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A Beholder’s Desire and Dread

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Essay title: A Beholder’s Desire and Dread

Lacking or amplified emotions in Bram Stoker’s novel play a significant role in Sir Francis Coppola’s film. Newly formed emotions in Coppola’s film Dracula lead to heightened levels of interaction in Stoker’s novel Dracula. Sir Francis Coppola’s film interpretation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula explores the hidden emotions between the characters, which creates new dimension to the text. The subtle desires between the characters in Stoker’s novel are thoroughly explored in Coppola’s film. The passion expressed in the novel is limited to brief descriptions hidden in-between the words. In the film the passion comes alive with each encounter of man to women or women to beast. Love in the sense that it is an intense feeling of tender affection and compassion (Kindersley 250) is meticulously described in the novel but it is not as in-depth in the film although it is in only one instance. The lustful vigor of the characters in the Dracula text is kept mainly to the beasts and expressed indirectly. The film almost explicitly illustrates the lust of all characters, not only the beasts. The film interpretation of Dracula examines the lightly set desires of each character enriching the dynamics in the text.

The passion in Bram Stoker’s novel is one of several different human emotions, that is ignored or amplified in Sir Francis Coppola’s film. The passion of life, hate and attraction is created among the characters. In the novel Van Helsing is passionate about the lives of others. He works hard to keep Lucy alive and safe from what is killing her; “I shall precaution take.” (Stoker 135). He protects her life as he does with Renfield. He rushes to help the almost lifeless lunatic and performs surgery to “…most quickly and perfectly remove the blood clot…” (Stoker 293). He is passionate about the lives of others and his interaction with other characters such as Arthur when he is preparing Lucy for the blood transfusion seems a little over the top and hostile. Van Helsing's hostility develops the passion that he has for everyone’s life. He will be abrupt and strict to even Lucy’s fiancй Arthur if he interferes with his work. The passionate hate dwelling in Jonathan Harker for Count Dracula less apparent in the film which makes you look at it more in the novel. Jonathan attempts to leave the castle several times and one he does succeed it does not matter because he is still haunted by him. George Stade makes the comments “…once he gets you he doesn’t let go” (Introduction Dracula, Stade) The Count wraps his powers around Jonathan to the point where his “soul was struggling” (Stoker, 47)and shortly after he wishes he had “…a gun or some lethal weapon…” to destroy Dracula (Stoker 50). In the film Jonathan Harker fears the Count more than he seems to hate him. The film does not ever show Jonathan defying the Count so that he can get word back to home with letters; he only is shown escaping once, out of fear that he will be stuck there. The fear is apparent in the novel but the hate of the Count is more distinct. The passion of attraction between Count Dracula and Mina is amplified in the film. In the novel Mina has encounters with Dracula and she enjoys them even though she does not completely know what is happening, she thinks it is just “wonderful what tricks our dreams play us, and how conveniently we can imagine.” (Stoker 273). Even she is unaware that the “tiny red sparks” (Stoker 273) are Dracula’s fiery eyes but she is strangely attracted to them. In the film this passion is extremely apparent. The attraction they have for each other is apparent at first glance. Mina proceeds to long for him and vice versa. Mina’s passion in the film for Dracula creates a stronger emotion between the text in the novel. In the scene where Mina drinks the blood from the chest of Dracula it is very passionate. She wants to be with him and is forceful in telling him this. She is attracted to him and wants to be like him. After seeing this then reading the scene again the emotions and passion pour out of the text, and there is a realization of the passion Mina has for Dracula and likewise. The film creates and underlying dynamic of the passionate interactions of the novel.

Love in the film is lacking but this creates a more interesting out-look on each characters motives in their relationships. In the novel the characters care and look out for each other and wish all the best. In the film the characters seem to loose that motive to use every possible way to prevent harm, and if they must harm then it is only seems they do it for their own well being. The love that Arthur has for Lucy defines love. He offers his life to her and tells Van Helsing he would “give the last drop of blood” (Stoker 128) to her if it were to help heal Lucy from the sickness. To stop Lucy from living a horrible life

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