The novel also considers the interactions of Christian belief, superstitious or "occult" practices, and rational science. The tracking of Dracula requires methodical investigations in each of these fields, and the fields themselves, by the end of the novel, appear very much interrelated, even entirely entangled. Most of the characters in the group profess a serious and proper Christian belief. The Harkers are observant Protestants, and God-fearing people; their love is made permanent in the eyes of God through their speedy marriage. Arthur has special Christian scruples about the discretion of Lucy's body, in order to save her from her undead status; he eventually acquiesces and aids in her "true killing," thus releasing her soul. Dr. Seward professes a similarly orthodox understanding of God's goodness, and all characters typically end their conversations by saying that their group's success is in God's hands.
But superstition and occult practices become interwoven with these Christian beliefs. Harker sees, in Transylvania, that many of the peasant-folk have special charms to ward off the evil eye. All the preparations designed to ward off vampires—garlic, the wooden stake, decapitation—come from Transylvanian superstition dating back to the Middle Ages. The group's efforts to fight Dracula draw on these superstitions, which prove "real," inasmuch as they work, eventually, to kill the Count.
The novel draws out a tension, therefore, between rational, scientific thought and irrational belief that was very much a part of Victorian society in England. These religious attitudes, Christian and occult, are married to a procedural, rational, scientific frame of mind, most unified in Van Helsing, the universal "man of learning." Van Helsing is an ardent, believing Christian, but also a man who collects, with great rigor, superstitious practices from central Europe. Van Helsing and Seward also have an intimate knowledge of medicine and biology. All this knowledge, centered on Van Helsing, is brought to bear in the capture of Dracula. Van Helsing—as a man of science, religion, and collector and believer in superstition—is therefore the "cure" for a problem Stoker identifies in Victorian society: a belief, among many Victorians, that rational, scientific knowledge might not be sufficient to overcome the dangers of superstition, those areas of human life not immediately explained by science.
Dracula is not only a devil walking the earth; he is not only a mythical monster, foretold in Romanian legends. And he is not explained fully by testable scientific hypotheses. Dracula is, instead, a human embodiment of the very human beastliness that Victorians feared and hoped to destroy. And only a combination of religious, ritualistic, and scientific modes allows the group to track and kill Dracula.
Christianity, Science, and the Occult ThemeTracker
Christianity, Science, and the Occult Quotes in Dracula
I saw around us a ring of wolves, with white teeth and lolling red tongues, with long, sinewy limbs and shaggy hair. They were a hundred times more terrible in the grim silence . . . then even when they howled.
Well, now I promise you that when I am done with him you shall kiss him at your will. Now go! go! I must awaken him, for there is work to be done.
At least God's mercy is better than that of these monsters, and the precipice is steep and high. At tis foot a man may sleep—as a man. Good-bye, all! Mina!
Early this morning a large dog, a half-bred mastiff belonging to a coal merchant . . . , was found dead in the roadway opposite to its master's yard, It had been fighting, and manifestly had had a savage opponent, for its throat was torn away, and its belly was slit open . . . .
I want you to do me a favor. Lucy is ill; that is, she has no special disease, but she looks awful . . . I told her I should ask you to see her . . . and she finally consented.
You were always a careful student, and your case-book was ever more full than the rest. You were only student then; now you are master, and I trust that good habit have not fail. Remember, my friend, that knowledge is stronger than memory, and we should not trust the weaker.
How good they all are to me. I quite love that dear Dr. Van Helsing. I wonder why he was so anxious about these (garlic) flowers. He positively frightened me, he was so fierce. . . . There is peace in its smell; I feel sleep coming already . . . .
Once again we went through that ghastly operation. I have not the heart to go through with the details. Lucy had got a terrible shock and it told on her more than before, for though plenty of blood went into her veins, her body did not respond to the treatment as well as on the other occasions. . . .
Now that you are willing to understand, you have taken the first step to understand. You think then that those so small holes in the children's throats were made by the same that made the hole in Miss Lucy?
I suppose so.
Then you are wrong . . . . It is worse, far, far worse.
In God's name, Professor Van Helsing, what do you mean?
They were made by Miss Lucy!
Last night I slept, but did not dream. I must have slept soundly, for I was not waked by Jonathan coming to bed; but the sleep has not refreshed me, for to-day I feel terribly weak and spiritless.
The attendant came bursting into my room and told me that Renfield had somehow met with some accident. He had heard him yell; and when he went to him found him lying on his face on the floor, all covered with blood.
First, a little refreshment to reward my exertions. You may as well be quiet; it is not the first time, or the second, that your veins have appeased my thirst!
And now, my friends, we have a duty here to do. We must sterilize this earth, so sacred of holy memories, that he has brought from a far distant land for such fell use. He has chosen this earth because it has been holy.
You think to baffle me, you—with your pale faces all in a row, like sheep in a butcher's. You shall be sorry yet, each one of you! You think you have left me without a place to rest; but I have more. My revenge is just begun!
He has so used your mind; and by it he has left us here in Varna, whilst the ship that carried him rushed through enveloping fog up to Galatz, where, doubtless, he has made preparation for escaping from us.
We are truly in the hands of God. He alone knows what may be, and I pray Him, with all the strength of my sad and humble soul, that He will watch over my beloved husband . . . .