According to Dictionary. com, a vampire is “a corpse, animated by an undeparted soul or demon, that periodically leaves the grave and disturbs the living, until it is exhumed and impaled or burned. ” Our society’s view of Vampires has unfortunately been tarnished by several novels that shall remain nameless. Bram Stoker’s Dracula, however, is an excellent novel that shows just how menacing vampires should be. More importantly, it is a classic book that can provide many different readings and analyses.
By using a Marxist approach, elements of this book can be easily compared to the oppression and eventual overthrow of a dictatorship style government. Dracula and Trannsylvania represent an oppressed country being run by a dictator. Team Van Helsing, consisting of Van Helsing, Harker, Mina, Lucy, Seward, Holmwood, and Morris, represent the upper middle class of a neighboring country. When Dracula begins expanding his rule into Team Van Helsing’s country, they eventually revolt and overthrow him, In Dracula, Count Dracula represents a dictator ruling over an oppressed country, which is represented by Trannsylvania.
Dracula lives in a castle right outside of the city of Trannsylvania, where he feasts on it’s inhabitants. Vampires don’t have blood in their own bodies, so they need to continuously drink blood of living creatures to replenish their ever-draining supply. This is extremely similar to how a dictator runs a country. They have absolute power over everyone else and do things only to gain more power. Both dictators and Dracula use the capitalist deception to gain capital by turning human life into power. Dictators use labor plus the actual time people live to gain wealth.
Dracula directly turns human life into power. This creates a massive surplus on the side of the dictator. Dracula also has his minions to seduce Harker. Stoker writes “The fair girl went on her knees and bent over me, fairly gloating. There was a deliberate voluptuousness which was both thrilling and repulsive, and as she arched her neck she actually licked her lips like an animal… I could feel the soft, shivering touch of the lips on the supersensitive skin of my throat, and the hard dents of two sharp teeth, just touching and pausing there” (Stoker 38).
Many dictators use the same tactics to either attempt to trick the people they are ruling that they safe or to hide what is really going on behind the scenes. The city of Trannsylvania represents the oppressed country because they both pay extremely high labor costs with almost nothing in exchange. In a dictatorship, the oppressed people work long hours for very low pay. They are generally in poverty because of this. The people of Trannsylvania have the extremely high “labor” cost of having their blood sucked out of them by Dracula and they are always living in fear.
Both the oppressed people and the citizens of Trannsylvania are unable to revolt for fear of death. The oppressed people fear starvation and the citizens of Transylvania fear being killed by Dracula. Being constantly oppressed, the people who live in Trannsylvania are never able to create and sustain a middle class. However, the neighboring country is able to because they are not under oppression. Team Van Helsing represents the upper middle class of a neighboring county. The majority of them live in England, which is able to build and sustain the middle class.
This can be shown by looking at the occupations of the people in Team Van Helsing. Van Helsing himself is a professor and scientist. John Harker is a lawyer who meets with Dracula to provide legal support on a real estate transaction. Seward was Van Helsing’s student and is now a doctor. He works in an insane asylum in England. All the other members of Team Van Helsing also either have jobs or live fairly respectable lifestyles. These are all jobs of the upper middle class, indicating that Team Van Helsing represents the middle class.
However, these people represent a middle class in a society that isn’t oppressed by a dictator. Because of this, they are not used to oppression until Dracula moves to London. Dracula first begins his move to London when he invites Harker to visit him in his castle to talk about a real estate transaction. Harker figures out that the Dracula is keeping him hostage, but eventually he escapes. This represents the dictator making the first advances into the neighboring country’s soil. Because Harker escapes, the middle class win the first “battle” between the dictator and the middle class.
However, this makes Dracula realize he needs to get to London quickly. Lucy begins to feel mysteriously ill. Two small wounds appear on her neck from where Dracula bit her. and she is extremely sickly and pale. She is kept alive by receiving multiple blood donations. She needed one nearly every day until she finally died. Lucy eventually becomes a vampire herself and Van Helsing hunt her down and kill her. These series of events represent oppression slowly creeping up on the middle class.
Dracula’s presence is directly affecting Team Van Helsing by turning Lucy into a vampire and also by instilling fear of death into the group. The oppression continues after that. Mina was also bitten by Dracula as well. In addition to being bitten, she was forced to drink his blood. In addition to being physically oppressed by Dracula, she is also hurt by him when he is not present. Stoker writes “As he placed the Wafer on Mina’s forehead, it had seared it – had burned into the flesh as though it had been a piece of white hot metal” (Stoker 297).
This represents the fear that dictators instill in the people they are ruling over. Fear is absolutely essential to running a dictatorship, for fear is what keeps people from revolting. After this incident Team Van Helsing has had enough. They have decided to group together and kill Dracula. After being under oppression by Dracula, Team Van Helsing finally decide to rid the world of Dracula. Because Mina drank the blood of Dracula, she was now able to get clues of where he is. They used her ability to attempt to locate where Dracula was, and eventually they ended up going to his castle in Trannsylvania.
At the same time Dracula was fleeing London and on his way back to his castle. Team Lucy arrived first and are able to kill him just before sundown. Dracula turns into dust and Mina is cured of her vampiric poisoning. This whole scene and climax of Dracula represents the middle class finally revolting. After the new dictator came over from his neighboring country, they grew tired of the oppression and finally fought back. Unlike the citizens of Trannsylvania, the members of Team Van Helsing had been upper middle class people before the oppression began.
This is the reason why Team Van Helsing revolted and the people of Trannsylvania did not. The constant fear of Dracula is how they had been used to living. When suddenly faced with the oppression, Team Van Helsing was able to take action and overcome adversity. This just goes to show how strong of a middle class they were. Just remember, a lot more can be learned about Vampires other than the garbage that today’s novels say about them. They’re a scary, evil, and powerful killing machine. But in addition to that, they make for a good book.
Dracula will always remain a classic book, and a big part of that reason is because of how many different ways one can analyze the story. Using the marxist approach to analyze Dracula shows that Dracula and Trannsylvania represent a dictatorship society, while Team Van Helsing represent the upper middle class. When Dracula begins oppressing the middle class, they eventually revolt and overthrow him. No matter which analysis approach one uses, they don’t be disappointed with Dracula. Maybe there is still some hope for our society’s view on vampires.
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