What Is Dracula?
'Dracula' is a book written in 1897 by Bram Stoker that follows Count Dracula and his sinister motives as a vampire. Count Dracula is a mysterious character who welcomes Jonathan Harker, an English lawyer, into his Transylvanian castle to assist in a real estate transaction. After a harrowing journey, where the carriage is almost attacked by a pack of wolves and villagers who warn Harker that he is about to face a vampire, the lawyer makes it safely to his destination. He is greeted warmly by Count Dracula and shown to his hospitable living quarters.
After a few days within the confines of the castle, Harker realizes that he is trapped within the crumbling castle. He is a prisoner to the Count and the dangers associated with him. Harker begins to question the homely nature of Dracula, specifically, when he cuts himself shaving and the Count lunges at him (for a moment) at the sight of blood.
In another instance, Harker wanders into a forbidden part of the castle, falls asleep, and is saved by the Count from three seductress vampires, who almost attacked the sleeping man. Harker becomes aware that Count Dracula is a vampire, and the Count flees to England on a ship with fifty boxes containing soil from his homeland.
In Whitby, England, an abandoned Russian cargo ship is wrecked upon the shore, carrying a lone dog, that runs off, and fifty boxes of soil. Harker's fiancé, Mina is in Whitby to visit her friend Lucy, who is engaged to marry Dr. Seward. Lucy begins to show signs that she is a vampire, and Dr. Seward summons Professor Van Helsing to assist him in treating her for her "condition." They try blood transfusions but garlic hung around her bed seems to be the only intervention to stabilize her condition. During her treatment, a wolf breaks into her house and kills Lucy.
A while later, a woman is heard haunting the streets at night, attacking children. Professor Van Helsing leads the team to Lucy's grave, convinced that she is the vampire doing these ghastly deeds. The group open her coffin, but it is empty. They witness her accosting a child and drive a stake through her heart.
Mina and Jonathan, newly married, join the others in their quest to destroy Dracula by tracking down his chests of dirt. Mina is turned into a vampire in secrecy by the Count during this time. The group locate and destroy all of the boxes of the Count's dirt, besides one. They hypnotize Mina to track Dracula back to Transylvania, where they confront the Count one last time.
They find Dracula sleeping in a box of dirt and behead the vampire. He turns into dust and is destroyed. Dracula has a peaceful look on his face during his last moment.
The Real Dracula
Critics believe that Count Dracula is based on Vlad III, or Vlad the Impaler, the ruler of an ancient kingdom named Wallachia in the 15th century. Vlad the Impaler was also called 'Son of Dracul.' Bram Stoker is believed to have named his character Dracula after learning that the modern Romanian translation of 'drac' means devil.
Vlad the Impaler was known for his barbaric rulership, impaling his victims slowly over days to showcase their suffering. This ruler governed during a warring time and may have killed around 80,000 people. It is estimated that 20,000 people were impaled during his time on the throne.
The Gothic tone of the book is evident and Count Dracula is a classically Gothic villain. The novel is filled with horror, suspense, and supernatural beings- making it a classic Gothic piece of literature. Gothic villains are often intelligent, isolated, and charming, a description that perfectly fits Count Dracula.
Stoker's Dracula Physical Description
Count Dracula has a large, Victorian mustache and a full head of dark, curly hair. He has particularly pointed canine teeth and is pale in color. He also has pointed ears and is cold to the touch. He has short, hairy hands with sharp nails. He also has a thin nose with high nostrils.
Count Dracula's physical description is highlighted in the following quotes:
- "tall old man, clean-shaven, save for a long white mustache and clad in black from head to foot, without a single speck of color about him anywhere"- Jonathan Harker's journal.
Count Dracula, physically, is an unremarkable-looking elderly man.
Count Dracula puts on a heavy façade during his interactions with Jonathan and those who are not privy to the fact that he is an undead vampire. He attempts to hide his true intentions behind an air of hospitality, forced smiles, and forced conversations. Occasionally, this façade will slip and his true feelings will become apparent. A flash of rage will appear, which he will cover up with a stoic appearance once again. An example of this is when he saw a drop of blood on Jonathan's neck after he cut himself with a razor. Count Dracula lost control of his carefully crafted mask, and Jonathan saw the blood-thirsty desire overcome his calm demeanor. Count Dracula leaves in a hurry to cover up his true feelings.
The following quotes describe Count Dracula's personality traits and his veil of cordiality:
- If it is so, then was he no common man; for in that time, and for centuries after, he was spoken of as the cleverest and the most cunning, as well as the bravest of the sons of the 'land beyond the forest.' That mighty brain and that iron resolution went with him to his grave' -Professor Van Helsing.
- 'There was something so panther-like in the movement--something so unhuman, that it seemed to sober us all from the shock of his coming… As the Count saw us, a horrible sort of snarl passed over his face, showing the eye-teeth long and pointed; but the evil smile as quickly passed into a cold stare of lion-like disdain'- when the Count surprises his enemies at his house in Piccadilly.
Count Dracula has a calm personality that hides his true feelings and intentions.
