Atmosphere of horror Essay

Published: 2021-09-11 21:20:07
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Category: Film

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When Harker sees ‘the first dim streak of the coming dawn’ light imagery is used to give a sense of approaching safety. However, Harker then hears ‘the howling of many wolves’. The use of onomatopoeia and the aural imagery adds to the atmosphere of horror. The violence of the wolves is juxtaposed with safety created by the dawn. When Dracula hears the wolves he says to Harker ‘Listen to them, the children of the night. What music they make!’ The word ‘children’ adds to the terrifying atmosphere, Dracula reveals an affinity with the wolves, as he likens these violent animals to innocent children.
The horror is further enhanced with the word ‘music’ juxtaposing the word ‘howling’. Howling is a terrible sound, often made in a time of deep emotional pain. Dracula likens the wolves howling to music, a beautiful sound usually associated with great happiness. This emphasises how horrible the sound really is. Dracula then says that city dwellers ‘cannot enter the feelings of the hunter’ giving the reader a sense that Dracula is a predator. When Dracula says for Harker to ‘sleep well and dream well’ Stoker gives the reader the idea that Dracula can intrude into Harker’s dreams.
The metaphor ‘I am all in a sea of wonders’ illustrates Harker’s confused state of mind. This is continued with the lines ‘I doubt, I fear’. Harker’s listing of his emotions reveals his inner turmoil. The use of short sentences increases the pace, in turn heightening the tension. An atmosphere of mystery is created with the line ‘strange night existence’ by making the reader question why Harker is never up in the day.
The mystery is further added to with the line ‘I fear I am myself the only living soul within the place’. As Dracula is there with Harker, the reader wonders about what Harker says, but also partially realises what he means, that Dracula has no soul. Tension is heightened with the line ‘imagination must not run riot with me. If it does I am lost’. This shows that Harker feels he is going mad and will go mad unless he tries to think rationally. This adds to the mystery, making the reader question whether what Harker writes is real or just a hallucination. This feeling is further enhanced with the line ‘Let me say at once how I stand, or seem to’.
The fact that Harker cannot see Dracula in the mirror ‘there was no reflection of him in the mirror’ builds tension. This makes the reader wonder whether Dracula is just a product of Harker’s fevered imagination, or even more horrible, is Dracula real but without a reflection. When Harker cuts himself and Dracula sees the blood, ‘his eyes blazed with a sort of demoniac fury, and he suddenly made a grab at my throat’. Dracula’s strange reaction to this normal occurrence makes the audience wonder who, or what, he is. However, when Dracula’s hand touches the crucifix
‘the fury passed so quickly that I could hardly believe that it was ever there’. This makes the reader question if it really was there, or if it was a hallucination formed from a troubled mind. When Dracula ‘flung out the glass’ he prevents Harker from revisiting what happened, or checking again to see if he can see Dracula’s refection. This stops Harker from making sense of what happened. The sense of mystery is emphasised by Dracula leaving ‘without a word’, giving no explanation of his violent outburst which is natural human behaviour.
Another inhuman trait is that Harker has ‘not seen the Count eat or drink’. Every living creature must eat and drink, leading the reader to question how and why Harker has not seen Dracula do so. The view from the castle is said to be ‘magnificent’. The castle is on the ‘edge of a terrible precipice’ and as far as the eye can see ‘is a sea of green tree tops’ occasionally broken by a chasm or the ‘silver thread’ of a river. This idea of dramatic natural landscape typifies the genre. The beautiful scenery however shows that the castle is far away from civilisation, Harker is alone.
Stoker uses the repetition of the word ‘doors’ to emphasise Harker’s despair and increase the tension. He feels he is a prisoner, ‘I am a prisoner!’ the personal pronoun conveying to the reader a feeling of helplessness and lack of control. The exclamation mark again emphasises his despair and fear about what is happening to him. In conclusion, in Chapter 2 Bram Stoker uses a variety of different techniques to create an atmosphere of mystery and horror. He uses many ideas that typify the genre of gothic horror, ranging from pathetic fallacy to the description of gothic architecture. Stoker utilises all of mankind’s greatest fears in this classic, and the story of Dracula is sure to strike fear into people’s hearts for years to come.

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