Was There a Real Dracula?
Yes, Dracula actually was a person, but he wasn’t a vampire. Dracula was born more than 500 years ago in Europe, in an area called Transylvania. He is historically known as “Vlad the Impaler.”
He is infamous for his ruthless practice of impaling his enemies on wooden stakes. Stories of his cruel deeds began to grow, and this is how the real Dracula became linked with the strange legend. Because of his terrible deeds, the legend turned him into a bloodthirsty vampire. The movie image of Dracula is based on the 1897 novel by Bram Stoker.
Count Dracula is the title character and main antagonist of Bram Stoker’s 1897 Gothic horror novel Dracula. He is considered to be both the prototypical and the archetypal vampire in subsequent works of fiction. He is also depicted in the novel to be the origin of werewolf legends.
Some aspects of the character are believed to have been inspired by the 15th-century Romanian general and Wallachian Prince Vlad III the Impaler, who was also known as Dracula. Other character aspects have been added or altered in subsequent popular fictional works. The character has subsequently appeared frequently in popular culture, from films to animated media to breakfast cereals.
Count Dracula is portrayed in the novel using many different supernatural abilities, and is believed to have gained his abilities through dealings with the Devil. Chapter 18 of the novel describes many of the abilities, limitations and weaknesses of Dracula and vampires in particular.
Dracula has superhuman strength which, according to Van Helsing, is equivalent to that of 20 strong men. He does not cast a shadow or have a reflection from mirrors. He is immune to conventional means of attack; a sailor tries to stab him in the back with a knife, but the blade goes through his body as though it is air.
Why Harker’s Kukri knife and Morris’ Bowie Knife are able to harm him later on is never explained. The Count can defy gravity to a certain extent and possesses superhuman agility, able to climb vertical surfaces upside down in a reptilian manner. He can travel onto “unhallowed” ground such as the graves of suicides and those of his victims. He has powerful hypnotic, telepathic and illusionary abilities.
He also has the ability to “within limitations” vanish and reappear elsewhere at will. If he knows the path, he can come out from anything or into anything regardless of how close it is bound even if it is fused with fire. He has amassed cunning and wisdom throughout centuries, and he is unable to die by the mere passing of time alone. He can command animals such as rats, owls, bats, moths, foxes and wolves.
However, his control over these animals is limited, as seen when the party first enters his house in London. Although Dracula is able to summon thousands of rats to swarm and attack the group, Seward summons a pack of hounds to devour the rats. The rats are so frightened of the dogs that they flee, and any control which Dracula had over them is gone. Dracula can also manipulate the weather and, within his range, is able to direct the elements, such as storms, fog and mist.