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Dracula is a gothic horror novel written in 1897 by Irish author Abraham “Bram” Stoker, who became well-known after the release of this masterpiece. The novel unfolds the mysterious story of Count Dracula, who tries to flee from Transylvania, a remote region, and goes to England to find new blood and attempts to spread the curse of the undead. It also depicts the fight between good and evil where a joint group of men and women fight against Count Dracula alongside Abraham Van Helsing, a professor and physician whose knowledge is not limited only to science and reasoning but also vampirism and mythological folklores. The novel is composed of marvelous characters and full of hidden messages narrated in a journalistic style and bits of evidence in the form of journal entries, letters, telegrams, and newspaper articles.

The novel “Dracula” was not the first vampire literature created in history. There are vampire myths and lore that date back to ancient times, and there are vampire-like creatures in folklore all over the world, but Stoker’s novel was preceded by and likely influenced by authors with several published vampire stories. His plans and drafts, however, were influenced not only by these and other literary forefathers, but also by his research and intuition into historical works, travel books, and folklore records found in the different libraries, theaters, and museums in the western part of England. Stoker’s work notes manifest his reliance on other historical books such as when the time he visited Whitby and read the history of Wallachia, home of Vlad III Dracula, and Moldavia. While there, three references are what inspired him to give a name to his infamous character and one of them was after a real person who had a penchant for blood: Vlad III, Prince of Wallachia or more widely known as – Vlad the Impaler.

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Dracula is one of several significant and long-lasting novels associated with gothic traits such as the mysterious settings, both remote and ancient places, as well as dramatic coincidences in which fate plays a role. In the case of Dracula, issues of marriage and sexuality, and scientific challenges to religious traditions are all addressed. Also, it is one of the group of novels about transition and change, both in the body and the mind.

The novel’s action takes place in the late 1800s and alternates between two geographical settings, the ancient and modern. Dracula begins in Transylvania, a remote place, in which his castle resides, the castle Dracula, then moves to England before going back to Transylvania as the novel’s ending. The settings of the novel counteract one another, where Transylvania acts as a less advanced and more primitive society influenced by folklore, myths, and religion. It also has ties to the Islamic world, which has traditionally been considered outside the borders of Europe. As Harker explains, “The impression I had was that we were leaving the West and entering the East” (Chapter 3, page__ ). As mentioned above, Transylvania is designated as the location where a vampire can emerge and gain power: as Count Dracula explains, “We are in Transylvania and Transylvania is not England. Our ways are not your ways, and there shall be to you many strange things” (Chapter 2, p6). However, the plot’s momentum is based on the fact that the Count has no intention of residing in Eastern Europe instead, he yearns for England to satisfy his blood lust and to start a plague. Setting in England illustrates that Dracula gives trouble to the nation by contamination and manipulation its inhabitants and women. In the end, the protagonists defeat Dracula back in Transylvania, outside of his castle. His return to Transylvania signifies that the reign of terror he caused has been settled and contained.

Most of the characters’ points of view in the novel are in first-person perspective since the novel is composed of written records such as journal entries and letters. Each narrator describes and reflects on his own experience of the novel’s events in their accounts. The reflections they wrote were done daily and they convey an urge of immediacy rather than retrospection. They have no idea what will happen next, but they are constantly reflecting on the events of the previous days. Each narrator also has a point of view regarding their interests and personality. For instance, Dr. John Seward’s entries are mostly in reliance on scientific evidence which makes it difficult for him to recognize Lucy’s illness as supernatural. His entries are suspicious, as he grapples with possibilities he cannot fully accept. Meanwhile, Mina’s entries reflect her sympathy and frankly express her feelings and worries, also she frequently intuits her companions’ need for emotional and moral support. Professor Van Helsing, on the other hand, has a limited presence in the novel as a first-person perspective. His point of view is expressed directly in a few letters, and later in an account of his journey to Castle Dracula with Mina, in which he protects against the Count. This appropriately reflects Van Helsing, at first, for the concealment of his motivations and knowledge about the true nature of Count Dracula from other protagonist characters. Next, Arthur Holmwood and Quincey Morris, neither of them ever become narrators, but both men are primary tools in service in the latter part of the novel. Lastly, Dracula and the three vampire brides, as adversaries of major characters, never had a journal entry except pieces of Dracula’s backstory come out only in Van Helsing’s entries. The novel suggests that the point of view of the characters plays an essential role as this gives the readers mixed emotions and ideas on the personality of each account in the novel.

The main characters in the novel represent Stoker’s ideas, beliefs, and relationships with the world and the people around it. Each one of them has a set of skills and traits that fulfill the portrayal of their character for the novel to be more interesting and lively. Count Dracula is the major antagonist of the novel, an evil, and nobleman who escapes death by drinking human blood to retain his supernatural youth and strength. Dracula was once a leader, passed down from his ancestors, who had wealth and authority in his mortal life. He seeks to regain his power and absolute control in the world as a vampire. Count Dracula is intelligent and patient, yet also full of vain and superiority. The novel suggests that there’s nothing permanent in this world and anyone can change for the better or worse.

Next, is Van Helsing, an old professor and metaphysician, who is one of the protagonist characters and has an open mind and wide expertise against Dracula and his evil acts. He assembled a group of men to protect Lucy Westenra and shared all of his knowledge about vampirism and myths on how to defeat their enemy. He is not perfect at first since his unwillingness to freely share information about Dracula causes problems and mistakes that endanger Mina Murray’s life. The novel suggests that communication, open-mindedness, and teamwork, are the keys to avoiding complications and achieving victory.

