- The author
- The background of the novel Dracula
- Main characters
- Main character: Dracula
- First text passage: Jonathan's description of the count
- How does one have to protect against Dracula?
- Second text passage: Dracula's death
- Personal comment
Bram Stoker was born on 8 November 1847 in Dublin. He was the third of seven children. After a long incapacitating childhood illness he attended a private day school in Dublin, before having a successful career at the Trinity College in Dublin. There he became University athletics champion, an unbeatable road runner and a good footballer. He was an active speaker at the Philosophical Society, which eventually made him President. He graduated with Honours degree in Pure Mathematics. In 1870, following his fathers footsteps, he entered the Civil Service as a clerk in Dublin Castle. In 1875, Stoker published his first horror story, *The chain of destiny*, which appeared in the newspaper *Shamrock* in four serial parts. In 1890, after making some American tours, he made first notes for what would become *Dracula*. In this year, he spent summer holiday at Whitby, which would become an important place in *Dracula*. His most important novel was published in June 1897. After that, he wrote other books like *The Jewel of the seven stars* or *The man*. In 1908, Bram Stoker made an interview with Winston Churchill, which was published in the Daily Chronicle. In 1912, on 20 April, he died in London and was later cremated at Golden Green Crematorium, where his ashes remained.
The background of his novel
The myth of the Vampire takes root in the old slawian belief. The tradition says, that a Vampire is an undeath daemon, similar to a bat. Bram Stoker used primarily Eastern European vampire lore of the time to create his novel. His studies of vampires, Vlad Tepes Dracula, and Transsylvania gave him the information and inspiration to write his most famous book.
- Count Dracul
- Jonathan Harker, solicitor, husband of Mina
- Dr. Seward, alienist
- Dr. Van Helsing, very intelligent man, who lives in Amsterdam, friend of Dr. Seward
- Lucy Westenraa, friend of Mina and wife of Arthur Holmwood
- Arthur Holmwood, Lucy's husband
- Quincey Morris, friend of Arthur Holmwood, goes hunting
Main character: Dracula
Dracula is an Un-Death Count, who lives in his castle deep in Transsylvania! He sleeps between sunrise and sunset in his grave or in a coffin filled with its native earth. If anyone becomes such an Un-Death, there comes with the change the immortality. They cannot die, but must go on age after age adding new victims. For all that die from the preying of the Un-Death, become themselves Un- Dead an prey on their kind, with the intention to drink the victim's blood. The nosferatu doesn't die like the bee when he stings once. He is only stronger, and has more power to work evil. Dracula is of himself so strong in person as twenty men, he is of cunning more than mortal, for his cunning be the growth of ages, he has the divination by the dead, and all the dead in his nearness are for him at command. He is brute and doesnt' have a heart. You can't see him in a mirror. He can, within his range, direct the elements, the storm, the fog, the thunder, he can command all the meaner things, the rat and the bat, the moth, and the fox, and the wolf, he can grow and become small, and he can at times vanish and come unknown.
First text passage: (Jonathan's description of the count)
His face was a strong, a very strong, aquiline, with high bridge of the thin nose and peculiarly arched nostrils, with lofty domed forehead, and hair growing scantily round the temples but profusely elsewhere. His eyebrows were very massive, almost meeting over the nose, and with bushy hair that seemed to curl in its own profusion. The mouth, so far as I could see it under the heavy moustache, was fixed and rather cruel-looking, with peculiarly sharp white teeth. These protruded over the lips, whose remarkable ruddiness showed astonishing vitality in a man of his years. For the rest, his ears were pale, and at the tops extremely pointed. The chin was broad and strong, and the cheeks firm though thin. The general effect was one of extraordinary pallor.
Hitherto I had noticed the backs of his hands as they lay on his knees in the firelight, and they had seemed rather white and fine. But seeing them now close to me, I could not but notice that they were rather coarse, broad, with squat fingers. Strange to say, there were hairs in the centre of the palm. The nails were long and fine, and cut to a sharp point. As the Count leaned over me and his hands touched me, I could not repress a shudder. It may have been that his breath was rank, but a horrible feeling of nausea came over me, which, do what I would, I could not conceal.
