Sunday, September 22, 2013

Count Dracula: A Christological analysis of Bram Stoker's vampire

In Bram Stoker's Dracula (I will be using the Dracula (Penguin Popular Classics) edition in my quotes), the Count is portrayed as possessing supernatural powers which, if we examine closely, are the antithesis of the salvation wrought by Christ on the Cross:

1.  Blood and Eternal Life

A vampire is immortal and regains back his youthful vigor, provided he sucks the blood of his victims.  As Van Helsing said:
The vampire live on, and cannot die by mere passing of the time; he can flourish when that he can fatten on the blood of the living.  Even more, we have seen amongst us that he can even grow younger; that his vital faculties grow strenuous, and seem as though they refresh themselves when his special pabulum is plenty. (Dracula, p. 286)
Christ, on the other hand, is immortal because He is the Logos, the Word of God, the Second Person of the Trinity.  Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.  When Christ died on the Cross, He shed His Most Precious Blood, and the veil of the Temple separating mankind from the Holy of Holies was torn into two, and opened Eternal Life to many.  As St. Paul said:
Therefore, brothers, since through the blood of Jesus we have confidence of entrance into the sanctuary m20* by the new and living way he opened for us through the veil,n that is, his flesh, 21* o and since we have “a great priest over the house of God,”22 let us approach with a sincere heart and in absolute trust, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience* and our bodies washed in pure water. (Heb 10:19-22)
The Vampire Coffin of Dracula Statue
The Vampire Coffin of Dracula Statue
2.  Resurrection of the Body

A vampire goes back to "die" in his coffin filled with Transylvanian soil and resurrect the next day:
The Draculas were, says Arminius, were great and noble race, though now and again were scions who were held by their coevals to have had dealings with the Evil one.  They learned his secrets in the Scholomance, amongst the mountains over Lake Hermanstadt, where the devil claims the tenth scholar as his due....There have been from the loins of this very great men and good women, and their graves make sacred the earth where alone this foulness can dwell.  For it is not the least of its terrors that this evil thing is rooted deep in all good; in soil barren of holy memories it cannot rest. (Dracula, p. 288)
Large Cross Monstrance with Luna
Large Cross Monstrance with Luna
The only way to make the Transylvanian soil unholy to a  vampire is to make it holier by placing on the soil the Body of Christ, the Sacred Host:
And now, my friends, we have a duty here to do.  We must sterilise this earth, so sacred of holy memories, that he has brought from a far distant land for such fell use.  He has chosen this earth because it has been holy.  Thus we defeat him with his own weapon, for we make it more holy still.  It was sanctified to such use of man, now we sanctify it to God....Taking from his box a piece of the Sacred Wafer he laid it reverently on the earth....One by one we treated in the same way each of the great boxes, and left them as we had found them to all appearance; but in each was a portion of the Host. (Dracula, p. 355)
A vampire has a resurrected body, yes, but it is not like a human body, for it casts no shadow nor makes a reflection in the mirror.  A vampire can pass through walls.  He does not eat.  As Van Helsing said:
Even friend Jonathan, who lived with him for weeks, did never see him to eat, never!  He throws no shadow; he he makes in the mirror no reflect....He come on moonlight rays as elemental dust...He become so small...He can, when once he find his way, come out from anything or into anything, no matter how close it be bound or even fused up with fire--solder you call it. (Dracula, p. 286) 

Count Dracula Halloween Prop Animated
Count Dracula Halloween Prop Animated
Christ, on the other hand, dies but once, rises from the dead after three days, and lives forever.  His glorified body can materialize in thin air or pass through walls as seen at the Upper Room with the Apostles:
On the evening of that first day of the week,j when the doors were locked, where the disciples* were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.”
 His body is real because it bore the marks of His suffering:
But they were startled and terrified and thought that they were seeing a ghost. t38 Then he said to them, “Why are you troubled? And why do questions arise in your hearts? 39* Look at my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me and see, because a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you can see I have.” (Lk 24:37-39
Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands, and bring your hand and put it into my side, and do not be unbelieving, but believe.” (Jn 20:27)
And Jesus eats and drinks:
While they were still incredulous for joy and were amazed, he asked them, “Have you anything here to eat?”42 They gave him a piece of baked fish;v 43 he took it and ate it in front of them. (Lk 24:41-43)
Risen Jesus Christ Magnet
Risen Jesus Christ Magnet
Regarding Christ's resurrected body, this is what St. Paul said:
 You fool! What you sow is not brought to life unless it dies.t37 And what you sow is not the body that is to be but a bare kernel of wheat, perhaps, or of some other kind; 38u but God gives it a body as he chooses, and to each of the seeds its own body.39 Not all flesh is the same, but there is one kind for human beings, another kind of flesh for animals, another kind of flesh for birds, and another for fish.40 There are both heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the brightness of the heavenly is one kind and that of the earthly another.41 The brightness of the sun is one kind, the brightness of the moon another, and the brightness of the stars another. For star differs from star in brightness. 42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown corruptible; it is raised incorruptible. 43 It is sown dishonorable; it is raised glorious. It is sown weak; it is raised powerful.v 44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual one. (1 Cor 15:36-44)
Perfect Storm
The Perfect Storm: A True Story of Men Against the Sea
3.  Elemental Control, Creature Summons, and the Transfiguration

