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Edward Barsegyan

English 102


Professor Batty

Tainted Blood

In Dracula, the title character is the uncanny monster who instills fear and anxiety into

the human mind and exposes the human condition by representing the uncanny with his ghastly

appearance and horrendous animal-like actions which could be compared to an infection

spreading which is prominent in the Victorian Era. Draculas oddities are representative of

humans repressed feelings and needs. Some argue that Dracula has a superego like a human ,

but in reality he symbolizes an animal with no moral standards compared to humans.

One aspect of Dracula that scares people is his uncanny and ghastly appearance. In the

novel, Stoker describes Dracula as a monster.

His face was aquiline, with high bridge of the thin nose and peculiarly arched nostrils; with lofty

domed forehead, and hair growing scantily around 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 protruded over the lips. His

ears were pale, and at the tops extremely pointed(Stoker 59). People become uneasy at the

sight of Dracula because his physique is not what we expect from a normal person according to

Freud. As a vampire, he has aspects of his physique that similar but also very different from a

regular human which makes humans uneasy. He boasts a pale face, oddly shaped nostrils,

bushy hair, pointy ears and sharp fangs on the front set of his teeth. Humans are uneasy and
scared at the sight of uncanny individuals because they are not what they expect them to be.

Humans expect other humans to look normal to them without any oddities to their physique.

When the human physique starts to diverge from the norm is when people start to become

uneasy and get scared of the individual. Freud defines uncanny as strange or mysterious in an

unsettling way. On a website by R. Gray, he states The uncanny is something fearful and

frightening, and as such it has been neglected in the history of aesthetics(Gray 1). Until the

philosophical movement of Modernism came along in the mid 19th to 20th century, anything

other than normal was neglected. Set in the Victorian era before anything that wasnt normal

was bad, the inhabitants are not too fond and are terrified of Dracula because of his familiar but

off looks compared to everyone else.

Although uncanny can describe Draculas appearance, it can also describe Draculas

relationships. One example is the relationship Stoker describes between Dracula and Mina,

With his left hand he held both Mrs. Markers hands, keeping them away with her arms at full

tension...(Stoker 300). This line is about the scene where Mina and Dracula are exchanging

their fluids is a juxtaposition when compared to Minas relationship with her actual husband

Jonathan. A page by Jessica Coon states The relationship between Dracula and Mina Marker is

uncanny. It imitates the relationship between husband and wife, but is described as sinister, more

as if they were predator and prey(Coon 1). In a normal relationship, a husband and wife get

intimate from time to time, but Coon describes Draculas relationships as predator and prey. It

emulates a relationship with the intimate touching but predator and prey with the drawing and

the exchanging of blood between the two.

Although Draculas uncanny appearance is off and unsettling, his horrendous and

immoral actions is what truly gives off fear and anxiety. An article by Jimmy Gonzalez state
The vampire is a creature that breaks the natural cycle of life by refusing to die completely and

manages to survive by stealing life-giving blood from the living(Gonzalez 1). As a vampire,

Dracula is not completely immortal and needs to harm others to survive.

When Dracula bites a victim and draws their blood, they turn into a vampire themselves

and start to spread their disease. One scene where Jonathan sees Dracula lying down in his tomb

is proof of his actions. Stoker wrote disgustingly bloated creature gorged with blood, a filthy

leech (Stoker 80). An article by Sarah Peters states When Harker finds Dracula asleep in his

coffin with fresh blood on his lips, the Count looks younger and healthier, but he is still

repulsive(Peters 2). Peters is stating that when Dracula gets his fix of blood, he has more time to

live but has to bite more to survive representing his animal-like actions.

Another one of Dracula's and his subordinate's actions that instill fear and anxiety is

biting and spreading his diseases can be compared to a STD spreading during the 19th century

called Syphilis. In an article by Duy Dang states Vampirism is closely associated with the

infection of diseases such as cholera, rabies, and the bubonic plague, it is also related to the

venereal diseases of Bram Stokers time. In the 19th century, an outbreak of sexually transmitted

diseases such as syphilis was seen(Dang 1). Dang compares vampirism to diseases of the time

because of the widespread and danger of the infections at the time. During the Victorian times,

prostitution was on the rise and the spreading of the STD and seen as an evil of society. It scared

people aswell because at the time there was no Penicillin to cure the disease until 1920. Jonathon

described in the book one of the encounters with Draculas subordinates. Stoker wrote I felt in

my heart a wicked burning desire that they would kiss me with those red lipsThe fair girl went

on her knees, and bent over me, fairly gloating. There was a deliberate voluptuousness which

was both thrilling and repulsive(Stoker 42). Draculas subordinates could be compared to
prostitutes and Jonathan to their clients. Although, some have argued that Draculas form of

infection can be compared to rape

Draculas form of infection being compared to rape can be showcased in this excerpt

