Dracula: Chapter 4

Chapter 4

Summary: Harker awakens in his own bed, and surmises that Dracula himself has carried him back. A few days later, Dracula asks Harker to write three letters, each one dated a few days apart, indicating that Harker is returning to England. Harker fears the letters to be some sort of ruse to convince those who know him that he still lives, for he believes he knows too much about Dracula, and that the count intends to kill him. He finds this belief reinforced when, over two weeks later, he sees Dracula again climbing down the castle walls, dressed in Harker’s clothes, and carrying “the terrible bag” that contained “food” for Dracula’s vampire brides. Harker theorizes that Dracula intends to take his place, and to convince the local population that the atrocities Dracula is committing are actually Harker’s doing. Indeed, a few hours later, a distraught mother arrives in the castle courtyard, calling up to Harker (who is at the window), “Monster, give me my child!” Harker hears Dracula calling to wild wolves, who devour the woman. Resolving to make contact with the outside world—for Dracula has intercepted letters Harker attempted to send to Mina and to Mr. Hawkns—Harker climbs down the castle wall himself (though not lizard-like, as Dracula can do) and enters the count’s locked room through the window. The room is empty except for a pile of gold and old, recently unearthed treasures (evidently the treasures marked by the blue flames of St. George’s Eve). Finding a door left open, Harker makes his way beneath the room to an old chapel, apparently used as a graveyard; there, he discovers large wooden boxes filled with freshly dug earth. In one of these boxes lies Dracula—with eyes open but with “no sign of movement, no pulse, no breath, no beating of the heart.”
On June 29, the date of the final letter that Dracula had Harker write, the count announces that Harker will be leaving the following day. Harker tells Dracula that he wants to leave right away. Reluctantly, Dracula agrees—only to open the castle door to reveal a howling pack of wild wolves. Harker fearfully relents. That night, he overhears, outside his door, Dracula again telling his vampire brides that they must wait to have Harker to themselves.
On June 30, Harker awakens and hurries to the castle door. It is locked and, without the key, he cannot open it. Desperatelty, he again returns to Dracula’s room in search of the key. He discovers Dracula again lying in the box of earth, but the count’s appearance has changed: he looks younger than he has before, and there is fresh blood on his lips. Even though he is repulsed, Harker searches Dracula’s body for the key. He cannot find it. Harker wants to kill Dracula, and grabs a shovel to do so; as he brings it down, however, Dracula turns his head and gazes directly at Harker. The shovel falls from Harker’s hands, merely gashing Dracula’s brow. Szgany (“gypsies”) and Slovaks arrive at the castle; in hiding, Harker overhears them fastening the boxes of earth shut, loading them in their leiter-wagons, and carrying them away. Harker resolves to make his escape from Castle Dracula, taking some of the count’s gold with him.

Analysis: This chapter is the last, for the time being, to be related from Harker’s point of view. Before leaving his journal, however, we learn more of vampiric ways. For the first time, we see blood on Dracula’s lips—the blood of a second child whom he has abducted (cf. p. 53). That Dracula feasts on children, of course, makes him an especially horrific figure; it also symbolizes the way in which evil can “feed” upon the innocent. Stoker also emphasizes Dracula’s evil in the scene in which he supposedly offers Harker the freedom to leave the castle. Not only does Dracula summon wild wolves to threaten Harker, but also he has in his eyes “a red light of triumph” and on his lips “a smile that Judas in hell might be proud of” (p. 66). Associating Dracula with Judas suggests that the count is a traitor. His lust for power and dominion have led him to betray his fellow human beings—and so they are no longer his “fellows” at all, as Harker makes clear: Dracula and his brides are “monsters” (p. 69), no longer to be numbered among human beings (or, indeed, any living creature). The scene in which the vampire women seem to begin materializing out of moonbeams (p. 60), as well as further identifications of Dracula with wild animals and his magical control of the castle door, all strengthen the classification of Castle Dracula’s inhabitants as something inhuman. Although, as Leonard Wolf points out, readers are not sure how Harker has come by the knowledge, he is quite right in calling Dracula a “thing,” a “leech” who intends “for centuries to come” to “satiate his lust for blood, and create a new and ever-widening circle of semi-demons to batten on the helpless” (p. 67).