Imperialism, Power, and Dracula

Bram Stoker’s Dracula presents us with themes of imperialism and power that represent the people’s views and fears on colonization in the Victorian Era. In Stephen Arata’s essay, “The Occidental Tourist: Dracula and the Anxiety of Reverse Colonization” he says that “vampires are intimately linked to military conquest” in Dracula (Arata 627). Vampires symbolize military conquest because of how they infect others and turn them into vampires. This also relates to imperialism because, like vampires invading foreign land and infecting the population, Europeans would invade foreign countries, often with military forces, and force that country’s people to assimilate to their culture. During the era of Imperialism, Europeans colonized many countries in order to profit off their resources and also so they could be seen as a global power.

Dracula’s lust for power can be seen when he meets Jonathan in London and says, “That is not enough for me. Here I am noble; I am boyar; the common people know me, and I am master. But a stranger in a strange land, he is no one” (Stoker 27). This quote shows that Dracula gets fulfillment out of ruling over people who know of his power and also fear him. Dracula does not get satisfaction out of being in London because the people there see him as a stranger and have no sense of his power. In his essay, Arata argues that Dracula represents the Victorians fear of “reverse colonization” and the decline of Britain as a global power. In the late 18th century, other countries like Germany, France, and the United States were rising to power. The “changes in international power relationships” caused a widespread fear that another country was likely to invade Britain and take control (Arata 624). This fear is reflected in Dracula when Count Dracula travels to London. Even though he is seen as a stranger, he has the power and potential to conquer Britain. Dracula and his subjects in Transylvania are symbolic of the fear of another country “trying to colonize the civilized world” (Arata 625).

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George Eliot

I do a bit of writing here and there.