Thursday, January 18, 2007

Reporter.co.za: Where are Dracula’s roots?

Where are Dracula’s roots?
By Nitwit

A look at one of literature’s most fascinating figures
For as long as I can remember I have always had a fascination with Bram Stoker’s Dracula. The later movie Dracula 2000 put out a theory that was interesting yet a little disappointing.
The character Dracula was always associated with the darker side of seduction, which held the viewers attention.

In the movie, Dracula’s “birth” is supposedly revealed. After betraying Jesus Judas Iscariot hanged himself. But he was denied death and became the walking dead. The hate of silver came from the selling of out of Jesus for silver, and the rest is pretty obvious.
So became Dracula and his hate for Christianity. The scriptwriters made Dracula almost impossible to kill other than by the way he originally “died” as Judas.

A clever idea in explaining Dracula’s pet hates and history; but as Dracula is purely fictional, and Judas supposedly historical, the idea might not be well-liked. Fiction and non-fiction have always been intertwined and make for great stories. But using a biblical figure so closely with one of history’s best known and most evil characters can be unsettling.

I’m not religious and found that the religious link between the two dampened the mystery and fun of Dracula. But curious nonetheless I went on a little hunt for the origins of Dracula.
Elizabeth Miller kindly allowed me to use her site as reference. She is recognised internationally for her expertise on Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel Dracula – its origins in folklore, literature and history, as well as its influence on the culture of the 20th and 21st centuries.
The assumption by most is that Bram Stoker created the name Dracula. But this isn’t so and it’s believed Stoker “borrowed” the name from Vlad the Impaler, a 15th-century Romanian ruler. The general feeling was that Vlad had taken on the nickname Dracula from the Order of the Dragon, which had been bestowed upon his father, Vlad Dracul, in 1431.

But not many are sure Stoker knew of this connection.
Originally Stoker’s character was to be named "Count Wampyr". Stoker was attracted to Vlad’s nickname because of a footnote found in a book that translated “Dracula” as meaning “Devil”. The translation wasn’t completely accurate but this is what Stoker saw.
Elizabeth Miller contends that Stoker didn’t base the character Dracula on the Romanian ruler who was known for impaling his enemies on wooden stakes.

Count Dracula wasn’t the first vampire. Legends and folklore tell of vampires that existed for hundreds of years, even back to ancient times.
“Stoker came across some information about vampire beliefs in Transylvania, which he used in the novel. He was also familiar with earlier vampire literature written in English during the 19th century.”

If you want to know more go to http://www.ucs.mun.ca/~emiller/ (Dracula’s homepage) orhttp://www.blooferland.com/drc (Dracula Research Centre).

The Historical information can be mind boggling. After reading the work your tall, dark and scary image of Dracula might be altered. Also, a few misconceptions are explained, one being that Dracula has always been able to roam comfortably in the daylight, but with limited powers.
But as Dracula is only a fictional character, unless you are a historian and a fan, it doesn’t matter either way.

http://www.reporter.co.za/funzone/article.aspx?ID=RP21A360349

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