What happens in Dracula?

Dracula is an epistolary novel that follows the story of an English solicitor named Jonathan Harker. Harker visits Count Dracula at his castle in Transylvania to conduct a real estate transaction. He's nervous about the visit, noting the superstitious fear in the peasants who live in the surrounding countryside. Soon, Harker discovers the source of their fear: Dracula is a vampire.

  • The Count feeds on Harker, leaving him weak and hopeless. After imprisoning Harker, Dracula travels to London, where he uses his powers against Harker's fiancé, Mina Murray.

  • In London, Dracula attacks a girl named Lucy Westenra, Mina's friend. Lucy becomes very sick from Dracula's attacks, so Mina calls upon Dr. Seward, a former lover of Lucy's, to care for her. When Dr. Seward cannot cure Lucy, he consults Dr. Van Helsing, who understands that her illness has been caused by a vampire bite. Mina hears news that Harker has been found and is ill, so she leaves Lucy with the doctors to retrieve him. 

  • Jonathan and Mina Harker return to England. Lucy passes away but turns into a vampire and begins to attack children. Dr. Seward, Dr. Van Helsing, Quincey Morris and Arthur kill Lucy by driving a stake through her heart. Afterwards, Dr. Van Helsing leads Mina, Harker, Dr. Seward, Quincey, and Arthur on a mission to destroy all of Dracula's coffins which have been scattered about London. 
  • Dracula uses mind control on Mina and threatens to take revenge by hurting her. Dracula then returns to Transylvania. There, Van Helsing and the others track him down and kill him.

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(Critical Survey of Literature for Students)

Jonathan Harker, an English solicitor, is apprehensive on his way to Castle Dracula in the province of Transylvania (in what is now Romania). His nervousness grows when he observes the curious, fearful attitude of the peasants and the coachman after they learn of his destination. He is on his way to transact business with Count Dracula, and his mission necessitates remaining at the castle for several days.

Upon his arrival at the castle, Harker finds comfortable accommodations awaiting him. Count Dracula is a charming host, although his peculiarly bloodless physical appearance is somewhat disagreeable to Harker’s English eyes. Almost immediately, Harker is impressed with the strange life of the castle. He and the Count discuss their business at night, as the Count is never available during the daytime. Although the food is excellent, Harker never sees a servant about the place. While exploring the castle, he finds that it is situated high at the top of a mountain with no accessible exit other than the main doorway, which is kept locked. He realizes with a shock that he is a prisoner of Count Dracula.

Various harrowing experiences ensue. When Harker secretly explores one of the rooms in the castle, three phantom women materialize and attack him, attempting to bite his throat. Then the Count appears and drives them off, whispering fiercely that Harker belongs to him. Later, Harker thinks he sees a huge bat descending the castle walls, but the creature turns out to be Count Dracula. In the morning, trying frantically to escape, Harker stumbles into an old chapel where a number of coffinlike boxes of earth are stored. He opens one and sees the Count lying there, apparently dead. In the evening, when the Count appears as usual, Harker demands that he be released. The Count obligingly opens the castle door. A pack of wolves surrounds the entrance. The Count laughs maliciously. The next day Harker, weak and sick from a strange wound in his throat, sees a pack cart loaded with the mysterious boxes drive from the castle. Dracula has departed and Harker is alone, a prisoner with no visible means of escape.

Meanwhile, in England, Harker’s fiancé, Mina Murray, goes to visit her beautiful and charming friend, Lucy Westenra. Lucy is planning to marry Arthur Holmwood, a young nobleman. One evening, early in Mina’s visit, a storm blows up and a strange ship is driven aground. The only...

(The entire section is 1,244 words.)