Home » Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and Bram Stoker’s Dracula

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and Bram Stoker’s Dracula

Evil features in both Dracula’ and Frankenstein’ but the personification of this evil is different in both novels. A feeling of menace and doom pervades Dracula’ because of his supernatural powers. One feels that he has control of the evil and he has the power to manipulate the environment and people for his own ends. Frankenstein’ centres on the creation of a monster made from parts of dead bodies and the fear created by the monster due to circumstance and the ignorance of society. Also, one feels a certain amount of apprehension that the monster is deserted by his creator and loses control without his support and guidance.

The novels were written in the 19th century, Frankenstein’ was first published in 1818 and Dracula’ was first published in 1897. In this century there was a fanaticism with Gothic horror stories and these novels reflect this. In the last century, a wide audience would have appreciated these novels, although they are not great literary accomplishments, people of that period enjoyed reading this type of story, filled with horror, suspense and intrigue. The very idea that such an evil and frightening creature could exist shocked and aroused the curiosity of many people at this time.

Society in the last century was extremely corrupt and immoral, the novel Frankenstein’ reflects this, in which an innocent creature is shunned by society because of it’s abnormal and somewhat shocking appearance. Nowadays, people are still enticed by fear, they have a curiosity for the supernatural, evil and frightening. Although modern day society is supposedly politically correct, we are still an immoral society and many of us would treat a creature like Frankenstein’s creation or a vampire like Dracula like a monster. In this way, the novels still have social significance.

The atmosphere of each novel plays a significant role in setting the scene for the ensuing horror to evolve. The atmosphere in each novel is different; the horror in each novel is different The fact that Frankenstein’s monster kills out of revenge and anger is a form evil but one can understand and to a certain extent sympathise with his inability to reason right from wrong. Many examples of this inability are shown, for example, the creature strangles Frankenstein’s innocent young brother because he cannot understand why the child abhors him.

Initially this was a creature that only had good feelings towards others but this changed due to him being shunned by society. Many scenes in Frankenstein’ are pastoral, thus creating a non-threatening atmosphere, however, it is circumstances and ignorance which result in the creature becoming despised and hunted which in return change his nature and character when he seeks revenge for the injustices done against him. Dracula, from the beginning, is the embodiment of evil – he plots and schemes.

One could make excuses for him and say he needs blood or he becomes extinct and it is a form of self-preservation. This is so, however, throughout the novel we are faced time and again with examples of gratuitous malevolence he makes no distinction between man or woman, child or baby. Many scenes in Dracula’ are set in the dark and ominous Castle Dracula, this results in a pervading atmosphere of apprehension. In Frankenstein’ there were reasons behind the monster’s actions but this is not the case in Dracula’, apart from him needing blood to exist.

Dracula callously uses people and situations for his own ends, “Monster, give me my child! ” here a woman from the village has had her baby snatched by Dracula, she knows Dracula has taken him and is pleading for the life of her child. The child is, of course, dead and this shows how little regard Dracula has for the innocence of any creature, then he uses his power over the wolves to command them to come to the woman and devour her. Towards the end of the novel, Dracula uses his power over Mina Harker to find out the plans of the team who have vowed to put an end to him.

Mina realises this and pleads with the men to not tell her anything that might give their plans away. I found Dracula particularly vivid in detail, this contributed to making the novel more frightening, the horror and blood-filled images were described so brilliantly that I could not help but imagine them. “Her white night-dress was smeared with blood, and a thin stream trickled down the man’s bare breast, which was shown by his torn open dress. The attitude of the two had a terrible resemblance to a child forcing a kitten’s nose into a saucer of milk to compel it to drink.

This horrifying scene continues, “His eyes flamed red with devilish passion, his aquiline nose opened wide and quivered at the edges; and the white sharp teeth, behind the full lips of the blood-dripping mouth, champed together like those of a wild beast. ” In Frankenstein’ the monster does not wish to spill blood and uses strangulation as his only method of killing, the murder scenes are not described in as much horrific detail and this leads to a less frightening view of the novel.

To me, Dracula is a corrupt person, devoid of any human feelings, he does not wish to and cannot feel compassion for any other living soul, he is completely self-involved and lives a solitary life, the only companions of his kind are the three female vampires. The difference with Frankenstein’s monster is that he is a creature corrupted by society. “I was benevolent and good; misery made me a fiend. Make me happy, and I shall again be virtuous.

