Dracula Strengths And Weaknesses Essay

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.

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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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