Preface: This is a short essay I wrote for my Science Fiction/Fantasy MOOC class last semester. It was challenging because of the word limit (320 words) and I would have liked to expand on the ideas much more. But at least it gave me practice in trying to condense my thoughts : ) So this essay is on Dracula, by Bram Stoker.
The overarching tension of Dracula is the conflict between the traditional Christian worldview and the forces of evil. It is only through recourse to religion that the protagonists are able to overcome Dracula; science and technological advances were of no use.
The character of Dracula stands in opposition to Christianity in two primary ways.
Firstly, Christianity is based on the life sacrifice of Christ—the giving of His blood—and the salvation that comes through it. He allows Himself to be killed so that others may obtain eternal life. “When Christ appeared….he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption.” (Hebrews 9:11-12) However, Dracula seeks to use the blood of others to maintain his own life. When Jonathan Harker realizes the true character of the Count he was employed by, he said, “This was the being I was helping to transfer to London, where, perhaps, for centuries to come he might, amongst its teeming millions, satiate his lust for blood, and create a new and ever-widening circle of semi-demons to batten on the helpless.”
Secondly, Christianity emphasizes the eternality of the soul over our bodies. Christ says, “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Matthew 10:28) The soul lives forever, but our bodies will perish. So, in the Christian tradition it is most important to consider the wellbeing of your soul. Dracula, in contrast, has no regard for the soul but simply wants to maintain his body. Dr. Seward, reacting to Lucy’s death says, “There was no love in my own heart, nothing but loathing for the foul Thing which had taken Lucy’s shape without her soul.”