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What exactly is the theme of Dracula?  

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dfaith17 | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted December 19, 2008 at 12:39 AM via web

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What exactly is the theme of Dracula?

 

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Susan Woodward | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

Posted July 18, 2008 at 3:52 AM (Answer #1)

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There are many themes woven throughout Bram Stoker's novel, but the prevelant is probably that of good vs. evil.  I know it sounds cliche, but most works in the Gothic genre use this as a main theme.  Freud and Jung's exploration of the human psyche and the development of psychoanalysis in the late 19th century led people to study more about the human mind and what lies in the shadowy recesses.  These ideas found their way into the literature of the time period (Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde or The Picture of Dorian Gray, for example).  In Dracula, Stoker's band of righteous men battle against the evil influences of a vampire attack on the women they love. Another theme of gender roles in Victorian Society presents itself through this conflict.  The men want Lucy and Mina to return to the sweet, pure women that they knew and loved.  A vampire's bite releases the so-called "evil" side of a woman-- the sexual "vamp" who destroys men's souls by luring them into her embrace.  When Lucy is transformed, she becomes more seductive, demonstrating a release of sexual repression.  It's significant that Arthur Holmwood is the one to strike the blow that "sets her soul free" and returns Lucy's soul to the innocent state that it was in before Dracula's attack.  The one who loves her most is the one to drive a wooden stake through her heart...pay attention to the sexual overtones there as well.

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danylyshen | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

Posted December 19, 2008 at 1:06 AM (Answer #1)

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Like many novels, there isn't always one main theme.There maybe several or there may be one dominant theme and other, less prominent ones. Here are some main themes of Dracula:

1. Superstition versus logic and reason. Jonathan Harker and Van Helsing stand for logic and reason, while the villagers at the beginning stand for faith and superstition.

2. Religion versus science. Refer to the points in #1 above.

3. The struggle of good versus evil. 

4. The prevalence of the occult in society.

5. The horrific / the macabre / fear of the unknown.

6. Shapeshifting.

7. Sex and sexuality.

There are some great resources available here on Enotes. Search some of the criticism of Dracula and you'll see other themes pop up for you.

This is by no means an exhaustive list.

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giorgiana1976 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

Posted December 19, 2008 at 1:01 AM (Answer #2)

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In here, you could find a very comprehensive description of a theme dracula!

http://www.enotes.com/dracula 

What can I say!

I am an inhabitant of the land where Dracula lived!

The vampire theme from Stocker's novel is far from the real legend, but we don't have to forget the fact that is pure fiction!

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alexb2 | eNotes Employee

Posted March 8, 2007 at 3:25 PM (Answer #1)

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Here's another one: Salvation or Damnation. Another one is the Roles of Men and Women in society.

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dwalters76 | College Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

Posted April 9, 2007 at 9:19 AM (Answer #2)

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Look at the roles of men versus women (men being the creatures of reason, women being the seducible vessal of evil). You might also look at reason versus madness or passion. Modernity also comes to the forefront when reading Dracula--the different "developments" Van Helsing has when dealing with the undead.

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ender23 | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 25, 2008 at 3:52 PM (Answer #3)

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theres the whole christian theme but its not too strong as a theme, ummmm......how about class, gender or the existence and prolonging of life.

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parkerlee | Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

Posted August 8, 2008 at 3:48 AM (Answer #3)

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During childhood Bram Stoker suffered from a chronic illness which not only kept him from living normal childhood experiences but also forced him to live indoors or at least not exposed to direct light. It is difficult to ignore this influence upon his creation of the vampire prototype.

Into adulthood, Stoker "stole" the first fiancée of Oscar Wilde. The idea of gratifying one's wants or needs at another's expense is also a main leit motif throughout the story.

Bram Stoker was a bit obsessional about "documenting" Dracula. He spent almost eight years gathering information from weather records, ships' logs, etc. to make the setting as authentic sounding as possible.

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litteacher8 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted November 13, 2012 at 9:46 PM (Answer #4)

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A good example of a theme is when Van Helsing explains why Lucy needs to be killed.  He says that her mortal soul is trapped in her undead body, and it needs to be set free.  He acts as if it is a kindness.   This is an example of the theme of immortality and salvation.

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