|Bela Lugosi as the classic Count Dracula in Tod Browning's 1931 classic.|
|Sir Henry Irving, actor and friend to Bram Stoker. He served as the role model for Count Dracula, particularly the high, aquiline nose, symbolic of his ability to smell fear in his victims but not smell the stench of his own sins.|
Vampires cannot see their reflections in mirrors because they cannot "reflect" on their state in life, they don't know what it means to be a vampire. This is what happens to people when they are "living the good life," it's hard for them to deny their appetites for a moment and realize that they are really not "fulfilling themselves." Vampires are those who are so lost in their appetites they cannot reflect. Interestingly, in Stoker's novel, when hero Jonathan Harker is shaving and using his mirror (there are none in Castle Dracula) Dracula suddenly appears behind him, causing him to cut his throat with his razor. As Jonathan removes his hair, the signs of his own animal passions, he is reflecting as he does so. "Hair" is a constant indictment throughout the novel, because Harker notes that Dracula even has hair in the palms of his hands.
|Attic Vase woman looking at her reflection. The mirror is a "two-way"symbol, the vice of vanity, but the virtue of self-knowledge; without self-knowledge, we are unable to overcome inner and outer forces which threaten us.|
|Author Bram Stoker about 1906.|
|Stoker's handwritten notes on Dracula.|
The stake symbolizes the wood of Christ's Cross (which symbolizes the debt from eating the forbidden fruit in Eden), and driving the stake into the heart of the vampire symbolizes the Cross being planted into the earth at Golgotha (or "the place of the skull," where it is believed Adam is buried) where Christ won redemption for all men. The hardened heart of the vampire symbolizes the rock and sins of the earth which Christ's Blood covers and cleanses. Sacramentals of the Church--holy water, rosary, recitation of prayers--are able to repel and weaken vampires because of the power of Grace which they release and protect the one invoking their power.
|Altar at Golgotha where Christ was crucified.|
Anyone who is too spiritually weak to contend with them. For example, Harker sees Dracula in his coffin and, in despair that he is trapped in Castle Dracula, Harker wants to kill the Count in his coffin: "There was no lethal weapon at hand, but I seized a shovel which the workmen had been using to fill the cases, and lifting it high struck, with the edge downward at the hateful face. But as I did so the head turned, and the eyes fell full upon me, with all their blaze of basilisk horror. The sight seemed to paralyse me, and the shovel turned in my hand and glanced from the face, merely making a deep gash above the forehead. The shovel fell from my hand..." The shovel represents "meditation and self-knowledge," for one has to "dig" within themselves to root out sin and overcome their weaknesses (this is a nice juxtaposition to Alice Hunt in The Village because she "digs up" her feelings for Edward Walker; please see I See Dead People: M. Night Shyamalan). Since Harker hasn't been doing this (this is discussed below) he isn't strong enough to withstand the power of Dracula's "evil eye" but Jonathan's will is enough to "graze the Count's head," so the "governing function" which Dracula has been exercising over Jonathan has been wounded, but not killed.
|A Slavic "vampire hunt" where the dead are dug up and suspected vampires exposed to various rituals to destroy them so they cannot destroy the village.|
Count Dracula has a very ambiguous identity and this is a feature of the "undead," they have lost their identity. When we are "enslaved" to our appetites, we are slaves, and we are owned, we are not free, meaning, we are free to be who we were created to be. In the Romanian language, "dracula" literally means "dragon" and in the native Wallachia language of Count Dracula, "Dracul" means "devil" so "Dracula" translates to "son of the Devil." The "dragon" imagery of Dracula ties in historically with the Book of Revelations in which the devil is described as a dragon. It is on the (Eastern) feast day of Saint George the Dragonslayer that Harker arrives at Castle Dracula, but--unlike St. George--Harker is no dragonslayer and can't do anything about his imprisonment in Castle Dracula.
|English woodcut of the life of St. George, Westminster, 1515.|
|How we are vampires in our daily lives.|
As a rebel against God, Dracula symbolizes the one who is unable to partake of Christ's promise to us: "Then Jesus said unto them, 'Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him at the last day" (John 6:53-4). For those who do not eat the flesh of Christ and drink his blood, their flesh will be eaten by vampires, and their blood will be drained from them, and they will become like those who feed upon them. Dracula's rebellion against God is the reason that he can "crawl down a wall" like a lizard (a reference to his name meaning "dragon"). Besides the defying of gravity and unnatural as it is, humans should have their face turned towards God but in "climbing down walls" Dracula has his face turned towards the earth, a further sign of his rebellion against God.
|"Vlad the Impaler" to whom Dracula is compared.|
First of all, he is a solicitor, a lawyer who doesn't have to go to court. It's interesting because, in all the accounts I have read of Dracula, no one has ever really made a point of this, but I think it's imperative: "Knowing that a man is not justified by legal observance but by faith in Jesus Christ, we too have believed in him in order to be justified by faith in Christ, not by observance of the law; for by works of the law no one will be justified. It was through the law that I died to the law, to live for God. I have been crucified with Christ, and the life I live now is not my own; Christ is living in me. I still live my human life, but it is a life of faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me" (Paul's letter to the Galatians, 2:16, 19-20). As someone who is a "legal counselor," Jonathan Harker is someone "still under the law" and not in Grace.
|The Vampire by Edvard Munch, Oslo, Norway, 1893-4.|
|Illustration from Camilla by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu, 1872, one of the earlier vampire stories from which Stoker drew upon for his own creation. In Camilla, it's a vampire with lesbian tendencies who must be slain.|