The theme of vampires revived in modern literature after the success of Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Dracula became a common name for vampires and certain sort of evils described in modern literature. Dracula was screened by numerous movie makers, it’s plot was remade and enriched by a number of modern writers. But it’s very interesting that from a number of literary pieces: novels, poems, legends and sagas, Dracula is nearly the only literary character of the world of evil who is interesting for modern audience. It’s not a secret that legends and detailed about vampires, witches and other representatives of the world of evil were very common in mediaeval Europe and survived due to the superstitious beliefs of Europeans, deepened by the domination of Catholicism and horrors of Inquisition. Stoker’s novel Dracula appeared to be a uniting link of the world of modernity and world of mediaeval evils.
Dracula legends goes all the way back to Middle Age Transylvanian legends about bloody and notorious Prince of Wallachia Vlad Dracula (Vlad the Impaler). Vlad was considered to be a brilliant militaryman but at the same time he was tyrannical and ruthless to his enemies, he was known for drinking blood of his enemies, murdering homeless and forcing women to commit cannibalism. The story of Bram Stoker is about the curse of Dracula descendents which chased these family for centuries. The story starts as English lawyer John Harker travels to Transylvania to Dracula’s estate to complete one important transaction. He was impressed by the beauty of Romanian nature, picturesque views and at the same he was impressed by the terrible poverty and ignorance of peasants who were scared by vampires and evil forced which reigned in the evil. Everyone mentioned Dracula as the leader of vampires. Harker was impressed when he met count Dracula, who was a very educated gentleman with noble and aristocratic manners. Later Harker nevertheless discovered that Dracula had diabolic nature and that he was a leader of vampires as local people told him. The description of count Dracula correlates with common observations of foreigners from Western Europe who visited Eastern Europe and especially Russia in the nineteenth century. Aristocratic manners of educated noblemen coexisted with hatred and bigotry towards their serfs or peasants. Such dualism and hypocrisy was one the main reasons which prevented those remote states from gradual development relying on the achievements of modernity in politics, government, ethics and technology. That’s why remote mountainous provinces of Romania appeared to be subjected to the brutal forms of evils which tyrannized its population for centuries. From the other side, even at the end of the story nothing had reality changed in Transylvania, as even the termination of vampires did not terminate the system of evils which dominated in the region for years.
The plot of the story perfectly suits Victorian epoch to which it belongs. The second half of the nineteenth century in England was much dictated by social, ethical and technological changes which occurred in previous decades, directing the future development of Western society for years. Old aristocracy was experiencing decline and moral crisis, tradition ethical values were forced out by changes which appeared in family ethics and sexual ethics and relations between people of different social classes. Discoveries made in technology, natural sciences, medicine and biology overturned former views and ideas about the surrounding world destroying religious dogmas which dominated consciousness of Europeans for centuries. At the same time it was a serious strike on traditional morality and ethics of Europeans which was based on Christian values. Ideas to abandon former traditions and beliefs made heroes of Stoker’s novel vulnerable to evil forces represented by count Dracula and his suite. It’s clearly marked in the novel in the words of old professor Van Helsing to his protege John Seward: “You are a clever man, friend John; you reason well, and your wit is bold; but you are too prejudiced. . . . Ah, it is the fault of our science that it wants to explain all; and if it explain not, then it says there is nothing to explain. But yet we see around us every day the growth of new beliefs, which think themselves new; and which are yet but the old, which pretend to be young. . .” (Stoker)
Description of women in the novel Lucy and Mina is also made in Victorian tradition, which despite the rise of modernism was very strict towards family values and sexual relations. A Victorian woman could be either a virgin or a devoted mother and loving wife. Her behavior was dictated by strict morality which did not allow any demonstration of sexuality, which was only permitted in fantasies. Such attitudes were already survivals in the society with changing morality and declining attitudes towards religion and Christian ethics. The conflict of human’s sexuality and Victorian morality is brightly demonstrated on the example of Lucy Westenra, who as a result was tempered by vampire and turned into demonic creature as well.
The only person who was able to resist Dracula and to get rid of him was old professor Van Helsing, a very talented and intelligent man. Despite that he wasn’t a perfect orator and often could not express his thoughts clearly he was able to investigate this case and help others to get rid of vampires. His success can be explained only by his dialectic attitude towards modern knowledge and traditions which were preserved from ancient times, which were accumulated and tested by generations. In his findings he often referred to legends, folk methods, religion and metaphysics.
Making a conclusion I would like to say that besides a thrilling plot the novel about vampire count Dracula has a lot of important observation which refer not only to questions of religion, philosophy, sexuality and ethics but also to contemporary historical aspects. In the Victorian epoch the interest to occultism and magic was developing as a counter culture against technological progress. Description of Transylvania horrors, even being exaggerated had a lot of evident facts as ignorance, illiteracy and prejudices of common people had survived in different forms even in todays’ Romania and most of Eastern European countries, especially former territories of Russian empire due to the gap which existed for centuries between common people and ruling elite. If to look on the legend about Vlad Dracula from the modern historical perception it will be clear that such description was exaggeration of oppressed serfs and common people of Wallachia, who witnessed their unbearable situation in the legend of Wallachian Prince who was a vampire.
Bibliography Stoker, B. Dracula Mitchell, Sally. Daily Life in Victorian England. Greenwood Press: 1996 Burton, Antoinette (editor). Politics and Empire in Victorian Britain: A Reader. Palgrave Macmillan: 2001
In fact, all free essay samples and research paper examples available online are plagiarized! If you are looking for a good place for ordering a high-quality custom written paper, try the following service: https://smartwritingservice.com/essay.html.