Bram Stoker wrote Dracula in an Age of Doubt, in which industrialization challenged the religious beliefs and traditions of society. In the novel, there are many references to the Catholic faith, such as the instances of people crossing themselves (Stoker 10), the use of the crucifix, and the representation of the antichrist. Catholic symbolism represents an attempt to reconnect with faith in a society that has seen rapid industrial growth and, in turn, less emphasis on the relationship with the church.
The crucifix is a holy symbol that appears throughout the beginning of the novel, as it serves as a means of comfort and protection for Jonathan Harker during his stay at Dracula’s castle. For example, when Dracula notices the blood on Jonathan’s chin, his eyes “blazed with a sort of demonic fury, and he suddenly made a grab at (his) throat” (Stoker 33). The “demonic fury” represents the attributes of satan, the evil in the world that many Victorians feared if they lost touch with their religion. Furthermore, Jonathan states, “I drew away, and his hand touched the string of beads which held the crucifix. It made an instant change in him, for the fury passed so quickly that I could hardly believe that it was ever there” (Stoker 33). The crucifix is what protects Jonathan while he faces Dracula. This represents the significance of embracing the Catholic faith, for the crucifix is a representation of the religion, itself, and it is this symbol that protects Jonathan from Dracula, the antichrist in the novel. Therefore, this further implies that religion has great power and, possibly, necessity in a society that is losing touch with its religious background. The crucifix acts as a shield against Dracula in the same way that religion is meant to protect its worshippers from evil. In fact, Jonathan begins to realize the power of the crucifix, for he states, “Bless that good, good woman who hung the crucifix round my neck! For it is a comfort and a strength to me whenever I touch it” (Stoker 35). Jonathan, a protestant with less religious values, does not begin to appreciate the crucifix until he is exposed to Dracula’s evil. This suggests that faith should be embraced once again in the Victorian society, or otherwise the evil, represented through Dracula, could potentially harm a country that has lost connection with its religious background.Dra