The Narrative Method Of Dracula Essay

1629 words - 7 pages

The word ‘monster’ derives from the Latin words ‘monere’ and ‘monstrare’. ‘Monere’ means to warn against something, while ‘monstrare’ means to show something. If these two origins are put together, the word ‘monster’ obtains the meaning of something that is shown to warn. In relation to Dracula, this would allow a whole series of question from what makes Dracula a monster to what does he warn the reader against. In this essay I will mainly deal with the question of what makes Dracula a monster; however I will bear other questions in mind such as why Dracula is seen as a monster by the crew of light. As Dr Seward puts it in his diary ‘the coming destruction of the monster’ (Bram Stoker, 1897, chap.20), I will analyse what means Stoker uses to make the reader believe that Dracula is the monster. In the end I want to see if Dracula is made into a monster by the crew of light or if he makes himself a monster by his actions. I also will have a look at what he warns the reader against, as the etymology of the word monster suggests me to do.
First, Stoker’s narrative style makes it easy to see Dracula as a monster. In fact, only the crew of light, Mina and Lucy –as long as she has not become a vampire- provide the narrative of the text. As David Seed states in his article The Narrative Method of Dracula, Stoker had planned his narration in details (Seed, 1985). This proves that leaving out Dracula’s point of view was intentional. It can now be argued that in most books villains and monsters don’t get the chance to express themselves, however as I pointed out above Lucy becomes silent the moment she turns into a vampire. The question rising from this would be if Lucy could also be considered a monster. However this would be off topic and the focus lies on Dracula himself. It is nevertheless intriguing that the reader is getting information about Dracula from up to seven persons, including Lucy, and each of them considers him a kind of monster. This makes it nearly impossible for the reader to see anything else than Dracula as a monster. Therefore it is possible to affirm that Bram Stoker intended from the beginning to make Dracula a monster.
However, Dracula is not innocent either. He ensures that he appears monstrous or at least wants people to fear him. His use of the wolves in chapter 4 to force Harker to stay at his castle and how he kidnaps a child and feeds it to his three wives/sisters/partners add to the vision of a monster. Dracula seems to confuse fear with respect and his actions remind the reader sometimes of a child that by bullying means to achieve something. Dr Van Helsing explains his behaviour with the image of a ‘child-brain’ in chapter 25. As the critic Patricia McKee points out: ‘His “child-brain” only allows him to learn by experience…’(McKee, 2002, p.50). If these two facts are combined it is easy to understand why Dracula acts as a villain and in process makes him a monster. He like a child needs to burn himself first before he...

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