Within “Dracula”, Stoker clearly presents the male characters in the book as heroes, without over emphasising this by giving them extraordinarily strong powers. They are portrayed as normal human beings with faults and weaknesses. This can be seen when Van Helsing suffers from hysteria, but despite this still plays an important role in the chase for Dracula, and brings confidence to their quest at desperate times. He describes the “Band of Brother’s” as those “, who are willing to peril even our own souls for the safety of one we love-for the good of mankind, and for the honour and glory of God”.
A similar comparison could be made to fictional characters/super heroes in comics such as Superman. They save the weak and bring down the villain while also leading normal lives. But despite doing this, these super heroes still posses certain vulnerabilities, in the instance of superman, he possesses a weakness to kryptonite. In the same sense, members of the brotherhood have their own weaknesses. Therefore, it is fair to say that there is some presence of a comic book nature in Stokers writings, and the characters in the book represent this.
Stoker does well not to make the characteristics of his male heroes all man and butch, like our version of the male hero today. I believe Stoker’s view of the perfect hero, is one that is physically strong but in touch with his feminine side. I believe such a character to be Van Helsing. At the opening of Jonathan Harker’s journal it says, “God preserve my sanity”, and later Dr. Seward says, “What does this all mean? I am beginning to wonder if my long habit of life amongst the insane is beginning to tell upon my own brain”.
Clearly within the novel, the male characters show signs of tenderness and sensitivity, which would be an imperative trait for a women of the time. Despite this, within the “Band of Brothers” each individual member have their own personal weakness, and this again parallels to that of a super hero in a comic book, (an ideal present day hero), how everyone has their own weaknesses, and often all have a universal weakness, eg. Breathing, in a comic world.
In this case, the universal weakness of the “Band of the Brothers” is the shared love and protective nature over their women/partners. I believe that the men in the novel feel threatened by Dracula, who is a perfectly attractive, who is physically powerful, and more importantly targeting their women. The men may have felt that this new species may lure their women away from them, since it can be seen that his prey needs some sort of willingness or co-operation for him to act.
It is not clear in the novel if Jonathan and Mina have consummated their marriage, since Jonathan was in such a bad state at the time of the wedding, yet later in the play he again shows inadequacies in the bedroom department, and can only watch Mina sucking at the chest of Dracula having been paralysed by the more dominant figure, Dracula. In the novel, personal and universal strengths and weaknesses are present in the “Band of Brothers”. Since all the characters concerned are human, there is no distinct line between the two, perhaps rather they represent individuality of characters.
Due to the group’s enthusiasm, and their keenness to save their beloved from Dracula, they play directly into the hands of Dracula, and this can be seen in London. This shows that the eager and hunger of the man exploits their weakness of not thinking correctly, rushing into things and a little gullibility. Mina is left alone at the house a sitting duck for Dracula to attack, a thoughtless action showing human weakness. However the group show great dedication and understanding to the task in hand as Van Helsing says, “Our toil must be in silence, and our efforts in secret; for in this enlightened age…