‘Dracula’ is the story of mortal men’s struggle with an overpowered, immortal vampire. The vampire as a fictional creation had existed before this book was written, but Stoker’s version of the monster is so remarkable that it has become the predominant image of the vampire.
‘Spoiler Free’ Summary of Dracula
‘Dracula’ begins with a young Solicitor’s visit to the obscure Castle of Count Dracula with the object of finalizing the transfer of some London-based properties. What was supposed to be a straightforward business affair soon assumes increasingly terrifying prospects when the seemingly charming and aristocratic Dracula reveals himself to be an evil vampire with intentions of going to London to hunt for fresh blood.
Dracula arrives in London and wreaks havoc for a while among Jonathan’s circle of friends and acquaintances with them being none the wiser to the evil that haunts them, that is until the more knowledgeable Van Helsing comes into the scene. Armed with extensive information about both modern medicine and vampire folklores, Van Helsing assembles the Crew of light for a deadly showdown with the vampire. Utilizing contemporary record-keeping and communication tools as well as the latest advances in medicine, while not disregarding more superstitious and spiritual weaponry, the protagonists finally have a fighting chance against the monster threatening their loved ones. The battles are fought from London to Scandinavia, with enormous sacrifices made in the effort to defeat Dracula.
Plot Summary of Dracula
Spoiler warning: important parts of the novel are revealed below.
Jonathan Harker, a young English lawyer, must journey to the vague and little-known Castle Dracula deep within the Carpathian mountains of Transylvania in order to finalize the sale of property in England to Count Dracula. Jonathan initially finds the journey pleasant and interesting, with the customs of the people within Eastern Europe through which he traverses interesting him greatly. However he grows more uneasy the closer he gets to the Castle, with natives around reacting with fear and horror whenever he informs them of his destination.
It seems people were afraid of something within or around Castle Dracula and were intent on discouraging Jonathan from going there. Although uneasy, Jonathan forges ahead. At the Borgo Pass, Jonathan is handed over to an emissary of the Count with strange, mysterious features who drives Jonathan onwards in a coach. Jonathan notes this mysterious individual’s almost superhuman strength, red eyes, ability to stand in front of light without casting a shadow, and a strange ability to control animals.
The journey is perilous and fraught with danger, with the howling of Wolves puncturing the darkness through which the coach plunges, but the driver seems to always be in control. He delivers Jonathan to the Count’s quaint and ruined Castle. The Count welcomes Harker warmly, although Harker could detect strange eccentricities in his behavior. There was the inhumane strength that Harker can scarcely associate with the old man, the sharp teeth that protrude ahead of the tongue, and other features that unsettled Harker like the pale skin devoid of any color. Harker finds the Castle imposing, but realizes that it is not a residence he can easily get away from when he chooses.
While engaging himself with the English collection of books within the Library, the Count accosts Harker and informs him of his desire for Harker to remain a while longer so he can aid Dracula in mastering his hold of the English language. Things take a horrific turn when the Count tries to attack Harker after being impulsively moved by the sight of blood trickling down Harker’s throat after the latter cut himself while shaving.
However, Harker is saved by the crucifix he wears which was gifted to him by one of the natives. Harker finds himself essentially imprisoned in the Castle while being assailed by three female vampires whom he barely staves off. He soon discovers that the Count depends on human blood to survive and was essentially a vampire. Harker then tries to kill him while he rests within his coffin but fails. The Count soon leaves the Castle for England, equipped with about 50 boxes of earth from his burial ground, leaving Jonathan weak, sick, and with no possible means of escape.
The novel’s focus then shifts to England, through the correspondences of two friends, Mina and Lucy. Mina is the fiancée to whom Jonathan writes periodic letters during his trip to the Scandinavian heartland while Lucy is the innocent maiden who is subject to proposals from Arthur Holmwood, a rich nobleman, Dr John Seward, a psychiatrist, and Quincey Morris, an American. Lucy had chosen Arthur, rejecting the proposals from the other two. However, she seems to have recently fallen into the habit of sleep-walking. Mina on her part is concerned about the lack of correspondence from Jonathan.
While holidaying in the quiet seaside town of Whitby, the two women witness a shipwreck of the ship Dracula comes to England with, complete with the 50 boxes. Seemingly, the only survivor of the ship is a particularly huge dog who emerges from the wreck and then quickly disappears. Late one night after the shipwreck, Mina finds Lucy sleepwalking again and while going to her, discovers a tall, thin and black-shaped individual hovering over her. This apparition soon disappears as Mina approaches. Mina discovers bite marks on Lucy’s neck but instead attributes it to an accidental needle prick. Lucy apparently remembers nothing of whatever happened but is soon subsequently found regularly around a large bat. Lucy’s health begins deteriorating rapidly.
