Analysis of Dracula and the Vampire Myth

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The story of Dracula started long before Brahm Stoker wrote his famous novel. Vampires have been in the minds of people since the early ninth century and, perhaps, even before that. The fact that the stories are still common after all these years brings out the question of, why? What makes these vampire stories so popular? The answer may be in the material itself. Taking a wide selection of vampire stories, including Brahm Stoker's classic, reveals a long list of similarities. Of course, not all stories mirror the others in all aspects of images but the images that do repeat are the ones most people readily associate with vampires. I propose that the reason Dracula and other stories of vampires are still so widely known is because they have those steady characteristics that make them easily recognizable. A picture of one culture's vampire will be very similar to another vampire of another culture, thus making it a popular character.

The horror story itself is a way for people to deal with the connection between life and death. Dracula was one such story meant to terrify readers but also pass on an old story of death and the undead. These stories help religion teach about evils, devils, and "unquiet spirits" (Shepard 7) as well as gods and good things. Dracula also allows for the question of eternal damnation and the after-life to surface. What happens to the dead? Can pain and horror be avoided? These questions, when asked by people of earlier times, would strike fear in the minds of readers. The horrible ideas and images seem a little less terrifying to people as a whole now but in 1816, when the Gothic tales first arose, they would cause "well-bred young ladies to hold their breath[s]" (7...

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