Dracula - Gothic Response

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The gothic novel, Dracula, is based on Count Dracula who is a centuries-old vampire and inhabits a decaying castle in Transylvania. The novel begins with our storyteller Jonathan Harker travelling to Dracula’s castle in Transylvania. He soon discovers he is a prisoner of the castle and narrowly escapes with his life. The rest of the novel revolves around Harker and other characters trying to catch and destroy Dracula. The novel concludes with Harker and Holmwood driving their knives through Dracula's heart as he crumbles into dust.

The novel is mainly composed of journal entries and letters written by several narrators who are also the novel's main protagonists. Stoker added into the novel occasional newspaper clippings to relate events not directly witnessed by the story's characters.

In Dracula, Bram Stoker uses the diary technique to create a realistic gothic horror story. By writing in diary and journal form, Stoker creates a sense of intimacy with his reader. We feel as if we are reading the story as it happens and share in the horror of the various characters.

The main theme I found in this novel was “good versus evil”. Van Helsing and his band of men symbolises the good while Dracula symbolises the evil. Van Helsing and his band of men planned to slay Dracula and remove the evil while Dracula tried to do the opposite. In the end, good has prevailed and Dracula has been killed.

Gothic novels generally focus on mystery and horror, and they usually have some supernatural elements. In Dracula, the supernatural elements are plentiful, starting with the use of a vampire as the title character. In addition, the specific characteristics given to the vampire emphasises his inhumanity. Jonathan says in his diary entry, after witnessing Dracula scale the castle wall like a lizard, "What manner of man is this, or what manner of creature is it in the semblance of man?"

Another technique effectively used through the novel was the use of superstitions. To...
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