42. Dracula

Dracula, the villainous hero of Bram Stoker’s famous novel Dracula, has captured the public interest ever since the book got published in 1897. But only a few know that this character is based on a real life villain Dracula, The son of Dragon, The King of Wallachia.

Wallacia was one of the provinces of the Medieval Rumania, situated between Transylvanian Alps and the Danube river. One of its rulers in the 15th Century, was Vlad Dracul( meaning “Vlad the Dragon). He had adopted the Dragon as his personal emblem.

When his son, also called Vlad, became the king, he was given the title “Dracula” meaning the “son of Dragon”.

Vlad Dracula was infamous for his cruelty, right from an early age. He became “Vlad the Impaler”. Impaling on a blunt stake was his favorite form of punishing people.

His other crazy actions included nailing the head gears into the skulls of the Turkish Emissaries. Their crime was that they did not remove their head gears in his Royal presence!

He detested weaklings and deformed people. Once he had all the beggars and cripples rounded up in a large hall and set fire to it–after barring all the doors and windows of the hall. Women found guilty of adultery were skinned alive. He was a monster of cruelty. It is believed that he impaled, skinned alive, boiled and roasted more than 50,000 persons in his brief reign of ten years.

He himself met an appropriate violent end–fit for tyrants. One fine day, his severed head stuck on a stake, was put for public display, by an unknown murderer. With the spread of the new printing techniques, Vlad’s atrocities became widely known to the public.

His misdeeds hint at cannibalism and blood rites. Whether or not he enjoyed the taste of blood, he definitely enjoyed the sight of it. Soon rumors of his being a demon or vampire began to circulate, paving the path for the novel Dracula.

Both the geographical background of the novel as Transylvania and the name of the central character as Dracula are firmly rooted on facts, making the work realistic and authentic!

Visalakshi Ramani


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