Bram Stoker's Dracula and Anne Rice's series The Vampire Chronicles
are books about vampires. The way the two authors write about the vampires'
powers, the way they live and how they are created and destroyed prove that two
books about the same subject can be different in many ways. It also shows how the
vampire legend has evolved over a long period of time.
Special powers are used in both of the authors writings. A few of the
powers are the same, or very close to it, in each account. enhaced or super-human
strenth is one of these abilites. On page 7 in Anne Rice's book The Vampire
Lestat, her main chacter Lestast says "As for my strength, well it was three times
what it had once been. I could bend a copper penny double." After becoming a
vampire he notices his super human strength. Not much is written about Stoker's
use of super-strength for Count DraculaTherefore, One tends to believe that
Dracula in fact did not have enhanced strength. Stoker did use the power of
morphing into animals in his novel. In Dracula , the Count can morph into a bat
and he can turn into a greyish-green mist. He uses these powers so humans dont
detect his presence. As a gas he can pass by humans without them even noticing
and as a bat he can cover more ground in a shorter amount of time. Rice's novels
mention nothing of being able to morph into a bat, mist or anything else for that
The ability to fly is used in each novel but they are used very differently. In Dracula
the count can fly but, in order to do this he must turn into a bat and fly as a bat would fly.
More powerful vampires in The Vampire Chronicles can fly as , for example, super man
would fly. In order for a vampire to fly it requires lots of energy and a great force of will
Lestat says " It was as if a current of air had caught me. I went up hundereds of feet in one
instant, and then the clouds were below me-a white light that I could scarcely see. I decided
to drift." (Rice, Queen of the damned 286)
Mental powers are used extensivly in both of the authors' creations. Mind reading is
common in The Vampire Chronicles. Vampires in the Chronicles can not read the minds of
vampires they themselves have created or minds that are skillfully cloaked against them.
Being able to read the minds of mortals allows them to manipulate their victims. They can
also hypnotize and scramble the thoghts of mortals, as when Lestat takes a drink from a
victim and makes so that she will not remember it. When speaking with one another and
when giving their powerful blood, they can provide full-blown images of their past
experiences. Vampires can move objects at will, such as when they open doors or locks, or
when shoving another vampire away without touching them. "When I saw he wouldn't
move, my anger and out of me like an invisible fist. And I saw him moved backwards as if
the fist had struck him." (Rice, The vampire Lestat 265) In Dracula hypnotism is
mentioned. This is where the phrase "look into my eyes" was probably coined from. Like
Lestat, Dracula has the ability to change the will of other people. In Dracula , Jonathen
Harker is a guest in the counts castle. After a while Jonathen becomes suapicious of the
counts activities. He then becomes scared and uncomfortable and he wants to leave .
Through will changing the count makes Jonathen feel comfortable and he unknowingly
keeps him as a prisoner. The powers of the vampires mildly differs between the two
authors. Obviously Rice, because she wrote an entire series of novels not just one, has
more space to descibe the indivdual abilities of the main vampires in her series. Stoker on
the other hand wrote only one book about Dracula therfore his chacter is described in less
detail than are Rices.
The vampires way of life, unlike special abilities, is a great source of conflict. The
modern age Anne Rice and the classic old english Bram Stoker have different views on the
settings, travel, contact with people and other vampires, and the way the vampires feel and
express emotions in their novels.
What comes to your mind when you think of the words "vampire country"? If you
thought of castles in the middle of nowhere and countries with names you cant even
pronounce let alone know where they are, then Bram Stoker doesnt dissappoint you.
