Dracula (novel)

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Dracula - Front Cover 1919 Edition.jpg
Cover of the 1919 edition
Written by: Bram Stoker
Central Theme: Beware of Eastern European noblemen and their girlfriends.
Synopsis: A group of men try to hunt and kill a dangerous vampire.
Genre(s): Horror
First published: May 26, 1897
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The original Bram Stoker novel that the Public Domain Character Dracula comes from.

Jonathan Harker, a young British solicitor about to be made partner, is sent out to Castle Dracula in Transylvania to see about a new client of his firm. Waiting at home for him is his young fiancee and secretary, Wilhelmina "Mina" Murray. Jonathan expects to be back home within a few weeks, but he doesn't know that Count Dracula is an ancient vampire, whose intentions of moving to England are nothing less than a plan to feast on the teeming crowds of London.

Meanwhile in England, a Dr. John Seward, keeper of an insane asylum, notices a strange habit of his patient Renfield: consuming live things so as to absorb their life energy. Renfield keeps trying to escape to the old abandoned house next to his asylum, which seems to be seeing a lot of activity all of a sudden. And Lucy Westenra, Mina's beautiful best friend with three potential husbands (including Dr. Seward), is beginning to fall ill...

Concerned about Lucy's health, Dr. Seward notifies his Dutch mentor, Dr. Abraham van Helsing. When Van Helsing recognizes Lucy's illness as the mark of the vampire, he gathers Lucy's loved ones around him to save the girl: her fiance Lord Arthur Godalming, her American former suitor Quincey Morris, Jonathan Harker (who was found severely traumatized by Dracula, but alive), and Mina. Knowing that Dracula's power doesn't work during the day -- although he can still move about, and fight, quite well during these hours -- they form a plan to hunt him down and rid the world of him forever. Although the men initially try to keep Mina out of the loop to protect her feminine sensibilities, she quickly proves herself to be a strong and thoroughly clever investigator... which Dracula himself is just as quick to notice.

This book is now in the public domain, and can be found on Project Gutenberg.

Tropes used in Dracula (novel) include:
  • Admiring the Abomination: According to van Helsing, the Count "must indeed have been that Voivode Dracula who won his name against the Turk, over the great river on the very frontier of Turkey-land. If it be so, then was he no common man: for in that time, and for centuries after, he was spoken of as the cleverest and the most cunning, as well as the bravest of the sons of the 'land beyond the forest'"
    • Which, strictly historically speaking, is a rather hyperbolic but accurate description of Vlad The Impaler.
  • Affably Evil: Dracula is a most polite and charming host.
  • Agent Mulder: It doesn't take much to convince Quincey Morris there are vampires about.
  • Agent Scully: Lord Arthur Godalming, on the other hand...
  • Animal Motifs: Howling wolves are a sign of Dracula's presence, and he's repeatedly associated with (and has power over) wolves, bats, rats, and at one point lizards (and some argue, by extension, dinosaurs). See below. However, horses are terrified of vampires.
  • Animorphism: Dracula has the power to shapeshift into wolves, bats and smoke, and probably other things.
  • Antagonist Title
  • Apocalyptic Log: The journal of the captain whose ship Dracula came over on is chilling.
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: Except for Lord Goldaming, aka Arthur, who is one of the protagonists, but not treated any differently from the rest. Dracula, however, is dead straight.
  • As Long as It Sounds Foreign:
    • Stoker uses the word "nosferatu" as an appealingly foreign-sounding synonym for "vampire", and identified as his source a work that cited it as the Romanian translation of "not living." Unfortunately, the word doesn't exist in Romanian, and no alternative etymologies (a Greek word meaning "disease-bearing", a Latin word meaning "you are our wild beast", or a mistranscription of a legitimate, but unknown, Romanian or Slavonic word) have gained similar consensus.
    • At times, Van Helsing's accent is just a random string of words without any resemblance to Dutch syntax. But every once in awhile, he sounds perfectly Dutch ("He infect you in such wise, that even if he do no more, you have only to live" is a very Dutch structure, for example). And occasionally, he slips into German seemingly at random. This all may be due to the common mix-up in the English-speaking countries at the time, equating "Dutch" with "Deutch".
    • The New Annotated Dracula, in its vein of acting like Stoker's Literary Agent Hypothesis is true, mentions that "Van Helsing" may have been a pseudonym for a then-well-known German professor, and that Stoker had not quite excised the remnants of the actual man's originally German accent.
  • Author Avatar: Van Helsing is a strongly-built redhead whose first name is Abraham. The book was written by a strongly-built redhead whose first name was Abraham (though Stoker's most recent biographer speculates this might have been a Shout-Out to Stoker's father, who was also named Abraham).
    • There has also been a lot of speculation that he was an Expy of the real life famous professor Mueller; conversely, Johnathan Harker is the character most critics believe is Stoker's Author Avatar.
  • Babies Ever After: And they call him Quincey.
  • Badass Mustache: While it's often left out in adaptations, when Dracula's appearance is first described, he is clean shaven save a long, white mustache.
  • Basilitrice: Jonathan Harker likens the titular vampire's gaze to a basilisk's as he attempts to destroy the sleeping Count, only for his gaze to turn upon Jonathan mid-swing and throw off his aim.
  • Beethoven Was an Alien Spy: Vlad the Impaler was a 15th century Hungarian ruler, infamous for his ruthless treatment of his enemies. But in the world of the Bram Stoker novel, he made a deal with the devil and has been (un)living for over four hundred years.
  • Blood Lust: Count Dracula goes from being a charming gentleman to a raging fiend with the flip of a switch -- and the switch is Jonathan cutting himself shaving.
  • Brain Fever: Jonathan falls seriously ill after escaping from Dracula's castle.
  • Break the Cutie: Mina.
  • Buffy-Speak: How appropriate that this then-Unbuilt Trope still appears in the definitive vampire story!

