The Useless Morris Of Bram Stoker’s Dracula

Category: Dracula, Vampires
Last Updated: 10 Mar 2020
Pages: 9 Views: 339

Bram Stoker’s ‘Dracula’ is more a story of romance than it is of horror. What makes it very unique is that it is an allegory of the love affair of the soul, the body and the heart. In the novel, the most important love affairs are that of Mina and Jonathan and Dracula and Mina. Jonathan is the fist person in the novel to encounter Dracula and is also the lover of Mina at the same time. When Jonathan leaves for Transylvania to help Dracula purchase an estate, Dracula becomes aware of Mina, and soon becomes obsessed with the purity and devotion of this woman to her ‘would-be’ husband.

Later, the vampire, Dracula, because of his obsession with Mina, pollutes her by tempting her to drink his blood. Dracula want Mina for himself, not as a victim, but as his wife; but because of the devotion of Mina and Jonathan to each other, Jonathan pursues Dracula and frees his fiance from the curse of one day becoming the queen of the undead. In effect, the novel illustrates the duality of purity; the purity of Jonathan and Mina’s love and the purity of Dracula’s love for Mina.

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While it is unfair to say that it is only Jonathan who has a pure kind of love for Mina, Dracula’s love for her is actually pure as well, but on a darker level, hence, at this point the novel shifts from a bizarre love triangle to a battle between good and evil. In the novel, there is mention of a particular character named Quincy Morris who is the third person to court Lucy, the best friend of Mina who also becomes a victim of Dracula. Morris is the ideal picture of the American gentleman. He is an adventurer and later gives up his own life in the battle against Dracula.

Morris is in the original version of the novel by Bram Stoker, however, in later versions of the story, as well as in film remakes, his character is not included. Upon reading the original version of the novel, it is clear that the role of Morris remains anchored on three basic and very minor concepts – minor paradox, accessory, and auxiliary, hence his inclusion from later versions of the novel. Very simply, Morris is like the sugar flowers on the cake, and without him the cake would still have its icing, hence, his role in the story is one that can be easily dispensed with without affecting the direction and the plot of the story.

Initially, let us tackle his role in being the ‘minor paradox’; this means that Morris is not part of the major paradox of the story, and so in later remakes, especially those from Hollywood, based on the principles of a classic Hollywood narrative, Morris no longer appears for the basic reason that in a classic Hollywood narrative, only the major paradox or source of conflict is actually considered. This particular thesis could be validated in the context of the original version of the novel itself. It will be noted that Morris is first mentioned in the novel in the letter of Lucy to Mina on the 24th of May.

(Stoker, page 87) Morris here is introduced as one of Lucy suitors, and she writes Mina to tell her about the suitors who came to her that day, of which Morris was one. (Stoker, page 90) Lucy, in her letter, describes the attributes of Mr. Morris, and more importantly, very discreetly refers to a tender infatuation for the man, in the lines, “Well, he did look so good humoured and so jolly that it didn’t seem half so hard to refuse him as it did poor Dr. Seward. ” (Stoker, page 91) Of course, because Lucy was in love with someone else, she refuses the courtship of Morris.

(Stoker, page 92) So, it is clear, even from this initial introduction given to the Morris character, that although he is part and parcel of an accessory conflict, he does not really figure in the major paradox. The refusal of Lucy is even a foreshadowing of the gravity of the role of this particular character. The subtle dismissal of Lucy of his courtship is an indication that although Morris goes on to do some pretty significant things in the story, he does is not actually of any significant connection to any of the major characters, more so, to a second level character like Lucy.

In this same chapter, Morris also writes a letter to a certain Arthur Holmwood, (Stoker, page 95) who is the suitor favored by Lucy. In his letter, he simply invites Holmwood to a drinking session with Dr. Seward. (Stoker, page 96) To this invitation, Holmwood obliges. Consider here that Seward is the doctor who runs the asylum right beside the estate purchased by Dracula, so Morris now begins to worm his way into the story. What is to note in the invitation of Morris, however, is the fact that the topic of their conversations was going to be his being rejected by Lucy.

There is a certain level of pain in his letter which was supposedly from Lucy’s rejection, hence the lines, “There are more yarns to be told, and more wounds to be healed. ” (Stoker, 96) This particular invitation propels the role of Morris to being worse, not just that he is a part of a minor conflict, but with this letter, he also becomes a nuisance or a distraction in the story, as he now manages to enter the main stream flow of the novel through Dr. Seward and Holmwood. His role as an accessory is validate more when he is sent by Holmwood to visit the ill Lucy who was then under the care of Dr.

Seward. (Stoker, page 237) In effect, his role is not relevant to the general conflict because what he does, is he simply stands in for main character or is an auxiliary to the main characters. As an auxiliary character, the text offers more validations in this direction. In the chapter where Van Helsing reveals his intention of cutting off the head of the corpse of Lucy (Stoker, page 329) the only comment that Morris offers is, “That is fair enough” (Stoker, page 329) in agreement of the verbal proposition of Dr. Morris.

It will be noted, that although this is the only line offered by Morris in this section, it would seem that he is the only one in agreement of the plans of Van Helsing, therefore, making him an auxiliary to the thoughts of the professor. Later, when they all go to do what Helsing had in mind, as revealed in the journal of Seward, Morris begins by simply ‘seconding’ the doubts of the two other men that they were with, that Helsing must have removed the body of Lucy prior to the operation that they were going through, so, here again, Morris is an adversarial auxiliary to Van Helsing, but with his statement, then becomes an ally of Helsing.

