Human Vampirism: The Function of Renfield in Bram Stoker's Dracula 11th Grade

Both Renfield and his subplot in the novel Dracula serve as both a contrast and a parallel to the vampiric characteristics of Count Dracula. While Count Dracula, his three brides, and his victims are shown to be the only true, physical vampires present within the novel, Renfield is also a vampire in his own sense, despite being human.

Like Dracula’s thirst for young, innocent women, Renfield is similar in how he has a thirst for life. Dr. Seward describes this thirst as “zoophagous”, as Renfield wishes “to absorb as many lives as he can” (Stoker 87). However, Renfield’s thirst exists to contrast with that of the Count’s as the two share a difference in what it is they desire to “take” from the world. While Renfield is obsessed with the consumption of life, gradually progressing to consuming larger organisms the higher he climbs on the food chain, he holds no interest in the consumption of souls, claiming “I want no souls. Life is all I want,” (342). Unlike how Dracula consumes the souls of his victims by taking away their identities and free-will, Renfield holds no such concerns for the consumption of the soul. Thus, Renfield’s character contrasts with that of Dracula’s in regards to their “thirsts” for both lives and souls of...

Join Now to View Premium Content

GradeSaver provides access to 1367 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 10065 literature essays, 2558 sample college application essays, 491 lesson plans, and ad-free surfing in this premium content, “Members Only” section of the site! Membership includes a 10% discount on all editing orders.

Join Now

Already a member? Log in