In the novel Dracula by Bram Stoker, religious collision plays a prominent role in recognizing identity. Even though Stoker never outwardly expressed religious beliefs, we see that these characters hold Christian embodiments through indication as a way of attributing to religion. The novel was written in 1897 during the Victorian Era, in which the primary religion was Christianity. However, the novel strikes into a clash between the supernatural/ “the unknown” vs. the natural “scientific” world of England. Jonathan Harker, one of the main characters, is an English Churchman which implies he is Protestant, although it is not explicitly stated.
On his journey to meet Count Dracula, he encounters a woman who pleads and warns him to not leave. “She then rose and dried her eyes, and taking a crucifix from her neck and offered it to me.” (Stoker, Dracula 5) This is one of the first moments in the novel where Stoker writes about religion. In Christianity, a crucifix represents worldly suffering of Jesus, which holds a token of remembrance. The action of the old woman giving the crucifix away shows that the religious symbol could have the power to protect Harker against the “antichrist” image of Count Dracula. This part of the novel represents the natural beliefs of Christianity through the crucifix colliding with the supernatural behaviors of Count Dracula. “I did not know what to do, for, as an English Churchman, I have been taught to regard such things as in some measure idolatrous, and yet it seemed so ungracious to refuse an old lady meaning so well and in such a state of mind.
” (Stoker, Dracula 5) Even though Harker is Protestant, he is quite respectful to followers of Catholicism. Later in the novel, during the mirror scene at the castle, he finds that the rosary keeps him from getting attacked by Dracula on several counts, and starts to instill his trust to find comfort within the crucifix, which does help him. Towards the end of the novel, Dr. Abraham Van Helsing and Mina go to the castle where Dracula lives, to clean the evil with objects that hold sacred resemblance.
Van Helsing leaves Mina in a protected Holy circle where there is no possibility of danger to her. He uses a Host, a wafer that Catholics use to represent the body of Christ, to wade off the three female vampires as they come near. This represents another convert of religion since Dr. Van Helsing uses the Catholic host several times in the novel against the supernatural beings, which is a successful tactic. “Before I began to restore these woman to their dead selves through my awful work, I laid in Dracula’s tomb some of the Wafer, and so banished from it, Undead, for ever.
” (Stoker, Dracula 193) By using the Host, Van Helsing can ensure that Count Dracula will never be able to sleep there again which will lead to Dracula’s death. Throughout the novel, Stoker implies a shift in recognizing identity through religion. For Jonathan Harker, he experiences an ambiguous transition of faith when he uses objects as hopes for magic, rather than a way to reflect on his own faith, but still tends to maintain a sense of identity.