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What is the main action of Bram Stoker's Dracula?

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serafina57 | eNotes Newbie

Posted June 19, 2012 at 1:57 AM via web

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What is the main action of Bram Stoker's Dracula?

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booboosmoosh | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

Posted June 19, 2012 at 3:17 AM (Answer #1)

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In Bram Stoker's Dracula, the main action surrounds the introduction of Dracula, his arrival in England, his attempt and (in one case, success) in murdering two women, and his plans to establish his home in England.

The first section of the novel is based on Jonathan Harker's interactions with Count Dracula at his castle in Transylvania. Harker arrives at the castle (as a solicitor or lawyer) to discuss a piece of land Dracula has purchased in London. However, Harker becomes a prisoner, kept alive only because Dracula wards off three other female vampires that hide in the castle—fighting to suck his life from him. Through Harker's observations, Harker becomes aware of vampires and many things about them: their amazing strength, their nocturnal habits, and even Dracula's special powers to call wolves and control other vampires...among other things. Harker records this information in his journal. On June 29th, Harker discovers he will be killed the next day—hearing the count speak to the other vampires:

“Back! Back to your own place! Your time is not yet come. Wait! Have patience! To-night is mine. To-morrow night is yours!” There was a low, sweet ripple of laughter, and in a rage I threw open the door, and saw without the three terrible women licking their lips. As I appeared they all joined in a horrible laugh, and ran away.

I came back to my room and threw myself on my knees. It is then so near the end? To-morrow! To-morrow! Lord, help me, and those to whom I am dear!

Harker climbs down the wall to escape the castle.

The second section introduces Lucy and Mina. Mina is Harker's fiancée, and she awaits Harker's return to England. Lucy is Arthur Holmwood's fiancée. When Dracula arrives in London (with fifty boxes of Transylvanian soil in which he will survive), he begins to visit Lucy, biting her on the neck.

Van Helsing (the vampire hunter) arrives, and with notes from Harker's diary, discloses what Dracula is, his weaknesses and his abilities. When Lucy dies, children begin to disappear out of the cemetery; the men realize that Lucy has become a vampire. Holmwood (with the assistance of the other men) put a stake through her heart to stop her murderous attacks.

The other men are Dr. Seward and Quincey Morris (the only American). Dracula begins to visit Mina at night, also biting her. The men interrupt the vampire, and he flees. However, they realize that Mina is already half-vampire already. So they all set about to discover the fifty cases of soil—to bless them so Dracula cannot use them. In the ensuing hunt, Dracula leads the men (and Mina) back to Transylvania. Van Helsing, fighting the spell the undead women try to lure him with, kills the three female vampires. In his journal he writes:

Oh, my friend John, but it was butcher work; had I not been nerved by thoughts of other dead, and of the living over whom hung such a pall of fear, I could not have gone on. I tremble and tremble even yet, though till all was over, God be thanked, my nerve did stand.

Quincey is mortally wounded, and ultimately, just as he prepares to escape them, Dracula is killed also—stabbed and decapitated, he dissolves:

It was like a miracle; but before our very eyes, and almost in the drawing of a breath, the whole body crumbled into dust and passed from our sight.

Mina is saved, and Mina writes at the end that she and Harker name their son after Quincey.

 

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