The Plot

(Critical Survey of Science Fiction and Fantasy)

Jonathan Harker, an English solicitor, visits Count Dracula in Transylvania. He finds death’s aura and aroma surrounding Dracula. Harker is attacked by three female vampires, who are warded off by Dracula. Harker is his; they are given a baby to feed on. When Harker demands to be released, Dracula obliges, but a pack of wolves surrounds the castle entrance. The next day, Harker awakes, weak and sick, with a wound on his throat. Dracula leaves Harker at the castle as a prisoner.

In England, Harker’s fiancée, Mina Murray, visits her friend, Lucy Westenra, a “New Woman” who plans to marry nobleman Arthur Holmwood. During Mina’s visit, a ship runs aground in Whitby. The only living creature aboard is a gray wolf, which escapes into the countryside.

Lucy begins to sleepwalk. Mina follows her and sees a tall, thin man bending over Lucy in a churchyard. The man disappears when Mina approaches. Lucy grows so ill that Mina is forced to call Dr. Seward, Lucy’s former suitor. While Lucy improves, Mina receives word that Harker, who had been reported missing, has been found near Budapest. Mina goes there and marries Harker.

Lucy’s condition worsens, and Seward calls Dr. Van Helsing from Amsterdam. Van Helsing notices two puncture wounds on Lucy’s throat. Lucy is given transfusions directly from the men, who guard her by night. Seward falls asleep while guarding Lucy and finds her more ill when he awakes. More transfusions ensue, and Van Hel-sing insists that Lucy wear a necklace of garlic every night.

One night, a wolf crashes through the window, the necklace slips off, and Lucy is further victimized. Van Helsing tells Holmwood that Lucy is near death. Holmwood kisses Lucy, who fastens her teeth to his neck. Lucy dies. Several neighborhood children are discovered far from home, alive but with their throats punctured. They say they followed a pretty lady in white.

Harker returns to England. Van Helsing suggests that Lucy is a vampire’s victim. By night, Holmwood, Seward, Van Helsing, and Quincey P. Morris visit Lucy’s tomb and find it empty. At daybreak, Lucy returns, and they drive a stake through her heart, cut off her head, and stuff garlic in her mouth.

Mina is vampirized by Dracula. The men track Dracula in London, but he escapes. By hypnotizing Mina, they learn that Dracula is at sea. They follow him to Castle Dracula. Wolves encircle the men and Mina, who gather safely within a “magic” circle Van Helsing traces. The men overtake the cart carrying Dracula’s coffin. As the sun sets, Harker slashes Dracula’s throat with his Kukri knife and Morris gouges Dracula’s heart with his Bowie knife.