Splitting Hairs Over Dracula
It never fails. If I make a statement regarding how the historical Dracula, Vlad III of Wallachia, inspired Bram Stoker to create the character of Count Dracula, someone will have to “correct” me and tell me it isn’t so. If I make a statement along the lines of Count Dracula being a fictional character, someone will feel it necessary to correct me and remind me of the historical Dracula. (As if I didn’t already know about him.) Yes, people, the historical Dracula WAS the inspiration for the fictional Dracula. The question is to what EXTENT he served as the inspiration. Bram Stoker DID base Count Dracula on the historical Dracula. Again, it comes down to just how MUCH the fictional Dracula was based on the historical Dracula. Ultimately, it all depends on how you choose to define the terms “based on” and “inspired by.”
All we have to go by are Stoker’s notes, and based solely on those notes all we can say conclusively is that Stoker knew Dracula’s name and a little of his family history. If he knew anything about the historical Dracula’s habit of impaling people, his notorious bloodlust, or any of the other atrocities of which Dracula was accused (and these may or may not have been true, but that’s a whole other story), he didn’t mention it. Thus we can say that the historical Dracula did serve as inspiration for the creation of Count Dracula, but all that we know Stoker took from him was his name, his nationality, and a smidge of his family’s martial history.