centuries-old vampire and Transylvanian nobleman, Count Dracula
inhabits a crumbling castle in the Carpathian Mountains. Beneath
a veneer of aristocratic charm, the count possesses a dark and evil soul.
He can assume the form of an animal, control the weather, and he
is stronger than twenty men. His powers are limited, however—for
instance, he cannot enter a victim’s home unless invited, cannot
cross water unless carried, and is rendered powerless by daylight.
in-depth analysis of Count Dracula.
Dutch professor, described by his former pupil Dr. Seward as “a
philosopher and metaphysician, and one of the most advanced scientists
of his day.” Called upon to cure the ailing Lucy Westenra, Van Helsing’s contributions
are essential in the fight against Dracula. Unlike his comrades,
Van Helsing is not blinded by the limitations of Western medicine:
he knows that he faces a force that cannot be treated with traditional
science and reason. Knowledgeable about vampire folklore, Van Helsing
becomes Dracula’s chief antagonist and the leader of the group that
hunts Dracula down and destroys him.
in-depth analysis of Van Helsing.
- A solicitor, or lawyer, whose firm sends him to Transylvania
to conclude a real estate transaction with Dracula. Young and naïve,
Harker quickly finds himself a prisoner in the castle and barely
escapes with his life. He demonstrates a fierce curiosity to discover the
true nature of his captor and a strong will to escape. Later, after
becoming convinced that the count has moved to London, Harker emerges
as a brave and fearless fighter.
Harker’s fiancée. Mina is a practical young woman who works as a
schoolmistress. Eventually victimized by Dracula herself, Mina is
also the best friend of the count’s first victim in the novel, Lucy
Westenra. Mina is in many ways the heroine of the novel, embodying
purity, innocence, and Christian faith—virtues she maintains despite
her suffering at the vampire’s hands. She is intelligent and resourceful,
and her research leads Van Helsing’s men to Castle Dracula.
in-depth analysis of Mina Murray.
best friend and an attractive, vivacious young woman. The first
character in the novel to fall under Dracula’s spell, Lucy becomes
a vampire, which compromises her much-praised chastity and virtue,
and banishes her soul from the promise of eternal rest. Determined
that such an end is unfit for an English lady of Lucy’s caliber,
Van Helsing’s crew hunts down the demon she has become and kills
it, following the rituals of vampire slaying, and thus restoring
Lucy’s soul to her body and to heaven.
in-depth analysis of Lucy Westenra.
talented young doctor, formerly Van Helsing’s pupil. Seward is the
administrator of an insane asylum not far from Dracula’s English
home. Throughout the novel, Seward conducts ambitious interviews
with one of his patients, Renfield, in order to understand better the
nature of life-consuming psychosis. Although Lucy turns down Seward’s
marriage proposal, his love for her remains, and he dedicates himself
to her care when she suddenly takes ill. After her death, he remains dedicated
to fighting the count.
- Lucy’s fiancé and a friend of her other suitors.
Arthur is the son of Lord Godalming and inherits that title upon
his father’s death. In the course of his fight against Dracula’s
dark powers, Arthur does whatever circumstances demand: he is the
first to offer Lucy a blood transfusion, and he agrees to kill her demonic
plainspoken American from Texas, and another of Lucy’s suitors.
Quincey proves himself a brave and good-hearted man, never begrudging Holmwood
his success in winning Lucy’s hand. Quincey ultimately sacrifices
his life in order to rid the world of Dracula’s influence.
patient at Seward’s mental asylum. Variously a strong behemoth and
a refined gentleman, Renfield indulges a habit of consuming living
creatures—flies, spiders, birds, and so on—which he believes provide him
with strength, vitality, and life force.
mother. A brittle woman of failing health, Mrs. Westenra inadvertently
sabotages her daughter’s safety by interfering with Van Helsing’s
folk remedies. She dies of shock when a wolf leaps through Lucy’s bedroom