Discuss the atmosphere of the first three chapters of Dracula and examine what you think are the key themes that have been raised in the book so far? The opening chapter of the novel is told from the point of view of Jonathan Harker, in the form of his journal. Harker is a young solicitor (lawyer) from England, who is sent by his employer to the castle of Count Dracula, in Transylvania. Harker's been given the assignment to arrange the purchase of a property in London for the Count. He plans to take notes on his journey so that he can share his experiences with his fiancée, Mina Murray. He does this on a regular basis and we call Mr Harker a meticulous man, as his times are exact.
The introduction in itself sets the more realistic affect of this Gothic-novel as it states news paper articles are pieced together, ‘How these papers have been placed in sequence will be made manifest in the reading of them’, this makes it seem more realistic and menacing, as suppose to Bram Stocker just writing the novel. The first chapter establishes the typical Gothic atmosphere, building up fear and foreboding. This is made by emphasizing the strange, threatening and supernatural and also aspects of Transylvania and the superstitious behaviour of the citizens of Transylvania For example whilst Harker was in the carriage that would take him to Dracula, they entered a ‘blue inferno’ as if it were natural. Also as the meticulous Harker dispatches from the carriage he is warned by the ‘crossed’ people of Transylvania ‘Must you go?’, Harker’s ignorance or meticulous behaviour continues as more and more symbols become apparent as the gothic theme takes its hold on the chapter as the introduction of ‘dark rolling clouds’ and a ‘sense of thunder’ are ejected into this chapter, this is accompanied by ‘dog’s howling’.
Harker's journey confronts him with many strange and frightening happenings which build up a foreboding atmosphere. The sense of strangeness evil is ignorant to Harker by the fact that He does not speak the language and only with some difficulty is able to work out what people mean For example as a Hotel mistress attempted to stop him going to ‘hell’ asking him ‘ What day is it, He replied I don’t understand.’ Bram Stoker has taken Harker out of the normal luxurious life he has in England, Whitby and stuck him in the middle of nowhere, where Harker has got his research about Transylvania from the museum, as if that is enough to prepare him for what he is in store for.
Finally as him and the driver approached castle Dracula the mystery become more and more apparent. As the carriage driver disappears to inspect mysterious blue flames that appear around them, and at one point Harker realizes that the carriage driver disappears. Finally, the carriage driver seems to have the ability to control wolves and to calm horses. Harker being meticulous thinks to himself to understand any of these events and can only explain them repressing his inner most fears and saying that he must have ‘fallen asleep and have been dreaming’.
Harker arrives at the castle courtyard in darkness. As the carriage driver helps him to get off the carriage. Left alone in the courtyard, Harker hears the sound of bolts being drawn back on a heavy door. The door opens, and there stands a tall old man dressed in black. It is Count Dracula. The Count welcomes Harker with such a strong handshake that Harker wonders if the Count and the carriage driver are the same person. The Count's hand is as cold as ice - "more like the hand of a dead than a living man." The Count shows Harker to a large and well-lit room with a log fire, which is to be his bedroom. The warmth of the room and the Count's welcome relieve Harker of his fears.
The Count invites Harker to eat supper, though the Count does not eat, saying he has eaten already. After supper, Harker notices the oddness of the Count's appearance. He has sharp white teeth, which lap over the lips. His ears are...
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