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For the character, see Count Dracula (character)

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The influential horror novel Dracula was written by Irish author Abraham "Bram" Stoker in 1897.

SynopsisEdit

Dracula is a horror novel about the ancient count or "Boyar" Dracula from the mountain slopes of Transylvania. The novel is written in first person and some scholars say that it is based on hidden knowledge by Stoker himself; he was a follower of occultism and was part of the Golden Dawn's Rosicrucian secret society.

The novel begins with the diary of Jonathan Harker, an English lawyer who travels to the castle of Dracula in Transylvania regarding the purchase of several houses in England.

During his stay in the castle, his host's nature soon becomes obvious to Jonathan Harker. He realizes that Count Dracula does not reflect on the mirror and he watches Dracula escape his castle through the walls, like a beast. He also feels Dracula's great strength and finds out that Dracula himself was the driver that took him there; Harker notices Dracula has no servants at all.

Harker sets into motion a daring plan to escape Dracula and his undead wives. They plan to "eat" him on a certain date. Harker notices Dracula plans to flee, maybe to England. The vampire will travel inside a coffin and taking earth from his own castle. The last time Harker sees the Count, Dracula is on a coffin, looking very young. Harker tries to kill him but Dracula's head is as strong as metal, so Jonathan abandons his plan.

At last, Harker writes his last notes on the diary, in case he dies. He says goodbye to Mina on them.

At the same time, in England, Jonathan's fiancée Wilhelmina Murray and her friend Lucy Westenra discover strange things happening in their small town. Lucy begins sleepwalking, strange dogs stroll around at night, and one of the patients at the local mental institution, run by one of Lucy's suitors, has his condition deteriorate.

After some time, Van Helsing, the legendary vampire killer makes his appearance to fight the evil forces of Count Dracula. The count is chased back to Transylvania, where Quincey Morris, one of Lucy's former suitors and Harker, armed with knives, slay the count.

CharactersEdit

 

Dracula: A noble from Transylvania[1]. He requests the presence of a solicitor to purchase a house in London because he wishes “to be in the midst of the whirl and rush of humanity, to share its life, its change, its death, and all that makes it what it is” (Stoker, 2.30)[2]. Notably, it seems as if he comes to London for which he calls “revenge”, only to be assumed that he is trying to right the glory of his ancestral line. The Count is described as a tall, old man, that is clean shaven except for a long white mustache (Stoker, 21). However, his appearance changes to an young man with jet black hair.


Jonathan Harker: A solicitor from London sent to Dracula’s castle and held there[3]. He is a brave and smart young man that is determined to uncover the truth about Dracula. Harker is in love and engaged to Mina and eventually marries her after he escapes Transylvania. He also helps hunt down the vampire leading to Dracula’s eventual demise.

Wilhemina “Mina” Harker: Young woman who lives in London as a school teacher. She is engaged to Jonathan Harker and after nursing him back to health, she marries him. Mina is the one who fits the pieces around Dracula’s mystery and helps the crew to understand and destroy him. After Lucy, Mina becomes Dracula’s object of interest and is fed on as well as feeds on Dracula. A curse is put upon her to do whatever The Count pleases. She is seen as an innocent and typical well-behaved Victorian woman. However, it could be argued that she represents a woman of the new age as she shows manly initiative and a dark connection with Drac[4].

Lucy Westenra[5]: Lucy is the friend of Mina Harker, who becomes the Count's victim before he pursues Mina. The character of Lucy is used as a foil for the character of Mina Harker, showing the full destructive capabilities of Count Dracula. Lucy is a young Englishwoman, who is the picture of innocence. Extremely young and beautiful, Lucy's letters to Mina are full of youthful naivete, even as she describes multiple marriage proposals in a single day. "Just fancy! Three proposals in one day! Isn't it awful?" she writes Mina, after Dr. John Seward, Mr. Quincey P. Morris, and Mr. Arthur Holmwood all propose to her in one day.[6] However, Lucy's initial childlike innocence soon gives way to an awakened sexuality represented by her sleepwalking. Like her father before her, Lucy suddenly begins to sleep walk. This sleepwalking is accompanied by symptoms of fatigue and loss of blood, a supposed illness that cannot be diagnosed but which turns out to be Count Dracula's influence: he is visiting Lucy during the nights and draining her blood, slowly turning her into a vampire.

