Vlad The Impaler In Bram Stoker's Count Dracula

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When people think of the infamous Wallachian ruler Vlad III Drăculea, they think of the famous literary monster of nightmares, Bram Stoker’s Count Dracula. Dracula, who has appeared in many media outlets from the big screen of Hollywood to the bright lights of Broadway, is thought by many to have been inspired by the Wallachian Voivode that is better known as Vlad the Impaler. There is, however, little evidence that backs this assumption. In fact, there is actually a lot of evidence that refutes the idea that Stoker drew his inspiration for the Count from Vlad the Impaler, including evidence from Count Dracula himself in Dracula. Vlad the Impaler is not Bram Stoker’s Count Dracula. Vlad III Drăculea, or Dracula in English, was the Voivode …show more content…
As a young boy in 1442, he was held captive by the Ottomans with his younger brother, Radu the Handsome, in order to keep his father out of the impeding war the Ottoman Empire was facing with Hungary (Lallanilla). It is during this time that Vlad the Impaler grew to hate the Ottomans and most likely later influenced his decision to side with Hungary and his treatment of the Ottoman prisoners of war. In 1447, his father, Vlad II, and his older half-brother, Mircea, were killed in the swamps near Bălteni (Lallanilla). Vlad began his first reign in 1448, but it only lasted two months and he was forced into exile in Moldavia, what is now northeastern Romania and Moldova (“Vlad III the Impaler”). His brother, Radu the Handsome, betrayed Wallachia and joined the Ottomans. He lead the attack on Târgoviște, the capital of Wallachia, which ended Vlad’s second reign, put him in captivity, and lead his first wife to commit suicide by flinging herself off the castle tower into a tributary of the Argeș River known today as the Râul Doamnei, or the Lady’s River (“Vlad III the Impaler). His third reign ended with his death when his own people betrayed …show more content…
He is first described in the novel as “a tall old man, clean shaven save for a long white moustache, and clad in black from head to foot, without a single speck of color about him anywhere” (Stoker, 20). He is also described as having red eyes. As time goes on and he feasts on the blood of humans, Dracula becomes younger in appearance, with his hair and moustache turning black. Now this may be similar to Vlad the Impaler as he appears in a 1560 portrait that now hangs in Austria, minus the red eyes and black clothes; however, black hair and red eyes is a general description of many evil, monstrous people and it is unlikely that Stoker had even seen the painting of Vlad the Impaler. In fact, recent research suggests that Stoker knew little of Vlad the Impaler and it is possible that he could have been using the Hungarian serial killer Countess Elizabeth Báthory, a woman who would kill virgins and bath in and consume their blood to remain young and beautiful, as inspiration for Dracula (“Vlad III the Impaler). This is evident that Báthory was an inspiration for the Count in the fact that the more blood of young women and men he consumes, the younger Dracula becomes. Both Vlad and Dracula have connections to Transylvania as the Count lived there and Vlad was born there; however Vlad the Impaler’s link to Transylvania is tenuous, according to Professor Florin Curta of medieval history and archeology at the University of Florida,

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