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Vlad Tepes & Dracula

Bram Stoker

"(Dracula's) face was strong - a very strong - aquiline, with high bridge of the thin nose and peculiarly arched nostrils; with lofty domed forehead, and hair growing scantly round the temples, but profusely elsewhere. His eyebrows were very massive,  almost meeting  over the nose, and with bushy hair that seemed to curl in his own profusion. The mouth, so far as I could see it under the heavy moustache, was fixed and rather cruel looking, with peculiar sharp white teeth; these protruded over the lips, whose remarkable ruddiness showed astonishing vitality in a man of his years. For the rest, his ears were pale and at the tops extremely pointed; the chin was broad and strong, and the cheeks firm though thin. The general effect was one of extraordinary pallor" (II, 23-24).

     This corresponds to the description Stoker provides of the Count. Certainly enough, many similarities are seen if compared to any portrait of the Impaler, except for the demonic looking details of the teeth or ears. Visually, aside from the facial features described above, Dracula is clean shaven except for a moustache. The Impaler had a moustache as well, but not certainly white, as the Count did. This detail makes reference to the age the Count is supposed to have, but as the Count grows younger, his hair appears to be black. Most notably, the Impaler is known for his cruel behaviour.
     Dracula as well conveys more than a vague presence of malice. Stoker endows him with a personality, of sorts. He has a mannerism tugging his moustache during animated discourses on his family. He exhibits a full range of powerful emotions. The Count, like the voivod before him has a bright brain, is fearless and remorseless; ready to do whatever it takes to reach successfully to the goal.
     However, Stoker shows elements which portrait him as a magical creature. Stoker says that the Count has pointed teeth, bushy eyebrows that (almost) bridge over the nose, among other details. His palms are hairy too and his eyes glow red. These are details the voivod did not possess, but help the dramatic persona image building by serving the purpose of folklore being details of vampire and werewolves. Certainly, if Dracula is associated with the devil by its name, these details do give a halo of demonic mysticism to the character. No need to say the Impaler enjoyed a rather demonic image and reputation.
     The name itself is a direct link between the Count and his namesake Impaler. Beyond a name, it clearly manifests multiple readings for both characters. As previously said, Dracula was a Dragon and his name has that reading; as well as the Count says so himself. Nevertheless, a second reading does interfere a demonic quality to its bearer. Once again, both characters fit in that demonic aura, one for being a vampire, while the other bore such nickname.
    Perhaps metaphorically, but no matter that, fairly interesting is that the vampire Count despises all holy symbols. This is no surprise, since vampires traditionally do so. However, Stoker might have thought of making Dracula despise all holy symbols and the Church as the Impaler's way to do so by getting married and converting to Catholicism, abandoning his original religious practice.
       Finally, Renfield's behaviour with animals quite correlates with the Impaler's while in prison. Rendfield preys on little insects and this might be due to Stoker's readings about the Impaler torturing animals while in prison.

  

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