Fulfilling Fantasies in Dracula

One outside text that helps shed light on Dracula is Sigmund Freud’s “Creative Writers and Day-Dreaming”. In this piece, Freud talks about the idea of fantasy and what people will do in order to achieve it. Freud argues that fantasies are an effect of the past, present, and future happening simultaneously. The idea in this article that stands out the most, in relation to the novel, is Freud’s categories for the motives behind fantasy. Freud believes that fantasies “fall naturally into two main groups. They are either ambitious wishes, which serve to elevate the subject’s personality; or they are erotic ones” (Freud 423). While the novel does depict fantasies that fall into these categories, it also shows other categories that Freud’s article has overlooked.

One moment that does represent Freud’s categories is when the three female vampires confront Jonathan Harker in the hopes of sucking his blood. Harker’s reaction to the situation demonstrates an erotic fantasy: “There was something about them that made me uneasy, some longing and at the same time some deadly fear. I felt in my heart a wicked, burning desire that they would kiss me with those red lips” (Stoker 45). It is clear through the language of this quote, that Harker’s fantasy to have the female vampires kiss him is erotic in nature. The words “longing” and “desire” help represent the sexual tone of the scene. Both words suggest that a part of Harker needs this interaction to occur. There is an underlying force that is driving him to want them to kiss him. That underlying force helps depict Freud’s theory that fantasies are oftentimes created out of an erotic desire.

However, Freud’s categories of the driving force behind fantasies are too limited. Freud’s argument does not allow room for other options, which are clearly present in the novel. One of those moments that help demonstrate another force behind fantasies is when Dr. Seward is studying his patient. Renfield has been suddenly overcome with fits of rage and has escaped the insane asylum and Dr. Seward is at a loss for why. Dr. Seward wishes he “could get some clue to the cause. It would almost seem as if there was some influence which came and went… We shall tonight play sane wits against mad ones. He escaped before without our help; tonight he shall escape with it” (Stoker 118). This quote helps show that fantasies can also be driven by curiosity and the eagerness for knowledge. Dr. Seward just wants to “get some clue” so he can understand why Renfield is behaving like so. He realizes that in order to do so, he should provide an opportunity for Renfield to escape again. Dr. Seward imagines that after this helped escape, he will be able to understand what is affecting Renfield. This fantasy of Dr. Seward’s is purely driven from an academic standpoint. The doctor is being faced with a patient whose problems he cannot understand, so he is creating a controlled experiment in order to learn more. This driving force behind Dr. Seward’s fantasy does not fall into Freud’s categories. It is clear that this does not arise from an erotic nature nor does it serve as a way for Dr. Seward’s personality to rise.

Throughout the novel, many fantasies occur. While some of those may fall into Freud’s two categories, like Harker’s interaction with the female vampires, others do not. Dr. Seward’s study of Renfield shows that academia and a desire for knowledge can be a driving force for fantasy. This helps demonstrate that there can be many driving forces behind a person’s fantasies and it is really up to the individual who is experiencing them to know what that force is.