Comparison Of The Main Characters In Bram Stoker’s Dracula And Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein
In the Victorian period, gothic novels came into prevalence. The change in culture is best represented by Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and Bram Stoker’s Dracula, where horror elements are used to convey a story in different ways. In Frankenstein, the creature causes pain because of his suffering; whereas, in Dracula, the Count causes pain and suffering on others because he is innately evil. Similarly, Frankenstein, by the end of the novel, dies in the process of trying to kill the creature because of his alienation and lack of guidance; in contrast to, Harker who is able to destroy the Dracula with the help of his friends and family. The women of both novels represent the ideal perception of a Victorian woman, but Elizabeth loses her life while Mina meets a better fate for herself. Both Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and Bram Stoker’s Dracula show that even though there may be common types of characters employed, it does not mean that stories will end in an equally similar manner.
In Frankenstein, the creature’s motive to cause destruction stems from the suffering and isolation he faces by the society. As soon as he is endowed with life, he is abandoned by his own creator, and attempts to fit in with society, where he is met with anger and alienation. The creature wants to communicate with the cottagers but is shunned instantly, which leads him to take a vow of revenge against humanity. His lack of empathy can be seen when he recalls: “There was none among the myriads of men that existed who would pity or assist me; and should I feel kindness towards my enemies? No; from that moment I declared everlasting war against the species, and more than all, against him who had formed me and sent me forth to this insupportable misery”. Though the creature is not inherently evil, he turns into a monster simply because of the overwhelming rejection and abuse he faces. In a way, he is done with people since they have given him nothing but pain. He wants to get revenge for all the pain he had to suffer through his benevolent actions, such as saving a girl from drowning. These instances are overlooked because of his hideous and grotesque appearance. His reasons for being villainous were in some ways, justifiable.
In Dracula, Count is the antagonist of the story but is evil for different reasons and is shown to be a villain from the beginning. Johnathan Harker, the protagonist, is kept as a prisoner in Dracula’s castle in the beginning of the novel. He sees the atrocities that Count commits and after realizing that Dracula intends to move to a different place, Harker says, “This was the being I was helping to transfer to London where, perhaps, for centuries to come he might, amongst its teeming millions, satiate his lust for blood, and create a new and ever-widening circle of semi-demons to batten on the helpless…” The Count is deemed a true wrongdoer as he kills people for his own, selfish reasons. His only motive is to increase the amount of his kind: vampires. Unlike the creature, Dracula is truly an evil entity. The creature suffers and through that pain, becomes a monster; whereas, Dracula is an aristocrat who murders helpless victims to feed his hunger for blood. The protagonist, Victor Frankenstein, fights to defeat the creature but ultimately fails due to a lack of help. He is at fault for creating the creature and later alienating him. After the creature strips away everything he loves from him, such as his wife, brother, and father, Victor promises, “I have but one resource, and I devote myself, either in my life or death, to his destruction.” The complication that Victor faces is that he could only conquer his monster in secrecy. He keeps quiet about the creature after the death of William and Justine, even though he knows that it was the creature that killed them. After further casualties, he attempts to expose the monster but is seen as a demented man. He alone has to face his creation. By the end, he is not able to kill the creature, and dies while pursuing him. He does not have friends or family to help him in his quest, which in turn, leads to his downfall.
In contrast, Johnathan Harker is able to conquer his demon because of the help he receives from his friends and family. After Harker escapes Count’s castle, he manages to reach Budapest where he admits himself in a hospital. The nurse tending him suggests: “He has had some fearful shock – so says our doctor – and in his delirium his ravings have been dreadful; of wolves and poison and blood; of ghosts and demons; and I fear to say of what.” Like Victor, he is also deemed a lunatic since no one believes a word he is suggesting. Though, Harker did not create the monster, he has no reason to hide it; nonetheless, it is in his favor that the following events lined up to his sayings. Lucy’s illness, the bite marks on her neck, and Harker’s journal helped his wife, Mina, to stand by his side. Together, along with the help of his fellow friends, are able to defeat Count. Ultimately, both Victor and Harker met their respective fates. Frankenstein suffers insatiable pain because of creating his own adversary in secret while Harker, who was forced into his position, prevails by having people on his side.
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