Biblical Imagery in Dracula

Instructor: Rachel Noorda
Did you know that the novel ''Dracula'' by Bram Stoker is actually a story about good and evil, full of biblical and Christian symbols and images? In this lesson, you'll learn more about the biblical imagery in this famous vampire novel.

Summary of Dracula

Dracula by Bram Stoker is a story of good and evil. Count Dracula is a blood-sucking vampire and he represents evil at its finest. Other characters in the story such as Jonathan Harker, Arthur Holmwood, Dr. John Seward, and Abraham Van Helsing are the good characters that fight against the vampires: Count Dracula and his minions. Because of this theme of good vs evil, it should come as no surprise that many of the underlying symbols and images in Dracula are of a religious nature, particularly Christian in nature. The 'good guys' in the story use religious objects to ward away and ultimately defeat the vampires.

Defining Imagery

Imagery uses language to appeal to our five senses in order to describe an object or idea. Imagery uses words that can appeal to your sight, smell, taste, touch, or hearing. Some of the imagery in Dracula by Bram Stoker is of a biblical and Christian nature.

Authors use imagery because it helps us, the readers, to really feel like we are there right along with the characters in the story. For example, an author could say, 'She went through the door', or the author could appeal to our sense of sight and describe the look of the door, 'She grasped the handle of an antique wooden door that only tiptoed on its hinges.' Also, the author could describe the door to appeal to our sense of hearing, 'She opened the door and it groaned and yawned with a resounding screech.' This imagery helps us to feel more connected to the story and characters, which is why Bram Stoker uses imagery in Dracula.

Biblical Imagery in Dracula

The Crucifix

One of the images that Stoker uses in Dracula is the crucifix. The crucifix represents Jesus Christ's sacrifice for mankind because Christ was killed by crucifixion. The crucifix is an important image in Dracula because possession of a crucifix keeps away vampires. When Jonathan Harker firsts travels to meet Count Dracula, a woman who learns of his intentions gives him a crucifix to guard him against evil . Later, when Jonathan is at Dracula's castle and cuts his neck, Dracula leans in as if to drink his blood, but is stopped by the crucifix around Harker's neck. Before Lucy dies and is turned into a vampire, Dr. Seward and Van Helsing try to give her a crucifix to ward against vampire attacks in the night, but the necklace is taken off her and she is taken by Dracula. The crucifixes in Dracula are variously described, sometimes as 'gold' and other times as 'silver' but often as part of a necklace, hanging around the throat of the person trying to ward off evil. This is interesting that the crucifix is so often a necklace in Dracula because it is usually the throat from which Count Dracula and his minions drink a person's blood.

The crucifix is a symbol of Christ
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Blood

Blood is significant in Christianity because of the blood of Christ which Christians believe redeems us all. The vampires' thirst for blood is a perversion of the sacred blood of Christ, which is why in Dracula, vampires are seen as evil. Just as Christians believe that the blood of Christ has the power to give life and immortality, when vampires drink blood they are given immortality also, but at the expense of the life of another human being. Stoker uses imagery to describe blood to appeal to our senses of sight and sound: he uses words such as 'gushed', 'spurting', 'trickled' and 'dripped' to describe the way that the blood comes out of a person. To describe the feeding vampires, Stoker uses words such as 'gorged', 'lusted' and 'sucked'. Through these kinds of words, we get a more vivid experience and are pulled into the story.

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