Dr Seward who attends to Lucy is, however, unable to ascertain the cause of her illness and so seeks the help of his old friend, mentor, and more experienced Dr Abraham Van Helsing. Examining the bite marks and her seemingly inexplicable loss of blood, Van Helsing soon suspects that Lucy was the victim of a Vampire attack. Lucy is given numerous blood transfusions donated by each of her suitors in turn, as well as Van Helsing himself, but while it will make her get better for a while, she would inevitably soon return to her previous state of ill health. Convinced of his diagnosis of a vampire attack, Van Helsing soon took measures against the vampire by draping Lucy’s room as well as her neck with garlic.
The Vampire is however able to evade these protections and attack Lucy in her room when he possessed a wolf and made it break into Lucy’s room, frightening her mother into removing the garlic, thereby leaving Lucy and her mother vulnerable to Dracula’s attack. Lucy’s mother dies of shock during the attack and not long after, Lucy herself happens to be on the verge of death. Her fiancee, Arthur Holmwood, who had just witnessed his own father’s death was summoned to be with Lucy in what was presumably her final hours.
However, Lucy happened to complete her transition into being a Vampire and nearly attacks Arthur as he bent to kiss her goodbye. But Van Helsing throws Arthur away from her. Lucy dies immediately and is buried, but being a vampire, she comes back to terrorize young children in the area as ‘the Bloofer lady’. Suspecting Lucy to be behind the attacks, Van Helsing manages to convince Dr Seward to escort him in opening Lucy’s coffin which they find empty.
In the meantime, Mina gets word about Jonathan finally and we learn he is in a hospital in Budapest, although how he got to escape from Dracula’s prison of a Castle remains a mystery. Mina reunites with him there, although Jonathan seemed to remember little of what had happened, although he remained traumatized by the incident and was filled with horror at Dracula. Jonathan still possesses the diary in which he records his journey to Transylvania and adventures at Dracula’s Castle, but he is too horrified to go through it again. He and Mina get married and soon returns to England. Mina soon has enough reasons to want to go through the content of Jonathan’s diary, believing it to hold clues as to Lucy’s condition. She transcribed the diary and soon afterward, Van Helsing reads it.
The information contained therein convinces him that Dracula was the vampire that attacked and converted Lucy into a vampire. He engages all of Lucy’s ex-suitors, together with Jonathan and Mina, and explains the situation to them, letting them know that Lucy had become a Vampire herself and had to be killed by driving a stake through her heart. The protagonists were able to kill Lucy and then proceed on a manhunt for Dracula who was already planning to escape back to Scandinavia.
Their plan was to destroy Dracula’s 50 boxes, which act as recharge points for him, and then kill him. In the meantime, Dracula manages to attack Mina and then feed her his own blood, beginning the process of turning her into a vampire too. He is able to evade the attacks of the protagonists who realized the attack a little too late. However, in the subsequent days, they were able to find and destroy all but one of the 50 Boxes. They learn soon that the last one was being conveyed by ship back to Dracula’s Castle.
Utilizing Mina’s psychic connection with Dracula now, Van Helsing is able to track Dracula all the way to the Borgo Pass in Transylvania. There they find the remaining last box as it is being transported to Dracula’s castle by a band of Gypsies. They are able to overpower the Gypsies in a deadly confrontation in which Quincy Holmhood sustains a mortal wound. They then threw the box to the ground, tear open its lid, and discover the body of the Count. The Count was temporarily immobilized because it was still daylight. However, with the window of opportunity closing due to the imminent sunset upon which Dracula would become active again with his super strength, Jonathan managed to cut off the Vampire’s head with a huge thrust. Not long after Quincey Morris drives a knife into Dracula’s heart. The Count immediately disintegrates into dust. The novel ends on a tragic note with Quincey succumbing to his wounds. However, Mina gets well with the Count’s destruction.
What is the plot of ‘Dracula?‘
Dracula is about a centuries-old Transylvanian vampire’s visitation of England and the efforts to destroy him by a group of courageous men and women.
Who was the inspiration behind the character Dracula?
Scholars have posited various historical figures as being behind Dracula, from the Wallachian ruler, Vlad the Impaler, to the Hungarian noblewoman and purported serial-killer Elizabeth Bathory.
What was Dracula’s reason for coming to England?
Dracula’s homeland is scantily populated and so provides him with few opportunities to feed. Dracula has come to England because it is a place where life is rich and flourishing.