort her, but Mademoiselle De Lafontaine advises her not to overwhelm the girl. Meanwhile, Laura’s father sends for a physician. (full context)
Class and Class Warfare Theme Icon
...emerging. They assume the girl will tell them everything once she has recovered, but Laura’s father returns and says he doesn’t think that is the case.   (full context)
Love and Lust Theme Icon
After the others have left, Laura asks her father what he meant by his comment. He tells her that the girl’s mother had informed... (full context)
Chapter 4
Science, Religion, Nature, and the Supernatural Theme Icon
Laura’s father returns that evening out of sorts, informing Laura and Carmilla that another young peasant girl... (full context)
Class and Class Warfare Theme Icon
 There is a silence, before Laura’s father changes the subject and informs them that he has sent for the doctor for his... (full context)
Loss of Innocence Theme Icon
Love and Lust Theme Icon
Science, Religion, Nature, and the Supernatural Theme Icon
Later that day, the doctor arrives and speaks with Laura’s father in private. When they emerge, Laura’s father is laughing at the doctor’s suggestions. They walk... (full context)
Chapter 5
Women and Sexuality Theme Icon
Class and Class Warfare Theme Icon
...the picture cleaner from Gratz arrives with cases of paintings. After eating dinner, Laura, her father, and the servants (other than Carmilla who sits back apathetically) crowd around as he unpacks... (full context)
Women and Sexuality Theme Icon
Love and Lust Theme Icon
Laura comments on the striking resemblance, but Laura’s father appears fairly unimpressed and uninterested, continuing to talk with the son of the picture cleaner.... (full context)
Women and Sexuality Theme Icon
Loss of Innocence Theme Icon
Upon closer examination, Laura and her father realize that they’re not looking at a portrait of Marcia Karnstein, but of Mircalla, Countess... (full context)
Women and Sexuality Theme Icon
...has caught the illness that has been infecting the surrounding villages. This would upset her father greatly, who would immediately send for the physician. Carmilla insists that she is fine, that... (full context)
Chapter 6
Women and Sexuality Theme Icon
...self. They are joined by Madame Perrodon and Mademoiselle De Lafontaine to play cards. Laura’s father also joins them. He asks Carmilla if she’s heard from her mother, and she tells... (full context)
Loss of Innocence Theme Icon
To Laura’s relief, her father insists that he won’t allow Carmilla to leave, as he has promised to take care... (full context)
Chapter 7
Loss of Innocence Theme Icon
Science, Religion, Nature, and the Supernatural Theme Icon
...fear that seemed to deepen over time and grow more real. She doesn’t tell her father because she is afraid he will either laugh at her or think that she has... (full context)
Women and Sexuality Theme Icon
Loss of Innocence Theme Icon
...embraces these changes, as she imagines she is slowly sinking. She refuses to tell her father she is ill, but Carmilla becomes increasingly devoted to her. (full context)
Loss of Innocence Theme Icon
Science, Religion, Nature, and the Supernatural Theme Icon
...take a toll on her appearance as she grows pale and her eyes darken. Her father frequently asks her if she’s ill, but she insists that she’s fine. She doesn’t think... (full context)
Chapter 8
Women and Sexuality Theme Icon
Love and Lust Theme Icon
...rest of the evening in Madame Perrodon’s room, and the next morning she informs her father of Carmilla’s disappearance. The entire household resumes the search but there is no sign of... (full context)
Science, Religion, Nature, and the Supernatural Theme Icon
...on the sofa in the dressing room, with the door between the rooms open. Laura’s father, the governesses, and a handful of servants enter the room and are relieved to see... (full context)
Love and Lust Theme Icon
Science, Religion, Nature, and the Supernatural Theme Icon
After sending the servants away, Laura’s father speculates on what happened. He predicts that Carmilla was sleepwalking, and that she unlocked the... (full context)
Chapter 9
Loss of Innocence Theme Icon
Love and Lust Theme Icon
...allow an attendant to sleep in her room. The next morning, a doctor—for whom Laura’s father had sent without informing her—arrives to examine Laura. Laura meets the doctor in the library... (full context)
Loss of Innocence Theme Icon
Science, Religion, Nature, and the Supernatural Theme Icon
Laura’s father asks her to come closer, and for the first time Laura is truly alarmed about... (full context)
Loss of Innocence Theme Icon
Science, Religion, Nature, and the Supernatural Theme Icon
...might be at risk of a stroke, Laura believes it was merely a precaution. Laura’s father returns with a letter from the General Spielsdorf, who will be arriving at the schloss... (full context)
Love and Lust Theme Icon
Laura’s father leaves the room briefly before returning to announce that he is traveling to Karnstein and... (full context)
Loss of Innocence Theme Icon
Laura, her father, and Madame Perrodon depart for their journey at noon, heading towards the deserted town and... (full context)
Chapter 10
Loss of Innocence Theme Icon
Science, Religion, Nature, and the Supernatural Theme Icon
...darker and angrier. As they continue on their journey, he begins to tell Laura, her father, and Madame Perrodon about the death of his niece Bertha. Laura’s father asks him to... (full context)
Loss of Innocence Theme Icon
Science, Religion, Nature, and the Supernatural Theme Icon
...cleanse the earth of certain monsters and bring safety to the people. This intrigues Laura’s father, who notes that the house of Karnstein has been extinct for years, and the village... (full context)
Love and Lust Theme Icon
...left to live for is to enact revenge on the monster that killed her. Laura’s father asks to hear the story from the beginning before they reach the ruins. (full context)
Chapter 13
Women and Sexuality Theme Icon
...for the location of the grave of Mircalla, Countess of Karnstein. Recognizing the name, Laura’s father asks the General if he would like to see the portrait they have of her... (full context)
Chapter 14
Love and Lust Theme Icon
With the General’s story completed, Laura and her father are unsure of what to say. Her father enters a chapel while the General dries... (full context)
Chapter 15
Loss of Innocence Theme Icon
Love and Lust Theme Icon
...telling him that he has saved the region from the plague of the vampire. Laura’s father speaks to the General and the Baron away from Laura, who guesses that they are... (full context)
Women and Sexuality Theme Icon
Loss of Innocence Theme Icon
...to discover that Carmilla is not there nor is there any trace of her. Laura’s father does not explain what happened back at the chapel, and Laura knows he does not... (full context)
Women and Sexuality Theme Icon
Love and Lust Theme Icon
Class and Class Warfare Theme Icon
Science, Religion, Nature, and the Supernatural Theme Icon
The next day, Carmilla’s grave is opened, accompanied by a medical examiner, and Laura’s father and the General both immediately recognize the girl. Her eyes are open and there is... (full context)
Chapter 16
Love and Lust Theme Icon
Class and Class Warfare Theme Icon
After Carmilla was defeated, Baron Vordenburg stayed with Laura and her father for a few weeks. Laura’s father recounted the story of the Moravian nobleman who had... (full context)
Women and Sexuality Theme Icon
Loss of Innocence Theme Icon
Love and Lust Theme Icon
Laura ends her story by saying that after the events with Carmilla, her father took her on a trip around Italy for more than a year to try to... (full context)