A 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.
A 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.
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.
Jonathan 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.
Mina’s 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.
A 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 form.
A 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.
A 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.
Lucy’s 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 window.