Foreshadowing, Mood, Mythical Parallels, and Narrative Elements in Dracula
In the novel Dracula, by Bram Stoker, there is much evidence of foreshadowing and parallels to other myths. Dracula was not the first story featuring a vampire myth, nor was it the last. Some would even argue that it was not the best. However, it was the most original, using foreshadowing and mood to create horrific imagery, mythical parallels to draw upon a source of superstition, and original narrative elements that make this story unique.
Anyone who has ever seen one of the several adaptations of Dracula as a movie will know that it was intended to be a horror story. Stoker goes to great lengths in order to create an atmosphere of terror and villainy, while hinting at exciting things to come. Straight from the beginning of the book, foreshadowing is utilized to hint at horrifying future events. As Jonathan Harker was about to depart for Castle Dracula, an old lady accosted him and said, "It is the eve of St. George's Day. Do you not know that to-night when the clock strikes midnight, all the evil things in the world will have full sway?" (Stoker, 4). However Harker leaves anyway, despite the warning. Thus the reader is fully aware that something awful is going to happen to him. This quote makes one's mind think of possible future events, thus creating imagery. Every writer aspires to create good imagery, and Bram Stoker is particularly good at doing so.
Another example of foreshadowing unfolds when Harker is being transported to Castle Dracula by the mysterious and tenebrous driver. "Then, as we flew along, the driver leaned forward, and on each side the passengers, craning over the edge of the coach, peered eagerly into the darkness. It was evident that something very exciting was either happening or expected..." (Stoker, 8). This quote elicits more thoughts of future events in the mind of the reader because there has already been some foreshadowing of other future events. The fact that the driver peered into the darkness, in the middle of the night, on the Eve of St. George's, is evidence enough that there is some inauspicious portent. It was also mentioned before the above quote that the driver of the coach was mysterious, supernaturally strong, pale, and cold. Even the clueless would be able to recognize the foreshadowing element in those words.
Another important element in creating a good horror story is of course mood, and there are many descriptive passages in Dracula that demonstrate mood. A great example is in the first chapter of the book, "They were a hundred times more terrible in the grim silence which held them than even when they howled. For myself, I felt a sort of paralysis of fear." (Stoker, 12). This takes place still in the first chapter of Jonathan Harker's journal, when the driver calls to the wolves and then "commands" them to become silent. Here,...