A vampire can control elements such as storms and mists, as what happened when his 50 coffins filled with Transylvanian soil were transported with Count Dracula to England:
Then without warning the tempest broke.  With a rapidity which, at the time, seemed incredible, and even afterwards is impossible to realize, the whole aspect of nature at once became convulsed.  The waves rose in growing fury, each overtopping its fellow, till in a very few minutes the lately glassy sea was like a roaring and devouring monster....To add to the difficulties and dangers of the time, masses of sea-fog came drifting inland--white, wet clouds, which swept by in ghostly fashion, so dank and damp and cold that it needed but little effort of imagination to think that the spirits of those lost at sea were touching their living brethren with the clammy hands of death....It was now nearly the hour of high tide, but the waves were so great that in their troughs the shallows of the shore were almost visible, and the schooner, with all sails set, was rushing with such speed that, in the words of one old salt, 'she must fetch up somewhere, if it was only in hell.'  Then came another rush of sea-fog, greater than any hitherto--a mass of dank mist, which seemed to close on all things like a grey pall, and left available to men only the organ of hearing, for the roar of the tempest, and the crash of the thunder, and the booming of the mighty billows came through the damp oblivion even louder than before. (Dracula, p. 97-98)  
Two wolves howling in full moon
A vampire can also summon rats and wolves:
All at once the wolves began to howl as though the moonlight had had some peculiar effect on them.  The horses jumped about and reared, and looked helplessly round with eyes that rolled in a way painful to see; but the living ring of terror encompassed them on every side, and they had perforce to remain within it.  I called to the coachman to come for it seemed to me that our only chance was to try to break out through the ring and to aid his approach.  I shouted and beat the side of the caleche, hoping by the noise to scare the wolves from that side, so as to give him a chance of reaching the trap.  How he came there, I know not, but I heard his voice raised in a tone of imperious command, and looking towards the sound, saw him stand in the roadway.  As he swept his long arms, as through brushing aside some impapable obstacle, the wolves fell back and back further still.  Just then a heavy cloud passed across the face of the moon, so that we were again in darkness. (Dracula, p. 23)
Somewhere, looking out from the shadow, I seemed to see the high lights of the Counht's evil face, the ridge of the nose, the red eyes, the red lips, the awful pallor.  It was only for a moment for as Lord Godalming said, 'I thought I saw a face, but it was only the shadows,' and resumed his inquiry....A few minutes later I saw Morris step suddenly back from a corner, which he was examining.  We all followed his movements with our eyes, for undoubtedly some nervousness was growing on us, and we saw a whole mass of phosphorescence, which twinkled like stars.  We all instinctively drew back.  The whole place was becoming alive with rats. (Dracula, p. 301) 
Jesus calms the storm
Arnold Friberg - Peace Be Still- Gallery Quality Framed Art - Classic Giclee Edition 20"x30"- Jesus Calming the Sea
Christ, on the other hand, can also control the elements, for even the winds and the waves obey him.  He can walk on water.  He can change water into wine.  He can curse the fig tree.  He can multiply loaves and fishes to feed a multitude. He can send evil spirits into the body of pigs.  He can get a coin from a fish to pay his temple tax and that of Peter.  Christ's power of His creatures is perfect, unlike that of the vampire:
One lesson, too, that we have learned, if it be allowable to argue a particulari: that the brute beasts which are to the Count's command are yet themselves not amenable to his spiritual power; for look, these rats that would come to his call, just as from his castle top he summon the wolves to your going and to that poor mother's cry, though they come to him, they run pell-mell from the so little dogs of my friend Arthur. (Dracula, p. 302)

