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Dracula

Main Ideas

Key Facts

Main Ideas Key Facts

full title  Dracula

author  Bram Stoker

type of work  Novel

genre  Gothic, horror

language  English

time and place written  18911897; London, England

date of first publication  1897

publisher  Constable

narrator  Dracula is told primarily through a collection of journal entries, letters, and telegrams written or recorded by its main characters: Jonathan Harker, Mina Murray, Dr. John Seward, Lucy Westenra, and Dr. Van Helsing.

point of view  Shifts among the first-person perspectives of several characters

tone  Gothic, dark, melodramatic, righteous

tense  Though some of the entries record the thoughts and observations of the characters in the present tense, most incidents in the novel are recounted in the past tense.

setting (time)  End of the nineteenth century

setting (place)  England and Eastern Europe

protagonist  The members of Van Helsing’s gang—Van Helsing, Jonathan Harker, John Seward, Arthur Holmwood, Mina Murray, and Quincey Morris —might be considered the novel’s collective protagonist.

major conflict  A vampire with diabolical ambitions preys upon a group of English and American do-gooders, threatening the foundations of their society until they dedicate themselves to ridding the Earth of his evil.

rising action  Jonathan Harker learns of Dracula’s evil while visiting his castle to complete a real estate transaction; Lucy Westenra becomes increasingly ill under Dracula’s spell

climax  Lucy is transformed into a vampire; Van Helsing and his comrades mercifully destroy her

falling action  Van Helsing and company chase Dracula across Eastern Europe, where they eventually destroy him.

themes  The promise of Christian salvation; the consequences of modernity; the dangers of female sexual expression

motifs  Blood; Christian iconography; science and superstition

symbols  The “weird sisters”; the stake driven through Lucy’s heart; the Czarina Catherine

foreshadowing  The initially unidentifiable wounds on Lucy’s neck foreshadow her fall to the dark side by confirming Dracula’s presence in England.