Bram Stoker: Dracula - The relationship of Jonathan and Mina Harker


Seminar Paper, 2005
15 Pages, Grade: 1,0

Excerpt

Table of Contents

1. Introduction

2. Jonathan Harker
2.1 His Character at the Beginning of the Novel
2.2 Jonathan’s Changes Caused by the Incidents at Castle Dracula

3. Mina Harker
3.1 Mina Harker and the ‘New Women’
3.2 Her Character after Meeting Count Dracula

4. Their Relationship – Moral Values versus Sexual Desires
4.1 The Influence of the Victorian Society
4.2 Count Dracula’s Interference – Deeper Problems Come to Light
4.2.1 Dracula’s Intention
4.2.2 Mina’s Point of View
4.2.3 Jonathan’s Point of View
4.3 Real “Love never Dies” – Can Their Relationship Persist?

5. Conclusion

6. Bibliography

1. Introduction

Bram Stoker introduces the characters of Jonathan Harker and Mina Murray through Jonathan’s Diary entry at the beginning of his novel Dracula[1] . They are of great importance for the development of the story as Jonathan enables Count Dracula to come to London[2] and as Mina plays an important role in finding and finally destroying him. Their relationship, as they are two of the most suffering characters, is put on a severe test during the novel. Count Dracula develops into their greatest enemy and task, which their partnership would probably have ever faced[3]. In the following analysis will be discussed how the incidents in the novel affect and change both the characters of Jonathan and Mina and their relationship to each other.

2. Jonathan Harker

2.1 His Character at the Beginning of the Novel

Jonathan Harker can be seen as the hero of the novel[4]. Though he is the one who paves the way for Dracula to come to England, he compensates for his guilt by cutting the Count’s throat in the end. But his character needs to change to master this kind of challenge, because he does not seem to have the expected qualifications for being a hero in the beginning of the novel[5].

He is in his early twenties and works as a solicitor in Exeter. Only by chance he is chosen to travel to Transylvania as a “sufficient substitute”[6] for his employer Mr Hawkins, who suffers from an illness, the journey is obviously his greatest challenge and opportunity so far. Although his employer also encloses in his letter to the Count that Harker is “full of energy”, “discreet” and “grown into manhood”[7] in his service, being only a “sufficient substitute” has the unpleasant taste that Jonathan is not taken seriously[8]. But he sparkles with energy and motivation in his job, as “there was business to be done and I could allow nothing to interfere with it”[9] implies. His “adventurous spirit”[10], a consequence of his ambitions in business, takes him into the danger of Castle Dracula. Harker is so fascinated by the foreign country that he writes every detail of his journey down in his diary to keep his impressions, but in his inexperience and naivety he ignores all of the warnings and rushes into disaster[11].

2.2 Jonathan’s Changes Caused by the Incidents at Castle Dracula

During his stay at Castle Dracula Jonathan Harker feels that he gets more and more under the influence and power of Count Dracula and finally detects that he is Dracula’s prisoner[12]. At that point Harker, who is in a state of emergency and high stress, “demonstrates both surprising initiative and immense personal courage (…) to outwit the Count”[13]. A conclusion from this can be that “he works better under strain”[14].

His threatening situation reaches its climax as he is attacked and seduced by three female vampires[15]. Harker feels uncomfortable in their presence, but experiences “some longing and at the same time some deadly fear”[16]. Clive Leatherdale calls this inner conflict of Jonathan “attraction versus repulsion”[17]: On the one hand Harker talks about “a wicked, burning desire that they would kiss me with those red lips”[18], but on the other hand he feels guilty for his thoughts when he thinks of Mina. His mind tells him to resist, but his body is willing to give in to his desire[19]. But the satisfaction of this desire does not last long as he realizes: “I am alone in the castle with those awful women…They are devils of the pit.”[20]. His last hope till then has been not to go mad[21], but now he only wishes to escape from these three women, who he fears more than the Count. A reason for his fear can be seen in the danger of losing his potency[22] as he expresses in: ”At least God’s mercy is better than that of these three monsters, and the precipice is steep and high. At its foot a man may sleep – as a man.”[23]. So he would favour death more than being castrated[24]. Even earlier in the novel Jonathan tries to kill Count Dracula with a shovel while he is sleeping “to rid the world of such a monster”[25]. Although it is with vain endeavour, this is a sign that Harker in a state of his approaching death “is able to resort to extreme physical violence when aroused”[26].

