Ever wondered what makes Dracula the most popular Vampire? Who made a vampire so famous? So, let’s read about how Dracula became a world famous vampire.
The history of ‘vampire’ goes long back, and the origination is quite fascinating. It commenced with misinterpretation like most other superstitions. After burying a body, the decomposition process happens due to the gases present under the earth. In this case, often blood comes out of the mouth of the corpse due to swelling up because of gases. And hence, vampires are generally portrayed with blood dripping from their mouth, as they thought to be alive in their grave. To stop this phenomenon, the corpses used to be buried with poppy seeds or garlic and even mutilated and burned.
In the 18th century, vampires were widely believed to be real which lead writers like John William Polidori to write The Vampyre in 1819 and Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu’s renowned Carmilla in 1872. It is safe to say Bram Stoker was inspired and influenced by the formerly mentioned writers to come up with his masterpiece, which is a quintessential work of the Victorian era. Some of the credits of this novel have to go to Stoker’s mother since she used to tell him stories of folklores and created the mind in him to compose fantasy and horror.
Count Dracula is the gothic character of Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel of the same name. Certain aspects of this horrific vampire are believed to be inspired by Vlad III or Vlad the Impaler aka Dracula, Prince of Wallachia of the 15th-century.
In modern Romanian, ‘drac’ has evolved into the meaning ‘devil’. The term derived from the Latin term ‘Draco which means ‘dragon’ – Vlad II was appointed to a knightly order named Order of the Dragon. Vlad II, father of Vlad III was given the surname Dracul by King Sigismund of Hungary and from there Vlad III was known as the son of Dracul and hence, Dracula.
Other than the names Vlad III and the fictional character did not have much in common. Vlad III was born in the year 1431 in what is presently known as Transylvania. But according to Florin Curta, professor of the archaeology department at the University of Florida – The fictional character was linked with Transylvania but Vlad III never in actuality owned anything in Transylvania. He even added although Bran castle is considered Dracula’s castle Vlad III never stepped foot in that castle.
There is one account about Vlad III, which claims that while the enemies were dying, Vlad would immerse bread in the blood of the victims and eat it in front of their eyes. This account is not confirmed but we can certainly create a parallel with the fictional character as ‘blood-sucker’.
Known for his ability to alter others into vampires like him, just by biting them, Dracula is also seen in movies and animation based on the horror genre. Something that makes Dracula different from other vampires portrayed in the Eastern-European folklores is that they are presented as corpse-like creatures whereas Dracula is portrayed as a charismatic man with an aristocratic appeal.
It is unbelievable but Stoker’s work was not recognized till Bela Lugosi’s performance in 1931 and since then this gothic character has risen again in innumerable adaptations and will continue to terrify beyond the pages.