Dracula

by: Bram Stoker

Setting

Main ideas Setting

The action of Dracula takes place in the late 1800s and switches between two geographic settings. The novel begins in Transylvania (modern day Romania), and then moves to England before returning to Transylvania for its conclusion. The two settings act as foils to one another, with Transylvania representing a less advanced and more primitive society dominated by religion and folklore. Transylvania also has ties to the Islamic world traditionally seen as outside the bounds of Europe; as Harker explains, “The impression I had was that we were leaving the West and entering the East.” Transylvania, with its reliance on superstition above reason, is positioned as the place where a vampire can originate and gain power; as the count explains, “We are in Transylvania and Transylvania is not England. Our ways are not your ways, and there shall be to you many strange things.”

However, the momentum of the plot relies on the fact that Dracula has no intent of staying in Eastern Europe; as his thirst increases, he seeks out England as a thriving modern nation where “he might, amongst its teeming millions, satiate his lust for blood.” The section of the novel set in England shows Dracula disrupting the value system of a nation by threatening to corrupt its women and contaminate its inhabitants. It is clear to Dracula’s opponents that Dracula must first be driven out of England, and then destroyed entirely to prevent him from coming back. Once they have sent him back to Transylvania, they pursue Dracula so that the final battle takes place just outside of his castle. The return to the initial setting is important because it shows the source of foreign contamination being neutralized and contained.