A Question of Religion
Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula is a mystifying horror story that occurred sometime in the late nineteenth century, where a young English lawyer takes an excursion to Count Dracula located in Transylvania, in hopes of finalizing a real estate transfer. The novel portrays a gross representation of Anti-Christian values and beliefs, through one of its characters. Dracula one of the main characters in the novel is used to take on the characteristics of the Anti-Christ. Stoker uses many beliefs from the Christian religion to refer to, in order to display numerous amounts of Anti-Christian values and perversions, superstitious beliefs of the protection towards evil, and to compare and contrast the powers of God with those of Dracula. It is a theme that is used throughout the entire book, as Stoker uses more and more beliefs from Christianity as the novel lengthens.There are many ways that Bram Stoker’s character Dracula can be considered the Anti-Christ, mostly because of the showing of Anti-Christian values and perversions of the Christian religion. In chapter one as Jonathan Harker is traveling to Castle Dracula he is met by several people. When he meets these people he tells them where he is going. They cross themselves along with doing other superstitious actions. What Harker doesn’t realize is that it was the eve of Saint George’s Day, a night when “all the evil things in the world will have full sway”12. So, one of the women concerned for his safety gives him a rosary to protect him on his journey. A superstition of most is that a rosary will protect you from all evil, and in this novel the evil party is Dracula and his followers. This rosary protects him when Jonathan cuts himself shaving the next day and Dracula lunges for his throat, but stops when he sees the crucifix around Jonathan’s neck. That night both Dracula and Jonathan observe a group of wolves howling off in the distance, and Dracula says, “listen to them-the children of the night. What music they make”29. This remark starts to make the reader like about Dracula’s immortality, which is only supposed to be a strength of God. Jonathan Harker was left with an uncomfortable tingle throughout his body, and before he goes to bed he records in his journal, “I think strange things which I dare not confess to my own soul. God keep me, if only for the sake of those dear to me”29. At this point Jonathan realizes that Dracula is what he is, an immortal being that can’t be destroyed for now. He becomes very terrified at this point in the novel and isn’t sure what to do. Later in the book it discusses how you can defend yourself from Dracula and other vampires by the possession of a crucifix or practically any consecrated item from the Christian religion can be used to save you from the attack or presence of a vampire, even the use of prayer, which Jonathan used above.
Another example of one of the superstitious acts is in the latter of the book when Van Helsing uses a Host to prevent Dracula from entering his coffin. He crumpled a “thin, wafer-like biscuit”, “the host” 257 into the coffin, which caused the “UN-dead” not to enter it.Another time during the night Van Helsing and Lucy stay out near the courtyard of Castle Dracula; Van Helsing makes a (Holy Circle) with the Hosts to keep vampires out and to keep Mina safe in the (Holy Circle). Another time when the Host is used as a deterrence of vampires, which was at the time Van Helsing and the other men are going to leave Mina alone in the house. Van Helsing touches a Host to Mina’s forehead and it burns into her head since she, herself, was unclean. All of these examples are abstractions to the Christian Religion, in which some forms of Christian beliefs are used to deter the attack of the character Dracula.
Dracula has several powers that the Christian’s believe none but God could control. For instance, Dracula can control the weather, wild, or unclean animals and he can change form and disappear into thin air. The characters in the novel group together to see how “the general powers arrayed against us can be controlled and to consider the limitations of the vampire”307.Christians believe that consuming God’s body and blood will give them everlasting life with God in heaven. Dracula is getting life after death or living an afterlife on earth by consuming the blood of the living to survive and to build his strength, and create more followers of him in his evil ways. By this, Dracula is relying on humans to renew his life after death and thus not concentrating on God as the source of life. As Dracula feeds on the blood of the living he creates followers as Jesus had disciples, Dracula has evil ways and spreads his evil not by sexual reproduction as God meant it to be but he takes the living and makes their lives evil by destroying their souls. As it can be said that you must let God into your heart, Dracula may not enter someone’s home unless they let him in. Throughout the book several times, normally while Reinfield is speaking whenever he refers to God he capitalizes his pronoun as Christians would do when referring to God. When Lucy is brought into the UN-Dead she rises from the dead three days after she dies as Jesus rose from the dead on Easter Sunday. God has no beginning and no one can explain how he came about; there is the same idea with Dracula that he (has been) and no one knows his beginning. God is looked at and referred to in the Bible as being the light, which symbolizes happiness or life. Dracula’s powers are limited in the daytime, during the light and his powers are stronger in the night, during darkness, which symbolizes evil. “I love the shade and the shadow,” Dracula says; “I am no longer young; and my heart, through years of mourning over the dead, is not attuned to mirth”36. In the book, Dracula moves to an old abandoned Church not used anymore which can show that God is no longer present which would fulfill Dracula’s purpose of spreading evil.
For all of these reasons I think that the character Dracula is in himself Anti-Christian and could be easily considered the Anti-Christ. You really need to sit down and put this book into perspective, and ask yourself what the real meaning behind its publishing a character like Dracula was. Bram Stoker turned Dracula into an interesting novel which left me curious and full of questions of religion.
A Question of Religion