Study Guide

Twilight Good vs. Evil

By Stephenie Meyer

Good vs. Evil

[Edward to Bella:] "It would be more…prudent for you not to be my friend," he explained. "But I'm tired of trying to stay away from you, Bella." (4.165)

Edward thinks he is evil and the best thing for Bella is for him to stay away from her. However, he seems to be giving into temptation and allowing himself to be close to her.

[Edward:] "I decided as long as I was going to hell, I might as well do it thoroughly." (5.18)

Though Edward is teasing, he seems to genuinely think he's an inherently evil being, damned to hell no matter how he behaves.

[Edward to Bella:] "Yes – giving up trying to be good. I'm just going to do what I want now, and let the chips fall where they may." (5.29)

Is Edward really "giving up trying to be good"? If he were, wouldn't that mean he'd be feasting on Bella's blood? Even when he thinks he's being bad, Edward still isn't acting like the average "evil," human-eating vampire.

[Edward to Bella:] "What if I'm not a superhero? What if I'm the bad guy?" He smiled playfully, but his eyes were impenetrable. (5.110)

Edward believes he's a bad guy. He seems to think that he's defined by his biological nature (as a vampire) rather than his personal choices.

Stregoni benefici: An Italian vampire, said to be on the side of goodness, and a mortal enemy of all evil vampires. (7.38.1)

Through internet research, Bella learns there are "good" vampires.

[Edward:] "It didn't matter?" His tone made me look up – I had finally broken through his carefully composed mask. His face was incredulous, with just a hint of the anger I'd feared.

[Bella:] "No," I said softly. "It doesn't matter me what you are."

[Edward:] A hard, mocking edge entered his voice. You don't care if I'm a monster? If I'm not human?" (9.74-76)

Edward sees himself as a monster, and is astonished that Bella doesn't seem to care. Does she not care because she loves him unconditionally, or because she doesn't understand the full implications of Edward being a vampire?

[Edward to Bella:] "I don't want to be a monster." (9.123)

Edward seems to think that he has no choice about being good or evil – he is a monster. What do you think makes a monster: a person's (or creature's) nature or actions? What characters in Twilight do you consider monsters?

[Edward to Bella:] "And for all that," he continued, "I'd have fared better if I had exposed us all at that first moment, than if now, here – with no witnesses and nothing to stop me – I were to hurt you." (13.123.1)

Edward is concerned for Bella. He wants people to know when she is with him because he doesn't trust himself.

[Edward to Bella:] "[Carlisle] was the only son of an Anglican pastor. His mother died giving birth to him. His father was an intolerant man. As the Protestants came into power, he was enthusiastic in his persecution of Roman Catholics and other religions. He also believed very strongly in the reality of evil. He led hunts for witches, werewolves…and vampires." (15.240)

Edward speaks of Carlisle's father, who believed that witches, werewolves, and vampires were inherently evil. Carlisle, however, seems to have proven his father wrong – vampires can be "good."

[Edward to Bella:] "I can't adequately describe the struggle; it took Carlisle two centuries of torturous effort to perfect his self-control. Now he is all but immune to the scent of human blood, and he is able to do the work he loves without agony. He finds a great deal of peace there, at the hospital…" (16.57)

Edward speaks of Carlisle, who seems to have won his internal battle between good and evil. He can work happily at the hospital – unthinkable for anyone else in the Cullen family, with all that human blood.

[Carlisle to Edward:] "See if you can suck the venom back out. The wound is fairly clean." As Carlisle spoke, I could feel more pressure on my head, something poking and pulling at my scalp. The pain of it was lost in the pain of the fire. (23.43)

Edward has to fight his more primal, or in his mind "evil," instincts, in order to save Bella. All his practice struggling with the evil within himself has led up to this moment.

[Bella:] "Good." He hadn't promised, though – a fact that I had not missed. The panic was only barely contained; I had no strength left to control the anger. "You told me how you stopped…now I want to know why," I demanded. […]

Edward's eyes seemed to turn flat black, and I remembered that this was something he'd never intended me to know. Alice must have been preoccupied by the things she'd learned about herself or she'd been very careful with her thoughts around him – clearly he'd had no idea that she'd filled me in on the mechanics of vampire conversions. (24.189, 192)

Bella wants to know why Edward didn't just let her change into a vampire after James had bitten her. Though Edward considers himself to be a "monster," Bella wants to become like him so they can be together forever.

[Edward: "You have saved me," he said quietly.

[Bella:] "I can't always be Lois Lane," I insisted. "I want to be Superman, too." "You don't' know what you're asking." His voice was soft; he stared intently at the edge of the pillowcase.

"I think I do."

"Bella, you don't know. I've had almost ninety years to think about this, and I'm still not sure." (24.196-200)

Notice how Bella says that she wants to be "Superman, too." This reminds us of the time when Edward said to Bella, "What if I'm not a superhero? What if I'm the bad guy?" (5.109) Clearly, Bella has decided that Edward is a superhero (Superman, after all, is not a "bad guy"), and she wants to be a superhero as well. She doesn't think that vampires are inherently evil. Edward, however, isn't so sure. Unless Bella is on her deathbed and has no other options, Edward isn't keen on turning her into a vampire.

[Edward:] "Bella, we're not having this discussion anymore. I refuse to damn you to an eternity of night and that's the end of it." […]

[Bella:] "If you think that's the end, then you don't know me very well," I warned him. "You're not the only vampire I know." (24.231)

Edward seems certain that vampires are evil beings and are "damned." Bella refuses to agree, and threatens to get one of his family members to transform her.