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DRACULA

Dracula is one of the best gothic horror books i have read i am thinking of geting a copy of dracula unbound by brian aldis as have been told that its good i also am a big fan of the francis ford coppolas film verson of dracula. to find out more go to draculas homepage http://www.ucs.mun.ca/~emiller/ Count Dracula (his first name is never given in the novel) is a centuries-old vampire, sorcerer and Transylvanian nobleman, who claims to be a Székely descended from Attila the Hun. He inhabits a decaying castle in the Carpathian Mountains near the Borgo Pass. Contrary to the vampires of Eastern European folklore which are portrayed as repulsive, corpse-like creatures, Dracula exudes a veneer of aristocratic charm which masks his unfathomable evil.

His appearance is described thus: Dracula's] face was a strong - a very strong - aquiline, with high bridge of the thin nose and peculiarly arched nostrils; with lofty domed forehead, and hair growing scantily round the temples, but profusely elsewhere. His eyebrows were very massive, almost meeting over the nose, and with bushy hair that seemed to curl in its own profusion. The mouth, so far as I could see it under the heavy moustache, was fixed and rather cruel looking, with peculiarly sharp white teeth; these protruded over the lips, whose remarkable ruddiness showed astonishing vitality in a man of his years. For the rest, his ears were pale and at the tops extremely pointed; the chin was broad and strong, and the cheeks firm though thin. The general effect was one of extraordinary pallor.

– Jonathan Harker's Journal, Dracula, Chapter 2 In his youth, he studied the black arts at the academy of Scholomance in the Carpathian Mountains, overlooking the town of Sibiu (also known as Hermannstadt) and became proficient in alchemy and magic (Dracula Chapter 18 and Chapter 23).

Later he took up a military profession. According to Abraham Van Helsing: He must indeed have been that Voivode Dracula who won his name against the Turks... If it be so, then was he no common man: for in that time, and for centuries after, he was spoken of as the cleverest and the most cunning, as well as the bravest of the sons of the 'land beyond the forest'.

– Mina Harker's Journal, 30 September, Dracula, Chapter 8
Using the black arts, Dracula returned from death as a vampire and lives for several centuries in his castle with his three wives for company.

In the 19th century, however, he acts on a long contemplated plan for world domination, and infiltrates London to begin his reign of terror. He summons Jonathan Harker, a newly qualified English solicitor, to provide legal support for a real estate transaction overseen by Harker's employer. Dracula at first charms Harker with his cordiality and historical knowledge and even rescues him from the clutches of his three bloodthirsty brides. In truth, however, Dracula wishes to keep Harker alive just long enough for his legal transaction to finish and to learn as much as possible about England. Before leaving for England, Dracula descends upon the village below his castle and feeds on an inhabitant, thus physically rejuvenating himself.

Dracula then leaves his castle and boards a Russian ship, the Demeter, taking along with him boxes of Transylvanian soil, which he needs in order to regain his strength. During the voyage to Whitby, a coastal town in northern England, he sustains himself on the ship's crew members. Only one body is later found, that of the captain, who is found tied up to the ship's helm. The captain's log is recovered and tells of strange events that had taken place during the ship's journey. Dracula leaves the ship in the form of a large wolf.

Soon the Count is menacing Harker's devoted fiancée, Wilhelmina "Mina" Murray, and her vivacious friend, Lucy Westenra. There is also a notable link between Dracula and Renfield, a patient in an insane asylum compelled to consume insects, spiders, birds, and other creatures — in ascending order of size — in order to absorb their "life force". Renfield acts as a kind of motion sensor, detecting Dracula's proximity and supplying clues accordingly. Dracula begins to visit Lucy's bed chamber on a nightly basis, draining her of blood while simultaneously infecting her with the curse of vampirism. Not knowing the cause for Lucy's deterioration, her companions call upon the Dutch doctor Abraham Van Helsing, the former mentor of one of Lucy's suitors. Van Helsing soon deduces her condition's supernatural origins, but does not speak out. Despite an attempt at keeping the vampire at bay with garlic, Dracula entices Lucy out of her chamber late at night and drains her blood, killing her.

Van Helsing and a group of men, including Jonathan Harker who had escaped his captivity, enter Lucy's crypt and kill her reanimated corpse. They later enter Dracula's residence at Carfax Abbey, destroying his boxes of earth, thus depriving the Count of his ability to refuel his powers. Dracula leaves England to return to his homeland, but not before biting Mina.

