‘Dracula” adapted by David Calcutt from the novel by Bram Stoker, is a compelling and dramatic play which conveys horror extremely well. The central characters are Jonathan Harker, his fiancee Mina and their friends, and of course Dracula. This shows an example of successful horror as they all have an encounter with the lord of all darkness and evil, Dracula. In the opening scene, horror is conveyed when Jonathan Harker goes to Draculas’ castle. There is alot of mystery surrounding Dracula.
When Johnathan arrives in Trasylvania, to go and see Dracula (about his new home in England) he goes to stay in an inn. He tells the Land Lady why he has come to Transyvania. She “shudders” and tries to put him off going there. In the morning, before Jonathan sets off on his travels, the Land Lady of the inn gives Jonathan a crucifix. “Please. Take it. For safety. It will protect you.” The Land Lady said to Jonathan, as if he was needing protecting from something dangerous or something evil. The description that the author gives of the mountains is appropriate for this play. He describes them as being “Bathed in a deep red light” and red is the colour of blood. It is also associated with evil and danger.Order now
In scene three after Jonathan has arrived at the castle and met Dracula, to convey horror, three hags are added. Adding the hags to the play provides a hypnotic element, like they have put Jonathan under a spell. They use figurative speech and metophorical language when they are talking. An example of this is “The scratch of the spiders leg over the floor.” This is used to describe the hags voice. It doesn’t really sound like that, it is probably a low rough sounding voice, but describing it like this gives it a supernatural effect. When they are saying things to him, such as “We suck the hot blood from your veins” or “We suck the last breath from your soul,” they are hypnotising Jonathan so they can eat him and, as they are speaking they are slowly moving in, closer and closer, as Jonathan is lying on a bed. This is a good example of horror because he would obviously be scared at seeing three ugly hags closing in on him for a feed.
They are trying to trick him into thinking he is asleep. Jonathan also discovers in this scene how Dracula sleeps. He is trying to escape from Draculas’ castle when he sees a chapel. He jumps down into the chapel where he finds coffins. He opens the lid of one and finds Dracula. Not dead, or asleep. The description of Dracula in his coffin turns the atmosphere from eerie and strange, to a play about evil and horror. The description of “lips red with blood,” shows that Dracula has been eating something, or someone.
In scene four to put horror across to the reader, the dramatist adds Mr Swales into the play to help add a bit more fear and superstition. Mr Swales can see into the future: ” Maybe its just that I can feel my own death approaching.” Mr Swales, for some reason, thought he was going to die. The description at the end of act one is a good link into act two. The end sentence in act one, “So evil came into this land, and cast its shadow upon it, and took possesion.” ties in with the beginning of act two because there is a violent storm. The “evil” is Dracula and the “shadow” is the storm. “Took possesion” is where Mr Swales dies as Dracula has taken over his soul, the “evil”, (Dracula) that came into the land “took possesion” of Mr Swales. This adds more fear to the play as Mr Swales prediction comes true.
In act two, the author conveys horror well by adding a storm to the play. The author also adds mystery, because during the storm a ship appears and, the ship makes it to the harbour, even though its rough seas. The coastguard went onto the ship and found a corpse tied to the steering wheel. The coastguard also finds “several boxes about five or six feet in length.” This made me think about who was on the ship. I think that there were only two people on the ship; Dracula and the corpse on the wheel.
I think Dracula bit the other man’s neck. He is now a slave of Dracula and that is why he seemed to be steering the ship. At the end of this scene a large grey dog is seen jumping of the ship. I think that Dracula turned himself into this dog to avoid being seen by the crowed that had now gathered at the harbour. He also has the power to change the weather, so, I think he changed the weather so it would be dark when he arrived in Britain. (so that he wouldn’t die from being in the daylight.) It is a good way to introduce Dracula into Britain, an effective way of describing his arrival.