Amidst the baffling and fear-driven pursuit against the shadow world of vampires, Dr. John Seward serves as one of several key players needed to thwart Dracula. His interviews provide exposition to the lore of vampirism; his is a perspective that is purely scientific and psychoanalytical, and his outlook both grounds and contextualizes the otherworldly behavior while standing in contrast to Van Helsing’s more mythologically-driven views. Dr. Seward represents everything that is modern in the burgeoning world of psychological study. Desperate to pathologize Renfield’s behavior, however, he blinds himself against that which cannot be explained.
As one of Lucy’s suitors, Dr. Seward’s love for her means he is determined to stay involved in the investigation, even as it pushes the limits of his beliefs. Transferring his own blood into her in Chapter 10 allows Dr. Seward to confront the problem using his intellect, but as each attempt with the rational fails, he is driven further to confronting the illogical. It takes his mentor Van Helsing, Lucy’s worsening condition, her ultimate death, and the overlapping evidence (for instance, the children who went missing near her grave) to finally bring Dr. Seward to terms with what must be done. He must destroy Lucy’s body, but doing so will also ensure the salvation of her soul. This aligns Dr. Seward with Jonathan, Arthur, and Morris to hunt and kill Dracula.
Dr. Seward’s ending is bittersweet: he helps save Lucy’s soul and defeat Dracula, despite still losing his love. He is also given a brief but hopeful finale in the epilogue, which mentions that Dr. Seward later marries happily.