Dracula, A Victim of His Environment

Passage: “We Szekelys have a right to be proud, for in our veins flows the blood of many brave races who fought as the lion fights, for lordship. Here, in the whirlpool of European races, the Ugric tribe bore down from Iceland the fighting spirit which Thor and Wodin gave them, which their Berserkers displayed to such fell intent on the seaboards of Europe, ay, and of Asia and Africa too, till the peoples thought that the were wolves themselves had come. Here, too, when they came, they found the Huns,whose warlike fury had swept the earth like a living flame, till the dying peoples held that in their veins ran the blood of those old witches, who, expelled from Scythia, had mated with the devils in the desert. Fools, fools! What devil or what witch was ever so great as Attila, whose blood is in these veins?” He held up his arms….Dracula blood were amongst their leaders, for our spirit would not brook that we were not free. Ah, young sir, the Szekelys — and the Dracula as their heart’s blood, their brains, and their swords — can boast a record that mushroom growths like the Hapsburgs and the Romanoffs can never reach. The warlike days are over. Blood is too precious a thing in these days of dishonourable peace; and the glories of the great races are as a tale that is told.”

(Stoker, Bram. Dracula (Dover Thrift Editions) (pp. 21–22). Dover Publications. Kindle Edition.)

Whilst reading Dracula by Bram Stoker, I couldn’t help but notice how proud the Count was about how much his family was feared by members of society. I began to think of his family pride as a result of being ostracized from society due to their medical abnormalities, while this may appear to be a stretch at first glance, once further inspected it can be concluded that Dracula’s pride in his family primarily comes from how many other people and families that is own has murdered. Only someone with severe psychological issues would associate death and killing with pride. I am going to examine the topic of mental illness within Stoker’s Dracula.

I was first intrigued by the idea of Dracula’s egotistical manner coming as the result of being shunned by society after reading his speech to Harker on page twenty-one. I find Dracula’s obsession with his race and familial ties to be somewhat incestious in how pure he wishes to keep the bloodline. Although the blood references used throughout the story allude to the fact that he is in fact a vampire, I also find it unsettling how much he desires to keep his bloodline pure and how much he values the kills his family has accumulated. This is especially evident in the portion of his speech to Harker on page twenty-one, “Ah, young sir, the Szekelys — and the Dracula as their heart’s blood, their brains, and their swords — can boast a record that mushroom growths like the Hapsburgs and the Romanoffs can never reach.” The joy that Dracula exudes when speaking of his merciless family can only be comparable to the joy a serial killer experiences when showing detectives where he buried his victims. I would like to further investigate how mental illness and separation from society are related and how they play a role in Dracula’s development as a character. I find the psychological aspect of criminology to be incredibly interesting and I believe that many aspects of what make a person a serial killer or sociopath apply to Dracula and he can be profiled in such a manner.

The passage I chose to focus on was Dracula’s speech to Harker because I believe that this is the best example so far of how Dracula fails to lack empathy in a situation where any sane person would most likely show some signs of remorse. I think that this passage demonstrates how being feared and ostracized by society has created an unrealistic sense of superiority for Dracula, because his family has been his only source of moral guidance and his only source of learning. Using this passage, it can be inferred that Dracula has fallen victim to his cruel upbringing and is a product of his environment. Using words such as “proud”, “conquering”, and “triumph” in his speech creates an uneasy tone and makes the reader feel distrustful of Dracula’s intentions and his views of what an accomplishment is. While I delve further into Dracula’s twisted world I find myself coming back to the same question; did Count Dracula ever have a chance?

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