Jesus of Nazareth: From the Baptism in the Jordan to the Transfiguration
Jesus of Nazareth: From the Baptism in the Jordan to the Transfiguration
A vampire can change his shape to that of a bat or a wolf, and grow fangs like a snake.  It is always the property of evil that it degrades man into a beast.  For Christ, He did not change shape to a lower life form, but to a higher life form as the Second Person of the Trinity, as what happened during His Transfiguration:
a After six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves.*2* b And he was transfigured before them; his face shone like the sun and his clothes became white as light.3* And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, conversing with him. (Mt 17:1-3)
 The Second Person of the Trinity became incarnate and was made man, a lower life form, in order to raise man into the dignity as adopted children of God.  As St. John and St. Paul said:
He was in the world, and the world came to be through him, but the world did not know him. 11 He came to what was his own, but his own people 7 did not accept him. 12 But to those who did accept him he gave power to become children of God, to those who believe in his name, 13 8 who were born not by natural generation nor by human choice nor by a man's decision but of God.14 And the Word became flesh 9 and made his dwelling among us, and we saw his glory, the glory as of the Father's only Son, full of grace and truth. (Jn 1:10-14)
Have among yourselves the same attitude that is also yours in Christ Jesus,*6 Who,* though he was in the form of God,d did not regard equality with God something to be grasped.*7 Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness;* and found human in appearance,e 8 he humbled himself,f becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross. (Phil 2, 5-8)
A bride and a groom
Road To Cana, Season 1 - Radio Version: A Marriage Readiness Program for Catholics

3.  Marriage and Mystical Union

Vampires propagate themselves through a kind of marriage (though this is referred to as Baptism in the novel).  The scene is the marriage bed of Jonathan and Mina, and Count Dracula appeared.  If there is such thing as seduction and rape in the vampire world, it is this, as Mina recalled:
I was bewildered, and, strangely enough, I did not want to hinder him.  I suppose it is a part of the horrible curse that this happens when his touch is on his victim.  And oh, my God, my God, pity me!  He placed his reeking lips upon my throat!... I felt my strength fading away, and I was in a half-swoon.  How long this horrible thing lasted I know not; but it seemed that a long time must have passed before he took his foul, awful sneering mouth away.  I saw it drip with fresh blood! (Dracula, p. 342-343)
In marriage, a man and a woman exchange rings as a sign of their love for each other and in their marriage bed they become one flesh.  In vampires, instead of rings and intercourse, marriage is consummated by the exchanging of blood.  Count Dracula has already drunk Mina's blood.  It is now Mina's turn to drink Dracula's blood:
And you, their best beloved one, are now to me flesh of my flesh; blood of my blood; kin of my kin; my bountiful wine-press for a while; and shall be later on my companion and my helper.... When my brain says "Come!" to you, you shall cross land or sea to do my bidding; and to that end this! With that he pulled open his shirt, and with his long sharp nails opened a vein in his breast.  When the blood began to spurt out, he took my hands in one of his, holding them tight, and with the other seized my neck and pressed my mouth to the wound, so that I must either suffocate or swallow some of the -Oh, my God, my God! what have I done? (Dracula, p. 343)
The Eucharist by Fr. Mitch Pacwa, SJ
The Eucharist: A Bible Study Guide for Catholics
This vampire marriage makes Mina one in body with the Count.  Hypnosis of Mina can reveal what the Count is feeling, as when he left on a boat to cross the waters.  And putting the Sacred Host on Mina's forehead burns not only Mina but the Count as well:
Now let me guard yourself.  On your forehead I touch this piece of Sacred Wafer in the name of the Father, the Son, and --' / There was a fearful scream which almost froze our hearts to hear.  As he placed the Waver on Mina's forehead, it had seared it--had burned into the flesh as though it had been a piece of white-hot metal (Dracula, p. 353) 
It would be impossible to describe the expression of hate and baffled malignity--of anger and hellish rage--which came over the Count's face.  His waxen hue became greenish-yellow by the contrast of his burning eyes, and the red scar on the forehead showed on the pallid skin like a palpitating wound. (Dracula, p. 365)
For the case of humans, the first marriage was that of Adam and Eve (note the similar language used by Count Dracula):
So the LORD God cast a deep sleep on the man, and while he was asleep, he took out one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh.l22 The LORD God then built the rib that he had taken from the man into a woman. When he brought her to the man,23 the man said:
“This one, at last, is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; This one shall be called ‘woman,’
for out of man this one has been taken.”*24 m That is why a man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife, and the two of them become one body. (Gen 2:21-24)
Christ cited this passage when he talked about the indissolubility of marriage:
 “Have you not read that from the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female’5c and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?6 So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, no human being must separate.” (Mt 19:4-6)
St. Paul by Pope Benedict XVI
Saint Paul by Pope Benedict XVI
And St. Paul jumps off from here by likening the relationship of Christ and His Church to that of the marriage of the husband and wife:
For the husband is head of his wife just as Christ is head of the church, he himself the savior of the body.s24 As the church is subordinate to Christ, so wives should be subordinate to their husbands in everything. 25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the church and handed himself over for hert26 to sanctify her, cleansing her by the bath of water with the word,u27 that he might present to himself the church in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.v 28 So [also] husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one hates his own flesh but rather nourishes and cherishes it, even as Christ does the church, 30
because we are members of his body.w 31 “For this reason a man shall leave [his] father and [his] mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”x32 This is a great mystery, but I speak in reference to Christ and the church. (Eph 5:23-32)
How does one kill a vampire?  By cutting off his head. This effectively divorces Count Dracula (the husband as the head) with Mina (the wife as the body), and Mina is free.  In the same way, if the Church is divorced from Christ Her Head, then the Church will cease to be Christ's mystical Body, and the members of the Church can never be sanctified by the Blood of Christ.

