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Dracula Strengths And Weaknesses Essay, Research Paper

I. Strengths A. Immortal 1. Speaks of history as if he was there 2. Legend in

the story states that ?un-dead? will go on for eternity 3. Dracula himself

states ?Time is on my side.? B. Blood gives him strength and restored

vitality 1. Dracula looks younger after consuming blood 2. Renfield explains

what Dracula is doing to Mina C. Ability to heal injuries much faster that

normal men 1. Throws himself through a window and emerges unhurt 2. This

explains the difficulty involved with killing a vampire D. Has superior strength

1. Harker describes handshake as an ?iron grip? 2. Seward’s journal shows

that Renfield exhibits great physical strength 3. Bars of a wolf?s cage are

found bent, probably Dracula 4. It is found that Dracula can actually handle his

?boxes of earth? himself E. Supernatural powers 1. Crawls down the side of

his castle 2. Seems to have some control over weather 3. Able to change himself

into a mist and also create thick fogs 4. Shares psychic bond with victims F.

Able to command the behavior and thoughts of animals and sometime humans 1.

Wolves obey carriage driver?s commands, actually Dracula 2. Dracula frequently

summon wolves to do his bidding 3. Causes Harker to forget his time spent in

Transylvania 4. Commands wolf to leave zoo and attack Lucy 5. Keeps Harker

asleep while he attacks Mina G. Able to change form into animals 1. Large dog

jumps off grounded ship 2. A ?great bat? is seen quite frequently throughout

the story H. Able to make others become Vampires 1. Causes Lucy to become a

vampire 2. Process seems to be difficult and involved 3. Is almost not able to

?convert? Lucy because of transfusions II. Weaknesses A. Activities limited

to nighttime 1. Dracula can?t be found by Harker during the day 2. Harker

eventually finds Dracula asleep in his box during the day 3. Dracula is found to

have no powers during the daylight hours a. The men find that Dracula cannot

change his shape during the day b. In fact, Dracula loses a great deal of his

strengths during the day B. Needs his ?boxes of earth? to sleep during the

day 1. Dracula takes great pains to bring his boxes with him to London 2. The

men realize his need for these and begin to destroy them 3. The count will soon

be unable to seek refuge in them so he must retreat. C. Shares a ?bond? with

his victims 1. Dracula has access to the minds of those he has victimized but

they also have a limited access to his mind 2. Van Helsing hypnotizes Mina and

she discovers that Dracula is on a boat D. Dracula has a ?bloodlust? 1.

Dracula needs blood to survive, it is his only sustenance 2. Dracula obviously

needs to be around a steady supply of blood 3. Because of his need for blood,

Dracula is forced to move to London 4. The sight of blood incites Dracula and

fills him with a ?lust? for it E. Does not cast reflections in mirrors 1.

Harker notices that, oddly, there are no mirrors in the Count?s home 2.

Dracula does not show up in Harker?s shaving mirror F. Holy Wafer 1. This is

used by the men to repel Dracula and also keep him out of certain areas 2. They

use this to ?sterilize? his resting places, making them unusable 3. Used to

protect people by making a circle of it around them 4. Will burn the skin of a

vampire or any other ?evil? being G. Crucifix or Holy Cross 1. Will also

repel Dracula 2. May also have a calming effect on angry people 3. Also used in

protecting people from evil, especially Dracula H. Garlic 1. Will repel Dracula

when brandished or worn on body 2. Also used in protecting people from Dracula

3. May be vampire specific as far as its repelling quality goes I. Cutting off

head 1. This may or may not be enough to kill a vampire, it is usually

accompanied by other means 2. Stuffing garlic in the mouth of the head is likely

to prevent regeneration J. Stake through the heart 1. A stake through the heart

is very likely to kill a vampire 2. Again, this is usually accompanied by other

means The history of superheroes and supervillains in literary works is long and

well documented. The fact that almost all heroes and villains have one or more

extraordinary strength or ability that is offset by at least one serious

weakness is also well known. An example of this is Superman, whose supernatural

strength and powers are drained from him in the presence of kryptonite. In the

gothic realm of literature, the deadly werewolf only has his powers during a

full moon and even then he can be killed with a silver bullet. In Bram

Stoker?s ?Dracula,? the main character, which the story is named after,

follows the literary pattern of powers and failings in that he is given a number

of strengths, which in turn are offset, by a number of weaknesses. His strengths

are supernatural, powerful, and numerous, however, his weaknesses are also great

and numerous, and in the end, damning. The first, and possibly most important,

of Dracula?s powers is his immortality. The possibility that Dracula might be

immortal is first presented in his discussion with Harker about the history of

Transylvania. Dracula speaks of the history of his country as if he were there.

