Certain stories captivate for generations.The reasons why something like Dracula holds us are fairly obvious, but, nevertheless…
1. Life and death, particularly the seeming inevitability of death, is about as basic a mystery to humanity as any. Why do I say “seeming inevitability”? Isn’t death the epitome of inevitability? It is, of course, yet, since we are alive, we know nothing of death.Life is what is,death is an abstraction. Certainly we know what it is for our bodies to fail. Every ache and pain reminds us of our fragility. Meanwhile, however, we are not dead.
So the undead is the ultimate of the uncanny. To have body that is dead but still conscious, worse still yearning, still wanting. Not a benign indifference filled, an abstracted state approaching non-existence, but a fully sensorially and sensually aware being.
2. Dracula allows free rein to lusts we “good” people repress. You don’t have to be a genius psychologist to know how frequently sexual lust and violence intertwine in human affairs.
3. Dracula’s existence is like thumbing one’s nose at “modern science.” He is a being who could not exist, but evidently does.
4. Dracula is also a moral tale. The promiscuous Mina succumbs and must be destroyed while the innocent Lucy, though tempted and nearly undead herself, is saved.
5. “Modern christianity” is mocked, but a superstitious, rite-ridden christianity prevails.
6. The “wise old man,” another archetype worthy of C.J. Jung, outwits the Satan. (There are, of course, a million twists on this in which Dracula is more undead than dead despite Dr.
7. Dracula is not just a vampire, it is as though he were all vampires in one. Killing him kills The Vampire which means it kills all vampires.
8. There is a moral point in Dracula that has nothing to do with whether he can be killed. It is a human rather than a supernatural point. To live off the blood of others is a fundamental wrong. This is perfectly true allegorically. It is a malady we see all around us and we realize it may as yet destroy the human race and. in the meantime, is sure making a helluva lot of people terribly miserable. This is the classic problem of evil. We can accept anyone wanting anything, but we cannot accept one person sucking the life out of another person, yet we cannot seem to stop it.
There’s a theme that bears the test of time.