Mina Murray and Jonathan Harker are also considered the major characters and lovers in the novel. Mina Murray, later Mina Harker, is a schoolmistress and an ambitious woman. She keeps on learning such as typing, research, and interview skills to be useful to his husband, Jonathan Harker, in the field of his work. Jonathan Harker, on the other hand, is a solicitor lawyer, who was tasked by his firm to have a work trip to Castle Dracula to do methodological paperwork about the estate purchased by Dracula, the Carfax. His stay in the castle is full of torment and suffering which transforms him into a white-haired, and frantic man. His devotion to his wife, now Mina Harker, is everlasting; He would rather become a vampire alongside her than let her suffer alone under the vampirism curse. Assurance of Dracula’s death only will Jonathan be able to return to his law office free of extreme anxiety and stress. The novel suggests the concept of gender equality wherein Mina learns new things to help Jonathan in his work. It shows that the roles of women and men have equal responsibilities and opportunities. Also, the novel portrays the art of love where true love involves responsibility, respect, sacrifice, and care, in the couple showed these kind of traits to each other in the novel.

Lucy Westenra is a young, virgin, and beautiful woman who is also an important character in the novel. She is best friends with Mina Murray, who guides her on how to cope with life more effectively and marriage. Lucy, because of her good heart and beauty, was serenaded by three men namely: Arthur Holmwood, Quincey Morris, and John Seward. She becomes ill when Dracula preys on her and in the latter part of the novel, she transforms into a vampire after her death and begins to hunt down children, earning the name “Bloofer lady” and spreading it in local newspapers for awareness. The novel suggests that true friendship takes care of each other just like how Mina Murray advised Lucy on how to live better and that she must marry only one man, otherwise, it will be complicated. Also, the novel depicts that being beautiful outside is temporary, the true beauty that lasts forever is the good on the inside of a person. Even though Dracula killed Lucy by the curse, she defeated him in terms of morality and virtue which accounts for Dracula’s guilt.

The three suitors of Lucy are also part of the major characters that paves courage to defeat Count Dracula. The first suitor is John Seward, a young doctor and a former apprentice of Professor Van Helsing who runs an asylum located near Dracula’s new residence, Carfax. He tries to learn about psychosis through interviews and observation of Mr. Renfield, one of his lunatic patients, to know how to cure Lucy’s illness. His dedication led him to use medication and scientific reasoning but still, it didn’t heal Lucy and it turns out his love and loyalty to her remain the same no matter what. Following her death, he devotes his life to fighting Dracula. The second suitor is Quincey Morris, a brave and nobleman, who loses his life fighting against Dracula. Just like Seward, he also dedicates his life to avenging Lucy’s death. The last suitor is Arthur Holmwood, also known as Lord Godalming, who is the chosen one and becomes Lucy’s husband. Using his wealth, he finances the expeditions to catch and kill Dracula. These three men became friends despite Lucy’s death and joined the group formed by Van Helsing to defeat Dracula. The novel suggests love, loyalty, sacrifice, and vengeance, in which these men have all these traits to ensure Dracula’s death.

The last of the prominent characters in the novel is Mr. Renfield, a madman who is one of Dracula’s pawns. He is one of the patients of Dr. Seward and is known for being obsessed with consuming life. He eats from flies to spiders to sparrows, and Dracula betrays and kills him after he fails to make him his follower despite the efforts he has made. The novel suggests that don’t trust anyone easily, because some people can’t be trusted and may deceive you for their benefit.

In the novel, there are symbols that the author concealed from the readers to enhance their intellectual values and to have their interpretation and meaning. Me, as a former reader of the novel, I gathered three symbols that were based on my intuition. The first one is regarding the castle and city, in which the castle and villages near it are considered Dracula’s home and his power repository. As a vampire, all places under his property such as the ancient cemetery, and the purchase estate known as Carfax, are also forms of Dracula’s stronghold. In modern cities however, it was the building foundation associated by the people and society including Professor Van Helsing’s knowledge and research, Mina Murray’s skills as a schoolmistress, Dr. John Seward’s medical science knowledge, and Jonathan Harker’s expertise as a solicitorlawyer. The novel suggests it as ancient vs modern, despite years of preparation, Dracula is less at ease and more vulnerable in modern settings compared to the old one.

The second symbol is about the tools and technologies used to fight evil. Vampire folklore existed, which Stoker researched and expanded on in the novel. As the protagonist of the story, several tools used by Van Helsing to destroy vampires and keep Dracula from attacking Lucy have mythological or Christian origins. The communion wafer and crucifix are unmistakably Christian symbols used to overcome Dracula’s evil deeds. Furthermore, other tools, such as garlic and wild rose, have long been used in folk medical remedies to cure a variety of ailments. Lastly, knowledge and modern methods are tools Van Helsing and the group used to kill Dracula. As a result, the novel deployed a toolkit that encompasses ancient and modern resources, superstitions, and the latest technology to succeed against Dracula.

The third and last symbol is about physical bodies and blood. Regardless of how readers perceive the conflict in Dracula, ancient vs new, Eastern vs Western Europe, good versus evil, still, the battlefield of the conflict is physical. The Count is a supernatural creature and is unstoppable, by night at least, in his strength and ability to resurrect his youth by drinking other people’s blood. Readers become aware of the bodies used in his apparent campaign to establish a new era of the kingdom, and they watch as Dracula attempts to create new vampire brides or servants to accompany him in the bodies of Mina and Lucy through the use of blood. On the other hand, his nemesis Van Helsing, at the same time, uses blood in the manner of physical bodies and train

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