Dracula and Frankenstein as Cultural Mirrors

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About this sample


Words: 1195 |

Pages: 3|

6 min read

Published: Aug 31, 2023

Words: 1195|Pages: 3|6 min read

Published: Aug 31, 2023

Table of contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Dracula: A Metaphor for Victorian Values
  3. Frankenstein: Reflecting Anxiety and Values
  4. Conclusion
  5. References


Very often, novels have become a reflection of the anxieties, ideas, and advances that have marked the period of time in which their authors have written them. This is the result of the social and cultural atmosphere in which the author was immersed and lived, characterized by the changes that probably had affected the way in which people used to perceive the world around them. The idea of the Spanish philosopher Ortega y Gasset: 'I am I and what's around me', could be used to show how Bram Stoker and Mary Shelley, authors of Dracula and Frankenstein respectively, have created a new kind of figure, very unusual in literature until that moment, which we could call 'monsters'. These 'monsters' were metaphors which brought a completely unlike in nature and avant-garde views to the moment in which they appeared as an important element in novels.

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Dracula: A Metaphor for Victorian Values

Dracula, one of the most representative gothic novels, written by Bram Stoker, uses this type of metaphor to ensure that the innovative ideas which the author wants to share with his readers project the concept and values that the writer has in his mind. Those values were ones that belonged to a new social and historical period called Victorian era. Some of the values that characterized that period were contemplated in the figure of Dracula, for example, the concept of the importance of moral and values wealth above the material wealth, in which death would destroy the material wealth and only the immaterial elements would stay, that could be the reason why the author presents Dracula as an incorporeal figure, whose reflect couldn´t be seen in the small mirror that Jonathan used to shave off, or how the novel describes the way in which the soul of Count Dracula went through the walls of the castle.

Moreover some scenes on that gothic novel are a portrait of the influence of religion in population´s mind, in which a contrary attitude against the power of the Pope and the Christian figure of Jesus could be repressed, as we can see in the part of the story in which a cross was used to chase away Dracula´s soul or in how some communion bread were set around the tomb of Lucy to impede that she would return there. As a consequence of that, the figure of Dracula as a monster, portrayed the original forces of the beginning of the world, good and bad, so if God, the creator of all that is known, is represented by a cross, between other symbols as lamb or fish and bread, Dracula would represent the evil force, and the way in which Jonathan Harker or Van Helsing wanted to solve the horrible situation that was increasing each time which Dracula bit another new victim, could be a metaphor of the persecution of the different Church´s organizations to avoid the values that they considered bad or against the faith. Additionally Mina, was like a representation of the figure of a Christian believer who has to follow the good way and use his mind to reach God, so she employed her intellect to found a way to express the ideas that Dracula had transmitted her after he bit her, so thanks to hypnosis she could communicate them, and Dracula couldn´t know that fact. Likewise, Dracula had to avoid the temptation to bite and show his intention to take up the blood of Jonathan Harker when he was shaving off in front of the mirror and he cut his face and blood began to flow on his cheek, so he had to hide his primitive and wild instincts, because if he didn´t do it, probably Jonathan would know his intentions and he would try to escape from the Castle. It could be considered as an image of the original sin of Adam and Eve, because as Dracula did, Adam and Eve should refuse the opinion of the Devil, but they didn´t so finally God punished them, and Count Dracula in the same way had to wait because if he didn´t wait his aim would be discovered by Jonathan.

Frankenstein: Reflecting Anxiety and Values

Besides another important aspect of Victorian Period was the reinforce of woman like an important part of society, because on that time woman broke with the archetype that they had been until that moment, they used to keep the house and children and must be the perfect wife, but the role that woman have changed with the Victorian period, and as Mina represents, it was the beginning of a change in the balance of equality. Women could think by themselves, without follow the extract opinion of their husbands and have the same importance in different aspect of the society as men had. That change in the perspective and relevance of woman in the society could be seen in a description which Van Helsing made about Mina: “Ah, that wonderful Madam Mina! She has man’s brain, a brain that a man should have were he much gifted, and a woman’s heart” (Stoker 273).

In the same way, Mary Shelley uses her gothic novel, Frankenstein, to share with her readers the anxiety and ideas of the society of the cultural period in which his book was written. As Bram Stocker does, we can observe how social critic of values like avarice is an important background in the work, especially when Victor found the creature he has created after it kills his brother. Then this creature narrated Frankenstein why he finally had killed his brother and why he became vile when he was born with pure love in his heart. It is an idea that could be a clear image of the concept of original sin, because in the moment in which Adam and Eve were created, they were pure, without sin, but the interaction with the Evil and the effect of his words got dirty their souls.

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Using one of the sentences that I found in Frankenstein: “Believe me, Frankestein: I was benevolent; my soul glowed with love and humanity: but am I not alone, miserably alone?”(J.M.S, 2016: 93), we can reach to the concept of solitude and the need of him to interact in order to obtain happiness. Despite his first experience with humans, he tried to change the concept that he had about them, helping a girl who was drowning on a river, but in the same way, he was shot and judged only by his horrible physical appearance forgetting his warm and natural feelings. Moreover the monster was intelligent and asked Victor, his creator, after that incident, why he was alive and what his existence´s aim was. This image in which the creation communicates with the creator could be understand as an attempt of Victor to became a kind of ´God´, who had the capacity of giving life. Those new aspects which the figure of Dracula and Frankenstein brought with them could be a preface of a following period of time in which rationality and human being are considered the centre of the mentality and view of the world.


  1. Stoker, Bram. 'Dracula.' Archibald Constable and Co., 1897.
  2. J.M.S. 'Frankenstein; or, the Modern Prometheus.' Lackington, Hughes, Harding, Mavor, & Jones, 1818
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Dracula and Frankenstein as Cultural Mirrors. (2023, August 31). GradesFixer. Retrieved December 10, 2023, from
“Dracula and Frankenstein as Cultural Mirrors.” GradesFixer, 31 Aug. 2023,
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