Dracula is well known as one of the classic Gothic novels, chalked full of motifs, themes, and symbolism. So far I have really enjoyed it and I feel this is the deepest we have dug into a book in English so far well I’ve been at the Inquiry Hub. Part of digging deeper is the I-search assignment, in which we pick a motif from within the story and do some research on it to get a deeper understanding of the symbolism and other literary elements within the book.
The motif I have chosen to work with is the crucifix, a common symbol of Christianity. First to make sure we’re all on the same page the crucifix is a cross with a figure of Jesus being crucified, which was a ancient torture technique. A large part of the symbolism behind the crucifix is the belief that the crucifixion of Jesus brought about the redemption of mankind. Jesus is also seen as a symbol of salvation, strength, and hope to many people. Many Christians find relief and reassurance in these symbols in forms of necklaces, pendants, and other jewelry and art.
In Victorian times religious symbols were believed to ward off evil. Some would even say these evil creatures can be compared to sin, as in Jesus is saving or redeeming people from these sins. The following passage is what has strongly led me to the idea of the people in Victorian times had used religious symbols to protect themselves and ward off evils.
“She then rose and dried her eyes, and taking a crucifix from her neck offered it to me. 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. She saw, I suppose, the doubt in my face, for she put the rosary round my neck, and said, “For your mother’s sake,” and went out of the room.”