he first character introduced in the novel Dracula by Bram Stoker is Jonathan Harker, an English lawyer who traveled to Transylvania to speak with Count Dracula about a real estate settlement. Suspicions and skepticism earlier on in the novel were disregarded by Harker, such as the whispers of town civilians as he embarked on his journey to the property. Blind to the evils that lurked in the shadows of the gothic castle that was Dracula’s dwelling, Harker is characterized as ingenuous and naïve. Subsequently, his inquisitiveness to unveil Dracula’s essence and determination to escape were disclosed to the reader after unearthly events had occurred regularly in the Count’s home. After he had escaped from the Counts lair and climbed to freedom, Harker was hailed a valiant fighter. To summarize Jonathan Harker’s character as a whole, he exemplified normality in contrast to the supernatural elements of the novel and exhibited characteristics that the reader could relate to if put in the hazardous circumstances that he was in.
Mina Murray, fiancée of Jonathan Harker, worked as a schoolmistress and was distinguished as a young, pragmatic woman. Mina was close friends with Count Dracula’s first victim, Lucy Westenra, and cared for Westenra after she had fallen under Dracula’s spell. Whilst in the hands of Dracula, Murray maintained unyielding Christian beliefs and embodied purity and innocence which helped her persevere. While Mina is illustrated as exceedingly feminine, her insight and discernment had led Van Helsing’s men to Dracula’s castle and later Helsing described Mina as acquiring the brain of a man. Although most readers would consider that the focal conflict was between Harker and Dracula, the preeminent war had occurred between Mina’s purity and the Count’s immoral influences.
Lucy Westenra obtained similar attributes that Mina had such as innocence and purity. However, Lucy had various admirers that were captivated by her beauty as she was an overly sexualized character who conveyed her cravings for a number of men. Her ideology was disparate from the presumptions of Victorian women as she assumed that it was blasphemous that women could not marry more than one man. Westenra was sculpted as an adolescent whose purity was to be preserved at all costs. Her purity, in turn, would be seized by Dracula as she fell under his spell and became a vampire. When Lucy evolved into a vampire, her soul was eradicated from the promise of death and her morality was stripped away from her. Later in the novel, Lucy’s soul was reinstated to her body after Van Helsing’s crew searched for the demon Lucy had become, as it was an improper end for an individual of Lucy’s stature.
Van Helsing, an acclaimed Dutch professor and a specialist in medicine, did not undergo any substantial change or development; however, his collaboration in the elimination of the Count contributed a great deal to the plot. His colleagues characterized him as one of the most progressive scientists during the era, which is verified when he faced the powers of Count Dracula. He recognized that the Count could not be warded off by basic logic and used his intellect to conquer the Count. Van Helsing could be chronicled as a hero, as he assisted Lucy with his comprehension of fallacies and misconceptions surrounding vampires which ultimately led to the eradication of Count Dracula. Overall, Van Helsing exemplified the “good” in the world and was recruited as the hero to set the Earth free of all wickedness and corruption.
Count Dracula, the most fundamental character in the novel, was a centuries-old vampire who occupied a castle in the mountains. Beneath his endearing disposition was a diabolical and malicious soul. Dracula rarely emerged in a palpable form to the other characters and could adopt the form of any animal. His vigor could not be restricted, Stoker declaring that he was more powerful than twenty men combined. However, his abilities were limited as he could not enter a victim’s residence unless invited, was made vulnerable in daylight, and could not navigate over water. After fleeing from Van Helsing, he proclaimed that his revenge had just begun, which disclosed that he had underlying ambitions. Count Dracula was equivalent to a human as he yearned to restore his power, even if that meant exposing innocent individuals to his personal sinister visions and impulses.
Renfield, a patient at Dr. Seward’s mental institution, suspected that consuming living creatures would provide power and influence. With limited information about this character, the reader was left to guess about Renfield’s background and life story. However, the reader could recognize an interrelatedness between Renfield and Dracula because of their peculiar appetites which they believed was the secret to power. As the storyline progresses, the relationship between Renfield and the Count became more evident as Renfield tried to escape from the asylum to go to Dracula’s castle. Contrary to what other readers may think of Renfield, he was the most rational character of the novel as he was able to recognize the Count’s true nature, unlike those who viewed Dracula from an opinionated led standpoint.
The portrayal of vampires has since been modernized from Bram Stoker’s perspective of an unsightly blood-sucking being into an overly glamorized character. Present-day vampires, as seen in The Vampire Diaries and Twilight, are tailored to perfection and have amassed more humanistic attributes and are given backstories so audiences could establish a connection with them. Based on my cinematic experience, the character of Count Dracula was not what I expected as I presumed that Dracula would have obtained more humanistic traits and qualities rather than being an otherworldly creature. Stoker stated in the novel that Dracula, “… begins to crawl down the castle wall… face down, with his cloak spreading out around him like great wings” (Stoker, 22). This quote displayed that Dracula could be affiliated back to a demon or other sinister creatures as he demonstrated behavior that was nonhuman. Along with this idea, the author portrayed Dracula as a, “…. tall, thin man, with a beaky nose and black moustache and pointed beard” (Stoker, 189). This contradicted my primary perception of vampires and made more sense because vampires are wicked creatures, not teenage boys with designer clothes and impeccably styled hair. The “vampire” character has been moderated and defanged to create a fantasy for young, impressionable teens. Before I started this novel, I had little to no presumptions as I mainly read fantasy or science fiction novels; however, this book has far exceeded my expectations as it illustrated what a vampire is supposed to be: a diabolical creature with an appetite for human blood”.