A prisoner to Dracula

It is not hard to see throughout the book that Jonathan Harker has developed fear and trauma due to his stay at Dracula’s castle. He writes from the time he was in the castle, “Doors, doors, doors everywhere, and all locked and bolted. In no place save from the windows in the castle walls is there an available exit. The castle is a veritable prison, and I am a prisoner!” (Stoker Chapter 2) Reading this quote, although short, with the knowledge that Jonathan does get out, which we still don’t know how, gives the reader a new perspective on it. It explains, as do other quotes around the same time in the book, why Jonathan is so traumatized. He simply could not get out of this place that terrified him. He is traumatized from his visit, and from knowing that Dracula is still out there somewhere, possibly close to him in England. Mina notices it before she even reads the diary, that her husband has been acting strange since she first visited him in the hospital. Later on in the book when Mina and Van Helsing read Jonathan’s notebook, we see another side to this quote, of Jonathan’s friends and loved ones learning what went on when he went to Transylvania. The idea of being a prisoner to Dracula can also be applied, in a very different way, to Lucy Westenra. She became a prisoner to Dracula when she was bitten, and was never the same (turned into a vampire) since. She couldn’t get out, just as Jonathan couldn’t. As she went through those countless blood transfusions and other treatments, she was all the time a prisoner/slave to Dracula’s dark ways, and could not physically escape him as she became the “bloofer lady”. It leaves the reader to wonder, will there be more “prisoners to Dracula”?


One thought on “A prisoner to Dracula”

  1. I really love this blog post! I know personally I have really only been thinking about the Reinfield chapters when thinking about madness/mental illness in this novel, but Johnathon is also having nothing short of a mental breakdown! I love that you picked this quote because I can’t count how many times I’ve seen/read a person going mad where they repeat a word, like “Doors doors doors” here. I also love you mentioning Mina having to watch Johnathon go mad, which is it’s own kind of trauma(along with everything else she’s been through in this novel).

Leave a Reply