Question6: Discuss the role of Van Helsing in Stoker’s Dracula.How does he mediate between East and West, superstition and science?Why is he an effective adversary against Dracula?
VanHelsing is a Dutch doctor, and he used to be Seward’s mostprominent medical school’s teacher. Both men are close friends withalmost a father-son rapport. He is physically fit and vigorous withbrilliant knowledge and a remarkable sense of humor. Van Helsingspeaks with an accent and occasionally creates a comic effect throughusing words in the wrong order. The paper will examine Van Helsing’srole in Stocker’s Dracula, how he mediates between East and West,superstation and science and why he is an effective adversary againstDracula.
Roleof Van Helsing’s
VanHelsing is unquestionably the representation of positivity if thenovel is analyzed as the story of the preeminence of good over evil.He possesses a number of traits including a depiction of exemplaryknowledge and combining it with science, as well as superstition tosolve enigma on Lucy’s attacks. Besides, he is perceived as acourageous leader in an attempt to track down Dracula. Similarly, heoffers moral inspiration based on his Christian faith to encourageother people as they struggle to comprehend the vampire’s horror.Van Helsing’s originates from Amsterdam and is introduced in thenovel through Dr. John Seward, who is trying to solve Lucy’smystery of illness. He distinguishes Van Helsing as his oldacquaintance and master and a specialist in obscure illnesses acrossthe world. Seward also refers to Van Helsing as a metaphysician, aswell as a philosopher and an advanced scientist of his time. VanHelsing not only diagnosed Lucy’s affliction appropriately but alsooffered her the only chance for cure. Although the age of Van Helsingis not given in the novel, there are numerous references that couldprove that he is old (Barrows pg.35).
Inaddition, Van Helsing’s professional credentials are meticulouslyadvertised starting with the list of academic degree qualificationfollowing his name. Besides, he is an experienced medical doctor, aphilosopher and possesses outstanding knowledge even in otherdisciplines. Further, he has an encyclopedic knowledge that rangesfrom Tacitus to the contemporary theories of his time regardinghypnotism. Concerning Van Helsing’s temperament, the reader isinformed that he has an unconquerable resolution, high tempered,self-command, and toleration, as well as an iron nerve. On the otherhand, the reader is not provided with much information about hispersonal life although his wife is still alive, most probablydedicated to an asylum, his son who is believed to have been the ageof Arthur died at a tender age (Kallen pg.73).
Conceivably,his greatest claim to fame provides Stocker with an opportunity toillustrate how he possesses vampire wisdom to the reader. Forinstance, he has the knowledge on what prompts an individual tobecome a vampire, the strengths and weaknesses of a vampire, and howthe vampire can be destroyed. As compared to other characters in thenovel, he is perceived as relatively static as he does no undergoconsiderable changes or development throughout the novel’s course.He is perceived as a quintessence of unwavering good and a hero whoplays a significant role in setting the world free (Kallen pg.76).
VanHelsing concentrates his energy to coordinate a group with the aim ofhunting down Dracula. He is capable of remaining calm at the centerof frustration, and his ability to influence and direct others intracking the movements of the vampire portrays his courageouscharacter. After Mina is infected with Vampirism, he makes aninformed decision to exclude her from the group that was meant tohunt Dracula since he believed that Mina could disclose their plansto Dracula. When Dracula fled out of England, Van Helsing used hisvast knowledge to discover that he can use Mina to track downDracula’s movements (Coppola and James pg.90).
VanHelsing Mediation between East and West, Science and Superstition
Bramstocker’s novel titled Dracula vividly shows the immense struggleindividuals experienced with the emergence of modern science as theytried solving some of the teething problems in their ecosystemthrough either modern science or superstitions. Van Helsingrepresents a key agent of change since he influenced perceptions ofdifferent individuals in the society towards various issues thusmediating between east and west, science and superstitions. Despitethe fact that new technology had started taking roots within thesociety, different individuals within the society believed inmonsters, ancient traditions, ghosts, and superstitions. Dracula isportrayed as a threat to the adoption of the new technology wherebyindividuals ought to think beyond the world of science to defeatDracula. The monster displays its might and power through convertingsome of the individuals in the society to its world thereby creatingdivision and fear within the society (Stocker pg.71).