Eventually, the group of heroes — Lord Godalming, Van Helsing, Dr. Seward, Jonathan Harker, Mina and Quincey Morris — track the Count back to Transylvania and, after a vicious battle with Dracula's gypsy bodyguards, destroy him. Dracula's death is shorn of the rituals enjoined by Van Helsing. Despite the popular image of Dracula having a stake driven through his heart, Mina's narrative describes his throat being cut by Jonathan Harker's "kukri" knife and his heart pierced by Quincey Morris's Bowie knife while he is being transported in his coffin en route to Castle Dracula (Mina Harker's Journal, 6 November, Dracula Chapter 27). This omission of the proper rituals of destruction lead Auerbach and Skal, in the introduction to the 1997 Norton critical edition of Dracula, to express doubts whether Dracula has really been finished off. Dracula, they suggest, may rise again. Personality

Although he usually dons a mask of cordiality to deceive others, Dracula often flies into fits of rage when his plans are interfered with. When his three brides attempt to seduce and consume Jonathan Harker, Dracula physically assaults one and ferociously berates them for their insubordination. Though he is capable of forming romantic ties, he freely admits that they are temporary.

Dracula is very passionate about his warrior heritage, emotionally proclaiming his pride to Harker on how the Székely people are infused with the blood of multiple heroes. He does express an interest in the history of the British Empire, speaking admirably of its people. He has a somewhat primal and predatory world view; he pities ordinary humans for their revulsion to their darker impulses.

Though usually portrayed as having a strong Eastern European accent, the original novel only specifies that his spoken English is excellent, though strangely toned. Powers, abilities and weaknesses

Count Dracula possesses numerous different supernatural abilities inherent in vampirism, along with additional skills derived from his abilities as a necromancer which allow him to comune with the dead, his age and potency make him far more powerful than the creatures of traditional Eastern European folklore. He has enormous physical strength which, according to Van Helsing, is equivalent to 20 men. Being undead, he is immune to conventional means of attack. The only definite way to kill him is by decapitatating him followed by impalment through the heart, it is also suggested that shooting him with a sacred bullet would suffice . The Count can defy gravity to a certain extent, being able to climb upside down vertical surfaces in a lizard-like manner. He has powerful hypnotic and mind control abilities , and is also able to command the loyalty of nocturnal animals such as wolves and rats. Dracula can also manipulate the weather, usually creating mists to hide his presence, but also storms such as in his voyage in the Demeter. He can shapeshift at will, his featured forms in the novel being that of a wolf, bat, dust and fog. He requires no other sustenance but fresh blood, which has the effect of rejuvenating him. Without it, he physically ages at an accelerated rate. According to Dr Van Helsing: The Nosferatu do not die like the bee when he sting once. He is only stronger, and being stronger, have yet more power to work evil. This vampire which is amongst us is of himself so strong in person as twenty men, he is of cunning more than mortal, for his cunning be the growth of ages, he have still the aids of necromancy, which is, as his etymology imply, the divination by the dead, and all the dead that he can come nigh to are for him at command , he is brute, and more than brute, he is devil in callous, and the heart of him is not, he can, within his range, direct the elements, the storm, the fog, the thunder, he can command all the meaner things, the rat, and the owl, and the bat, the moth, and the fox, and the wolf, he can grow and become small, and he can at times vanish and come unknown.

– Mina Harker's Journal, Dracula
One of Dracula's most mysterious powers is the ability to transfer his vampiric condition to others. As seen with Lucy and Mina, transfer of the curse is done through a bite to the throat, allowing the Count to ingest the victim's blood at the same time. The victim is transformed gradually, exhibiting physical weakness and a fear of holy objects, the transformation being complete when the body is completely drained. Oddly, all other vampires present in the novel are female and there is no mention of Dracula's victims on the Demeter ever becoming undead themselves. However, it is implied through his encounters with Mina Harker that a person to be turned must also consume some of Dracula's blood ("By her bed stood a tall, thin man, clad in black. His face was turned from us, but the instant we saw we all recognized the Count-in every way, even to the scar on his forehead. With his left hand he held both Mrs Harker's hands, keeping them away with her arms at full tension; his right hand gripped her by the back of the neck, forcing her face down on his bosom. Her white nightdress was smeared with blood, and a thin stream trickled down the man's bare breast which was shown by his torn-open dress.") Although his acolytes share the Count's enhanced strength, thirst for blood and aversion to holy objects, they do not appear to possess the more advanced powers of their creator, such as shapeshifting and ...


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