After his escape from Castle Dracula Mina describes Jonathan as she visits him in hospital as “a wreck of himself”[27]. He is not “full of energy”[28] anymore as his employer used to judge him, but “thin and pale and weak-looking”[29]. “He has had some terrible shock”[30] and is not able to remember anything or he pretends to do so as Mina supposes, may be for other reasons. May it be that Jonathan does not remember because of his shock or because of his guilt or shame he feels for his intervention with the three women[31]. He writes later in the novel that he felt “impotent, and in the dark, and distrustful”[32], because of the threatening doubt that all this was not real and he is insane[33]. But as more and more evidence come to light that the incidents happened in reality, Harker shows again his resolute side in extreme situations as he joins the ‘Band of Light’[34]. As they hold hands Mina describes his hand as “so strong, so self-reliant, so resolute”[35]. His character seems now to be strong enough to master his greatest challenge: Destroying the Count[36].

[...]


[1] See Bram Stoker, Dracula (London: Penguin Books Ltd., 1994), p. 9 ff.

[2] See Clive Leatherdale, Dracula: The Novel and the Legend (Wellingborough: Aquarian Press,1985),

p. 113.

[3] See Clive Leatherdale, pp. 112-115; pp. 138 ff.

[4] See Phyllis A. Roth, “Suddenly Sexual Women in Bram Stoker’s Dracula”, Glennis Byron (ed.),

Dracula: Bram Stoker (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1999), pp. 35/36.

[5] See Clive Leatherdale, p. 114.

[6] Bram Stoker, Dracula, p. 27.

[7] Bram Stoker, Dracula, pp. 27/28.

[8] See Clive Leatherdale, p. 114.

[9] Bram Stoker, Dracula, p. 13.

[10] Clive Leatherdale, p. 115.

[11] See Clive Leatherdale, p. 114/115.

[12] See Bram Stoker, Dracula, p. 39.

[13] Clive Leatherdale, p.115.

[14] Clive Leatherdale, p. 115.

[15] See Clive Leatherdale, p. 147.

[16] Bram Stoker, Dracula, p. 51.

[17] Clive Leatherdale, p. 147.

[18] Bram Stoker, Dracula, p. 51.

[19] See Clive Leatherdale, p. 148.

[20] Bram Stoker, Dracula, p. 69.

[21] See Bram Stoker, Dracula, p. 49.

[22] See Phyllis A. Roth, p. 39.

[23] Bram Stoker, Dracula, p. 69.

[24] See Phyllis A. Roth, p. 39.

[25] Bram Stoker, Dracula, p. 68.

[26] Clive Leatherdale, p. 115.

[27] Bram Stoker, Dracula, p. 127.

[28] Bram Stoker, Dracula, p. 27.

[29] Bram Stoker, Dracula, p. 27.

[30] Bram Stoker, Dracula p. 128.

[31] See Bram Stoker, Dracula, p. 128.

[32] Bram Stoker, Dracula, p. 225.

[33] See Bram Stoker, Dracula, 225.

[34] See Bram Stoker, Dracula, pp. 284/285.

[35] Bram Stoker, Dracula, p. 284.

[36] See Bram Stoker, Dracula, pp. 284/285.

Excerpt out of 15 pages

Details

Title
Bram Stoker: Dracula - The relationship of Jonathan and Mina Harker
College
University of Trier
Course
Dracula – Novel into Film
Grade
1,0
Author
Year
2005
Pages
15
Catalog Number
V82858
ISBN (eBook)
9783638889599
ISBN (Book)
9783640386703
File size
465 KB
Language
English
Tags
Bram, Stoker, Dracula, Jonathan, Mina, Harker, Novel, Film
Quote paper
Anne-Mareike Franz (Author), 2005, Bram Stoker: Dracula - The relationship of Jonathan and Mina Harker, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/82858

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