Dr. Seward: [Renfield] seems so mixed up with the Count in an indexy kind of way...

  • Bunny Ears Lawyer: Vampire hunting expert Van Helsing has quite the disturbing sense of humor.
  • The Cake Is a Lie: Dracula's deal to get Renfield to invite him in. And the deal Dracula reneged on? He offered Renfield thousands of rats. To eat. Renfield's insanity was a fixation on eating living creatures to absorb their life.
  • Cassandra Truth: The peasants in Transylvania beg Jonathan not to go to the castle. He pretty much laughs them off.
  • The Cavalry: This role is played by by three terrier dogs when our heroes are attacked by a horde of rats.
  • Character Title
  • Chekhov's Gun: Arthur's dog whistle.
  • Child Eater: Dracula's vampire companions and Lucy after she turned, though the latter never really fully drained her victims because circumstances would force her to leave them behind before she could.
  • Collateral Angst: Dr. Seward observes several times that Jonathan seems to find Mina's metaphorical rape harder to bear than she does, and she, ironically, seems to be the one comforting him.
  • Combo-Platter Powers: This vampire can scale walls like Spider-Man, control the weather, control wolves and rats, turn into a wolf and a cloud of dust in addition to a bat, and has Super Strength.
  • Contrived Coincidence:
    • The boat that Dracula is on arrives at Whitby, where Mina Murray - the fiancee of the man who's unwittingly helped him - is by a strange coincidence on holiday at the time; in a twist of fate his first victim is Lucy, Mina's best friend. What's more, one of Lucy's admirers, conveniently enough, runs the lunatic asylum right next door to Dracula's new house.
    • In Chapter 2, Harker notes that Whitby is circled on Dracula's map of England, implying that the Count's arrival there is not strictly coincidental; why he would have chosen that place, even before he learns of Mina, is a bit of a mystery
  • Cue the Sun
  • The Cutie: Lucy has three men ask for her hand in marriage in one day, and they then all pledge to protect and avenge her.
  • Damsel in Distress: Lucy and Mina. Mina, however, does something about it.
  • Daylight Horror: Stoker had Dracula walking freely during the day, something that was eventually lost in vampire lore and did not return until recent years.
  • Dead Guy, Junior: Jonathan's and Mina's child is named after all of the group, but goes by Quincey.
  • Deadpan Snarker: The "laconic" Quincey Morris. Van Helsing gets his fair share as well, and Seward has his moments (especially when describing Renfield).
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: The scene where Dracula forces Mina to drink his blood reads like a rape scene.
    • The scene in which Lucy is staked. Only the man who loves her best can purify her, by sweatily driving that heavy stake in and out, and in and out, and in and out, like the mighty hammer of Thor, forcing the blood to spew around it while her face contorts...
  • Driven to Madness: The Count leaves poor Jonathan a complete psychological wreck, convinced that what he'd seen couldn't possibly be real.
  • Dropped Abridged on It: The 1901 Abridged Edition.
  • Due to the Dead: What makes Seward so uneasy about investigating Lucy's vampirism.
  • Eats Babies: The three women in Dracula's Castle. Lucy almost reaches this point.
  • Epistolary Novel: See also Scrapbook Story.
  • Everything Is Big in Texas: Quincey Morris. Lucy likes his funny turns of phrase, so when he proposes to her, he hams up the quaint cowboy-themed metaphors to an almost sickening degree.
  • Evil-Detecting Dog: Horses are disturbed by Dracula's presence.