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 mans bare breast which

was shown by his torn open dress. The attitude of the two had a terrible resemblance to a child

forcing a kittens nose into a saucer of milk to compel it to drink (Stoker 247). In this scene,

Dracula is forcing Mina to drink his own blood. The blood can also be compared to semen in this

situation. A quote by Dang states In this excerpt, Mina is being forced by Dracula into drinking his

own blood. Since blood is represented as more than just food in Dracula, but also as semen; this

scene represents more than just a conversion from human to monster, but a rape(Dang 7). Dang is

stating that the infection process can be compared to rape with the force from the perpetrator being

Dracula and the abuse of the victim, being Mina. Draculas bites can be compared to an infection

spreading as it jumps from victim to victim.

Another quote by Dang states Furthermore, Stokers description of Minas nightdress is

also symbolic. Her white nightdress being smeared with the crimson color of blood not only

illustrates the situation but also represents her purity being tainted and corrupted by this

monster(Dang 7). This quote showcases Minas purity being tainted by Dracula. The clean

white nightdress portrayed her purity but the drips of blood showcased the ending of her purity.

Another quote by Mina states Unclean, unclean! I must touch him or kiss him no more. Oh, that

it is I who am now his worst enemy, and whom he may have most cause to fear (Stoker 259).

This quote indicates Minas transition to impurity after the bite. The quote also indicates her
guilt. The cut left by Dracula to her is a sign of humiliation and disgrace having consumed the

blood or the semen of her husbands enemy.

Dang also argues that eliminating Dracula bears a similar process to eradicating a disease.

Dang states Utilize the knowledge of The Counts weakness to holy objects to successfully

place a Eucharistic wafer in each earthbox, therefore sterilizing each one(Dang 8). Dracula was

isolated when his vampire mistresses were killed and entrances sealed off with holy objects. The

earth boxes is the only place Dracula can rest as vampires can only rest in their native soil.

This is similar to disease eradication where the weakness must be found and the remaining strand

of the disease is eliminated, in this case the last vampire in Transylvania, Dracula.

Freud divides the human psyche into 3 portions; id, ego and superego. Although Dracula

is similar to a human, he does not possess a superego. Dracula does not have a degree of moral

standards and is similar to an animal. Like an animal, he has no moral standards, his superego is

deriving from his id. His id is his own survival, his self-preservation when sucking the blood is

evident of his animal-like tendencies, like humans kill animals to survive, Dracula must kill

humans to survive. To Dracula, the humans are the lesser species which fuel his lifeforce.

Dracula is killing to stay alive because he is afraid of dying. His id drives him to kill others to

survive, his standards is to kill to live like an animal.

Dracula is the uncanny monster who instills fear and anxiety into the human mind and

exposes the human condition by representing the uncanny with his ghastly appearance and

horrendous animal-like actions such as his bite. Although some will say he is human,but in

reality he symbolizes an animal with no moral standards compared to humans, portrayed more

feral, killing to survive, not for game. Draculas oddities are important because they represent
humans repressed wants and fantasy needs and the bite can be compared to infections which

were rampant in the Victorian Era.

Gonzalez, Jimmy. Vampire. Princeton University, The Trustees of Princeton University,

Djokoto, Arielle, et al. Arielle Djokoto. Powered by Sites at Penn State - WordPress, 26 Feb. 2016,

Dang, Duy. A Disease with a Bite: Vampirism and Infection Theories in Bram Stokers Dracula.

Apr. 2013, file:///C:/Users/Main%20User/Downloads/XULAneXUS_Dang.pdf.

Peters, Sarah L. Repulsive to Romantic: The Evolution of Bram Stokers Dracula. Henderson State

University, Henderson State University,


Coon, Jessica M. The Uncanny. UIowa Wiki, University of Iowa, 6 May 2012,

Gray, R. Freud and the Literary Imagination. Freud, "The Uncanny",