The creature pleads with Frankenstein, he expresses how miserable his life is, “Have I not suffered enough, that you seek to increase my misery? ” but Frankenstein refuses to listen. “How can I move thee? Will no entreaties cause thee to turn a favourable eye upon thy creature, who implores thy goodness and compassion? Believe me Frankenstein: I was benevolent; my soul glowed with love and humanity; but am I not alone, miserably alone? You my creator abhor me; what hope can I gather from your fellow-creatures, who owe me nothing?

They spurn and hate me. ” This speech made me sympathise even more with the monster, Frankenstein was so passionate about making the creature that he did not stop to think of the consequences and as a result the creature suffers, it’s creator was ashamed by him and deserted him immediately. This is a stark contrast to Dracula’ because Dracula is just an evil, blood-drinking vampire, he is so over-confident and cocky that he does not realise that with the right methods he can be defeated.

Dracula is sadistic, taking control over people’s lives and destinies, Jonathan Harker realised there was no way out of Castle Dracula, “The castle is a veritable prison, and I am a prisoner! ” Jonathan had no way to leave until the Count decided he had finished with him. Another example of this is Dracula’s power over Renfield, he gives the man the idea of eating flies, then birds and then a cat, Dracula plays mind games with Renfield, eventually brutally murdering him because Renfield realised what Dracula really was.

Another aspect to Dracula’ which adds fear to the novel is Dracula’s involvement with the supernatural. Dracula uses supernatural powers to control people and supernatural powers are much more menacing because people have very little control over them. Frankenstein’ does have aspects of science fiction, the creation of a so-called monster’, but the monster is connected with science, which people can understand and have power over, so it is less frightening.

In Frankenstein’ the creature tries to justify the murder of young William, “If, therefore, I could seize him and educate him as my companion and friend, I should not be so desolate in this peopled earth. ” The monster thinks a young child will bear no prejudice against him, but the child is as bad as the rest of society, ” monster! Ugly wretch! ” William’s murder is by no means justified, but one can understand what drove the monster to murder, he had never been taught right from wrong, this was up to Frankenstein, so in theory all the murders which took place in Frankenstein’ were Victor Frankenstein’s own fault.

Dracula, however, has no means of justification, yes he has a necessity for blood but he also has a lust for it, which renders him evil and obsessed. He knows the difference between right and wrong but does not care. He cannot be justified in using people, for example, Mina Harker, Lucy Westenra and Renfield. He cannot be justified in torturing people, for example, keeping Jonathan Harker confined in Castle Dracula knowing that he is too scared to object and making Mina Harker “unclean, unclean” by making her “either suffocate or swallow some of the (blood)”

Dracula’ is a tale of a vampire who has lived for centuries, there are means to defeat him but they are hard to carry out because of the immense power he has. This aspect makes the story more frightening, one thinks that if the vampire has not been defeated in centuries, then he is extremely powerful and it would be nearly impossible to destroy him. Frankenstein’s monster is created within the novel, and this way it seems more likely that the creature will be easily destroyed. The only real advantages the monster has over Frankenstein are fear, size and speed.

Whereas Dracula can take many forms, he has immense strength and can command the elements, although his downfall comes because he has limitations, such as, “his power ceases, as does that of all evil things, at the coming of the day. ” “Then there are things which so afflict him that he has no power, as the garlic that we know of, and as for things sacred, my crucifix” These reassure one that there is a means to destroy Dracula. Frankenstein’ did not frighten me at all, I merely found it a very tragic story demonstrating both the corruption of an innocent being by an immoral society and the dangers of playing God with science.

Frankenstein was responsible for the creature and as soon as he showed signs of life, instead of deserting him due to fear and embarrassment because of the ugliness of the creature, he should have taught the creature right from wrong and accepted him as a person, not a monster. Any brutality in Frankenstein’ was due to Victor Frankenstein himself and not his monster. Dracula’ is a novel that probes deeply into people’s superstitions, fears and beliefs of the supernatural. The creature Dracula is an evil being with no concern for others, he kills for his own ends and cannot be stopped, and this is what makes Dracula’ truly frightening.

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