  • Fangs Are Evil: Duh, they're vampires.
  • First-Name Basis
  • Five-Man Band
  • Foe Yay: Dracula and... well... everyone. Especially Jonathan. "He belongs to me!" indeed.
  • Full Name Ultimatum: Mina knows something is wrong when Jonathan calls her Wilhelmina.
  • Funetik Aksent: The old Yorkshireman, various cockneys, and of course Van Helsing himself. Stoker prided himself (without much justification) on his ability to do these. Van Helsing's habit of slipping into German whenever he's excited is never actually explained.
  • Funny Foreigner: Van Helsing.
  • Gentleman and a Scholar: Van Helsing.
  • Ghost Ship: The Demeter is regarded as one of these when it runs aground at Whitby.
  • A Glass of Chianti: Dracula doesn't eat or drink, but Harker comments very favorably on the food and wine the Count serves.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: Mina gets an evil one that the Transylvanians recognize.
  • Go Out with a Smile: All of the vampires. Being killed at last is a great relief since vampirism is implied to be a curse. And said victims aren't exactly themselves when turned, as shown by Lucy. Quincey also seems remarkably chipper for one who has thirty seconds to live.
  • Gotta Kill Them All: The heroes have to track down and destroy Dracula's lairs so he will have no place to go to change shape or rest in his native soil.
  • Grave Robbing
  • The Heart: Mina. Even Renfield is drawn to her.
  • Heroic BSOD: An epic one for Harker.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Quincey Morris.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Mina mocks the "New Woman" a few times in her journal.
  • Hysterical Woman: There aren't any in the book, but Dr. Seward certainly believes in this trope. At one point he remarks, "Men and women are so different in manifestations of nervous strength or weakness!". Mina seems to exist to defy this trope, as no matter how distressed she gets, she has it together better than her husband.
  • Idiot Ball: Harker's missing it can be excused, but there's really no reason Dr. Seward, who attended to Lucy when she was Dracula's snack of choice, shouldn't have noticed when Mina began displaying the same symptoms.
  • I Do Not Drink... Wine: Never said, but Jonathan does note that the Count never eats with him.
  • I Have You Now, My Pretty: When Dracula gets a hold of Mina in her bedroom, he ups the creep factor by telling her "this isn't the first time" she's satisfied his... "thirst".
  • Ill Girl: Lucy when Dracula starts feeding from her; her mother could also count.
  • I Made Copies: After Dracula attacks Mina, he trashes Seward's study and burns the Scrapbook Story the heroes are keeping. Unfortunately for him, they had another copy locked up in a safe.
  • Implacable Man: Van Helsing.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Dr. Seward and Quincey lose to Arthur in wooing Lucy, but they're good sports about it. Both of them give blood to save Lucy without hesitation.
  • Kiss of the Vampire
  • Knife Nut: Jonathan and Quincey wield a kukri and a Bowie knife, respectively, which come in handy for finally killing Dracula.
  • Kukris Are Kool: It's Jonathan's Weapon of Choice.
  • Literary Agent Hypothesis
  • Lost in Imitation
  • Love Dodecahedron: Arthur and Lucy become engaged, but Dr. Seward and Quincey Morris are in love with her as well. Van Helsing seems to grow to love both Lucy and Mina, even though he's technically married to a madwoman, and there's plenty of Ho Yay between him and Dr. Seward. Mina marries Jonathan, and the surviving six form a True Companionship where they all love everybody.
