Dracula isn't really a "novel" at all; it does not present itself as the work of a single author or narrator. Instead, Dracula consists of series of diary entries, letters, telegrams, memoranda, and occasional newspaper clippings, assembled and typed up by Mina Harker, with help from Seward, Van Helsing, Jonathan Harker, Quincey Morris, and Arthur, Lord Godalming. In a sense, then, Mina is the "author" of the book: she…(read full theme analysis)
Dracula contains a study of the meaning of "sanity" and "insanity," of "wellness" and "illness." The treatment for both "insanity" and "illness" in the novel is confinement, which recurs throughout. Practically every character in the group questions his or her wellness or sanity at some point. Jonathan Harker, on his trip to Dracula's castle, is confined within the castle as a prisoner of Dracula's. Harker believes he is going insane there, and he has…(read full theme analysis)
Dracula contains a long meditation on "proper," socially-sanctioned love, and "improper" relations of lust and seduction. Much has been made of this aspect of the novel, particularly in 20th-century criticism, and with good reason: it is impossible to separate the act of Dracula's forcible blood-sucking, directed at unsuspecting women, from the process of violent seduction and sexual assault.
Jonathan and Mina Harker, and Arthur (Lord Godalming) and Lucy, are the novel's two…(read full theme analysis)
All the above lead into the final, and perhaps most important, theme of the novel: that of the relationship between life, death, and the state in between these two, known by Van Helsing as "undeadness." Dracula is a creature of the undead. He sleeps during the day and lives at night; he is of incredible strength when awake, but must be invited into one's room in order to begin his "seduction." But the touchstone of…(read full theme analysis)