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The Cause of Dracula

Updated on September 9, 2016

Martin and Renfield

Martin realized humanity is afflicted with widespread mental illness.  Renfield refused to acknowledge his insanity.
Martin realized humanity is afflicted with widespread mental illness. Renfield refused to acknowledge his insanity.

The point of "Dracula" lies buried in the original script.

The original point of the 1931 script "Dracula" lies buried in the text as the coffins were buried at Carfax Abbey. As we go through the original script we will exhume the words and add a few to make the point more clear.

A Scientific Basis for Dracula

We will begin with the original cast, then define the characters. We will then go through the script and add a scientific basis for the conclusion. The ultimate conclusion may surprise Dracula fans.

Original Cast

Count Dracula....................Bela Lugosi

Mina Seward...................Helen Chandler

John Harker....................David Manners

Renfield.........................Dwight Frye

Van Helsing.................Edward van Sloan

Dr. Seward...................Herbert Bunston

Lucy Western....................Frances Dade

Dwight Frye as Renfield

Renfield does not recognize his own insanity and is controlled by it.
Renfield does not recognize his own insanity and is controlled by it.

Bela Lugosi

Dracula refuses treatment and is controlled by his insanity.
Dracula refuses treatment and is controlled by his insanity.

Definitions of Roles

Renfield: a person who has recognized his own insanity, but does not deal with it.

Mina: skeptic, atheist, is bitten, becomes a vampire, becomes insane

Lucy: romantic, religious, dies, religion dies

Dracula/Vampire: a person who cannot see his own reflection (insanity). A vampire (insanity) has control of you if you do not acknowledge him.

Sanitarium: The world is an asylum.

Martin: “They are all crazy but me and you and sometimes me worry about you.”

Dr. Seward: a man who has analyzed himself and accepted his type of mental illness and has learned to deal with it.

Carfax Abbey: Religion is crumbling.

Dracula Trailer 1931

Edward van Sloan as Van Helsing

Dracula cannot see his reflection (insanity) in a mirror.

The Seward Parlor

Harker opens cigarette case with mirrored top

Van Helsing notices that Dracula casts no reflection


[Van Helsing: One does not see their own insanity when he looks in the mirror.]

DRACULA: I can quite understand Mr. Harker. I'm sorry.

SEWARD: I'm afraid it's quite serious. My dear, I'm sure Count Dracula will excuse you. You must go to your room, as Professor Van Helsing suggests.

MINA: Oh, but really, father, I'm feeling quite well.

DRACULA: You had better your father advises.

Harker notes that Dracula casts no reflection

MINA: Very well. Good night. John.

DRACULA: Miss Mina, may I call later to inquire how you are feeling?

MINA: Why, yes, thank you.

Exit Mina

DRACULA: I'm sorry, Doctor. My visit was so ill-timed.

SEWARD: Not at all.

HELSING: On the contrary, it may prove to be most enlightening. In fact, before you go, you can be of definite service.

DRACULA: Anything I can do, gladly.

HELSING: A moment ago, I stumbled upon a most amazing phenomenon...something so incredible, I mistrust my own judgment. Look.

Van Helsing holds mirror to Dracula

DRACULA: (slaps mirror to the floor) Dr. Seward, my humble apology. I dislike mirrors. Van Helsing will explain. For one who has not lived even a single lifetime, you are a wise man, Van Helsing.

(People do not like to be told they suffer from mental illness, delusions.)


[Van Helsing: people do not like to face their own demons.]

Exit Dracula

HELSING: Dracula is our vampire.

SEWARD: But surely, Professor.

HELSING: The vampire casts no reflection in the glass. That is why Dracula smashed the mirror.

ADD: [Helsing: He did not want to acknowledge his illness.]

HARKER: I don't mean to be rude but that's the sort of thing I expect one of the patients here to say.

HELSING: Yes, and that is what your English doctors would say, your police. The strength of the vampire is that people will not believe in him.

ADD: [Helsing; people will not look in their own mirror.]

Herbert Bunston as Dr. Seward

Martin sums it up: "They are all crazy."

SEWARD: (looking over terrace wall) What is it? Who is it, Martin?

Below on the Lawn

Martin and Maid look after bat

MARTIN: It's that big grey bat again.

HELSING: There's no use of wasting your bullets, Martin. They cannot harm that bat.

MARTIN: No, sir.

Exit Van Helsing

MAID: He's crazy.

MARTIN: They're all crazy. They're all crazy except you and me. Sometimes I have me doubts about you.

Exit Martin

Martin sums up the entire plot in one line, they're all crazy.


To paraphrase Martin: we are all crazy. Why? About 75,000 years ago the super volcano Toba exploded and caused a volcanic winter and practically wiped out mankind. This is called the Toba Catastrophe Theory. Look it up.

We did survive, but in small groups which led to incest for procreation. Incest caused the mental and physical illnesses of today. We cannot breed out of this situation. All we can do is to acknowledge our form of mental illness and deal with it.

Dracula refused to acknowledge or deal with his mental illness, but Van Helsing did.


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