Topic: What role does modern medicine and science play in the defeat of Dracula?
Many critics argue that the fin-de-siècle revival of the Gothic was connected with anxieties about contemporary scientific discourses (Byron 50). These anxieties are at the heart of Bram Stoker’s gothic novel Dracula (1897). Set predominantly in Victorian England, the novel tells the story of “The Crew of Light”, who must subordinate their beliefs in modern medicine, science and rationality in order to defeat the mysterious Count Dracula. Stoker employs Dutch scientist, philosopher and metaphysician, Abraham Van Helsing, in order to explore this tension between contemporary scientific discourses and the traditional. Although Dracula is ultimately defeated by …show more content…
According to Rosemary, the Victorian gentleman believed that ‘what one can see and prove constitutes reality’ (275). Stoker’s Dr. John Seward embodies this sort of scientific rationality. When he finds out about Lucy Westenra’s illness and somnambulism, he attempts to heal her with blood transfusions: ‘Lucy had got a terrible shock, and it told on her more than before, for though plenty of blood went into her veins, her body did not respond to the treatment as well as on the other occasions’ (Stoker 160). Lecercle points out that blood transfusions can be seen as the inverse of vampirism (71). They are essentially modern medicine’s attempt to bring the supernatural under control. After four unsuccessful attempts at a blood transfusion, Professor Abraham Van Helsing concedes that modern medicine and science cannot explain Lucy’s condition, rather vampirism must be at work. He counsels Seward for his inability to diagnose vampirism: ‘you are a clever man, friend John; you reason well, and your wit is bold; but you are too prejudiced... Ah, it is the fault of our science that it wants to explain all; and if it explain not, then it says there is nothing to explain’ (Stoker 204). Stoker is seemingly criticising scientists at the fin de siècle for their lack of open mind and inability to consider possibilities beyond the reach of contemporary science. Rosemary adds ‘the narrative gestures more specifically toward popular debate about science by arguing that it is their very reliance on scientific rationality that makes the English so vulnerable to Dracula's threat’ (274). Count Dracula, who has powerful hypnotic and telepathic abilities and defies the normal laws of life and death, is proof of occult forces beyond the reach of contemporary science. The Count is able to go unnoticed in Whitby as modern
According to the Victorian Web, a new and budding author named Bram Stoker entered the world in the year 1847, on the eighth of November. From a young age, Stoker loved to read about folklore, and later on in life he aspired to be an author. Although Stoker published several stories, only in the year 1897 did he publish his most well-known novel, Dracula. After this success, Stoker went on to write several other novels, and eventually died in the year 1912. (Scarborough)
Dracula is an example of the clash between the modernity and tradition. Stoker puts an emphasis on the newest technology of Britain and combines them with traditional and folkloric traits. He described through Doctor Seward and Doctor Van Helsing two main attitudes towards science. Doctor Seward stands for modern science and reasoning and Doctor Van Helsing represents the superstitious beliefs. Doctor John Seward is a British man who represents an objective and scientific approach.
The essay I chose to compare Dracula with was “Kiss Me With Those Red Lips: Gender and Inversion in Bram Stoker’s Dracula” by Christopher Craft. The essay explains the sexuality in Dracula, desire, gender, and even homosexuality. Craft mentions his essay gives an account of Stoker’s “vampire metaphor” (Craft 108). He highlights certain and very valid points in the story of Dracula that breaks the Victorian gender role, writing, “a pivotal anxiety of late Victorian culture.” (Craft 108).
The horror genre of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, combined with mild eroticism is able to draw in readers due to the fact that Stoker is able to intricately weave suspenseful sexual scenes/scenes of desire throughout the novel—making it clear that
During the Victorian period in which Dracula was written, morals and ethics were often strictly enforced. Some of the morals that were upheld had to do with personal duty, hard work, honesty, as well as sexual proprietary. It was very important during this period that one was proper in their sexual behaviors and conventional in whom they had sexual relations with. However, during this period, many authors sought to challenge the ‘norm’ with ideas of reform and change and Bram Stoker was no exception to this. In his novel, Dracula, Stoker provides a critique of this rigidity in his portrayal of Dracula and Dracula’s relationship with Jonathan Harker.