Stoker's novel takes place in and around Transylvania . Raymond McNally says of
Transylvania "At first, like many americans, I assumed that this was some mythical place. I
found out , however , that it is a province, a historical region of western Romania bounded
by the Carpathian mountains" (McNally 1). The eerie atmosphere adds to the mystery of
the story. In Transylvania Count Dracula resides in huge, stone castle. The castle has
come to be known as Castle Dracula . In Dracula , Johnathen Harker writes in his journal
"I was not able to light on any map or work giving the exact location of the Castle
Dracula, as there are no maps of this country as yet to compare with our own ordinance
survey maps; but I found that Bistritz, the post named by Count Dracula, is a fairly well
known place" (Stoker 2). In contrast, Rice sets her story in the modern world. New
Orleans is the main area which her story takes place. Her vampires like to live in houses
rather than castles. This now brings up the subject of contact with people. Lestat likes to
talk to people, he finds that if you dress as a mortal you can easily pass as one. This also
makes finding a victim alot easier. Stoker ahd his Count more or less lure victims into his
castle or he would fly into town as a bat and feed on unsuspecting passersby. Count
Dracula also had a harem of five female vampires living with him in his castle. Other than
that there is no mention of contact with other vampires. Actually there is no mention of
any other vampires that exist in the world Stoker created. Anne Rice, obviously with more
space to explore her vampires, made an entire world of vampires living incognito with
mortals. She actually has a family tree of vampires which decends from a vampire in
ancient Egypt. Her vampires can be found in every country and area in her novels. This is
made possible because traveling is very easy for her vampires. Dracula can as long as he
takes some of his native soil and his coffin. Without these he would perish. This is actually
the key to his demise. In his attempt to move from Transylvania to England, Dracula has
some of his native soil loaded into crates along with his coffin loaded onto a ship. After
they arrive he has them taken to another castle he has chosen. The vampire hunters,
Proffesor Abraham Van Helsing and Doctor John Seward find where the crates were
delivered to. after plotting their course they proceed to find the castle and destroy Dracula
while he was sleeping in his coffin. Rice's vampires seem to be more human than Stoker's
they have more freedom and seem less like monsters. "Rice's immortals are beautiful, do
not live in graves, do not avoid garlic, and can see their reflections in mirrors. According
to Anne, in catholic theology, the inability to see one reflection means that the soul is in
hell, and she did not want her vampires to have any better assurance of god than mortals"
(Mascetti 86). Her vampires ability to feel emotion separates her from every other novelist
on this subject. The only emotions Stoker shows in his novel his desire. Dracula wants a
woman named Lucy Westenra and will stop at nothing to get her. This shows the
evolution of the vampire myth over a period of about seventy-five years. Rices stories are
much more modern, not onnly in setting and the characters abilities but als in the way the
vampires act and think.
Aside from the subject of the vampires emotions, the biggest conflict comes when
you talk about how the vampires in each novel are created and destroyed. The strange
thing about Stokers noval is that he never says how the Count was created. Its as if he was
just there. Dracula does have the ability to create other vampires however. We know this
because of the fact that he made the five women vampires that share his castle with him.
He also turns the object of his desire, Lucy Westenra, into a vampire in an attempt to keep
her by his side forever. His plans fails when Lucy's husband kills her for her own good and
for the good of others. Anne Rice creates all of the vampires in her novel in an Adam and
Eve sort of way. The first vampire Akasha was a sorcerer in Egypt through magic she
transformed herself into a vampire. Akasha then creates her husband Enkil by trnsfusing
her blood with his. Through time the two created more vampires and the ones they created
made more vampires. Thus creating about a thousand or so vampires in the world. making
a mortal a vampire is a tricky process in both novels the process is basically the same
except Rice gives a more detailed description. making a vampire involves draining the
chosen mortal to the point of death-just before the heart stops-so that the powerful
vampire blood can take hold and fuse with the heart. The process is risky because the
vampire thirsts for the human heart and might drinkuntil the heart stops and the mortal
dies. Plus anything less than taking the blood until the heart stops would result in hybrids
which are more monster than human, or avampire that is too weak to survive. The
vampire then gives his blood to the mortal, depleting himself until he is greatly exhausted.
Rices vampires more frequently perform this than in Stokers novel. In Dracula the count
only does this once when he attemps to make Lucy a Vampire. Dracula is overall a more
simpler novel than any one of Rices creations. Her books go into great detail on almost
any subject that concerns vampires. Rice even changes some aspects of the vampire myth
in order to accomodate her characters and her visions for them. Stoker simply takes the
vampire myth and creates a novel about a vampire with these attributes.
Although the birth of the vampires and how they are created have some similarities
the manner in which they are destroyed and repelled holds many differences. As mentioned
before Rice changes some aspects of the vampire legend. This is where most of those
changes occur. A vampire in Rice's series named Louis says this of an old legend
"Nonsense my friend, sheer nonsense. I can look at anything I like. And I rather like
looking at crucifixes in particular"(Rice, Interview with the Vampire 23). In Dracula
however there is this excerpt "The count suddenly stopped and cowered back. Further and
Further back he cowered, as we, lifting our crucifixes, advanced"(Stoker 271). according
to legend, death to a vampire can be caused by few different methods. Stoker uses the
fact that Death can be caused by fire, su
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