Good and Evil in “Dracula”
What are the forces of good and evil and how do they affect the plot of Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula? The novel is a drawn-out struggle between good and evil forces that are identified through some religious archetypes. Many theorize about what influences’ Bram Stoker truly had, or the discreetly hidden implications of Catholicism tied throughout many aspects within the novel. After reading through four sources, it is obvious to see there are many undertones of good and evil that were very crucial to the plot. The good forces of religion against the evil forces of the character Dracula, depicting the anti-christ; either removed would dramatically alter that narrative.
Religious references are used constantly throughout the novel, the palpable of them being idols such as the Cross or Holy Wafer to protect against Dracula. Religion is chosen to be the force of good acting against evil in Dracula because after science and superstitions fail to aid the characters in warding off the villainy that ails them, their combined faith helps them to band together and tackle the ancient forces of the vampire. It is so important to keep the aspect of the good –religion– within the story because if it was omitted, you would have a hopeless novel with horrors and wickedness completely surmounting all events. Vampires would rule over the entire story because they could always easily outcompete any forces against them. Religion is the only effective goodness that is able to match up with Dracula. It is only through embracing religion the characters are able to defeat their ultimate foe. “Overcoming the trends of their industrial times, the heroes find that tradition and superstition can, together provide the basis for something far more potent than science– Faith” (Mordrake, 1). This quote clearly helps to embody how the main characters of the novel learn how to overcome their conflicting views of the Catholic Faith and to embrace it and integrate it into their lives to help defeat Dracula. In the novel, the first innuendo of faith was when Johnathan Harker is on his way to Transylvania and he stops at an inn. The wife of the innkeeper gives him a Cross and blesses him for his journey because she knows of the evilness that is lurking within his future. Because of his Protestantism, he finds this strange and somewhat idolatrous. He later recognizes the effects that several holy items have against Dracula during his stay at the castle, and he goes to them as a source of comfort.
The vampire king, Dracula, is the elemental source of evil within the novel. He is the embodiment of such an evil force that Christianity is the only fair match against him. Subsequently, this would make his character a parallel of the Antichrist within the theme of the book. Dracula’s character portrayed as an abstract version of the anti-christ is an infallible fact of the novel because it is where all vile monsters are derived from. Satan is the source of all sin and suffering. The evilness of Dracula is so important to the framework of the story, it is what helps to inspire fear within the reader’s heart, and what helps fuel the novel to its climax. Without the integral components of evil, all of this would be lost. The very title fo the novel itself would become nullified. The other characters of the novel need the interactions with Dracula to get in touch with their own fears and superstitions. When the true gravity of the horrors set into the minds of the characters it sets everything into motion. Realizing that they were going to have to defeat practically satan himself. “Dracula as Satan is thus elaborately developed: engaging in an anti-sacrifice and an Anti-Eucharist, Dracula is the Apocalyptic Anti-Christ who comes to collect souls and set up an alternative eternity to that promised in the New Testament” (Donlon, 2). This quote introduces the ideas of parallels between the Anti-sacrifice and Anti-Eucharist that both contribute to his reference as Satan. Dracula practices the celebration of the Anti-Eucharist when he chooses an innocent victim to feed upon. He drinks their blood, to feed his own eternal undead life, like the lifeblood of Christ that was poured out for the forgiveness of humanities sins, that his followers drink in the form of wine for fulfillment. The anti-sacrifice is represented when Dracula forces Mina to drink his blood so that she will become his demonic disciple. This pronounces the presence of evil even more, and it pushes the characters even further to eliminating Dracula with the proper retribution of faith.
The forces of Faith battling against the Anti-Christ through the themes of good vs. evil, give Dracula its main structure for the story. The ebb and flow off good vs. evil help to hold the novel together, while being able to add other plot elements and critical ideas to help build up these main themes.