Notes on Characters from Dracula

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Dracula Major Characters

Count Dracula: A Transylvanian vampire who has been feeding off of the blood of peasants for centuries. He is the ideal adversary for Van Helsing and his team of holy warriors. Polite, refined and brilliant, he was a great warrior and leader of armies. His powers - including the ability to change form, extraordinary strength, resistance to many methods of death and certain amounts of mind control - make him difficult to defeat. Popular culture has made 'Dracula' synonymous with 'vampire.' In this, his first appearance, however, he is much more. He is the greatest vampire, who in life had been a man of legend. Were he merely a vampire, the book would have been quite short. He is a monster with the unique combination of supernatural powers and extraordinary human characteristics that makes him a threat to humans everywhere.

Jonathan Harker: A young solicitor from London. His outward demeanor conceals a man of courage and action. His point of view is the first presented, and he is the first to have the misfortune to meet Dracula. While most of the book is seen through Seward's eyes, Jonathan is in some way the romantic protagonist, as it is he who marries Mina and it is he who kills Dracula (simultaneously with Morris). After Dracula initiates Mina, Jonathan changes from a self-doubting, thinking man into a bloodthirsty warrior, always sharpening his knife.

Mina Murray (later Mina Harker): Jonathan's fiancée, later his wife. If Van Helsing is the brains of the team, then Mina is the soul. In the Professor's words, 'She has a man's brain - a brain that a man should have were he much gifted - and a woman's heart. The good God fashioned her for a purpose, believe me, when he made that so good combination.' Mina is loved by all for her sensitivity and her incredible mind. Again and again, she proves herself to be the equal or superior of every character in the novel. Nonetheless, she is old-fashioned, and wants nothing more than to be a good wife to her husband and a good woman in the eyes of God.

Lucy Westenra: We never find out enough about Lucy to know why she is so sought after. Nonetheless, every man who meets her wants to marry her or save her life, or both. Dracula himself chooses to initiate her. She accepts her adulations with the giddiness of the young girl she is, but with the seriousness of one who knows she is dealing with fragile human emotions. Lucy is the feminine figure of the novel. While Mina acts as wife, sister or mother, Lucy dies single, a little girl forever. It is the violation of Lucy's innocence, more than the imprisoning of Jonathan or even the killing of children, which gives the others the motivation to wage war on Dracula.

Dr. John Seward: Seward is the doctor who unsuccessfully courts Lucy and runs the asylum that becomes the headquarters for the vampire-fighting team. Seward's writings are featured more than any other's in the manuscript. He is not as smart at Van Helsing, as lucky in love as Jonathan or Holmwood, or as brave as Quincey Morris. Nonetheless, he is the perfect narrator for the story: Seward is smart and brave enough, and informed and inquisitive enough, for the plot of the story to unfold naturally through his eyes..

Honorable Arthur Holmwood (later Lord Godalming): Arthur is the one whom Lucy chooses to marry. Van Helsing takes a particular liking to him. However, like Lucy, we do not see deeply into his character. He is clearly a sensitive man, and his emotions are tried as his fiancée, her mother and his own father all die within a short period of time. His father passes him a distinguished title and both his father and Lucy's mother leave him large estates, all of which he handles with an unpretentious and sensible attitude. He finances the vampire hunt and lets everyone use his title to gain access to information about Dracula. He also has the strength and conviction to destroy the undead Lucy, thus freeing her soul.

Quincey P. Morris: Quincey is a cowboy from Texas. He is an old friend of Arthur Holmwood's and John Seward's. In some ways, he is an early-American stereotype. He calls ladies 'little girl' and he calls Seward 'Jack'. He is tough, brave, and polite, though slightly unrefined. He chews tobacco when he gets nervous. There are certain aspects of Morris' personality, however, which escape the Wild West stereotype. He is remarkably romantic, like most of the men in the novel. He also wants to be helpful whenever he can. It is his seeming lack of importance that shows his personality. The others all have something great at stake; Morris, aside from his love for Lucy, is removed from the situation. Nonetheless, he joins the fight with as much commitment as the rest. He becomes the team's martyr.

Dr. Abraham Van Helsing: A philosopher and a metaphysician, and one of the most advanced scientists of his time, Van Helsing is iron-willed and the only one with the knowledge to do battle against Dracula. This is not only because he has years of varied study behind him and has an incredible sense of logic and the intellectual capacity to understand what is going on. One of Dracula's main weapons is the fact that no sane man would ever believe a blood-sucking monster really exists; but the professor never doubts it. Also, Van Helsing has the weight of moral authority on his side. He believes that he is doing God's work and must do so to save all humanity. Interesting note: Bram is short for Abraham--the author and this character share the name.

Minor Characters

R.M. Renfield: An inmate in Dr. Seward's insane asylum. He is seduced by Dracula, who he hails as his 'Master.' Renfield is almost sane and is painfully aware of his lapses into insanity. When he is at his best, he is polite and intelligent and he tries to do the right thing. When he is at his worst, he eats insects for their souls and is completely vulnerable to Dracula's will. It is he who allows the Count into Seward's home.

Mr. Swales: An old fisherman from Whitby. He is superstitious and vulgar, but also a little wise.

Sister Agatha: A nurse and a nun; she takes care of Jonathan Harker during his illness in Budapest.

Mrs. Westenra: Lucy's mother. Kind and insightful; ailing with a weak heart.

Thomas Bilder: A zookeeper who watches the wolves in the Zoological Gardens. He has British working-class mannerisms and sense of humor.

Peter Hawkins: Jonathan's boss and mentor. He is very generous and has great faith in Jonathan, both as a solicitor and as a person.

Wolves/rats: Creatures of the night who do Dracula's bidding.

Gypsies/Slovaks: Peasants who work for Dracula in Transylvania.

Vampire women: Three undead women who live in Dracula's castle. They attempt to seduce and feed upon Jonathan during his first visit to Transylvania. They later attempt to incorporate Mina into their sorority. They are killed by Van Helsing.

Geordie: A man who committed suicide and is buried under Mina and Lucy's favorite bench.

Lord Godalming (Father): Arthur Holmwood's father. He is not to be confused with Arthur himself, who inherits the title of Lord Godalming.

Russian Captain: The brave Captain of the Demeter, the unfortunate ship that had the bad luck of transporting Dracula to England.

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