Bram Stoker

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Themes and Colors
Writing, Journaling, and Messaging Theme Icon
Illness, Madness, and Confinement Theme Icon
Christianity, Science, and the Occult Theme Icon
Romantic Love, Seduction, and Sexual Purity Theme Icon
Life, Death, and the Un-Dead Theme Icon
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in Dracula, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.
Illness, Madness, and Confinement Theme Icon

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 visions of Dracula turning into a bat, and of the ghastly Three Sisters. When Harker escapes, he is treated for a "nervous illness," before Van Helsing verifies his account, and tells him that, indeed, vampires are real. Lucy is afflicted with bouts of sleepwalking, one of which takes her out in the moors of England, where she is first attacked by Dracula. Lucy is then confined to her room by Dr. Seward, who eventually calls in Van Helsing to help with her case. After her "first death," Lucy is confined to a tomb, and her soul is only "set free" when Arthur drives a stake through her heart. Mina's blood connection to Dracula causes her to have hypnotic visions of Dracula's whereabouts. Van Helsing desires, first, that Mina also be confined during her "illness," but Mina is later brought along on the group's mission to Transylvania, as Mina can provide important information for the tracking of the Count.

Other characters have smaller bouts of illness of madness. Van Helsing and Seward both worry that they, too, are mad, though they believe they are men of "science," tracking Dracula according to the laws for hunting vampires. Renfield, an insane man confined under Seward's care, attempts to be Dracula's apprentice, and at times appears quite lucid in his desire to consume the blood of living organisms. Arthur, an emotional man, becomes so horrified after his fiancée Lucy's death that he collapses in Mina's arms, in a fit of hysterics approaching madness.

The function of this theme in the novel is manifold. First, the theme draws out late-Victorian cultural attitudes toward illness and madness—that is, any socially-aberrant behavior is "mad," and women are more prone to this behavior than men; both illness and madness require that the patient be removed from society. Dracula is compared, often, to a poison, or to vermin—he is an illness, a social virus that must be isolated and destroyed. His boxes of earth are systematically "sanitized" by means of communion wafers, meaning the Count cannot sleep in them, and, finally, Dracula himself, the viral host, is destroyed in Transylvania, by Morris and the others.

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Illness, Madness, and Confinement Quotes in Dracula

Below you will find the important quotes in Dracula related to the theme of Illness, Madness, and Confinement.
Chapter 1 Quotes

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.

Related Characters: Jonathan Harker (speaker)
Related Symbols: Blood
Page Number: 11
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 2 Quotes

In no place [in the castle] save from the windows in the castle walls is there an available exit. The castle is a veritable prison, and I am a prisoner!

Related Characters: Jonathan Harker (speaker)
Page Number: 22
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 3 Quotes

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.

Related Characters: Count Dracula (speaker), Jonathan Harker, The Three Sisters
Page Number: 33
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 4 Quotes

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!

Related Characters: Jonathan Harker (speaker), Count Dracula, Mina Harker
Related Literary Devices:
Page Number: 45
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 8 Quotes

She looks so sweet as she sleeps; but she is paler than is her wont, and there is a drawn, haggard look under her eyes which I do not like.

Related Characters: Mina Harker (speaker), Lucy Westenra
Related Literary Devices:
Page Number: 82
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 9 Quotes

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.

Related Characters: Arthur Holmwood (speaker), Dr. Seward
Page Number: 95
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 11 Quotes

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 . . . .

Related Characters: Lucy Westenra (speaker), Abraham Van Helsing
Page Number: 114
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 12 Quotes

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. . . .

Related Characters: Dr. Seward (speaker), Lucy Westenra
Related Symbols: Blood
Page Number: 128
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 13 Quotes

I believe it is the Count, but he has grown young. My God, if this be so! Oh, my god! my God!

Related Characters: Jonathan Harker (speaker), Count Dracula
Page Number: 148
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 14 Quotes

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!

Related Characters: Abraham Van Helsing (speaker), Dr. Seward (speaker), Lucy Westenra
Related Symbols: Blood
Page Number: 165
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 16 Quotes

Come to me, Arthur. Leave these others and come to me. My arms are hungry for you. Come, and we can rest together. Come, my husband, come!

Related Characters: Lucy Westenra (speaker), Arthur Holmwood
Related Symbols: Blood
Page Number: 181
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 18 Quotes

You will, I trust, Dr. Seward, do me the justice to bear in mind, later on , that I did what I could to convince you [to free me] tonight.

Related Characters: Renfield (speaker), Dr. Seward
Related Symbols: Blood
Page Number: 212
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 19 Quotes

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.

Related Characters: Mina Harker (speaker), Jonathan Harker
Related Symbols: Bats
Page Number: 223
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 20 Quotes

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.

Related Characters: Dr. Seward (speaker), Renfield
Related Symbols: Blood
Page Number: 235
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 22 Quotes

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.

Related Characters: Abraham Van Helsing (speaker), Count Dracula
Page Number: 255
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 23 Quotes

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!

Related Characters: Count Dracula (speaker), Jonathan Harker, Abraham Van Helsing, Dr. Seward, Quincey Morris, Arthur Holmwood
Page Number: 263
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 25 Quotes

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.

Related Characters: Abraham Van Helsing (speaker), Count Dracula, Mina Harker
Page Number: 294
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 26 Quotes

Now God be thanked that all has not been in vain! See! the snow is not more stainless than her forehead! The curse has passed away!

Related Characters: Quincey Harker (speaker), Mina Harker
Page Number: 325
Explanation and Analysis: