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Dracula as the Persecuted Outsider in Bram Stoker's Dracula

Dracula as the Persecuted Outsider in Bram Stoker's Dracula

Bram Stoker's Dracula is highly acclaimed and has received many different interpretations which deal with complex symbolisms and metaphors. These interpretations often require a great deal of knowledge in psychology, political science, anthropology, and other non-literary disciplines. These interpretations may be valid, as they are related to the disciplines on which their arguments are based, but the true power of the novel is due to a very simple theme that lies beneath the other, more convoluted interpretations. This theme is the universal concept of identity: us versus them. This criticism sets aside outside disciplines and focuses on the literary motif of identity. John Allen Stevenson gives an in-depth criticism of this work based mostly on anthropological ideas, but he states that Dracula is a representation of "fears that are more universal than a specific focus on the Victorian background would allow" (141). He brings up the concept of "universal" ideas but fails to pursue them on a universal scale. The truly universal theme involves the perception that Dracula is a monster. But Dracula is not a monster - he is simply a persecuted outsider.

In this interpretation, it is important to seperate the actions of the characters from what those actions represent in relation to the theme of identity. Count Dracula is shown to be a vampire - a monster who engages in horrific, violent acts, but these acts of violence are merely Stoker's vehicle for presenting the difference between the Count and the other characters. His vampirish actions are not to be taken literally. "Dracula" is not a work of fantasy - it is primarily a realistic novel with one fantastic charact...

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...safe once Dracula left, but the pursuit and slaying of him represents society's wish to remove him entirely from their minds. The killing of Dracula is not literal--he is only dead to society because they refuse to acknowledge his right to be different. Thus, Dracula is the victim of this story, not the ones society felt he victimized.

Works Cited

Arata, Stephen D. "The Occidental Tourist: Dracula and the Anxiety of Reverse Colonization." Victorian Studies 33.4 (Sum. 1990) : 621-45.

Stevenson, John Allen. "A Vampire in the Mirror: The Sexuality of Dracula." PMLA 103 (1988) : 139-49.

Stoker, Bram. Dracula. 1897. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1992.

Wasson, Richard. "The Politics of Dracula." English Literature in Transition 9 (1966) : 24-27.

Zanger, Jules. "A Sympathetic Vibration: Dracula and the Jews." English Literature in Transition 34 (1991) : 33-44.
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