300px-John Everett Millais, The Somnambulist

Lucy's sleepwalking is a representation of "overblown desire," as Dracula depends on women's "sexual awakening dependent on their falling into dream states that override consciousness to highlight the body and unleash its innate desires."[7] A somnambulist, or sleepwalker, raised much speculation in the Victorian mind. Lucy's sexual desire demonstrated by her sleep walking or dream state are a commentary on the myth of vampires, which exist as myths to explain subconscious desires which could not be expressed in Victorian social circles. In the Victorian mind (or at least, certainly in the male Victorian mind), a woman's sexual desires were deeply hidden, thought to perhaps even be non-existent.[8] The myth of the vampire in Dracula serves to discuss the repressed sexuality of the female figure. Lucy's innocence-turned-desire leads to her death at the hands of the vampire hunters. Her Un-dead body is finally killed by her fiance, Arthur Holmwood, after she attempts to seduce him into joining her as a vampire. "Come to me, Arthur....My arms are hungry for you. Come, and we can rest together."[6] Arthur kills her, stabbing her through the heart with a wooden stake, while the other vampire hunters behead her corpse and stuff her mouth with garlic to prevent the vampire from rising again. Lucy's tragic end, while heartbreaking for her fiance, Arthur Holmwood, allows the vampire hunters to gain the knowledge to stop Count Dracula and save Mina Harker's life.

  Abraham Van Helsing: A doctor, philosopher, and metaphysician who is the prior mentor of D. Seward[9]. Called by Dr. Seward to help Lucy, he uses his knowledge of both new and old age medicine to diagnose her and offer his assistance[10]. Mina describes the doctor as of medium height, strong build, with red hair, and eyes that change along with his mood (Stoker, 259). Van Helsing is used in this narrative as a foil character to Dracula. His kind and goodly nature as described by Doctor Seward is the counter to Dracula's dark and manipulative characteristics[11]. As "one of the most advanced scientists of his day, and he has, I believe, an absolutely open mind. This, with an iron nerve, a temper of the ice-brook, and indomitable resolution, self-command, and toleration exalted from virtues to blessings, and the kindliest and truest heart that beats, these form his equipment for the noble work that he is doing for mankind, work both in theory and practice, for his views are as wide as his all-embracing sympathy" (Stoker, 161). Stoker retaliates against his naturally pure nature when at one point Abraham is almost seduced by one of Drac's wives (Stoker, 530)[12]. In his Memorandum he describes, "She was so fair to look on, so radiantly beautiful, so exquisitely voluptuous, that the very instinct of man in me, which calls some of my sex to love and to protect one of hers, made my head whirl with new emotion." For a man who previously stated that he could not divorce his wife even though she is insane, Van Helsing finally gives into a temptestuous lust, only to be broken by Mina's screams. His fascination with a "fallen woman" figure of sexuality almost corrupts his mission[13]. This demonstrates the Victorian belief of the time of a fallen woman who has relationships outside of marriage is a seductress in which men ofcoure find it difficult to control themselves around. Van Helsing eventually kills all three wives and aides Jonathan and Quincy in turning Drac to dust.


MythEdit

Dracula myth could have its roots in Prince Vlad Basarab III who was later known as Vlad Tepes Dracula from the Crusades. He was a very cruel person who requested people to pray while he killed them and was obsessed with impaling. He liked to impale his enemies and some people say that he even drank their blood.

In Romania he is actually considered a hero for single handedly holding back The Ottoman Empire, and his victims were primarily other nobles and enemies to the country.

ReceptionEdit

Dracula was the most famous novel by Bram Stoker. It was one of the first ones on its kind, at least for its length and vivid descriptions. It has inspired many movies and fiction. The last movie, Bram Stoker's Dracula, from Francis Ford Coppola, tried to go back to its origins. Other movies are those starring Bela Lugosi such as Dracula (1931). It is also said he is the king of vampires, which ultimately is true due to his powers and abilities.

