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Rihm, Daniel, ENG 2040, Dracula I

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Rihm 1
Daniel Rihm
Dr. Wilson
ENG 2040
3 September 2019
The Faces of Dracula
CHARACTER SKETCHES
JONATHAN HARKER. Jonathan Harker is a clerk, and later a lawyer, that works for Peter Hawkins.
Harker is proud of his work and does his best to improve his work performance. He is dedicated
and faithful to his fiancé, Mina Murray, and wishes the best for her. After his encounter with
Dracula, Harker finds himself doubting his perception of reality until his memories are
confirmed true by Dr. Van Helsing. Throughout the novel, Harker proves that he is courageous
and confident when in the face of danger. Prior to his encounter with Dracula, Harker had a very
scientific mind and did not believe in the power of religious objects or herbs.
MINA MURRAY. Mina Murray is tied closely to Jonathan Harker and worries about him throughout
the first half of the novel. She shares many traits with Jonathan Harker, including her intelligence
and logical reasoning. She is a strong and independent woman, though she accepts her role in
society, and criticizes the ‘New Woman’ in her diary. Mina uses her gifts to help her husband as
much as possible, from memorizing the train schedules to learning shorthand. As time passes,
she continuously proves her intelligence by providing crucial evidence and pieces of the story.
Her beauty, as well as her brains, are noted throughout the novel by numerous other characters,
though the most notable one is Dracula.
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LUCY WESTENRA. Lucy Westenra is a woman of extreme beauty and is characterized throughout the
novel as wearing white garments. Lucy is a close friend of Mina’s and their close relationship
helps to bring Jonathan Harker into the hunt for Dracula. Lucy fills the image of traditional
women of the time period. As she falls ill from Dracula’s feeding, Lucy finds herself surrounded
by men who all have feelings for her, but in the end, they fail to save both her and her mother
from death. Throughout her illness, Lucy had shown signs of knowing what was happening to
her, describing a dark presence and expressing fear of the bat on the window, and at the end of
her life, she clearly knew that she was changing, as she thanked Van Helsing for preventing
Arthur from kissing her.
VAN HELSING. Van Helsing is introduced as the teacher of Dr. Seward and is called in by Dr.
Seward to diagnose Lucy Westenra’s illness. Dr. Helsing quickly concludes that vampires are the
cause of her illness. He is deliberate in all the moves he makes and develops a picture of the
scenario he is in the middle of. His clear goal is to eliminate the vampires in London and to cure
his patients of their ailment, but he does a terrible job of keeping people in the loop. Dr. Helsing
unnecessarily hides facts and details from people that he should’ve, and this leads to the death of
Lucy Westenra.
COUNT DRACULA. Count Dracula has a clean-shaven face except for a thick mustache. He wears no
colors, has an aquiline face, and large amounts of hair, specifically on his palms. In his dealings
with Harker, he displays his large wealth of knowledge over English laws and culture and has
clearly been preparing to move to England to get access to a wealthier feeding ground. Dracula is
clearly much older than his appearance suggests, with him appearing even younger after moving
to London, and describes to Harker the conflicts that he has fought in near Transylvania. Dracula
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does not employ any servants to attend to his castle and instead attends to everything himself,
which was abnormal for the time.
RENFIELD. Renfield is a 59-year-old mental patient at the asylum that Dr. Seward works at. He is
described by Dr. Seward as having a “sanguine temperament,” or a cheerful attitude. Renfield
has greater than average strength and an extreme obsession with the consumption of other
lifeforms. Renfield believes that the consumption of blood extends his life as it does Dracula’s,
and desires to be immortal as Dracula is. He is capable of sensing Dracula’s presence and tries to
ally himself with Dracula repeatedly. After Renfield meets Mina Harker, however, he has a
change of attitude and appears to feel guilty for pointing Dracula to her and goes against his
desire for immortality to protect Mina.
MODERN PERCEPTION OF DRACULA
The legend of Dracula is widely known; however, the image of Dracula has shifted with
time as all widely popular ideas do. The character of Dracula that is presented in the novel is
different from that of the modern characterization of Dracula in multiple ways, but it is also
similar in some ways as well.
When Jonathan Harker first encounters Dracula, he gives a very vivid picture of
Dracula’s face and appearance.
Within, stood a tall old man, clean shaven save for a long white moustache, and clad in
black from head to foot, without a single speck of color about him anywhere … His face
was a strong—a very strong—aquiline, with high bridge of the thin nose and peculiarly
arched nostrils; with lofty domed forehead, and hair growing scantily round the temples,
but profusely elsewhere. His eyebrows were very massive, almost meeting over the nose,
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and with bushy hair that seemed to curl in its own profusion. The mouth, so far as I could
see it under the heavy moustache, was fixed and rather cruel-looking, with peculiarly
sharp white teeth; these protruded over the lips, whose remarkable ruddiness showed
astonishing vitality in a man of his years (Stoker 21, 23-24).
The modern image that is often portrayed displays Dracula as clean-shaven, with absolutely no
facial hair, and perhaps some red in his apparel. Dracula is even described as having profuse
amounts of hair about him, which most modern depictions leave out. While some modern
depictions do portray Dracula as aged, he almost always has dark black hair, while Stoker gives
him a white mustache.
Dracula’s personality is harder to quantify, but there are some aspects of his life and
general behavior that differ from that of most modern depictions. Most modern depictions tend
to display Dracula as charismatic and high class. In the novel, however, Dracula is hospitable at
first but does not try to keep up the façade for very long. “I went cautiously to my own room and
found him making the bed. This was odd, but only confirmed what I had all along thought—that
there were no servants in the house” (Stoker 32). In the novel, Dracula possesses a great amount
of property but fails to display that as wealth, having no servants and leaving his castle barefoot.
Overall, the different characteristics that Dracula possesses were not unexpected. His
presented character in the novel is a lot deeper and more interesting than most modern
characterizations and I was prepared for the differences in his character before I began reading.
The difference between the modern Dracula and the classic Dracula makes the novel much more
interesting to read and Dracula’s deviations from societal norms make his character deeper.
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Works Cited
Stoker, Bram. Dracula: Authoritative Text, Contexts, Reviews and Reactions, Dramatic and Film
Variations, Criticism. Edited by Nina Auerbach and David J. Skal, W.W. Norton &
Company, 1997.
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