In the Judge’s House, Bram Stoker uses several methods to create an atmosphere of suspense. Stoker creates the character of Malcomson, a keen maths student who wants to study without distraction and therefore goes to an isolated place. Malcomson is represented as a mathematician so that every suspicious scene in the house can be answered by him with a logical answer. Mrs Witham, who thinks oppositely to Malcomson, is a mayor key used to cause and create the atmosphere of suspense. Her way of describing the house makes the reader visualise it as haunted.
Malcomson arrives at Benchurch, a town where other than a market that takes place every three weekends, it is as attractive as a dessert. When Malcomson finally finds the right spot for his studying, he chooses the house classified as the most terrifyingly and dangerous in the whole town. The description of the house is essential because Stoker uses detailed adjectives such as “old rambling, heavy built house of the Jacobean style”, to create an atmosphere of danger and suspense. The detailed description makes it possible for the reader to picture the house.
For years, no one had been living in the house and the stories about it were horrifying. Describing and telling about the past of the house is another way in which Bram Stoker achieves to create a tense and suspense atmosphere. The Judge who had lived in the house for years, had used the rope to hang the people he sentenced to death to use it as the rope for the bell in his living room. Malcomson, who does not take notice of the stories, moves into the house. Mrs Witham warns Malcomson about the danger he faces by staying in the house, but Malcomson with his fixed mathematician brain stays firm.
During his studying period in the house, Malcomson takes notice of the squealing noises of the rats. Another of Stoker’s strategies is to repeat the noise of the little rats over and over again giving us an idea of what they mean. Suddenly, the squealing stops and sitting on the chair is the big evil rat which is not scared by Malcomson’s threatening movements. It is not until he throws the bible at the rat that is runs away up the rope. This suggests that the rat is linked with the devil and that something sinister is going to occur.
Malcomson takes it as meaningless and carries on with his work. Stoker makes sure that the reader is wishing to know what is going to happen next. Every few sentences tension rises creating the atmosphere of suspense. Finally, Malcomson takes interest and decides to investigate the house which was covered in a think layer of dust. The house illustrated true beauty, but had been empty for years.. Why was nobody interested in living in it? On his third and last night, Malcomson felt the air thicken, and when he looked up the rope, he saw the rat chew of the last piece of rope.
Malcomson takes notice of the flexibility of the rope remembering for what it had been used in the past. Malcomson had lost his chance to call for help, and the feeling of something abound to happen lay in the air. He turned round and there on the chair, sat the Judge wearing his robe. The story reaches it’s highest point of excitement ands suspense. Using his eyes to hypnotise Malcomson, the Judge hangs him on the rope. The atmosphere of suspense has exploded and the reader takes in some deep breathes. The tension has vanished and Stoker has achieved the purpose to make the reader aware of the unknown.