Characters convey an author’s ideas and beliefs and relationships with the world and the human beings around them. Some of the major characters from Bram Stoker’s Dracula are discussed below.
Characters in Dracula
Count Dracula is the major character of the novel, Dracula, having all the traits that make him a central character. Although he’s becoming a vampire has an ambiguous history, Van Helsing has an idea that his necromancer past and devil dealing lineage might have been instrumental in transforming him. Lack of clarity about his past does not deter Van Helsing from calling him King-Vampire after seeing his wide-ranging powers that incorporate controlling animals and the weather. With his superhuman strength and fast speed, Dracula can hypnotize others while transforming himself into animals. Despite his ubiquity and power, he faces limitations, particularly at sunrise and sunset. He even faces limitations in his powers when certain things such as a cross, a piece of garlic, or holy water are present. Even his crossing of water and sleeping must have certain conditions.
When the novel opens, Count Dracula is shown as an old man becoming stronger and younger. He is stated to have come from Transylvania and shifted to London to more easily find prey. Although his lust for power and conquest are evident in his conversation, we feel sympathetic for the lost glory that he wants to regain through other means.
Van Helsing, though old and speaking in mumbles, is a protagonist against Dracula and his devilish deeds. He poses a serious challenge to the Count through his well-developed responses to his evil deeds. A metaphysician and a doctor, he not only knows modern medicinal techniques but also is well-versed in spiritual healing and folk remedies. Straddling between modernity and tradition, Van Helsing comes to save Lucy after diagnosing her illness and suggesting treatment.
Despite such diverse traits, he is a static character in the novel who does not witness any radical change in his features throughout the course of the story. A morally upright person, he enters the scene to eradicate the evil and leaves it immediately after his job is finished.
Mina Murry is a major character of the novel whose goodness stands in stark contract to Count Dracula, whose depravity destroys the social fabric. She is married to Jonathan Harker, and with him and Seward is one of the main recorders of events with Dracula. Mina’s purity and spirituality help others track Dracula by the end of the novel. In between, she advises Lucy who is the first victim of Dracula and then battles him herself in the second half of the novel.
Jonathan Harker is another significant character of the novel who comes across Dracula and then spreads the news about him. He appears in the very initial stages of the novel when he comes to help Dracula, who is a count engaged in making a purchase of an estate in the United Kingdom. However, it takes him a great deal of time to recognize the Count’s real nature. Devoted to Mina, the main target of Dracula, he becomes obsessed with saving her and destroying Dracula at all costs.
A former disciple of Professor Van Helsing, John Seward is a young doctor who runs a lunatic asylum located near Dracula’s mansion. His interviews with Renfield, one of his patients, point to his intellectual growth about knowledge and understanding of psychology. He tries to understand psychosis and turns toward Lucy to love her despite her illness. His dedication can be gauged from the fact that he stays loyal to her despite her illness. He then dedicates his life to fighting Dracula after her death.
Lucy Westenra is another important character of the novel, Dracula, as she is Dracula’s first victim. She is not only a good-hearted lady, but also very pretty and flirtatious. She is best friends with the sanguine lady, Mina Murry, who advises her how to cope with life in a better way. She becomes sick when Dracula takes her strength. She turns into a vampire after her death and starts terrorizing children, becoming a “bloofer lady” and spreading the name even in the local newspapers.
A minor character, Quincey Morris, is a suitor of Lucy Westenra who loses his life-fighting Dracula. He is famous for keeping a bowie knife with him. A gallant and brave fellow of American origin, Morris is also identified by his unique speech pattern.
Also known as Lord Godalming, Arthur is another minor character but very important on account of his becoming Lucy’s husband. His money helps him against Dracula by financing his expeditions to kill him. A good friend of Morris and Seward, he helps them in their fight against Dracula.
A madman, Renfield shows another side of humanity. However, it is interesting that he is obsessed with consuming life. He often eats raw meat including flies and spiders. Dracula kills him after he fails to make him his henchman.
Mrs. Westenra is Lucy’s mother. She is a heart patient that she keeps a secret from Lucy so that she could live a long life. However, fate has decided something else for her in that she breathes her last followed shortly by Lucy.