The Gothic Theme In Dracula By Bram Stoker

1220 words - 5 pages

The Gothic Theme in Dracula by Bram Stoker

Bram Stoker's Dracula is a true Gothic novel that belongs on any gothic literature course. Focusing in on the recurring themes, characters and settings used throughout the novel one sees how Dracula has set the standard for Gothic literature today.

The theme in Dracula is that classic Gothic theme of the epic battle of good versus evil. In this novel this is expressed in a very direct way, there is never any question as to who is right and who is wrong. As it can be clearly seen the protagonists on the side of good have many endearing qualities while the antagonists on the side of evil have a pact with Lucifer and are of the purest evil. The main antagonist in this story, Dracula, has no redeeming qualities whatsoever and his thoughts or emotions are never revealed to us. Dracula never writes a journal or a log as the other characters do so he is never humanized and is always seen as an evil creature with wicked and inhumane motives. Furthermore, Dracula never delivers a final statement before his death to rationalize his actions. Unlike the final scene in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, where Frankenstein's monster delivers a final statement of intent, Dracula dies quietly and we are left guessing as to the motives and drives that were responsible for his actions. (One speculates as to whether Stoker omitted this final statement purposely or if he was pushed by other concerns that forced him to end the novel hurriedly.) The protagonists on the other hand have many endearing qualities that form an image of humanity that is very positive and good. Throughout the novel the protagonists are constantly performing selfless deeds. Consider how Lord Godalming and Quincy Morris gladly donate their wealth to the cause of the vampire chase even though they no longer had any obligation to do so and act without selfish motive. Consider as well how the four men in the story risk their lives for that of Mina's. Bram Stoker reveals his attitude towards the nature of Victorian society by making the evil side in this novel very seductive. Even though the side of good is well aware of the harm the evil side can cause, the seductiveness of the evil side tempts our protagonists on many occasions. For example when Van Helsing has trouble bringing himself to stake the three women because of their physical beauty and when Jonathan Harker nearly allows himself to be bitten by one of the women because of how physically attracted he is to her. "I felt in my heart some wicked, burning desire that they would kiss me with those red lips."# Stoker comments on the nature of Victorian society by showing how unacceptable it was to give in to those primal desires. This relates to the struggle between good and evil between our heroes of Victorian society and the devilish vampires. Vampires are in control of those evil, primal desires in the story and good people like Jonathan Harker and Van Helsing must fight off these desires...

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