The topic I have chosen for my essay is how Dracula is meant to remind society of the importance of religion, specifically Christianity, in Stoker’s time. I intend to do this through analyzing symbols in Dracula, drawing connections between these symbols and Christianity, and analyzing the implications Stoker attempts to make. I chose this topic because vampires and their sacrilegious implications, such as burning when touching a cross, have always been of interest to me, hence why I chose to study Dracula in the first place. My thesis is: Stoker uses Count Dracula as symbol to represent what society may become if they abandon religious beliefs.
However, it was unlikely that anyone would kill Dracula especially in a country such as England which the doctor explained. The doctor let this be known when he assumed, “The strength of the vampire is that people will not believe in him” (Browning). The doctor knew that people were unlikely to kill Dracula in England because people did not think that the myth of a vampire could be true. The Doctor knew that English people did not believe that the folklores were true but the doctor believed in the folklores and knew that the stories of Dracula were true. The doctor knew that something had to be done so the doctor convinced everyone that it was time to kill Dracula.
At first glance, the novel Dracula by Bram Stoker appears to be a typical gothic horror novel set in the late 1890s that gives readers an exciting look into the fight between good and evil. Upon closer inspection, it becomes apparent that Dracula is a statement piece about gender roles and expectations for men and women during the Victorian age. Looking at the personalities, actions, and character development of each of the characters in Dracula bring to light startling revelations about Victorian society and how Stoker viewed the roles of men and women during this time period. To really understand Dracula, it is important to note that this novel was written during a time “of political and social upheaval, with anxieties not just about the
A battle between good and evil is a common plot to Dracula. The forces of evil, Count Dracula and other vampires (the un-dead), try to take over Britain. The novel heroes Dr. Van Helsing, Dr. John Seward, Johnathan Haker, Quincy Morris, and Arthur Holmwood are the first responders for this evil invasion of the British Empire. In the novel the characters Dracula and Van Helsing play a major role for being the leaders of their respective groups, therefore they controlled the actions of their groups. Dracula’s actions in the novel have the purpose to flourish the rise of the un-dead, while Van Helsing’s actions aim to preserve and protect the human race.
Religion is used as moral justification through ceremonies, rituals, and analogy. In Dracula, the appeal to faith is apparent. Stoker, using a fundamental distortion of Christian principles makes Count Dracula into the anti-Christ. Dracula, as the anti-Christ, promises eternal life through the drinking of human blood. This act is a clear perversion of the holiest sacraments in Christian faith, communion.
The downfall of Lucy Westerna and the arrival of Dracula arose fears in which only challenging their sense of humanity and understanding of the world could they be able to overcome the dangers which had surrounded them. A sense of urgency is created in when Bram Stoker uses exclamation marks, as the turn of Lucy begins. “Arthur! Kiss me!” she states it as if it must happen now, or it never will.
The group struggles to realize the matter of Dracula’s powers because they were being clouded by the era of science. It is only until Van Helsing brings together the ideology of the scientific West and the supernatural East that the group is able to overcome Dracula’s powers and defeat him, which portrays
For instance, the religious and scientific objects used by the protagonists are put on an equal level and shown working together when Seward states “We each held ready to use our various armaments—the spiritual in the left hand, the mortal in the right.” (Stoker 324). Likewise, Mina’s aforementioned rationalist deduction of Dracula’s escape route is notably said to be made “under God’s providence” (Stoker 373), again suggesting faith and reason working together in harmony. This reconciliation of religion and rationalism is best shown in the character of Van Helsing, who embodies both extremes of the debate. He is described by Seward as “one of the most advanced scientists of his day” (Stoker 122).
Gothic horror novel Dracula, the title character makes only several relatively short appearances, some of which are while in disguise. Throughout the novel, Stoker keeps Count Dracula in the shadows, both literally and figuratively. This essay will describe these appearances and analyze Stoker’s use of them to determine what effect they might have on the impression of the character and the novel overall. It will be claimed that by keeping his title character hidden for much of the novel, Stoker’s Dracula is made much more frightening to the reader. Human beings tend to fear the unknown, and by leaving Dracula to the imagination,