  • Madwoman in the Attic: Doesn't appear, but Van Helsing reveals he's married to a madwoman. Well, what would a Gothic horror novel be without one?
  • Manipulative Bastard: Dracula. Also shows signs of Magnificence.
  • Mind Control: Dracula intends to do this with Mina, but it backfires on him once he realizes that if she can show him whatever the heroes are up to, she can also show them whatever Dracula is up to.
  • Monster Progenitor
  • Motif: The imagery of red-against-white is repeated over and over again -- wolves with red tongues and white teeth, Dracula's red blood-stained lips against his pale white skin, a red wound on a white shirt, etc..
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Nice job telling the woman to Stay in the Kitchen, heroes! Worked out pretty well, didn't it?
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Nice job giving the heroine a VIP pass to your mind, Dracula.
  • No Ontological Inertia: Killing the original vampire before its bitten victims die (and subsequently resurrect as vampires) returns said victims to normal.
  • Not Herself: Lucy when she becomes a vampire.
  • No Time to Explain: Prior to needing to stake Lucy, Van Helsing's answer for everyone's confused questions amounts to "I can't explain now, just trust me. You'll know everything soon enough, but you'll wish you didn't. Did I mention within the last five seconds that you just need to trust me?"
  • Omnidisciplinary Scientist:
    • Van Helsing is a doctor, scientist, occultist, detective and holy man. This all comes in handy for hunting vampires. It's also stated that he has at least three doctoral degrees, one of which is an M.D..
    • Dr. Seward is a general practitioner, every type of surgeon and a psychiatrist to boot.
  • One Degree of Separation: Dracula's first victim just happens to be Lucy Westenra, the best friend of the wife of John Harker, who is probably the only living human who's seen him for what he really is. Not only that, but Dr. Seward, one of Lucy's former suitors and the good friend of her husband, is the protege of Dr. van Helsing, perhaps the only practitioner of modern medicine who can recognize vampirism and knows how to treat it. Also, one of Dr. Seward's patients, Renfield, happens to have a strange psychic connection to Dracula.
  • Orient Express: When Dracula escapes from England to Varna by sea, the cabal sworn to destroy him travels to Paris and takes the Orient Express, arriving in Varna ahead of him.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: Dracula does not follow the standard rules, largely because he predates most of them.
  • Parental Substitute: Mr. Hawkins for Mina and Jonathan.
  • Poirot Speak: Van Helsing.
  • The Power of Blood: Types A (binding), B (symbolic), and O (disturbing).
  • The Power of Friendship
  • The Professor: Van Helsing.
  • Psychic Link: Mina is the Harry Potter to Dracula's Voldemort after the latter forces her to drink his blood.
  • Psychic Radar: And the above happening to Mina lets the protagonists use her as a sort psychic diving rod to track the Count.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning
  • Red Right Hand: When Van Helsing tries to set a holy wafer to Mina's forehead, it burns her and leaves a red mark. When Dracula is defeated, the mark vanishes.
  • The Renfield: Dracula is the Trope Namer, but Renfield is actually a case of Unbuilt Trope, seeing as he attempts to foil Dracula twice, the second ending with the loss of his own life.
  • Revenge by Proxy: Dracula goes after Mina when he realizes her husband and friends are hunting him.
  • Science Hero: Van Helsing, especially compared to modern portrayals.
  • Scrapbook Story: Compiled by Mina.
  • Shaped Like Itself:

