Bram Stoker 's Dracula And Richard Matheson 's I Am Legend

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A key element of the fantasy / horror / gothic genres is to fascinate and intrigue readers through stories that pose the “what if” questions, thereby teaching us something new about the society we live in. Sometimes these stories are helpful in explaining difficult concepts of good and evil, science and religion. In Bram Stoker’s Dracula and Richard Matheson’s I Am Legend, the mythical horror creatures, the vampires, have many differences in their mythical abilities, functionality and origin; however, they both serve to underline themes that remind the reader of what makes us human and what defines us as ultimately good or evil. Stoker’s Count Dracula is the product of a religious strike against the antagonist whereas the vampires in I Am…show more content…
By presenting Count Dracula as an evil, demonic being, the story is therefore laid out as a fight between good and evil. Contrastively, the vampires in I Am Legend are not physically described in as much detail, but rather the details and attention are focused on their behaviour and their origin. The horror aspects of these vampires are pushed to the side and the readers are made to focus solely on their threatening presence as they prowl around at night and hunt for Neville while he, in turn, tries to discover what the specific virus that infected the world and caused the vampire epidemic. These differences are key in setting up how the readers respond to the novels’ plot and themes. Neville understands that these vampires are obsessive about their basic needs as the narrator states, “their need was their only motivation” (Matheson 11). In this regard, Neville is similar to his adversaries as he, too, is obsessed with his needs as a human, specifically for companionship and intimacy. This idea is demonstrated in the beginning of the novel as he is about to slay a sleeping vampire and the author observes, “…but for some affliction he didn’t understand, these people were the same as he” (Matheson 28). Much like Count Dracula, these vampires are driven mad by their thirst and need for blood; however, in Neville’s case, this need can also be characterized by his desire for companionship. In this
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