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A collection of short stories translated by Raymond T. McNally from the oldest Russian documents on Dracula, preserved from the 15th century.

Overviews Edit

The Russian translation starts by introducing the character Dracula, describing him as a Christian prince in the Wallachian lands.[1] In these stories it does not mention if Dracula is a vampire or a man but it does explicitly describe Dracula as not only blood thirsty but eager to demonstrate his power, authority, love of puns, and clever mentality. The author begins these stories of Dracula in the middle of his life at the rise of his power.

The translation goes on to describe the rivalry between Dracula and the Turks based on the fact that the Turkish ambassadors did not cordially take off their hats when speaking to Dracula and as a result had their caps nailed to their heads. The quick and clever battles of Dracula and his army against the Turk army also describes the start of Dracula's blood lust and impalement of his victims. But Dracula, being an intelligent and clever ruler, doesn't necessarily impale without cause, the punishment of impalement is chosen as a result of the victim's previous actions or ignorance.

More stories go on to describe the prince's clever but horrific actions that can be deemed as generous but conditional. He gathers all the poor and sick in his land and gives them food and water and entertainment, then burns them alive so that they will suffer no more and so his land will be rid of poor. Dracula entertains two monks and asks them each what they think of his impalement punishment as a test. While one monk answers incorrectly, the other answers appropriately and thus one is impaled and one is rewarded.

However, the Dracula character also respects honesty and loyalty, creating cruel punishments for liars, thieves, adulterers, egocentrics, and tricksters to make examples of these evils. There are various translated stories about each of these evils and how Dracula responds to them, often ending with the "evil individual" getting impaled or killed in some fashion on Dracula's orders. The prince also demands that ambassadors or rulers that visit him, be appropriately dressed and mannered, as Dracula will be the same, and if not equaled deems this as ignorance and impales the inappropriately dressed.

The last few stories all describe Dracula captured by the Hungarians and his time in jail until conditional release. Eventually, Dracula became the ruler of Wallachian once more, married the Hungarian King's sister, and had two sons. Dracula's death occurred during his last battle with the Turks. While his men dominated over the Turkish army, the prince decided to watch the killing from the top of a hill but disguised as a Turk himself and was thus killed by his own unknowing men.

Themes Edit

There are a couple recurring themes in the collective translations of the Russian manuscript. These themes include: the idea of tests for worthiness, and the blood lust of Dracula. Dracula's blood lust more often than not, translates to the vampire Dracula character.

Tests for Worthiness Edit

In many of the translated Dracula stories, there is the underlying theme of tests on Dracula's part for his various subjects. The prince evaluates ambassadors, rulers, monks, and people from his land based on how they act and respond to his tests to determine if they are worthy of living. Several examples of such objectives include: the test of the gold drinking cup by a river so that anyone may drink but if one stole the cup they would be caught and killed for their thievery; the test of the monks as mentioned earlier and their perception of the prince's rule under their god; the test of the Hungarian ambassador who humbly responded to Dracula's cunning question and as a result was given gifts and honored by Dracula. The prince's tests on various persons is his method of finding what he declares as evil and giving his punishment for such acts.

Russian Dracula to vampire Dracula Edit

The Dracula in the translated compilation of Russian stories is not explicitly described as a vampire- an individual to survives by feeding off the blood of others. However, the blood lust of the Russian Dracula and his thirst to spill blood via impaling his victims, skinning his victims, or physical torture can be related to how the vampire Dracula character came about. The most famous and elemental Dracula vampire character is Bram Stoker's Dracula who is a vampire character that feeds off the blood of many victims, including the main female characters Lucy and Mina.[2] This vampire character too is blood thirsty, because he is vampire and an evil character, but the connection to the Russian Dracula comes from his hunger to spill blood (whether it be through battle or impalement). The older Russian prince Dracula serves as a reference template for Stoker's later vampire Dracula character, as Stoker drew the Count's bloodthirsty character from the prince's desire to kill, and the Count's evil nature from the perceived evil actions of the Wallachian prince. Over time, this Russian Dracula character developed more from Stoker's vampire Dracula into a completely vampire character with less of the "Vlad the Impaler" traits.

References Edit

  1. file:///C:/Users/mryho/Downloads/The%20Story%20of%20Dracula.pdf
  2. http://literature.org/authors/stoker-bram/dracula/

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