In this section, Dracula frequently uses the word ?we? as if to imply that

he was included (39). Later, Van Helsing explains that un-dead will go on for

eternity, unless stopped, that is why they must ?defile? Lucy?s body, to

ensure that she is dead (254). Final proof of Dracula?s immortality is shown

in his eerie statement, ?I spread it (revenge) over the centuries, and time is

on my side (365). Along the lines of immortality is the fact that blood gives

Dracula renewed strength and vitality. One day when Harker finds Dracula in his

resting-place, he is surprised to discover that Dracula seems to be younger.

?There lay the Count, but looking as if his youth had been half renewed??

(67). Renfield, the mental patient in Dr. Seward?s care, confirms the fact

that Dracula takes the life of others to renew his own, later in the story.

Renfield tells them how Dracula victimizes a person until they became a vampire

themselves, and that, that is what he did to Lucy and intends to do to Mina.

Another power that is similar to the last two is Dracula?s ability to heal

injuries much faster than a normal person could. When the men confront Dracula

at one point, he throws himself through a window and emerges uncut. This serves

to explain why it is so hard to kill Dracula. Any normal injury would be healed

in short order and death would also be recovered from in time. Dracula?s next

power is his superhuman strength. Upon meeting Dracula for the first time,

Harker is impressed with his iron grip. ??He moved impulsively forward, and

holding out his hand grasped mine with a strength which made me wince. (23). At

one point in the story, it is discovered that Dracula can handle his large

?boxes? which would take tremendous strength because of the dirt inside. Dr.

Seward also discovers that his patient, Renfield (who shares some sort of a bond

with Dracula), has been exhibiting great physical strength. At one point in the

story Dracula needs the help of a wolf in the zoo, so he bends the bars of the

cage to allow the wolf to escape. Dracula?s next strength is not one of the

body, but one of the mind. It seems that Dracula has the ability to perform some

supernatural acts such as defying gravity and sharing psychic links with his

victims. At the start of the story, Dracula and his supernatural power are

discovered. The men soon find out that Dracula has a limited control over the

weather. He is able to send thick enveloping fogs, gusts of wind, and assorted

other weathers. Towards the end of the story, through the hypnotizing of Mina,

the men discover that Dracula has a psychic link through Mina (367). Using this

link, Dracula has been able to determine what the men?s plans are. Dracula?s

next power is another mind power and it is the ability to command the behavior

of animals and sometimes humans. The first example of this strange power is

shown at the beginning of the book in the encounter with the wolves. ?I heard

his voice raised in a tone of imperious command, and looking towards the sound,

saw him stand in the roadway. As he swept his long arms, as though brushing

aside some impalpable obstacle, the wolves fell back and back further still?

(19). Dracula also frequently calls these same wolves to do his bidding and they

obey without question always. In London he is also able to call upon a wolf that

is in a zoo to help him. Another use of Dracula?s mind control is seen upon

Harker?s return from Transylvania when he cannot remember a single thing about

his trip. Another time this power is used is when Dracula attacks Mina and

Harker does not wake up, both of these were probably arranged by Dracula

himself. Another useful power for Dracula is his ability to change into the

shape of an animal. We know that a large dog jumped off the grounded ship

containing the earthen boxes and we can guess that the dog is really Dracula in

disguise. Also, a ?great bat? is seen quite frequently throughout the story,

this is also definitely Dracula. One final power for Dracula is one that allows

him to propagate his race; it is the power to make others a vampire. The process

seems to be difficult and involved and is almost unsuccessful in Lucy?s case.

It seems that Dracula must suck the blood of his victim repeatedly until the

?effect? takes hold. The men were giving Lucy blood transfusions so the

process was slowed down considerably. Dracula was forced to suck her blood many

times before it finally set in. The rest of these examples are weaknesses shown

by Dracula that will temper the seemingly enormous power held by the Count.

