Urm, okay, where to start?!
I'm doing a Dissertation for Advanced Higher English and have chose to study numerous novels, including Abraham Stoker's, Dracula. I've delved into various aspects of the novel, including the generics - sexuality, post colonialism, the use of epistolary, analysis of insanity and the human psyche. However, there is one thing that I have noticed when analysing the text in a different light: race relations. Call me crazy, but is it possible that Count Dracula fits into the Jewish role in fin-de-siécle Britain?
The jewish community became an easy scapegoat in the 19th centuary when Stoker wrote Dracula. The Jewish community in Britain began to be portrayed as "shady" characters involved with gambling, money-lending and "despicable dealings", and, as a result, the most frequent terms thrown at them was "Vampires", "Bloodsuckers" and "Vultures".
Count Dracula fits into the idea about prominent fin-de-siécle anxieties - syphilis, homosexuality, proto-feminism, monopoly capitalism and imperial race declines. (Could Stoker have been influenced by, "The Wandering Jew"?)
Racial decline was a huge anxiety in late 19th-century Britain. British Anglos were concerned with the introduction of non-Anglo, non-Christian blood in their society. Count Dracula, quite obviously, embodies this notion. He comes in from far eastern Europe – an area that many Jews immigrated from in the late 19th-century – and attempts to expand his race using the bodies of Christian Brits; author Davison likens this to Dracula being a parasite from a racially alien nation, vigorously feeding off Britain, his Christian host nation. This, keeping with the anti-Semitic stereotypes, demonstrates that Dracula is guilty of the Blood Libel, desecrating the Host (British citizens), and endangering the national body politic. Going along with this idea is the fact that Dracula is often accompanied by rats, which symbolize the plague. It was believed from the Middle Ages that Jews spread the plague and other infections, remaining immune due to pacts with the devil. In the Dracula text Van Helsing notes that Dracula also has this quality: ‘… can smile at death, as we know him; who can flourish in the midst of diseases that kill off whole peoples’ (321). Dracula is ultimately defeated, however, which theoretically nullifies the concern for racial decline.
Dracula’s hoards of gold are also reflective of a Jewish nature. There was a long-established stereotype of the Jew being emblematic of exploitation and cosmopolitan wealth. The cultural variety of the gold suggests the extent of the Count’s travels. Dracula’s financial stinginess is thought to be a reflection of Jewish money managing. He only leaves his money stash in England after he invests in London properties, which ensures him some wealth to return to should any of the gold be lost. In one London scene Dracula confronts the group and tells them they will be his to do his bidding; Harker slashes Dracula’s jacket, and both coins and bills fall out of Dracula’s torn pocket. He attempts to retrieve some of the money before escaping. The stereotypically Jewish capitalist practices – self-interest, egoism, monopolism – that Dracula displays compete against the Christian capitalist practices of Van Helsing and his group. The fact that Van Helsing ultimately wins out symbolizes Christian defeat of Jewish capitalism, which, were it actually the case, would soothe the anxiety of monopoly capitalism.
Does any of this make sense at all? Or, perhaps, im delving way too far into things that arn't there.