In Bram Stoker's Dracula both female main characters are bitten by the vampire. If a vampire can only get to his victims if they invite him into their lives, how did he get to Lucy Westerna and...

In Bram Stoker's Dracula both female main characters are bitten by the vampire. If a vampire can only get to his victims if they invite him into their lives, how did he get to Lucy Westerna and Mina Murray Harker?

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shake99 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Bram Stoker’s Dracula is one of the great horror classics. Stitched together in the form of diary entries, newspaper reports, and letters, it tells the story of Count Dracula’s journey to England, where he terrorizes the story’s main characters.

Vampire legend ascribes a number of supernatural talents to vampires. But perhaps the greatest vampiric attribute is intelligence and cleverness. Vampires have to be smart to survive. Dracula’s brainpower is evident in the passages discussed below.

Obviously, there is no one authority on vampire lore. The mythology varies from place to place. Some say that vampires may not enter a dwelling without the permission of the person inside. Others replace the word “dwelling” with “threshold,” which then begs the question, what exactly is a threshold as far as the vampire is concerned? This makes for some interesting plot events in vampire stories, as the vampire in question is called upon to come up with some clever ruse to gain entry. In Dracula, Bram Stoker finds a different way for one of his characters to suffer at the hands (and fangs) of Dracula.

Lucy Westenra is the most important character to be stalked and eventually killed and transformed into a vampire by Dracula. Instead of having Lucy invite Dracula into her room, Lucy begins to go on a series of sleepwalks. Apparently, this is an old habit of Lucy’s, as told by her friend, Mina Harker, in her diary entry in Chapter 6:

Then, too, Lucy has lately begun her old habit of walking her sleep lately.

At first, the reader is given no indication that this has anything to do with Dracula’s presence in England, although he/she might easily make that inference.

Over the next several chapters Mina makes several more references to the sleepwalking, but it is not until Chapter 8 that the reader finds out that Dracula is definitely involved.

There was a bright full moon with heavy black driving clouds. For a moment or two I could see nothing, as the shadow of a cloud hid St. Mary’s Church and all around it. Then, as the cloud passed, I could see the ruins of the abbey coming into view, and the church and churchyard became gradually visible. There, on our favorite seat, was Lucy, half-sitting and half-lying. A cloud covered the moon too quickly for me to get a good look, but it seemed as though something dark was bending over the white figure.

Vampires are often characterized as having supernatural powers that include the ability to lure victims away from safety. Apparently, Dracula is able to exploit Lucy’s old sleepwalking habit and draw her to a place where he is able to get to her. From this point forward Lucy is in Dracula’s grasp. The reader does not actually see Dracula enter her room, but he repeatedly does, and we can infer that she has invited him in due to the influence of that first bite from the passage above.

When Mina is bitten by Dracula it does not happen at her home, so there is no need for Dracula to gain her permission to enter. She is staying at the asylum, where Renfield is in charge. Renfield is already under Dracula’s influence, and he allows him to enter the asylum. Mina is in another room. Notice how Dracula gets in:

The mist grew thicker and thicker. I could see now that it was not coming in through the window but rather through the crack along the side of the door. It became a sort of pillar of cloud in the room, through the top of which I could see the light shining like a red eye. As I looked, the fire divided and seemed to shine on me through the fog like two red eyes.

Dracula gets into Mina’s room by shape-shifting and coming through the door. He has already entered the building because of Renfield. He does not have to ask Mina to let him in through the window.

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