How he became a vampire is unclear, although Van Helsing mentions that in life he was a necromancer, and his family had a long history of dealing with the devil. Van Helsing calls him King-Vampire, although he is probably not the first. His powers include a wide range of abilities, some of which are beyond the powers of the other undead in the novel: he can commands any animal and control the weather; he can become mist or elemental dust; he has superhuman strength and speed; his gaze is hypnotic; he can transform himself into a bat or a wolf. He has serious limitations, as well: he is relatively powerless between sunrise and sunset; he cannot enter a home unless invited (although his power to hypnotize helps him to bypass this limitation); he cannot advance when faced by a cross, garlic, or a piece of communion wafer; he can only cross running water when it is at its lowest; he must sleep in soil made sacred by the burial of dead from his own family. At the start of the novel, he is an old man. As he feeds he grows younger and stronger. A long-dead nobleman of Transylvania, he plans to move to London, where he will have a teeming population of millions for his prey. He obsessively pursues young womenthe three vampire women in his castle are his conquests, and Lucy and Mina become his targets in the course of the novel.
Mina Murray, later Mina Harker
Her purity is the foil to Dracula's lustful depravity. She never knew her father and mother, and her devotion to Jonathan is strong. In the course of the novel, she marries Jonathan Harkerthe first of the characters to encounter Dracula. Mina is spiritually strong, pure of heart, and intellectually gifted. Her suggestions and strategic insight make it possible for the men to track down Dracula at the end of the novel. She is a blend of the "New Woman" and Victorian restraint. She is also Lucy Westenra's best friend, and, like Lucy, she is chosen by Dracula as a target. She is the focus of the second half of the novel, after she is cursed by being forced to drink Dracula's blood. The battle of the novel is in part between her purity and Dracula's corrupting evil. Her letters and journal entries constitute a large part of the novel. Along with Jonathan and Seward, she is one of the principal recorders of the novel's events.
The first character to encounter Dracula. At the start of the novel, Jonathan is on a business trip to Transylvania to help Count Dracula to purchase an estate in England. At the time he is unaware of the Count's true natureand it takes an awfully long time, many readers complain, for him to catch on. He is fiercely devoted to Mina, and after Mina is polluted by the Count, Jonathan is obsessed with destroying him. His letters and journal entries make up a substantial part of the novel.
Professor Abraham Van Helsing
Van Helsing is one of the greatest scientists of his day. A Dutchman and Dr. Seward's old mentor, his open mind allows him to correctly diagnose Lucy Westenra's affliction. He is knowledgeable in vampire lore, and he becomes obsessed with tracking down Dracula. For a long time, he is the only mortal character who knows that a vampire is at work among them. A wise and passionate old man, he understands before anyone else that Dracula is a threat to humanity and must be destroyed. He speaks in quaint, imperfect English, perhaps one of the reasons that this very important character's journal entries do not compose a large part of the novel.
Dr. John Seward
Dr. Seward runs the insane asylum near Dracula's new estate. He is one of Lucy Westenra's suitors, but he is rejected in favor of Arthur Holmwood. A supremely rational man whose work among the insane seems at times to have taken its toll on him, he is initially skeptical of Van Helsing's theory. His diary, kept on phonograph, makes up a substantial portion of the novel.
Arthur Holmwood, aka Lord Godalming
Arthur is the lucky suitor whom Lucy picks to be her husband. He is incredibly wealthy, and his money will make the expedition against Dracula possible. He is good friends with Dr. Seward and Quincey Morris. His father dies in the course of the novel, after which Arthur inherits his title, "Lord Godalming." To avoid confusion, throughout this summary he is usually referred to simply as "Arthur."
The third of Lucy's suitors. A rich Texan adventurer with a big bowie knife, he eventually gives his life in the battle against Dracula. Quincey's speech fluctuates between an overdone approximation of Texan English and Victorian-sounding speech no Texan would be caught dead using. He is a gallant and manly idealization of the American male.
Flirtatious, pretty, and good-hearted, Lucy Westenra is Dracula's first important victim in the book. She is Arthur's fiancée and Mina Murray/Harker's best friend. Dracula's attacks take away her strength, making it seem like she has an illness which her friend Dr. Seward cannot diagnose. She eventually dies and becomes a vampire herself. She then terrorizes children, becoming known as the "bloofer lady" in local papers.
A madman in Seward's asylum. He is obsessed with consuming as much life as possible: he eats flies, spiders, and even birds while they are raw and live. Dracula makes Renfield his henchman, but when Renfield betrays the vampire, Dracula kills him.
Lucy's mother. She has a weak heart, a secret that she keeps from Lucy during Lucy's long "illness." She dies of a heart attack shortly before Lucy herself dies.
Jonathan's employer. He dies shortly after making the Harkers his heirs, leaving the Harkers a substantial fortune.
The three vampire women
Seductive and sinister, these three female undead are in the first few chapters of the novel and the last. Jonathan finds them terrifying and alluring at the same time, and he narrowly escapes becoming their prey.
Dracula Questions and Answers
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Seward's assistant Patrick Hennessey reports the latest news on Renfield. On seeing two men who are carrying boxes of earth to the Carfax estate, Renfield escapes and attacks them before he is subdued and brought back to the asylum. Renfield's...
Renfield represents a consumer of life. A madman in Seward's asylum, he is obsessed with consuming as much life as possible: he eats flies, spiders, and even birds while they are raw and live. Dracula makes Renfield his henchman, but when Renfield...
Dracula is a novel by Bram Stoker. The Dracula study guide contains a biography of Bram Stoker, literature essays, a complete e-text, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis.