AP Literature and Composition
10 December 2012
The Lesser of Two Evils
Ignorance is bliss. Sometimes, it is better to remain ignorant, better to remain untainted, uncorrupted, by the evil all around. For centuries monsters have lived and thrived in the nightmares of children. Two monsters that strike fear in the hearts of men and children alike are Count Dracula and Frankenstein. These two characters have been existed in literature for many years. There have been novels, action figures, Halloween costumes, and cheesy 80s movies which depict the monsters as vile and dissolute creatures that will kill without a moment of hesitation. Dracula violates his victims; he encourages the townspeople’s fear by committing heinous acts of murder. Dracula’s nature reeks of evil and immoral tendencies. Frankenstein’s very appearance causes the townspeople to cower in fear. They do not understand him because they do not take the chance to get to know him. Instead, the townspeople shun him, causing his transformation into a violent and evil creature. The monster is not at fault in this situation rather his creator, Victor Frankenstein, is the real evil. Bram Stoker and Mary Shelley explore the destructive forces of evil through the sociopathic Count Dracula and the egotistical Victor Frankenstein. Bram Stoker’s Dracula begins with the journal of Mr. Jonathan Harker, a young solicitor, on the way to Transylvania to give information to the mysterious vampire Count Dracula about his new estate in London. Dracula takes Jonathan into the castle, who upon entering sees strange and evil occurrences there. Frightened, he flees the castle. Dracula moves to London to hunt more humans. Coincidentally, characters Mina (Jonathan’s fiancé) and Lucy are staying in the same area of town. The vampire chooses Lucy to be his first victim. Dr. Seward tries to treat Lucy’s ailment caused by the vampire, but is forced to send for back-up from Professor Abraham Van Helsing. Van Helsing, realizes the truth and that he cannot save her. He manages to convince the townspeople of the existence and danger of vampires. He tells them Dracula’s true identity and his attack on Lucy. A group consisting of Van Helsing, Dr. Seward, Johnathan, Mina, and a few others set out to destroy the evil monster, researching all they can about him. Dracula, however, attacks Mina in the night, feeding her his blood so she will become a vampire as well. The team manages to drive Dracula out of England, realizing that if they fail to kill the creature, Mina will become a vampire. They follow him to Transylvania, trapping him outside of his castle. The team kills Dracula and stop Mina’s transformation into a vampire.
Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein begins with the letters of Captain Robert Walton to his sister. The captain tells her the story of Victor Frankenstein and the monster he created. Walton finds Victor Frankenstein on the brink of death while Walton’s ship is frozen in ice at the North Pole. As Victor recovers, he tells Walton his story so that he can learn from Victor’s mistakes. Victor grows up in a wonderful Swiss family, with close ties to his adopted cousin, Elizabeth, and his best friend Henry Clerval. All through his life, Victor becomes obsessed with the “spark of life” or what is needed to create life. While still in college, he creates the Frankenstein monster out of old body parts. The creature turns out to be a hideous being. Disgusted with his creation, Victor runs from it. He then falls ill and Clerval takes care of him. The monster wanders from town to town in search of friendship. After several horrible encounters with humans, the Frankenstein monster grows afraid of humans. He watched a family for a long time, learning everything he could about life. He attempts to befriend this family, but they are afraid of him. This rejection leads the monster to seek vengeance against his creator. The monster kills Victor’s younger brother,...