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A Critical Analysis of Dracula pg. 41

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Introduction

A Critical Analysis of Dracula pg. 41 Previous to the chapter being analysed, Dracula has warned his guest never to fall asleep anywhere in the castle other than his own room. Jonathan Harker, the protagonist, filled with anxiety and worry about the mysterious count, hangs his crucifix above his bed and sets out to explore the castle. Then the passage begins as Harker observes Dracula crawling down the wall of the castle, terrified of the 'lizard' like creature, and fearing there will be no escape. Firstly, at the outset of the passage Harker states that 'my eye was caught by something', the oddly constructed sentence, suggesting Harker's passivity and that he is the victim, especially as 'something' implies he is unsure of what the creature is, heightening the fear and tension. This theme of passivity runs central in the passage and in the novel as a whole, perhaps having an underlying contextual message, reflecting the anxieties of the Victorian age as it was the time of the 'new woman' and furthermore a time where society was becoming increasingly aware of homosexuality. This passivity however could have multi-accentuality, also trying to eliminate the stereotypical gender role where the woman is passive. ...read more.

Middle

There is then a stark antithesis in his emotions to 'repulsion and terror' as he sees 'the whole man slowly emerge from the window and begin to crawl down the castle wall over that dreadful abyss.' The fact that Dracula was 'face down' is symbolic and relates to Harker trying to define the act as 'some weird effect of shadow' and it insinuates that the Count has more then one personality, almost an alter-ego to the hospitable, generous man that waited on Harker when he first arrived. It could further represent that Dracula has no fixed identity and this is reiterated by personifying him as a bat or a bird, 'his cloak spreading out around him like great wings.' Harker's reaction to this supernatural sight is one of disbelief, and the short, staccato punctuation braking up his sentences emphasises this shock, 'I thought it was some trick of the moonlight, some weird effect of shadow; but I kept looking, and it could be no delusion.' Moreover, the fact that the Count is climbing down the wall, could symbolise the progressive dissolution of boundaries which the Victorian society would depend, it is showing that times were changing from rationality to an age of emotion, creativity and imagination. ...read more.

Conclusion

The final paragraph is crammed with questions, 'What manner of man is this, or what manner of creature is it in the semblance of man?' emphasising Harker's panic and terror. The repetition of 'fear' reiterates his panic, and the three single words '- in awful fear -' seem trapped in between the dashes underlining Harker's worries and how he feels 'this horrible place overpowering (him)' and that 'there is no escape'. The fact that the passage ends with the statement 'I am encompassed about with terrors that I dare not think of...' is significant as the ellipsis is ominous, a prolepsis implying that he may soon encounter the unimaginable terrors he is so terrified of. In conclusion, the passage is key to the novel as highlights the contextual concerns and themes such as repressed sexuality and the consequences of advancement. It could even be inferred as a demonstration of the Oedipus complex, especially as later in the passage Harker feels strong desire toward the Count who embodies three female vampires trying to seduce him. Yet most importantly, the passage is paramount as it shows Jonathan Harker's initial terror and fear of Dracula, a father figure of potency. ?? ?? ?? ?? Emma Williams ...read more.

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