Dracula: Ch. 21-27

Religion continues to play a large part in the story within the last few chapters of the novel. Most striking in this section is the fact that Mina’s face is scarred by the communion wafer. Mina’s response is heartbreaking: “Uclean! Unclean! Even the Almighty shuns my polluted flesh! I must bear this mark of shame upon my forehead until the Judgment Day.” It also reminds me of another text — The Scarlet Letter. The latter was written in 1850, and the scarlet (red!) letter marks Hester Prynne, standing in as a sign of her “shame” at having also been “polluted”. Are you seeing the similarities?

The notion of one being physically marked due to sin appears in the Biblical story of Cain, who is marked after killing his brother. However, the full story is a bit more complicated than that: “And the Lord set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him.” Though Cain is cursed, God takes mercy upon him and marks him so that if anyone kills him, they shall be killed as a result. Therefore, the mark of Cain is actually one of protection. In Dracula, the men, especially Seward, act as beneficent Gods where Mina is concerned. They even promise to kill her should she turn into a vampire — but only because they love her. (However, if they do so, they will most likely be killed by Dracula.) When the root of her “pollution” is dead, however, Mina’s scar miraculously fades. She is then free to return to a life with the men who love her enough to promise to kill her should she act upon her innermost desires.


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