The word ‘monster’ derives from the Latin words ‘monere’ and ‘monstrare’. ‘Monere’ means to warn against something, while ‘monstrare’ means to show something. If these two origins are put together, the word ‘monster’ obtains the meaning of something that is shown to warn. In relation to Dracula, this would allow a whole series of question from what makes Dracula a monster to what does he warn the reader against. In this essay I will mainly deal with the question of what makes Dracula a monster; however I will bear other questions in mind such as why Dracula is seen as a monster by the crew of light. As Dr Seward puts it in his diary ‘the coming destruction of the monster’ (Bram Stoker, 1897, chap.20), I will analyse what means Stoker uses to make the reader believe that Dracula is the monster. In the end I want to see if Dracula is made into a monster by the crew of light or if he makes himself a monster by his actions. I also will have a look at what he warns the reader against, as the etymology of the word monster suggests me to do.
First, Stoker’s narrative style makes it easy to see Dracula as a monster. In fact, only the crew of light, Mina and Lucy –as long as she has not become a vampire- provide the narrative of the text. As David Seed states in his article The Narrative Method of Dracula, Stoker had planned his narration in details (Seed, 1985). This proves that leaving out Dracula’s point of view was intentional. It can now be argued that in most books villains and monsters don’t get the chance to express themselves, however as I pointed out above Lucy becomes silent the moment she turns into a vampire. The question rising from this would be if Lucy could also be considered a monster. However this would be off topic and...
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...monster by him and by others. In the paragraph above I wrote that Dracula warns the reader about being narrow minded. For me at least it appears like that. Dracula is different and he is not accepted at home in Transylvania, nor is he accepted in England and since he cannot handle it he chooses the path of a monster to make people aware of him. If he had been accepted as whom he is, a different being, and then him being made into a monster would not have been possible. So, Dracula is monster and warning together and fulfills the conditions set by the etymology of the word ‘monster’.
McKee, Patricia, 2002. Racialization, Capitalism, and Aesthetics in Stoker’s “Dracula”. Nov. Forum Fict. 36, 42–60.
Seed, David, 1985. The Narrative Method of Dracula. Nineteenth-Century Fict. 40, 61–75.
Stoker, Bram, 1897, Dracula [Kindle Version] retrieved by Amzon.de