Did you know the book which launched the prototypical depiction of vampires throughout the world was written by a Christian?
His name was Bram Stoker and his book was called, simply, “Dracula”.
Though the myth of the vampire existed for possibly thousands of years and over many cultures, the turning of the myth into pop culture romanticism was birthed by a Christian man (who wrote it in order to supplement his income as the business manager of the Lyceum Theater in London).
The reason Bram Stoker chose to write a novel about a vampire was a product of the times in which he was writing. Between the 1880′s and 1890′s authors like Rudyard Kipling, Robert Louis Stevenson, Arthur Conan Doyle, and H. G. Wells wrote many stories which were considered fantastical and featured creatures who threatened humanity.
Enter Stoker’s “Dracula” who’s original depiction of the vampire was nothing at all romantic or glorifying; a stark difference from the image of today’s popular literature and media.
Originally, “Dracula” was read as a novel that plays out the ancient struggle in which the forces of light would endure challenge and heartbreak to overcome the powers of darkness.
You see, the character of Dracula was portrayed as an anti-Christ, a demonic, hellish fiend who seeks after eternal life through the ingestion of not sacramental wine representing the blood of Christ, but of actual human blood.
Within this parable we witness Bram Stoker’s story of the embodiment of evil to be overcome not by a generic “good”, or any non-specific religion, but specifically through the Faith of Christianity. The characters know the darkness of the demonic Dracula can only be confronted by the light of Christ and that through total reliance on the God of heaven, good will ultimately prevail.
Read this quote from the novel: Abraham Van Helsing is speaking,
Thus are we ministers of God’s own wish. That the world, and men for whom His Son die, will not be given over to monsters, whose very existence would defame Him. He has allowed us to redeem one soul already, and we go out as the old knights of the Cross to redeem more. Like them we shall travel towards the sunrise. And like them, if we fall, we fall in good cause.
Upon reading “Dracula” we see that Christianity, in contrast to the majority of vampire literature, is in fact glorified throughout the novel:
The characters pray, quote the Bible and seek God’s guidance continually. We also see the overt use of Christian symbology liberally used by the heroes: The cross, communion wafer and holy water are holy weapons of choice to face the demonic; obviously for a work of fiction, what better way to defeat a vampire than by the physical Icons of Christ?
Then we come to the novel’s conclusion: was Dracula saved at the end?
Setting the stage, we have Mina in and out of Dracula’s spell with her husband Jonathan lunging towards Dracula vowing to destroy and send him back to hell.
From the novel in Mina’s point of view:
But, on the instant, came the sweep and flash of Jonathan’s great knife. I shrieked as I saw it shear through the throat. Whilst at the same moment Mr. Morris’s bowie knife plunged into the heart. It was like a miracle, but before our very eyes, and almost in the drawing of a breath, the whole body crumbled into dust and passed from our sight. I shall be glad as long as I live that even in that moment of final dissolution, there was in the face a look of peace, such as I never could have imagined might have rested there.
So then we also have a redemption story at the center of “Dracula”?
Just try to tell me this isn’t Christian literature.
It makes me wonder when the next great Christian vampire book will be written…
| Daniel Gabriel |