One of the Soldiers with a Spear Pierced His Side Canvas Print / Canvas Art - Artist Tissot
One of the Soldiers with a Spear Pierced His Side Canvas Print / Canvas Art - Artist Tissot
4.  Sacred Heart

Aside from decapitating the head, another way to kill a vampire is to pierce his heart:
I saw the Count lying within the box upon the earth, some of which the rude falling from the cart had scattered over him.  He was deathly pale, just like a waxen image, and the red eyes glared with the horrible vindictive look which I knew too well. / As I looked, the eyes saw the sinking sun, and the look of hate in them turned to triumph./ But, on the instant, came the sweep and flash of Jonathan's great knife.  I shrieked as I saw it shear through the throat; whilst at the same moment Mr Morries bowie knife plunged in the heart. / It was like a miracle; but before our very eyes, and almost in the drawing of a breath, the whole body crumbled into dust and passed from our sight. / I shall be glad as long as I live that even in that moment of final dissolution there was in the face a look of peace, such as I never could have imagined might have rested there. (Dracula, p. 447)
When Jesus died on the cross, His Most Sacred Heart was also pierced:
So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and then of the other one who was crucified with Jesus.33 But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs, 34* s but one soldier thrust his lance into his side, and immediately blood and water flowed out. (Jn 19:32-34)
The water has changed into blood.  The First Plague of Egypt that killed many Egyptians has been transformed by Christ into a sign of salvation, just as in the same way as He did to the Cross--the sign of death and punishment which He transformed to a sign of life and sanctification.  Unlike the pierced heart of a vampire which leads to his death once and for all, the pierced side of Christ which reached His Heart brought forth His Bride, the Church, in the same way as from the side of Adam came his wife, Eve.

Sacred Heart of Jesus
Sacred Heart of Jesus Poster, 13" x 17" - MADE IN ITALY
When the Israelites were in the desert, they complained to Moses that they need water to drink.  God told Moses to command the rock to bring forth water, but Moses disobeyed by striking the rock twice:
Take the staff and assemble the community, you and Aaron your brother, and in their presence command the rock to yield its waters. Thereby you will bring forth water from the rock for them, and supply the community and their livestock with water.9 So Moses took the staff from its place before the LORD, as he was ordered.10 Then Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly in front of the rock, where he said to them,a “Just listen, you rebels! Are we to produce water for you out of this rock?” 11b Then, raising his hand, Moses struck the rock twice* with his staff, and water came out in abundance, and the community and their livestock drank.12* But the LORD said to Moses and Aaron: Because you did not have confidence in me, to acknowledge my holiness before the Israelites, therefore you shall not lead this assembly into the land I have given them.
Divine Mercy Poster in English, 13" x 17" - MADE IN ITALY
According to St. Paul, the Rock was Christ:
I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that our ancestors were all under the cloud and all passed through the sea,a2 and all of them were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea.b3 All ate the same spiritual food,4 and all drank the same spiritual drink, for they drank from a spiritual rock that followed them,* and the rock was the Christ.c5 Yet God was not pleased with most of them, for they were struck down in the desert. (1 Cor 10:1-5)
Thus, we pray the 3 O'clock Habit:
You died, Jesus, but the source of life flowed out for souls and the ocean of mercy opened up for the whole world. O Fountain of Life, immeasurable Divine Mercy, cover the whole world and empty yourself out upon us. O Blood and Water which flowed out from the heart of Jesus as a Fountain of Mercy for us, I trust in You! Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us and the whole world. (3 times) Jesus, King of Mercy, we trust in You!

Dracula by Bram Stoker: Annotated Edition
The New Annotated Dracula

In Search of Dracula: The History of Dracula and Vampires

Van Helsing (Two-Disc Collector's Edition)

The Theology of Dracula: Reading the Book of Stoker as Sacred Text