Van Helsing

Feb 12 10:04 2007 Kate Gardens Print This Article

Throughout Dracula, Dr. Abraham Van Helsing gives direction to the Harkers, Lord Godalming, Quincy Morris and Dr. Seward. Indeed, they continuously looked to Van Helsing for guidance and fortitude. Thus, Van Helsing is the hero of the story.

Readers first hear of Van Helsing from Seward,Guest Posting who was his student many years earlier. In a letter to Holmwood, Seward describes Van Helsing as one of the most advanced scientists of his day and [has] & an iron nerve, a temper of the ice brook, and indomitable resolution, self-command & and the kindest and trust hearts that beat'. This is an endorsement of Van Helsing's character as Seward has a rather prominent position as the head psychiatrist at an insane asylum. Clearly, Seward looks up to Van Helsing who has become somewhat of a mentor and one who has expertise beyond his own.
Upon arriving at Hillingham, Van Helsing is immediately suspicious that a vampire is causing Lucy's demise, although he does not confide in Seward. Van Helsing wishes to prove to himself, through consulting articles and experts on the continent, that it is a vampire before he confides in the others. This indicates that he is careful, meditative examiner of evidence. Van Helsing is clearly in his element, as he several times looks at a clue, such as the bite marks on Lucy's neck, and asks Seward what he thinks. Seward does not even hazard a guess, while Van Helsing continues to collect further evidence to support or disprove his theory.

Stoker has written the Van Helsing and Seward characters very similar to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson, who were immensely popular at the time. As with Holmes and Watson, Van Helsing must prove to his companion that he believes a vampire is at large. The existence of vampires goes against the scientific reason of Seward, thus Van Helsing must have irrefutable proof. Later, he must also prove to Lord Godalming that Lucy is an un-dead and then show him how to dispose of it properly. Van Helsing's immergence in vampire lore makes him an expert that the other look to for guidance.

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Kate Gardens
Kate Gardens

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