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Dracula: The Undead Myth Or Love Eternal across Damnation

Novel: Dracula by Bram Stoker (1897) Film: Bram Stokers Dracula (1992) Director: Francis Ford Coppola

There has been a certain fascination with the topic and trends in literature and cinematography over the centuries. The first mentioning of the vampire or the revenant appeared in the 18th century in poems such as The Vampire, by Heinrich August Ossenfelder, Lenore (1773) by Gottfried August Brger, Die Braut von Corinth (The Bride of Corinth (1797) by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Samuel Taylor Coleridge's unfinished Christabel and Lord Byron's The Giaour (1813). Byron was also credited with the first prose fiction piece concerned with vampires: The Vampyre (1819). Varney the Vampire was a landmark popular mid-Victorian era gothic horror story by James Malcolm Rymer (alternatively attributed to Thomas Preskett Prest), which first appeared from 1845 to 1847 in a series of pamphlets. Another important addition to the genre was Sheridan Le Fanu's lesbian vampire story Carmilla (1871). However, the peak of this literary genre was reached by Bram Stoker `s Dracula, the archetype of vampirism, portraying the bloodthirsty villain and giving him a precise identity (based, of course, on certain historical and popular sources): Vlad Tepes or the Impaler. The twenty first century has brought more examples of vampire fiction, such as J.R. Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood series, and other highly popular vampire books which appeal to teenagers and young adults. Taking distance from the original legends, the recent literature has created modern avatars of the charismatic negative hero. L.A. Banks' The Vampire Huntress Legend Series, Laurell K. Hamilton's erotic Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter series, and Kim Harrison's The Hollows series, portray the vampire in a variety of new perspectives, some of them unrelated to the original legends. A new type of vampiric romance involving paranormal or detective adventures has emerged: Charlaine Harris`s The Southern Vampire Mysteries or Tanya 1

Huff`s Blood Books are only a few examples. The personification of evil became a poetic tragic hero, as it is depicted in Anne Rice`s Vampire Chronicles. The latest Twilight series, written by Stephenie Meyer has dropped many of the previous conventions (such as the exposure of a vampire in the sun causing their destruction) making its immortal heroes highly popular, especially among young people. The screen adaptations are even more numerous than the written ones; the legendary Dracula has had many portrayals on screen, starting with Murnau`s Nosferatu- Eine Symphonie des Grauens (1922), a silent classic, Tod Browning`s Dracula (1931) and ending with Francis Ford Coppola`s version in 1992, to mention only a few. As it happened with literature, vampire tales have borrowed other features and fashions, adaptating themselves to different epochs. From this vast array of literary and filmic works, there is one book which had its filmic counterpart: Bram Stoker`s Dracula, transcoded on screen by Francis Ford Coppola and starring Anthony Hopkins, Winona Ryder, Gary Oldman and Keanu Reeves (putting aside the other film versions of the same novel). 1. The story (plot)- Similarities and dissimilarities between film and novel The film closely follows the story line of the novel, keeping most of the important events and details in the novel. However, there is one important turn which does not appear in the original novel: the love story between Count Dracula and Wilhelmina Harker and Mina`s affection for the damned prince. The young womans fascination with the exotic stranger gradually unfolds as the story develops. In the opening scenes of the film, Prince Vlad Draculea sets off to fight against the Turks of the Ottoman Empire who were invading the Romanian lands. Upon his victorious returning from the battlefield, he finds his beautiful bride dead, having committed suicide because of a false report announcing her husbands death. Enraged, the prince desecrates the church where his damned wife lies (damned for she has taken her life), by stabbing the crucifix with his sword and defying God. He promises to avenge his beloved Elisabeta with all the powers of darkness. This inserted story in the filmic script (which doesnt appear in the novel) could be regarded as a sort of justification for Draculas damned existence (or un-existence), adding a new aura to the original myth. Four centuries later, in London, Jonathan Harker, a law firm clerk, is sent to Eastern Europe in Transylvania to set a business contract with a local nobleman, named Count Dracula. After an

eerie journey to the castle, he finds himself in an even more eerie dwelling where a pale, old, wrinkled man asks him to stay for more than a month. The Count leaves Jonathan prisoner of his three demonic and bloodthirsty wives and sets sail for England. Here he preys upon Lucy, Minas best friend, drinking her blood and changing her into a vampire while, at the same time, the now changed Count (into a handsome, young man) meets and seduces Mina. The encounters between Mina and the Prince are not part of the novel, nor the fact that Mina seems to remember things about Transylvania and the castle (which she had never visited), as if she were Elisabeta`s reincarnation. Since doctor Seward cannot find a cure for Lucy who is growing weaker and behaves strangely, Dr. Abraham Van Helsing is called, who eventually discovers the true nature of her disease by analysing her symptoms. Meanwhile, Mina receives news of Jonathan who managed to escape from the castle and goes to meet and marry him. On their returning to England, they hear the sad news of Lucys death. Van Helsing weaves a plan to destroy the Count and engages the other men to help him; left alone, Mina is visited by the vampire who confesses his love to her. Unlike Bram Stokers text, where Mina is forced by the Count to drink from his blood, in Ford Coppola`s version, she willingly asks her strange friend to make her his immortal companion. Mina progressively undergoes changes, similar to Lucy, on her way of becoming a vampire, but it is her who in the end will bring peace to her sweet princes tormented soul (she eventually kills him, driving his sword through his heart and cutting his head) - another aspect which does not take place in the original text (it is Quincey Morris who takes Draculas life). 2. Focalization. In the novel, focalization shifts among the first-person perspectives of several characters: Mina Murray, Jonathan Harker, Lucy Westenra, Dr. John Seward, Abraham Van Helsing. In Ford Coppola`s film, we have a rather objectified perspective realised by mostly objective camera shots (although there a couple of moments when we witness a subjective shot acquired by means of camera tilting; for instance, when Jonathan Harker arrives in front of Draculas castle and he stands still for a moment, gazing up the impressive building. 00:12:39, or the fast- moving camera suggesting Draculas running in the form of a wolf and showing the viewer what his eyes see 58:12.).

