Was Bram Stokers Dracula simply based upon Drug Addiction?

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Did Bram Stoker simply infuse the symptoms, and behaviour patterns of the heroin or opium addicts and their suppliers, to create a mythology, which survives to this day, and beyond?

Was Bram Stokers Dracula simply based upon Addiction?

Is that magnificent novel, Dracula, partly based upon Bram Stokers keen eye as he regarded people as he strode daily through London, helping him conjure up a magnificent and frightful character — which has transcended time and space for generations?

Is Bram Stokers Dracula simply a well-known London socialite – a well-heeled drug pusher of the time, a well dressed, wealthy and a striking looking character with a dominating personality gracefully stalking the social scene at the time?

A man whom unknown to the many but too the few — created a whole legion of addicts prowling the heady streets of London: seeking monies through any means possible — to get bestowed more of the magic powder he gave them via an injection.

Did Bram Stoker simply infuse the symptoms, and behaviour patterns of the heroin or opium addicts and their suppliers, to create a mythology, which survives to this day, and beyond?

Was he not a typical drug dealer but was he instead a socialite?

Did he know or mix with those, who engaged in such activities, supplied by a well-heeled dealer, who he based his iconic mesmerising character on?

Draculas character is a hypnotic figure that creates a faithful legion that eventually falls under his control; did Bram Stoker witness the demise of actors within the Lyceum Theatre fall under the control of a Svengali type character supplying them?

In today’s climate of regulations, it is hard to believe, but in early- and mid I Victorian Britain it was possible to walk into a chemist's shop and buy, without prescription laudanum, cocaine, and even arsenic. Opium preparations were also sold freely in towns on market halls and in the countryside by travelling hawkers.

Until 1868, the sale of drugs was practically unrestricted, and they could be bought like any other commodity. During the Industrial Revolution drug use in England grew rampant, particularly among the working classes.

Drugs were brought to Britain from every corner of the expanding British Empire and the amount of opium sale was particularly staggering.

Dangerous drugs were commonly used for making home remedies and less frequently as a recreation for the bored and alienated people.

The recreational use of opiates was popular particularly with pre-Victorian and Victorian artists and writers.

There was no moral condemnation of the use of opiates and their use was not regarded as addiction but rather as a habit in the Victorian period.

 “Dark England” was only a stone’s throw away — with its opium dens in London's East End as was described in popular press and books.

The Romantic era writers, such as Thomas De Quincey (1785-1859) and Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834), used drugs (mostly opium and its derivatives) for both medicinal and recreational purposes. De Quincey described minutely the non-medical use of opiates in his book, Confessions of an Opium-Eater (1821).

 He “ate opium” in the shape of pills or pellets. Coleridge, who suffered from neuralgic and rheumatic pains, tried to relieve them by opium or its derivatives.

It is believed that he composed his famous poem, “Kubla Khan,” in a dream induced by laudanum.

Coleridge struggled with his drug dependence all his life. His daughter, Sara (1802-1852) confided to a friend that she was unable to sleep without laudanum.

Other poets, including Lord Byron, John Keats, and Percy Shelley, (His wife was Mary Shelley – Frankenstein’s creator) took laudanum from a vial for medicinal and recreational uses.

Byron's daughter, Ada Lovelace (1815-1852), a mathematical genius and the first computer programmer, became addicted to laudanum having been prescribed it for asthma.

Who was supplying such people of status or great renown?

“In London, there is an East End and a West End. In the West End are those fortunate ones who are sent into the world with a kiss. In the East End are the others.

Here live the poor, the shamed, those whom Fate, seeing how shrunken and bent they are as they creep through the gates of life, spat in their face for good measure.

In this East End a corner has been set aside where, not content with the spittle, Fate sends the poor on their way with a blow, a kick, and their hats shoved over their eyes.

 In this spot, with the holy name Whitechapel we would have to sink or swim, survive or go under, find bread, or if we could not, find death.”

-      Jacob Adler (1855 – 1926)

The Signs of a Heroin User for a modern addict but can you imagine the signs in 1890!

Change in Behaviour

Someone with a heroin addiction may show a sudden change in behaviour. This could include becoming lethargic, hostile, unmotivated or displaying an uncaring attitude.

Academic or work performance may begin to decline and if it becomes severe, the person may drop out of school, or quit or get fired from work.

Some addicts will begin taking risks and putting themselves in situations that they normally wouldn't have put themselves in, such as joining a gang or stealing.

Others will push people away and become isolated in fear that loved ones will figure out they are using heroin.

Disorientation due to the drug's effects may be another sign. The person may have a difficult time understanding things, remembering and taking direction.

The addict may seem anxious, and this contributes to these issues.

Many times, people who use drugs also become anxious because they fear they won't be able to get their next fix in time.

Changes in Personal Appearance

Along with a heroin user's uncaring attitude comes a decline in personal hygiene and an unkempt appearance.

Due to changes in sleep patterns (either sleeping too much or not enough), people who use heroin may lose motivation to take care of themselves.

Changes in Physical Appearance

Some heroin users who still have control over themselves will manage to keep their personal appearance up, but their changes in physical appearance aren't as easily controlled.

Due to snorting the drug, the person may experience chronic runny nose and watery eyes. While this may seem like cold symptoms, someone who uses heroin will have these symptoms for much longer than the symptoms of a virus would last.

Heroin addicts who use needles will have needle marks on their body.

They may not be easily seen since many users will hide them by covering them up with clothing.

Slurred speech is also typical of a heroin user.

While it may be easy for an addict to sound normal at first, after some time talking, the person's speech might slow down and may become difficult to understand.

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Does the trademark puncture wound simply represent the needle marks of an easily bought set from the local chemist or the expensive tools of a wealthy dealer supplying a certain circle of writer or actors?

Does Dracula thirst for more victims represent a certain character within Bram Stoker horizons, a person who strove to create an endless line of victims to line his own pockets?

Are all the victims pale, always extremely tired and looking ill due to the addiction taking effect?

Did the Svengali character only appear at night searching for new victims, usually at rich lavish balls or galas, as depicted within most modern depictions?

Writers all based stories around people or landscapes they are privy too — have we, for all these years, simply watched a clever storyline interwoven with tales of Want created through drug addiction by a Svengali of the late 1890s?

The Want been reflected by the Svengali — forever chasing down more victims, and the victims, wanting to experience a newer magical essence which is permeating the social scene — seeking to become newer members of a secret club or are already well insinuated within?

Have a wonderful time pondering these thoughts, the notion struck me as I read a piece reading addiction and its causes as I read a medical journal!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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