Count's Powers and Limitations
Dracula is said to have gained his supernatural powers by dealing with the devil. Vampires, and Dracula in particular, have a multitude of powerful supernatural abilities that make them fearsome enemies. At the same time, they have some salient weaknesses that can be exploited to end their reign of terror. The following sections will dive into more detail.
Count Dracula can drink the blood of mortals to gain strength and preserve his everlasting mortality. His touch also persuades the victim to submit to his will. This is described in the following quote:
' 'First, a little refreshment to reward my exertions. You may as well be quiet; it is not the first time, or the second, that your veins have appeased my thirst!' I was bewildered, and strangely enough, I did not want to hinder him. I suppose it is a part of the horrible curse that such is when his touch is on his victim '- Mina's description of her encounter.
Furthermore, Count Dracula is able to control the power of wolves, as well as become one himself. He can also transform into a bat. Wolves are not the only animals he can control, as he can command rats, bats, and dogs to do as he wills. He can become larger or smaller per to his preference.
Count Dracula is immortal and has extreme strength. He can survive without nourishment for an extended period. He can control the weather, causing large storm systems and fogs to roll in.
Dracula can also become transparent and travel on moon rays as a speck of dust. He passes through mirrors unseen and casts no shadows, making him a sly enemy to follow. The Count can also communicate with the dead and has telepathic powers.
While Count Dracula seems to be a formidable foe, there are some limitations to his powers. Vampires need to feed on human blood, or they will lose their vitality. They can't survive without drinking blood. This is evident when Jonathan finds Dracula engorged from blood and newly refreshed: 'as if his youth had been half renewed.'
Professor Van Helsing details an important weakness that Count Dracula has: 'in whatever form it is in when daylight comes, it will remain in that form until sunset.' If the Count is a bat at sunrise, he will be a bat until sunset.
Dracula can also not enter a house without being invited first and has no power during the daylight hours. This is why he returns to his unhallowed earth in his coffin during the day. It is a form of energy regeneration and without doing so, the vampire is weakened.
Garlic, the crucifix, holy water, the Eucharist, and wild roses are all repellants to vampires.
Professor Van Helsing dictates how to kill vampires in the following sentence: 'death occurs when a wooden stake is driven through the heart, the head cut off, and garlic stuffed in the mouth.'
While Count Dracula and other vampires are powerful supernatural figures, they have salient limitations that can be exploited to vanquish them.
Who is Dracula and his legacy? Dracula is a household name that insight fear into modern-day families by the perseverance of his presence in current adaptations. The following sections will dive into his influence and adaptations.
Stoker's 'Dracula' continues to be the influential model that literary, television, and film versions base their versions of vampires on. There have been 43 remakes of the original novel, proving Dracula's fearsome legacy can live on as a fearsome concept.
Many of the core concepts of the monster have lived on. It is common to see vampires in adaptations and see original concepts from the film that have been preserved. His weaknesses of religious amulets, garlic, and daylight are common amongst adaptations.
Dracula is often portrayed as a powerful man, continuing to allude to the gothic villain stereotype. Dracula continues to be a household name with the adaptations that have kept his specific characterization alive for generations.
Count Dracula has persevered into modern-day culture with multiple adaptations in film and television. The first time Count Dracula made it to the big screen was in 'Nosferatu.' This 1922 silent horror film was made in Germany and follows Count Orlok's misadventures.
Twilight adopted the vampire concept to meet the need of young adults by toning down the horror aspect and humanizing the vampire subjects. The literary novels and the film adaptions became famous worldwide.
'What We Do in the Shadows' is a dark comedy tv series about vampires living as roommates in modern society. The vampires have many of the same supernatural powers that Count Dracula had.
Even 'Sesame Street' has the Count, a pale vampire with fangs who helps the children count objects. While he does not have the fearsome attributes that Count Dracula embodied, he still has similar physical characteristics. Count Dracula continues to be adapted in modern works and is still relevant in society.
Count Dracula is described as an elderly man that has short, hairy hands with sharp nails and white hair with a long white moustache. Dracula is a stoic, seemingly hospitable host to Jonathan. The first time this mask fades is when Jonathan cuts himself shaving and Dracula lunges at him for a moment. Jonathan begins to understand that the Count is a dangerous man.
Count Dracula has the ability to transform into animals, to communicate with the dead, telepathy and a multitude of other fearsome talents. He is finally killed by Jonathan and his brethren when they follow him back to Transylvania. Count Dracula has a look of peace on his face as he dies and turns into dust.
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What kind of creature is Dracula?
Dracula is a vampire. He is an undead, immortal creature of great strength and prowess. He can morph into different sizes and shape shift into different animals.
What does Dracula mean?
Bram Stoker is believed to have named his character Dracula after learning that the modern Romanian translation of 'drac' means devil.
How did Count Dracula die?
The group hypnotize Mina to track Dracula back to Transylvania, where they confront the Count one last time.
They find Dracula sleeping in a box of dirt, and behead the vampire. He turns into dust and is destroyed.
Is Dracula the first vampire?
Dracula is not the first vampire. He was one of the most famous portrayals of vampires, but there were other vampires before Dracula.
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