Political Oppressor and Victimizer
Although this is the least developed aspect of the Dracula figure in the films, it still remains part of his characterization and is very much evident in the novel. In Stoker's novel, the count gives to Jonathan Harker an account of his warrior's background and his life as a patriot (37–39). Dracula in all his incarnations is a creature of an aristocratic background, and though he may certainly be symbolic of the decay and degeneration of this class, he is also symbolic of this group's oppressive powers. In various degrees and ways all the Dracula figures have a certain regal bearing and disdain for the other characters they confront. The very act of drinking the blood of the living is symbolic of the way in which the aristocracy has fed off and destroyed those beneath them. Coppola's film most develops Stoker's use of the historically real Wallachian figure, Vlad Tepes, also called Vlad the Impaler for his ruthless way of punishing his Turkish enemies, as a background for his count, but the film never develops this political dimension in its rush into sexuality and romance. One must turn to a West German film made by Hans W. Geissendörfer in 1970, Jonathan, an allegorical telling of Hitler and his horrors that has only some resemblance to the novel, to see a full treatment of this political aspect of the figure.