Social Class and Bram Stoker's Dracula
The issue of social class and its effects upon society in Victorian-era Europe is a theme central to Bram Stoker's novel Dracula. On the surface, the novel seems to be a story of a battle between good and evil; upon further analysis, it could be seen as a battle between high and low social classes. The vampire Dracula is a quintessential aristocratic figure, one who prides himself on his superior bloodlines in more ways than one. The people who slay him are of assorted nationality, gender, ethnicity, and economic privilege. Through the interactions between characters of various socioeconomic status, Stoker illustrates the class-based prejudices operative in a society.
The earliest explicit example of this is Dracula's almost boastful description of his family and heritage in chapter I. The Count asserts, on behalf of his ancestors and himself, that "in our veins flows the blood of many brave races" (p. 33). This is a curious comment because of its obvious double meaning. While Dracula is using the word "blood" as it is commonly used, that is, as metaphor for ancestry and heritage, he is also using it in a literal sense: as a vampire, the blood of many people does flow through his veins. However,...
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