Dr.Seward: I am satisfied that Lucy's body is not in that coffin, but that only proves one thing.
Van Helsing: And what is that, friend John?
Dr. Seward: That it is not there.
Van Helsing: That is good logic, so far as it goes.

  • Southern Gentleman: Quincey Morris, Texan, and a very positively portrayed American; typical in British works of the day but surprising today.
  • Staking the Loved One: May be the first widely known example -- the vampire formerly known as Lucy Westenra is destroyed by Arthur under Van Helsing's direction.
  • Stay in the Kitchen: Deconstructed, as leaving Mina out of the action turns out to be the worst thing the men can do for her.
  • Stockholm Syndrome: Mina doesn't develop Sympathy for the Devil until after he's bitten her, and after she previously decided that the Thing that did that to Lucy doesn't deserve a drop of pity. She still believes that he should be killed - not only to save mankind, but to save Dracula's own soul. She turns out to be right.
  • Super Smoke
  • Sympathy for the Devil: Mina expresses this in the later chapters.
  • Team Dad: Van Helsing.
  • Team Mom: Mina.
  • Team Spirit
  • Terms of Endangerment: Even when threatening him, Dracula refers to Jonathan as "my friend".
  • Three Faces of Eve: Dracula's vampire companions, Mina, and Lucy.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Mina is a "New Woman" of the times of emerging feminism, while Lucy is far more sweet and girly. They're best friends.
  • Too Dumb to Live: The heroes. See Unwitting Pawn).
  • Took a Level in Badass: Jonathan goes from terrified vampire victim to hunting Dracula with a kukri.
  • To the Pain: Dracula's speech to Mina.
  • Trope Maker: Defined most of the standard vampire tropes.
  • True Companions: The Harkers, Lucy's 3 suitors, and Van Helsing.
  • Überwald: With tastes of Ruritania, and even a bit of Oireland.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Most of the good guys, sadly, are morons. Well, the vampire can only enter a house into which he is invited... I know, let's keep his victim in a house that we know Dracula can already enter A-OK! Also, Lucy died and rose as a vampire after becoming paler and weaker over many days. Mina's not feeling well and looking rather pale, but she'll be fine after a good night's sleep.
    • There's also Lucy's mother, who removes the garlic from Lucy's room, undoing everything Van Helsing and Seward had done to keep her alive. To be fair, she didn't know anything about the vampires. She was never told because the heroes feared about what would happen to her, being in poor health, if she found out.
  • The Vamp: Dracula's three vampire companions, and Lucy when she becomes a vampire.
  • Vampire Invitation
  • Vampire Refugee: Mina.
  • Vampires Are Sex Gods: Well, that's the subtext. Dracula is actually described as fairly creepy from the outset, with rotten breath to boot.
  • Vampire Vannabe: Renfield seems to be trying to emulate vampirism, though with less understanding of the mechanics as we know it today... by eating flies, spiders and small birds. And at one point he asks for a kitten...
  • Vampire Vords: Subverted: Dracula speaks excellent English, and has called Harker to his castle to, more than anything, help him get rid of his accent so that he won't be seen as another Funny Foreigner when he has moved to England.
  • Victorian Britain
  • Victorian Novel Disease: Parodied, or Played for Drama, depending on how you read the novel. In classic literature, tuberculosis was used as a stock disease. It was rarely referred to by name, but the symptoms were always the same: a young lady would become pale and sleepy, and a blush would show on her sickly face. When Van Helsing refuses to name Lucy's illness, the reader of the era would have assumed that she has tuberculosis. But actually, Van Helsing realizes that she's becoming a vampire.
  • Viewers Are Geniuses: Stoker seemingly overestimated widespread knowledge of vampire lore, creating a situation where it's the fandom, rather than the author, that is widely Sadly Mythtaken. Dracula is destroyed by a knife through the heart rather than a stake - sharp steel or iron objects like needles or knives are effective vampire kryptonite in Slavic mythology, and yet adaptations, sequels, and even "scholarly" annotated versions of the novel jump on the lack of a wooden stake as proof that Dracula is Not Quite Dead.
  • Wall Crawl: Dracula. Also how Jonathan escapes the castle.
  • Wine Is Classy: Dracula does not drink... wine. He does serve it to his guests, however.
  • Writers Cannot Do Math: Save yourself a major headache -- do not try to make the dates make sense. Some editions do correct this.
  • You Are Worth Hell: To Jonathan, Mina is worth vampirism. Fortunately, it doesn't come to that. He even theorizes this is how vampirism has spread in the past. All the other men are willing to die for her, as well.