How does one have to protect against Dracula?
It's very hard to fight against a vampire, because with every victim, he wins more power. To protect oneself against a vampire you need:
- A consecrated host
- Flowers of garlic
- Branch of the wild rose
- A crucifix
- To cross
We begin with Jonathan Harker, an English solicitor who journeys to Transylvania to meet a prospective client, Count Dracula. His order is to buy an old house with a chapel in London for the count. Although he's being warned by many superstitious persons not to go there, he follows the count to his castle. But soon, he realizes, that the count is a very curious person, and that he, himself, is his captive. More and more he begins to realize, that he's the only living person at the castle. The three mysterious women too, who appear to him, are Un-Deaths. In spite of these bad circumstances he succeeds to return to his wife, who lives in England.
Sometimes later, a mysterious ship is arriving at Whitby harbour. Everybody is dead, just a black dog is leaving the ship...it was the count!
Dr Seward works in a private lunatic asylum. There is a madman, Renfield, who has very curious collapses. He is the first, who meets the count...and he always denounces the presence of the count. Mina Harker, Jonathans wife, has a good female friend, Lucy Westenraa, who had just married before the return of Jonathan Harker. In a clear full moon night, Lucy has a dream. In this night she leaves her bedroom and meets the count Dracula, who drinks her blood. So, she is condemned to be an Un- Death like Dracula after her Death!
Her health condition is more and more critical, and soon, in spite of a lot of blood transfusions, she dies. She's also responsible for the tiny wound in the throat of many children. She is the *Bloofer lady* With the help of Dr. Van Helsing from Amsterdam, our courageous heros have to drive a stake through her heart, and have to cut her head! It's the unique possible way to free her and to give her the eternal peace, and to save the bitten children.
Short time later, Renfield dies in a fight against the count, and Mina Harker is bitten by the same one. Our heros have just one chance to save Mina's life: They have to search and destroy all the coffins filled with Dracula's native earth. So, the count has no chance to run away. They find only 49 coffins out of 50, and they realize pretty quickli, that the count is on his way home to his castle. Now, a wild hunting through Europe begins. During the count travels over the sea, our heros take the train from London to Galatz. But the count is too sly, and achieves the Sereth river. But with the help of Mina's lethargy they always know, where the count is. In the last second, they can kill the count, right in front of is castle, just before sunset. Quincey Morris, a gallant gentleman, risks and looses his life in the fight against the gypsies. But Mina is being saved!
Second text passage: Dracula's Death
The sun was almost down on the mountain tops, and the shadows of the whole group fell upon the snow. I saw the Count lying within the box upon the earth, some of which the rude falling from the cart had scattered over him. He was deathly pale, just like a waxen image, and the red eyes glared with the horrible vindictive look which I knew so well.
As I looked, the eyes saw the sinking sun, and the look of hate in them turned to triumph.
But, on the instant, came the sweep and flash of Jonathan's great knife. I shrieked as I saw it shear through the throat. Whilst at the same moment Mr. Morris's bowie knife plunged into the heart. It was like a miracle, but before our very eyes, and almost in the drawing of a breath, the whole body crumbled into dust and passed from our sight.
I shall be glad as long as I live that even in that moment of final dissolution, there was in the face a look of peace, such as I never could have imagined might have rested there. The Castle of Dracula now stood out against the red sky, and every stone of its broken battlements was articulated against the light of the setting sun.
One interesting thing about Dracula is the very modern style - even by standards 100 years later. There is no central narrator - instead the viewpoint shifts between several characters. This book is comprised entirely using the journals and correspondence of the various people in the story.
The thing I liked most about this book is the way it is written. It is written in the form of letters, diary entries, notes and newspaper articles - this is from the characters' viewpoint. This book is very good because it goes into detail and gives descriptions of people and places. My favourite character is Dr. Van Helsing I liked this character because he knows a lot about vampires. He knows what to do to kill them and how to change people, that had been bitten, back into normal people.