(Stoker, 333) Of course, later, when the actual act of re-killing Lucy is completed, Seward, Holmwood, and Morris, all become allies of Van Helsing in his advocacy against the undead, thus, confirming the auxiliary role of Morris in this particular novel. What is ironic though, is that these three men all had intimate encounters with Lucy, what set’s Morris apart from the three of them is the fact that during the time when Helsing was proposing to ‘re-kill’ Lucy, he was the one who offered the least resistance.

(Stoker, page 329) He was also in the group not because he loved Lucy like the other two chaps in the group, but because of his sense of adventure; quite a superficial reason, if perused properly. Finally, to further strengthen the argument that later versions of the novel would not have been any different even in the absence of Morris, it would help to consider his accessory role – one which, according to the definitions of literature, is simply a role that makes it easier for the major characters to move towards the plot and the climax of the story.

A role which also, all the more becomes very unnecessary in the classic Hollywood narrative because the struggles of the main characters towards the resolution of the plot are actually given more value than the act of making these struggles easier, defeating the steady escalation of conflict in the story. Morris does just this in the story, he hitches the escalation of the conflict, and offers periods of respite for the major characters – a role that should not exist if reader or viewer excitement was to be the main issue of consideration.

Morris remains faithful to this accessorial role again when he offers to go along with the ‘vampire hunting’ group to visit the madman, Renfield, who is a henchman of Dracula, in Seward’s asylum. (Stoker, page 387) Here, he poses no threat or favor, but rather is a mere observer; however, this particular scene moves Morris closer to meeting Dracula and, consequently, his demise. In this particular section of the story, Morris also witnesses the madman along with Jonathan Harker, the fiancee of Mina, hence, bringing him into the inner boundaries of the story.

Later, in Harker’s journal, he reveals another pivotal comment of Morris, when he narrates how Morris makes a comment about Renfield, “"Say, Jack, if that man wasn't attempting a bluff, he is about the sanest lunatic I ever saw. I'm not sure, but I believe that he had some serious purpose, and if he had, it was pretty rough on him not to get a chance. ” (Stoker, page 394) Here, Morris becomes accessory to Helsing and Harker’s plot to pursue Dracula by actually fanning the flame of the supposed connection between Dracula and the madman.

However, this could have easily been done by Seward which all the more makes Morris assertion quite useless, and besides, even in the absence of this assertion, Harker and Helsing would have pursued their stance anyway. Later, with the accident of Renfield, Van Helsing is called upon to visit the asylum to help – then, by some turn of circumstance, Morris follows suit along with Holmwood. (Stoker, page 439) This sets the stage for other events that further validates the accessorial role of Morris.

In the later parts of the novel, Morris correctly offers to use horses instead of the more elaborate carriages that might attract attention (Stoker, page 467); he also, along with Holmwood, performed accessory operations like burning vampire nests; accessory to the operations of the major vampire hunter, Van Helsing (Stoker, page 478); Morris also ordered to talk to nobility to ensure the smoothness of their missions (Stoker, page 538), he also helped to defeat the gypsies with his bowie knife, (Stoker, page 597) and finally, he also validated the minority of his role by being the one to herd the horses during their mission to save Mina.

(Stoker, page 562) In the end, after all these laborious participations in the story, Morris is killed, and the only apparent payment for his death is the fact that the birthday of Mina’s and Jonathan’s first child falls on the date of the death of Morris. This is such a pathetic way to go for a character in the story who had done so much to assist the major characters, however, because his role was merely to complicate paradox, to auxiliarize, and to accessorize the major characters in the story, his role was very dispensable.

In the classic Hollywood narrative, the role of Morris would translate into added expense, added complication, and added actors for the producers. In later versions of the novel, his role served to take away focus from the main characters of the story. In effect, Morris was not only a useless character in the story, because although he assisted in the fulfillment of many pivotal circumstances, his participation could have been easily taken on by one of the major characters.

Another significant effect of the presence of Morris in the story is his diminutization of the role of Van Helsing; instead of fortifying the capacities of Helsing, he served to show that Helsing was bossy and was unable to do things on his own, therefore, staining the reputation of this particular major character.

In conclusion, the exclusion of Morris from other more recent versions of the novel, whether in written or movie form, could only have worked for the better. His absence has made the story clearer and aimed at a more distinct direction. After all, his role in the story is simply to contribute minor paradox, be an accessory, and be an auxiliary to the major characters, not directly affecting or influencing the outcome of the plot or the turn of major events.

His affiliation with Lucy does not even count, and neither does his accidental affinity to Jonathan and Mina; Morris was there as a part of a team that already existed, that may have well done just as good even in his absence. Works Cited Stoker, Bram. Dracula. New York: Plain Label Books, 2001. 90-595. 26 Apr. 2009 <http://books. google. com/books? id=sn9W2cLuhxYC&printsec=frontcover&dq=bra m+stoker%27s+dracula&ei=J-TzSfCbG4uSkAT3w7SDBg>.

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The Useless Morris Of Bram Stoker’s Dracula. (2016, Aug 02). Retrieved from

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