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MonkeyNotes-Dracula by Bram Stoker
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Dr. Seward

Dr. Seward shares with Jonathan Harker the fact of being a compulsive diarist. Many of the events in the book are seen through his eyes or voice for Seward records his thoughts through the newly discovered phonograph. His relationship with Van Helsing and his patient, Renfield, is central to the unfolding of the plot.

He is a 29-year-old psychiatrist, running a large private lunatic asylum - a profitable industry in Late Victorian England. He is of good birth, handsome with a "strong jaw and good forehead" and evidently marriageable. He has had his shares of youthful adventures, hunting and traveling the world, though he appears inexperienced and nervous in the company of women. Seward has studied under Van Helsing in Amsterdam. He was his favorite pupil and the admiration goes both ways. But the personal bond goes deeper than shared professional competence. Seward had once saved his masters life in strange circumstances. Van Helsing suffered a gangrenous wound inflicted by a knife, which Seward had to suck clean. In other words, Seward has sucked Vain Helsing’s blood, this being a second instance of blood sucking in the book.


Seward serves as the representative of materialists’ rationalist science, which Van Helsing rejects. Seward finds it difficult to trust anybody and anyone. He does not trust anyone he does not know, and in the case of Van Helsing not even someone he knows. His role is like a social commentator. Through him readers come to know that tears are considered eminently, especially in the presence of women. Seward and Watson of Sherlock Holmes have the same name and the same profession and also play the same role. Seward is the last of the characters, who accepts and understands Dracula as the Vampire.

His professional ethics are questionable, for there is an element of cruelty in the handling of his patient Renfield. In fact, he even demonstrates a happy disregard for the law when expedient to do so for example sidestepping the need for an inquest - although he has at that time no inkling of what caused it. He, though brave, is depressed and unsettled by unrequited love, obsessed by Renfield’s behavior and mentally tortured by the supernatural intrusion into his tidy scientific mind. Given all this, he is usually ineffectual when it matters most.

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