VanHelsing brings a new approach in the fight against Dracula whereby hesuggests that the best weapon to help in winning the war againstDracula is via the use of symbols of god which resembles signs of theChristian faith such as the crucifix. Van Helsing believes thatChristian salvation gives strength and power to fight against varioussupernatural beings that expose the society to harm (Goodrick-Clarkepg.75). Dracula is depicted as having a satanic stature whereby it ischaracterized by flaming eyes, pointed ears and fangs withconsumption of blood. The mode of feeding of Dracula with blooddissociates him with the spiritual realm since it is contrary toChristian faith and individuals such as Lucy who conform to thelifestyle of the Dracula are eliminated through death thereby missingChristian salvation. A holy war erupts between the warriors of VanHelsing and the Count in regards to consumption of blood wherebyDracula and his minions drink blood to extend physical life. On thecontrary, Val Helsing brings a new Christian belief that wine shouldbe consumed instead as a symbol of drinking the blood of Christ.Moreover, Van Helsing carries communion wafers and crosses during hisvisit and suggests that he is nothing less than a minister of God’swish thus he represents significance transition of religion in thesociety (Bhabha pg.80).
Additionally,Van Helsing incorporates myths to the field of medicine whereby hebrings a new understanding of the complex realm of superstitions bylinking it with medicine to enable effective treatment of varioushealth conditions. The novel evidently shows ceaseless troublescaused by Dracula despite advancement in technology which instigatesVan Helsing to develop interests in using the knowledge acquired inmedicine and in the world of superstitions to curb variousconditions. He uses garlic and other methods of superstition to treatLucy thereby replacing medicine with myth after undertaking anextensive research on superstitions. Also, Dr. Van Helsing instructsDr. Seward to chop Lucy’s head after her death and fill it withgarlic that further illustrates his belief in myths within thesociety despite being educated in medicine. As a matter of fact, VanHelsing forces Seward to cease relying much on western terms andmedicine but be accommodative to various myths within the societysince that is the reality on the ground (McClelland pg.68).Therefore, Van Helsing successfully eliminates the divide that existsbetween medicine and superstitions helping the society overcome ahuge hurdle that has been tormenting its members for a long time(Borges pg.103).
Finally,Van Helsing and other characters resolve to employ modern andsuperstitious methods to acquire victory against Dracula. They relyon their understanding of myths regarding superstitions and vampiresand fight Dracula using guns and trains till they successfully defeathim. Superstition object such as roses and garlic are used in thenovel as they are believed to destroy Dracula when applied with othertools of war (Culler pg.55). Van Helsing and his colleagues are on amission of eradicating the evils in the society as depicted by theship in which the Dracula flees as it is symbolic of promiscuity.However, the inability to accomplish their mission could lead to theadoption of the previous awkward lifestyle by characters such as MinaHarker since she could develop the same appetite as Lucy (Aratapg.619).
EffectiveAdversary against Dracula
VanHelsing is an effective adversary against Dracula because he employsthe knowledge gained through medicine and the understanding of mythsto fight with Dracula. Unlike other characters, he undertakes anextensive research about various superstitious objects which giveshim an advantage over the other characters since they only rely onmodern technology. Above all, Van Helsing is a Christian. Thus, heunderstands various processes that occur in the spiritual realmgiving him an upper hand in eliminating the evil Dracula (Kallenpg.76).
Inconclusion, the role of Van Helsing in the Stoker’s Dracula cannotbe belittled since he played a significant role in mediating betweenmodernity and superstitions. He brought an understanding of thelinkage between modern technology and superstition in the fightagainst Dracula thereby fleeing the entire society from harm.Additionally, he shed light on various aspects of Christianityeliminating the evils that were pumped into the heads of variouscharacters such as the belief of consuming blood. Also, Van Helsingdefeats Dracula because of his persistence in learning new thingsabout the traditions and failure to conform to some beliefs thatlimit development in the society. Furthermore, despite the fact thatnew technology had started taking roots within the society, differentindividuals within the society believed in monsters, ancienttraditions, ghosts, and superstitions. Dracula is portrayed as athreat to the adoption of the new technology whereby individualsought to think beyond the world of science to defeat Dracula.However, through the knowledge of Van Helsing, it is made feasible todefeat Dracula, who is a representation of evil that limits thegrowth and expansion of the society. Therefore, Van Helsing can besaid to perform an exceedingly crucial role in the novel.
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