Ideological Work of Religion in Dracula
In the Victorian age, Dracula was seen as an uprising that had come to change the way of life. He was behaving contrary to what was required at the time. According to the book ‘Dracula’ by Bram Stocker, Dracula was negating all the Victorian era values (Stoker 20). Dracula has been given the character of a powerful being that is feared and worshipped by people who believe in him. Stoker has shown that Dracula was a symbol of change and religion in the Victorian era. All through this book, Stoker has been using Dracula as a simple religious symbol in the book. The author has also given comparison of Dracula with Christianity. Stoker uses Dracula to explain the theme of religion in his book while comparing and contrasting Dracula and Christianity.
In the Victorian era, the theme of religion was extremely important. Christianity was the main religion where the people were generally Catholics. In the book, Stoker has shown that the people are Christians and they are used to maintain the catholic faith (Rave Web Design 2011). Additionally, in the book, the author has portrayed the picture of a catholic church thus showing that the people in the Victorian era are religious and they profess the Catholic faith. According to the Christian values, people are expected to behave in a certain way. For instance, in the Victorian age people were expected to be of noble behavior. This nobility was the one considered to be of Christian values. For this reason, in the book ‘Dracula’, the author has been using the theme of religion as his main theme through the people of the Victorian age.
In addition to the people of the Victorian age, the author has used Dracula to show the theme of religion. The Victorian age was viewing Dracula as a symbol of change from their way of life. Their way of life was following the Christian values but Dracula is seen to bring evil to the people. This thought of Dracula being seen as evil in nature has been clearly shown in the book by Stoker as a theme of religion because it is affecting the values of the people in the Victorian era. Moreover, Stoker is using Dracula as a symbol of evil or satanic power. This by itself raises many religious questions while one is reading the book. Therefore, Stoker has constantly used Dracula to portray the theme of religion in the book.
The theme of religion has been used in the book as a comparison between Dracula and Christianity. There are several instances where Stoker has compared the values of Dracula with those of Christianity. Additionally, there are some instances where Dracula is being compared with Jesus Christ. This comparison and contrast alone shows that there is the theme of religion in the book. There are other instances where Stoker has shown the theme of religion in the book. An example is the use of blood in the book. The way he has shown that blood is life for the vampires proves many religious things (Stoker 130). Similarly, in Christianity blood is used often symbolically like in the sharing of the Holy Communion. It is because of such instances Stoker has creatively been able to put the theme of religion in the forefront of this book.
In the book, Stoker has given comparison of Dracula and Christianity. The first comparison is the arrival of Dracula at the coast of England. When Dracula arrived at the coast of England, he created a heavy storm so that he could enter England without being recognized or being killed. This shows that Dracula has the power to control the oceans or the weather (Stoker 76). Similarly, Jesus Christ was also able to control the seas. This was when He was called upon by His disciples while He was taking a nap while they were in a voyage. Jesus Christ woke up and He was able to calm the waters. This showed that he had powers to control the water bodies and the weather. Therefore, Stoker has used this comparison to mock Christianity by the use of Dracula.
The use of blood in the book by Stoker is another comparison Dracula has been compared with to Christianity. Dracula keeps on saying that blood is life. Additionally, Stoker has creatively shown that Dracula only survives by taking blood. This means that Dracula has to use blood so that he can be able to survive in all his endeavors. This is similar to the last supper in the Christian teachings. According to the last supper, Christians believe that Jesus Christ shared his blood with the others as a sign of life. Additionally, according to the bible, in the last supper Jesus said that drink my blood for it is the only life. This shows that the Christians believe in the blood of Jesus Christ, as it is the life while Dracula believes that blood is the only life.
The other comparison used in the book by Stoker, is the creation story of people and Dracula. In the case of Dracula, he turns people to vampires by first draining them of their blood so that he can be able to give them his blood. This way he feels as if he is creating the people in his own image, blood and likeness (Bak 52). A good example used in the book is Dracula when he changes Mina into a vampire. He thinks that he has created Mina in his own blood image and likeness. This is very similar to the creation story of man as told by Christians in the bible. Christians believe that in the beginning God created man in His own image and likeness. This comparison has been revealed by Stoker in the book by showing that Dracula also creates other vampires using his blood thus his likeness.
The use of followers or disciples is another similarity Dracula and Jesus Christ have. In both cases, they have disciples who take them to be masters and have supernatural powers that no other man has. In the case of Dracula, he has Reinfield as his faithful follower who always wants to be on his side. Additionally, Reinfield thinks and believes that Dracula is the only true master and nobody has powers apart from him. This shows that Reinfield is a true follower of Dracula. This is very similar to Christianity where Enoch believed that God is the only true God and he has powers that no other man has. In addition, there are other examples of followers in Christianity like the disciples of Jesus Christ who believed that Jesus is the only true master. They believe that Jesus has super natural powers that no other man possesses. This shows a great similarity between Dracula and Christianity.
