Dracula

by: Bram Stoker

Count Dracula

“Welcome to my house! Enter freely and of your own will!” He made no motion of stepping to meet me, but stood like a statue, as though his gesture of welcome had fixed him into stone. The instant, however, that I had stepped over the threshold, he moved impulsively forward, and holding out his hand grasped mine with a strength which made me wince, an effect which was not lessened by the fact that it seemed as cold as ice—more like the hand of a dead than a living man.

Here, Count Dracula greets Jonathan Harker when he arrives at the castle. The Count makes a friendly and welcoming first impression, but Jonathan immediately notices disturbing aspects of his person and behavior. Later he will recall this first meeting as he discovers the rules of the Count’s reality. In interactions with the human world, the Count relies on people’s free will to allow him to enter a place or welcome someone into his house.

I pray you, my good young friend, that you will not discourse of things other than business in your letters. It will doubtless please your friends to know that you are well, and that you look forward to getting home to them. Is it not so?

The Count speaks to Harker while he keeps him prisoner, encouraging him to only write the letters dictated by the Count himself. Count Dracula takes the guise of the hospitable host concerned for Harker and his well-being to hide his agenda of using his well-honed charisma to manipulate Harker into obeying him.

If it be so, then was he no common man; for in that time, and for centuries after, he was spoken of as the cleverest and the most cunning, as well as the bravest of the sons of the “land beyond the forest.” That mighty brain and that iron resolution went with him to his grave, and are even now arrayed against us.

Professor Van Helsing describes the Count before he became a vampire. The legend of his intellect persisted for centuries beyond his death, portraying his cleverness in life and his menace in death now that evil has taken him over.

With a mocking smile, he placed one hand upon my shoulder and, holding me tight, bared my throat with the other, saying as he did so: “First, a little refreshment to reward my exertions. You may as well be quiet; it is not the first time, or the second, that your veins have appeased my thirst!” I was bewildered, and, strangely enough, I did not want to hinder him. I suppose it is a part of the horrible curse that such is, when his touch is on his victim.

Here, Mina recalls what the Count said to her when she woke to see him standing in her bedroom. The Count taunts her by telling her he has been there before, which she does not seem to have noticed. Mina does not put up a fight, which shows why the Count likely chose women as his victims: His controlling touch would more likely be accepted by women than men.

There was something so panther-like in the movement—something so unhuman, that it seemed to sober us all from the shock of his coming… As the Count saw us, a horrible sort of snarl passed over his face, showing the eye-teeth long and pointed; but the evil smile as quickly passed into a cold stare of lion-like disdain.

When Van Helsing and the others encounter Count Dracula at the house in Piccadilly, he surprises them by leaping into the room. While they were expecting, and even hoping, to see him, his inhuman appearance shocks them to the point where he seems like a wild animal. By baring his teeth and snarling he displays animal instincts.

My revenge is just begun! I spread it over centuries, and time is on my side. Your girls that you all love are mine already; and through them you and others shall yet be mine—my creatures, to do my bidding and to be my jackals when I want to feed.

Count Dracula boasts of his domination to Van Helsing’s group in the Piccadilly house. This soliloquy explains Count Dracula’s motive for what he does, the first and only indication he acts from other than pure instinct. While alive, he lost the power and dignity his family once had, and he now seeks revenge. He makes himself feel powerful by taking and harming women whom he sees as belonging to other men.