Every superhero must have weaknesses and Dracula is no exception. The first, and

most serious, of his weaknesses is the fact that his activities are limited to

the nighttime. Dracula loses almost all of his power during the day and must

rest in one of his earthen coffins. Harker first discovers this after growing

curious as to Dracula?s whereabouts during the day. Harker finds Dracula

-?either dead or asleep?- as Harker puts it, in one of his many earthen

boxes. The men later discover that although Dracula loses most of his powers

during the day, he does not lose all of them. He can still use his psychic

powers to influence things, almost like a last line of defense for him in his

vulnerable position. Related to this weakness is the fact that Dracula needs to

have his great earthen boxes. The Count seeks refuge in these when it is time

for him to rest, that is why he had to bring them to London with him. Once the

men discover this they set out to ?sterilize? Dracula?s scattered boxes

with pieces of holy wafer. Once this is placed in an earthen box, it is unusable

by Dracula because it has been ?purified.? Towards the end of the novel,

Dracula is running out of these boxes, which is part of the reason why he must

return to his home in Transylvania. The ?bond? that he shares with his

victims can also be seen as a weakness because it allows his victims a limited

amount of access to his thoughts. Mina is able to tell that Dracula is on a boat

by reading his mind, from there, the men discover he is going home and are ready

for him. Another weakness associated with Dracula is his bloodlust. While his

need for blood is definitely a driving force in his life, at times, it can be

overwhelming. It is obvious that Dracula needs blood to survive, it is his only

sustenance. Because of this, Dracula must be around a steady supply of blood. It

may be that Transylvania was becoming increasingly hard for Dracula to survive

in, but in any case, Dracula decides that he needs a new home, in London.

Dracula knows that in London he will easily be able to fill his passion for

blood. One strange weakness for Dracula is his inability to cast reflections on

a mirror. It may be because he is so evil that light, or goodness, does not

bounce off of him the same way. Whatever the case, Harker initially wonders at

the lack of mirrors and then is scared witless when the Count does not snow up

in his shaving mirror. At that point, Harker understands why Dracula has no

mirrors. Another great weakness of Dracula?s is the Holy Wafer. The Holy Wafer

will repel Dracula, keep him away from an area permanently, and burn the skin of

anything evil that touches it. The men used this as an all-purpose weapon, they

used it to sterilize his boxes, repel him when he attacked, and protect people

from his attacks by sprinkling it in an area. ?First he took from his bag a

mass of what looked like thin, wafer-like biscuit, which he carefully rolled up

in a white napkin; next he took out a double-handful of some whitish stuff, like

dough or putty. He crumbled the wafer up fine and worked it into the mass

between his hands. This he then took, and rolling it into thin strips, began to

lay them into the crevices between the door and it?s setting in the tomb.?

(255) His next weakness, the Holy Cross, is related to the previous weakness in

that it has strong repelling qualities and will also protect a person from evil

just by having it on their body. In this story, it seems to have a calming

effect on Dracula when Dracula was filled with blood lust. ?When the Count saw

my face, his eyes blazed with a sort of demoniac fury, and he suddenly made a

grab at my throat. I drew away, and his hand touched the string of beads which

held the crucifix. It made an instant change in him, for the fury passed so

quickly that I could hardly believe that it was ever there.? (36) Garlic is

also another repellant of Dracula, but it is probably limited to Dracula as a

repellant. It is likely that garlic is vampire specific when it comes to being

used as a weapon. A common way to use the garlic is to wear it as a wreathe

around the neck, this will definitely repel vampires, so it can be used to

protect people or bodies. There are only a few ways to kill a vampire,

specifically Dracula. Some methods may be partially effective such as burning or

shooting. However, it is likely that vampire will just regenerate with time. A

good way to kill a vampire, then, is to chop off its head, preferably while it

is sleeping in its coffin. This may or may not be enough to kill it so it is

usually accompanied by other means, such as garlic in the mouth. A final way to

kill a vampire, and the most popular, is to drive a stake through its heart.

This method is very likely to kill the vampire but it is still usually used in

conjunction with something else. In conclusion, Dracula obviously follows the

literary pattern of strengths balanced by weaknesses. During the night, Dracula

has almost free reign; he is immortal and powerful. During the day, however,

Dracula is as helpless a baby, in his coffin. This goes to show that, no matter

how powerful or strong a person might seem; they will always have an ?Achilles

Heel,? so to speak.

The Essential Dracula: The Definitive Annotated Edition of Bram Stoker?s

Dracula. New York: Penguin Books, 1193. Carter, Margaret L., ed. Dracula: The

Vampire and the Critics. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1988. —-. In

Search of Dracula: A Tue History of Dracula and Vampire Legends. New York:

Warner Books, 1976. —-. The Origins of Dracula. London: William Kimber, 1987.

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