Sunday, October 21, 2012

Priest, Prophet, and King in Dracula

Last Halloween, I wrote about how Jon Harker rationalized staying with Dracula again and again (Rationalizing Evil). This year, I'm thinking more positively about the types present in the book - about the Christ figures that appear to face the Son of the Dragon.

Lucy receives three marriage proposals in one day, from Dr. John Seward, Quincey Morris, and Hon. Arthur Holmwood (later Lord Godalming). Lucy accepts Holmwood's proposal while turning down Seward and Morris, but all remain friends. These three are connected in another way - together, they are a trio of Christ-figures, each taking one of the traditional roles of priest, prophet, and king.

Christ, our High Priest, is both the sacrifice and the one offering it. Likewise, a "priest" figure might be sacrificial by offering something up (money, power, pride, etc.) or by offering himself. Quincy offers himself, giving his life to defeat Dracula. He literally cuts right to evil's heart and pays with his own blood.

Dr. Seward serves as the prophet figure. He is able to diagnose, at least partially, the ills befalling Lucy. That same spiritual disease is going to spread, to Mina and, left unchecked, across London.  He sees something dangerous that needs to be cured and calls in his mentor, Dr. Van Helsing, to help. He tells the others, "listen to this man".  "Do whatever he tells you." (cf John 1:15, 2:5)

There are several characters that could be identified as a "leader" or the king-figure in the story. Of course Van Helsing is important, but I like Arthur in this role. He is the other man, along with John and Quincey, that propose marriage to Lucy (his is accepted), and he is again among those same three called to dispatch the vampire she becomes. He isn't much of a leader at first but steps up when he's "crowned" - when he becomes Lord Godalming at his father's death. When Jonathan's resolve falters, overcome by emotion now that his love is under attack, Arthur becomes a source of leadership. He turns back from despair and, in turn, strengthens his brothers in their crusade against Dracula. (cf Luke 22:31-32)

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