The other comparison between Dracula and Christianity is the issue of life and death. It was believed that it is only Jesus Christ, through the powers given to him by God, who was able to resurrect. This is very similar to vampirism. In the book, Stoker has distinctively shown the readers how the vampires are changed from humans to vampires. First, the human beings have to die so that they can be turned into vampires. That point of transition to death is the one that the vampires utilizes and changes the human being into a vampire (Bak 72). Similarly, Jesus Christ was also able to resurrect people from the dead. The only difference was that Jesus Christ never changed anybody from being a human into another creature. The person was expected to remain the same.
The last comparison that has been used by Stoker is the power of healing. In the book, anytime Dracula was injured he was able to heal himself. Additionally, the people that he converted into vampires were also able to heal themselves. This means that he had given them the power to heal automatically. This is also similar to Christianity because the different Christians are also able to heal if they have faith in God. Therefore, it is very true to say that, Stoker has creatively used Dracula to show the comparison between Dracula and Christian beliefs and values.
On the other hand, there are distinct features between Dracula and Christianity that Stoker has used in the book. Dracula is being portrayed to represent the evil powers in the Victorian era while Christianity is portrayed to be of the good cause. Dracula represented all the values opposite to the Christian values. In the Victorian era, people were believed to be of noble behavior where they used to behave in civilized manner (Rave Web Design 2011). They had the values of love peace and unity. On the other hand, Stoker has portrayed Dracula as a powerful being that is extremely violent and his vampires as people of lust. This lust means that they are sexually active and do not have love as one of their virtues. This is where Dracula views women as sex objects and not people with feelings (Snodgrass 89). Therefore, Dracula represents the bad while Christianity represents good.
The first case in the book that shows that Dracula represents evil is when Jonathan went to visit Count Dracula in his palace in Transylvania. On the way, Jonathan is given a crucifix to protect him from any evil things that might try to affect or harm on the way (Stoker 21). This is proven true when Jonathan hurts himself and Dracula tries to aim for his throat but suddenly stops on seeing the crucifix on the neck of Jonathan. This shows that Dracula is extremely evil to the point of killing. As a result, it has instilled fear in people looking up to Christianity as their only savior from evil. In the reality, it shows that Christianity is good while Dracula or vampirism is evil or bad.
According to the book, Stoker has shown that Dracula’s powers are only present at night. During the day, he can perish. This means that Dracula only goes to rest during the day and works at night. On the other hand, Christianity believes that the power of God is light. The light portrays or resembles good while the dark resembles evil. It should be noted that God works anytime of the day and night. The difference is that his powers are only seen in the light. This means that God does not hide in the dark (Bak 33). On the contrary, Dracula works well at night and he hides from his prey in the dark to avoid being seen. This shows that Dracula and Christianity are very different from each other.
Lastly, in the end of the book Dracula, Stoker has clearly shown how good finally emerges as the victor. It has shown this contrast in the part where Dracula eventually succumbs to God’s power and changes into dust to signify his death despite all that powers that he is believed to possess (Stoker 257). This has shown that evil will never prevail despite the trickery or power that it may contain. It has shown distinctively that Christianity and God in particular are extremely powerful to all the beings in this world. For this fact, Dracula and Christianity are two distinct features that are like water and oil.
In the book, the theme of religion has clearly dominated the scene. This is because Stoker has clearly used the Christian values of the Victorian era who professed the catholic faith. Additionally, he has creatively used Dracula to show evil and anti-Christ in the book thus portraying the theme of religion. Additionally, Stoker has been able to show the different similarities between Christianity and Dracula. For instance, they have some similarities in what they believe about blood, both have followers and they control the water bodies and the weather. The also have distinctions that make them have incomparable. Despite them having some similarities, they can never associate because Dracula represents evil while Christianity represents good.
Bak. John. S. Post/modern Dracula: from Victorian themes to postmodern praxis. New York, NY: John S Bak Publishers, 2007. Print.
Snodgrass, Mary, Ellen. Encyclopedia of Gothic literature. New York, NY: Infobase Publishing, 2005. Print.
Stoker, Bram. Dracula. London, UK: Archibald Constable and Company, 1897. Print.
Rave Web Design. The Victorian Era. Rave Web Design. November 18, 2011. Web. November 18, 2011.