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Dracula: Good Or Bad: How To Judge

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Throughout history many major events have occurred, some have been named atrocities others have been named victories. Whether or not the original intentions of these actions were for the good of mankind, we can not say, for there are many influences in deciding what is truly good or bad. There are also some actions carried out by us, as children, which have been judged in the same way. Throughout our entire childhood, we have been taught that certain actions are considered to be good or bad, but we were never taught why they were judged this way, or how this decision was made. Now that we are older, and supposedly wiser, we understand that there are multiple influences, mainly after effects, concerned in judging what is called "good" or "bad" and some examples of this is shown in Bram Stoker's Dracula. It is the characters in this book, Jonathan Harker, Mina Murray, Dr. Van Helsing, Dr. Seward, as well as many more, that show us that actions are judged as good or bad through many factors, including religion, society, and morals, but it is ultimately determined by the effects of their outcomes.

Many actions are regarded as good or bad based on religious dictation. Someone can justify their action in numerous ways, but many people do contradict their religious principles even when they realize their actions will be considered "wrong". An example of this is when Dr. Van Helsing asks Arthur Holmwood, Lucy Holmwood's husband, if he can open Lucy's grave and scatter her body parts to prevent her from returning from the dead as a vampire. Dr. Van Helsing only considered this extreme action because there had been reports of a woman resembling Lucy abducting children only for them to come drowsy with bite marks on their necks. No matter how religious someone is or is not, an average person would consider scattering body parts sacrilegious, especially when the deceased has already been buried. Although this was the case, an exception was made in the novel when Arthur gave the doctor permission. Arthur was convinced that the only way to protect mankind was to break down his religious boundaries, and in truth, the characters in this novel and the readers of it will realize that this sacrilegious act was the only way to stop an opposing force.

When protecting mankind is mentioned, the notion of the greater good must also be considered, but the greater good is judged differently in different societies. Many societal leaders have stated that their actions were for the good of the society, but politics is a very contentious issue and is always hotly debated over. There always seems to be opposing viewpoints on any particular issue, and this is mainly due to the potential outcomes of societal leaders' actions which are judged by societal norms. There are those who are somewhat less than leaders, who say that their actions were only done in the interest of others. When Jonathan first arrived in Transylvania, he is asked where he is headed by an elderly woman. When he tells her that he is headed to Castle Dracula, the woman immediately starts saying prayers, hands him a crucifix, and tells him to always take it with him where ever he goes in that castle. This woman's only concern is protecting this outsider from danger, no matter what he may think of her actions. Jonathan immediately judges the woman, thinking that she may be senile, that is, until, moments later, what seems to be the entire town has surrounded him, yelling prayers, begging him not to go. The actions of this town may seem like madness to Jonathan, but they only acted like that to protect the greater good.

Another important factor in deciding whether or not an action can be judged as good or bad is judging the action based on personal morality. At one point in the novel, Mina was attacked by the vampire, Dracula, but not killed, so she began to transform into one. In the initial stages of her transformation while she still had control, the other people in the group used her and her telepathic link to Dracula to find out where he was headed to next to cut him off. Normally, someone would think to take her away and find some help of any sort, but even she believed that it would be better for her to go along with the group and help out while she is still able. The other people in the group could be considered immoral because they did not try to help her when she was in need. Mina was also told that if the "infection," meaning her transformation from human to vampire, were to spread too far, she will be killed for the safety of everyone around her. This is where the notions of morality and the greater good overlap - Mina felt that she was morally obligated to help out the rest of the group, weighing their lives above hers, but in return the group used her and threatened to kill her if deemed necessary. Knowing this and the fact that she deserved immediate attention, she choose to remain with her husband, Jonathan, and the rest of the group and accept death if the infection did become too much for her to handle. It is the fact that her fighting the infection without



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