Movies and ShowsEdit

Dracula has appeared many times over the course of his existence in popular culture. Dracula appeared in the cult classic television show Buffy the Vampire Slayer in season in which Buffy is attempting to slay his character. The episode consist of many tropes seen from Dracula in other media forms. There is also many films based off of Bram Stokers original book including Bram Stoker's Dracula from Coppola and Dracula Untold from Gary Shore.

Books and ComicsEdit

Along with the big screen, Dracula has appeared in a multitude of books and comics as well. Dracula was integrated into the comic universe with his first appearance coming in Historical Suspense #7, which was published in March of 1951. This version of the famous vampire is directly based off the very famous novel, Bram Stoker's Dracula. Dracula's popularity had eventually earned him his own title in Marvel Comics titled Tomb of Dracula, which first appeared in April of 1972. The famous vampire had finally reached mainstream comics, causing him to be a formidable supervillan throughout his years in the Marvel Universe. The reason Dracula was not adapted to comics for so long was due to the Comics Code Authority, which prevented characters from other literary works being implemented into comics. To this day Dracula is still being written about in the Marvel Comics in the Death of Dracula series.

Hundreds of published novels can attribute their aspirations to that of Dracula. One such novel is titled The Historian, in which a Professor named Paul and his daughter go on a search for the tomb of Vlad Tepes, otherwise known as Dracula. The novel is unique in which it uses oral accounts and letters to form a cohesive story. The historical context also offers a different perspective in which Vlad Tepes was a real prince in the 15th century. Due to the fact that the main character is a professor, parts of the novel delve into the myth and folklore of Tepes and Dracula. Peter and his partner Helen travel all throughout the world, uncovering mysteries such as the Order of the Dragon and several other relations to Dracula. Although this adaptation is far different from the original myth, Elizabeth Kotsova's novel is heavily influenced by Bram Stoker's vampire, with both endings resulting in a puncture of the heart.

Appearances in Other FictionEdit

Dracula has become an iconic horror figure, and appears in many other forms of media, either as an actual person or in reference to the book. In the series by Jim Butcher, The Dresden Files, Bram Stoker's Dracula was written as a "How To" book on fighting a certain type of vampire and is responsible for the near extinction of that type of vampire.

The character of Dracula was originally influenced by “The Vampyre” written by John Polidori in 1819. This was the first vampire story written in the English language. According to Polidori, his vampire (Lord Ruthven) was a murderous, immortal man who “sucked” the life out of the protagonist Aubrey. Ruthven is also described as an alluring man with a piercing gaze. His color devoid of any hue and appeared as death (Polidori, 1).

In addition, the “Dracula” character has moved away from being a horror figure that people fear and now is a more diverse character. Dracula can be tall, thin, and pale as well as very reclusive like in the short film “Nosferatu”. He does not go out much and does not interact with others. In “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”, the “Dracula” character is now figures that look just like human beings. They have special powers, like traveling to other places quickly. Also, in present day movies, like “Twilight”, the Dracula character tries to hide who they are and is nothing like the Draculas in the past. The character sparkles in the sunlight and can run very fast. The Dracula character has transformed from each story to fit what the culture and society want at that time. In the beginning, Dracula was meant to scare people into conforming to the culture. They were created to be as scary as possible; most of the time, this was done in order to keep the children from doing things they should not be doing. Also, there were many stories were the vampires would seduce young women and then either kill them or their original lovers. In the present day, vampires are whatever the creator wants them to be. They can be scary and monster-like or they can look just like human beings and act just like normal humans. The present day, vampires also can fall in love with human beings and then try to have a normal life. Vampires can also be women or children. Due to vampires being able to be whatever the creator wants them to be, it takes away the fear factory of the original character. The vampire character has become mainstream and most people do not know the original story of “Dracula”.

[http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0118276/episodes]

[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3iAAO33XYz4]

[http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1099212/]


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