3. Characters Mina Murray, Jonathan Harker, Abraham Van Helsing, John Seward, Arthur Holmwood and Quincey Morris form a kind of collective protagonist, since none them is more prominent than other, each of them has quite the same preponderance in the text. In the film, although the character functions are preserved, the situation changes a bit, there is a slight focus on the couple Mina Count Vlad, and of course Jonathan Harker and Abraham Van Helsing follow in order of importance. Count Vlad Draculas portrait grows more mesmerizing throughout the film, as his character is far more defined and substantial than in the book. He gains more depth and his actions are somehow justified through his love for his dead wife, love transferred to Mina. Despite his ferocious cruelty (he offers his three wives in the castle a newborn baby to be ripped apart by them), he seems to nurture mercy and love towards mortal Mina (while Mina is alone with the Count at a fair, where they are watching the newly discovered cinematograph, Dracula is almost overwhelmed by his thirst for Minas blood that he nearly attacks her, but has the power to control and retain his beastly urge in order to protect her; furthermore, towards the end of the film, when the Count creeps into Minas room in the lunatic asylum and she asks him to transform her into a creature like him, he hesitates, telling her that he loves her too much to condemn her). As opposed to Stokers character, the filmic Jonathan gives the impression of being powerless, he is less prominent. In addition, I perceived Minas relationship to Jonathan as little less passionate and ardent comparing to the book. 4. Themes/Motifs/ Symbols The film preserves the main themes and symbols of the novel: the consequences of modernity (modernity blinds dr. Seward and the others from finding the cause of Lucys health deterioration. Only Van Helsing, who cherishes all knowledge, including myths, legends, ancient rituals and cultures, can discover the evil and fight against it. Secondly, the issue of the expression of female sexuality, discussed by literary critics, and the way it is treated in the novel is underlined in the film. As Victorian code of morality and purity was severe, a woman was required to be virtuous, chaste, to marry a man and be totally submissive. When the Count changes Lucy Westenra into a vampire, she becomes a voluptuous (that is, sexually aggressive, forbidden to a Victorian woman), bloodthirsty predator, an aspect which is better visually marked in Coppola`s

work. Thirdly, the theme of Christian salvation is visible through the use of the sacred symbols, such as the cross, the Holy Water, the Wafer for protection and redemption from evil. Before setting foot in Dracula`s castle, Jonathan is given a cross by a gypsy travelling in the same carriage with him For the dead travel fast. Jonathan Harker is amazed that all inhabitants of Transylvania cross themselves and consider it a weird superstition. The un-dead Lucy is driven a stake through her to restore her soul to peace and to offer it the possibility of redemption. Even Dracula achieves the supreme deliverance from evil in the final scene of both book and film, when the purification ritual is performed on him. 5. Ending Both written text and film bring Count Vlad`s destruction, only in a slightly different manner. If in Stoker`s book, he is annihilated by Quincey Morris, one of Van Helsing`s commando against evil and friend of dead Lucy, Coppola`s production is more dramatic, as Mina escapes with her prince from the pursuers and locks herself in his castle. However, the Count is severely wounded and begs for his final rest. With tears flooding from her eyes, Mina, the love of his life (or, better said, un-life) pierces his heart and severs his head; the moment after the execution, light shines on Vlad`s transfigured face is also lit by a peaceful smile and Mina`s eyes rise to see Vlad and Elisabeta ascending to Heaven together, painted on the chapel's ceiling. 6. Style/ structure The novel is written under the form of diary entries, letters or telegrams sent and received by the main characters: Mina Murray, Jonathan Harker, Lucy Westenra, Dr. John Seward, Abraham Van Helsing. 7. Genre The gothic and horror features of the text are remarkably kept and transposed in the film by the use of grim landscapes and buildings (Dracula`s castle, the Carfax Lunatic Asylum), the sombre lights and colours, the stormy nights, the constant sense of dread and so on. From novel to film: cinematic elements

1. Graphics : Main title, intertitles, subtitles The main title appears a little later, after the story of Vlad Tepes, the loss of his wife and his decision to give up on Christianity.(00:05:51) The first intertitle (which comes right after the main title) introduces the viewer in the place and time of Dracula : London 1897. Four centuries later. Other intertitles: Jonathan Harker`s Journal: 25th May (00:08:39), Mina Murray `s Diary: 25th May, Dr. Seward`s Diary on Phonograph Cylinder: 30th May (00:23:37); these intertitles inform the viewer and also preserve the style of the written text, which is entirely built of diary entries, letters and telegrams of the protagonists. There are also plenty of English subtitles for the lines spoken in Romanian (count Dracula is a Transylvanian nobleman): Pentru ca mortii umbla repede. For dead travel fast.(00:10:31) (In the novel, these lines are in German or Hungarian.) Domnul fie laudat. Am invins. God be praised. I am victorious. (00:02:33), Tu n-ai iubit niciodata. . Nu, nu-i adevarat. Si eu pot sa iubesc. Si am sa iubesc din nou. You yourself never loved. Yes, I too can love. And I shall love again. (00:34:58). Film editing/montage : Superimposition