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Vlad The Impaler (From Wikepedia)

One of the original pieces of work on Dracula in Russia is the Story About Dracula, written by monk Efrosin in 1490. Stories such as these should not be forgotten because they are the foundation of what today's modern vampire is. The character Dracula is based on Vlad the Impaler [1], who was the prince of Wallachia three different times from 1448, until he died in 1477 [2]. Interestingly, Story About Dracula was written based on another piece of work that was created in 1486, but it was never found. Story about Dracula, is not necessarily a story, but rather a collection of examples about prince Dracula’s sadistic decisions when ruling. While analyzing a few of the examples in the text, it is important to note that the religious tone may have created a form of bias in the writing. Furthermore, it is essential to understand that the world of today is different than it was in the 1400s; violence was looked at from another perspective [3] . The audience may jump to the conclusion that Dracula was in fact a blood thirsty ruler, however, showing your power through violence, or even impaling, was not uncommon in many kingdoms [4].

After each example in the text, there is a statement as to whether the statement could be verified as historically accurate, and most were. The fascination with such a story may be rooted in the idea that Dracula was once a real prince, who had the power to do whatever cruelties he wished. As Raymond T. McNally, the translator of the manuscript Story About Dracula, commented, many people saw Dracula’s approach as cruel, yet fair. From the examples mentioned, there is no doubt that Dracula was cruel, but the question on whether it was just because he needed to protect his country, is up to the individual to decide.

The story of Vlad the Impaler, and Bram Stoker’s Dracula are often compared to each other. It is argued that Bram Stoker’s Dracula may have been inspired by Vlad the Impaler, or more specifically the Story About Dracula [5]. But, anyone who has read the two will quickly notice the distinct difference between them. However, there is one key feature the two seem to have in common; there is an underlying “cruel but just” principal in both characters, which seemed to have carried on for generations within the stories about vampires.

References:

Efrosin. Story About Dracula. Translated by Raymond McNally, Russia, 1490.

Bram, Stoker. Dracula. Penguin Classics, 2003.

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