Mother Nature vs Human Power

Seward’s inability to diagnose or relieve Lucy’s illness indicated the effectiveness of Dracula’s assault on Victorian social order while exposing the limits of Western science and technology then. In his letter to Holmwood, Seward appeared to be both hopeful and hopeless at the same time. He was relieved at the thought of having Van Helsing joining him in taking care of Lucy, yet when looking at Lucy’s weak condition, he had to resort to God for his blessing. Consecutively strong words that described Lucy’s unpromising progress, such as her “ghastly, chalkily pale” skin, with the “red seemed to have gone” from her lips and skin, and “bones of her face [standing] out prominently” well-explained Van Helsing’s face expression of horror and helpless. Even the many advancements of medical science had proven to be useless and the only way to cope with the situation was to maintain an open mind and acknowledge the power of superstition. Another prominent theme that emerged from this passage is the binary between human power and the spiritual pathology speaking to God and Mother Nature. According to Seward’s anecdote, although Van Helsing proved himself a competent modern surgeon with one blood transfusion after another, neither his methods nor his knowledge was effective. The transition from reason and science to legend and superstition was made apparent as he placed garlic flowers around Lucy’s room. This detail reflected an irony of the novel pointing at the power of spiritual pathology against Dracula’s attacks when in reality, the Victorian society encouraged them to dismiss such supernatural predators as powerless in a civilized society.

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