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Dracula (Oxford Playscripts)

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Bram Stoker’s ‘ Dracula‘ was written during the Victorian period, at a time when Charles Darwin’s theory of revolution, as well as recent technological advancements, were leading to less religiosity among people. This sentiment is exemplified in the attitudes of Mina and Dr. Seward who could not solve the mystery of Lucy’s ailments because of a dependence on cold rationalism at the expense of superstitions and spirituality. The fictional book ‘Dracula’by Bram Stoker contains a number of important themes that reflects Stoker’s philosophies and attitudes and, by extension the sensibilities of the period he lived in. Within the narrative, these themes are revealed in the manner in which the characters in ‘Dracula’ interact, as well as in the outcomes of certain events.

Some writers believe that vampires were inspired by real life illnesses from times before medical understanding. You can read about some examples here. Rights Respecting Schools Though Stoker begins his novel in a ruined castle—a traditional Gothic setting—he soon moves the action to Victorian London, where the advancements of modernity are largely responsible for the ease with which the count preys upon English society. When Lucy falls victim to Dracula’s spell, neither Mina nor Dr. Seward—both devotees of modern advancements—are equipped even to guess at the cause of Lucy’s predicament. Only Van Helsing, whose facility with modern medical techniques is tempered with open-mindedness about ancient legends and non-Western folk remedies, comes close to understanding Lucy’s affliction.


Dracula, practically as old as religion itself, stands as a satanic figure, most obviously in his appearance—pointed ears, fangs, and flaming eyes—but also in his consumption of blood. Dracula’s bloodthirstiness is a perversion of Christian ritual, as it extends his physical life but cuts him off from any form of spiritual existence. Those who fall under the count’s spell, including Lucy Westenra and the three “weird sisters,” find themselves cursed with physical life that is eternal but soulless. Stoker takes pains to emphasize the consequences of these women’s destruction.

Did you know Bram Stoker mentions the number 3 more than 50 times in the original novel? How many can you spot in the dramatised version? Read about the related theme of social change in nineteenth-century Russia in Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina. The Threat of Female Sexual Expression Themes are the fundamental and often universal ideas explored in a literary work. The Consequences of ModernityMina Murray is the ultimate Victorian woman. Van Helsing’s praise of Mina testifies to the fact that she is indeed the embodiment of the virtues of the age. She is “one of God’s women, fashioned by His own hand to show us men and other women that there is a heaven where we can enter, and that its light can be here on earth. So true, so sweet, so noble. . . .” Mina stands as the model of domestic propriety, an assistant schoolmistress who dutifully studies newfangled machines like the typewriter so as to be useful to her husband. Unlike Lucy, she is not most noteworthy for her physical beauty, which spares Mina her friend’s fate of being transformed into a voluptuous she-devil. Jonathan Harker has travelled to Romania to help an aristocrat with some legal work. Once there, he is imprisoned in Count Dracula’s castle and soon realises the Count is actually some sort of monster. Meanwhile Dracula arrives in England, and starts to prey on fresh victims, including Jonathan’s fiancée, Mina, and her friend, Lucy. Authors – Bram Stoker and David Calcutt

It took the arrival of Van Helsing to expand the field of observation and therefore countenance the possibility of a spiritual or supernatural origin to Lucy’s deterioration healthwise. Stoker seems to be advocating an open-mindedness to knowledge that would not dismiss certain areas as being too ridiculous. It is crosses, wafers, and garlic that are able to ward off the vampire, rather than guns or bombs. Early in the novel, as Harker becomes uncomfortable with his lodgings and his host at Castle Dracula, he notes that “unless my senses deceive me, the old centuries had, and have, powers of their own which mere ‘modernity’ cannot kill.” Here, Harker voices one of the central concerns of the Victorian era. The end of the nineteenth century brought drastic developments that forced English society to question the systems of belief that had governed it for centuries. Darwin’s theory of evolution, for instance, called the validity of long-held sacred religious doctrines into question. Likewise, the Industrial Revolution brought profound economic and social change to the previously agrarian England. While ‘Dracula‘ cautions against a mindless adoption of modern technology and ideas at the expense of our stash of traditional knowledge on cultures, superstitions, and religions, he still nonetheless recognizes the import of technology in the world. The keeping of diaries and journals, the telegram, the science of hypnosis, transcription, and the art of using a stenograph are some of the valuable skills that help in dispatching Dracula.Sarah Midnight Trilogy by Daniela Sacerdoti is set in Scotland and Poland, with a teenage girl struggling to accept her gift for hunting demons. Library copies available. We might expect that Mina, who sympathizes with the boldly progressive “New Women” of England, would be doomed to suffer Lucy’s fate as punishment for her progressiveness. But Stoker instead fashions Mina into a goddess of conservative male fantasy. Though resourceful and intelligent enough to conduct the research that leads Van Helsing’s crew to the count, Mina is far from a “New Woman” herself. Rather, she is a dutiful wife and mother, and her successes are always in the service of men. Mina’s moral perfection remains as stainless, in the end, as her forehead. Riverkeepby Martin Stewart. Wull’s father has been possessed by an evil spirit. It’s up to Wull to hunt down a potential cure. Library copies available. Meanwhile, in England, Harker’s fiancée, Mina Murray, corresponds with her friend Lucy Westenra. Lucy has received marriage proposals from three men—Dr. John Seward, Arthur Holmwood, and an American named Quincey Morris. Though saddened by the fact that she must reject two of these suitors, Lucy accepts Holmwood’s proposal.

When Bram Stoker sent Dracula to his publisher, he wanted to present it as a true story. The publisher said it would cause panic and refused. It was eventually published on May 26th 1897, which is now #WorldDraculaDay. Further readingTransylvania represents the exotic and the strange. For Stoker, it is important Vampirism is not native to England but is instead imported from some far away, exotic place. The little-known heartlands and far reaches of Transylvania, with their strange people and customs happen to fit the bill for Stoker. So it so happens that evil would come from far away Scandinavia to try and corrupt innocent England and that it would be brave, resourceful, intelligent, and above all, innocent Englishmen (plus an American and a Dutchman) who would combat it. When Jonathan Harker travels to Transylvania, he is going to a real place. Transylvania is an area of Romania in eastern Europe. The town mentioned by Harker, Bistritz, is now called Bistrița.

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