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Was Dracula based on a real person

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Elizabeth Báthory
The Wallachians at this stage were more afraid of their own ruler than the Ottomans and they began to desert him, and he was later forced from power and imprisoned by the Hungarians. Later he attempted to regain his crown but was killed in battle in 1477. As we can see there are similarities between Vlad the Impaler and the fictional Count Dracula, they both fought the Turks, for example. However, the Count was once a tolerant and beneficent ruler and person and that was not the case with Vlad the Impaler. Then there is the issue of impaling, the Count was never shown to have impaled anyone while Vlad Tepes had many thousands impaled. However, the Count’s name is derived from the cognomen of the terrifying ruler of Wallachia. <ref>Trow, p 78</ref> His father's name was Vlad Dracul or Vlad the Dragon, this cognomen was adopted by him after he became a member of the chivalrous Order of the Dragon. This name became the surname of Vlad’s family and indeed it became the dynastic name of the princely rulers of Wallachia. It appears that Stoker adapted the surname of Dracul and transformed it into Dracula.
====Elizabeth Báthory==== Báthory was a Hungarian noblewoman who owned large estates in Central Europe. She belonged to one of the most powerful Hungarian families. In her castle along with a few accomplices, she murdered hundreds of young girls. It appears that Báthory was one of the world’s worst serial killers in European history. She was accused of the torture and murder of poor girls and servants. The Hungarian noblewoman  She was never brought to trial because of her connections and was confined in a cell until her death. There are many tales told about Báthory crimes. They often link her to vampirism such as drinking and bathing in blood. This later led many to suppose that she inspired Stoker to create the character of Dracula. However, apart from the obvious fact that she was a woman while the Count was a male, there is also the fact that many of the stories about her vampiric tendencies were later inventions.<ref> Thorne, Tony. Countess Dracula (London, Bloomsbury, 1997), p 14 </ref>
====Irish Vampires====
Stoker was a regular visitor to the Irish countryside and partly grew up in County Sligo. At this time, he may have head many legends of ghosts and monsters. In particular, he may have heard the legend of Abhartach, which in Gaelic means dwarf. He was an ancient chieftain and a cruel ruler, who also practiced black magic. He was so cruel and evil who was assassinated by his own kin and buried. However, it appears that he rose from the dead and began to kill anyone he found and drank their blood.  In Celtic mythology , he is portrayed in ways that are very similar to the stereotypical vampire .<ref> Middleton, Ian; Douglas Elwell; Jim Fitzpatrick Mysterious World: Ireland(Dublin, Elwell, Inc. 2006), pp. 717–718 </ref>. The supposed grave of Abhartach can be visited in Northern Ireland. There are many other tales of vampires in Ireland such as the abbess who drank the blood of her nuns. Then there is the fabled Sidhe, a race of blood-sucking fairies who lived in a magical fortress in the mountains. It seems very likely that Stoker who was very interested in folklore was conversant with the tradition of blood-sucking revenants and ghosts in the Irish countryside.<ref>Middleton, p. 45</ref>
Count Dracula is one of the best-known figures in the horror genre. With regard to the figure who inspired the vampire, it was evidently not Elizabeth Báthory. While the creator of the Count was clearly familiar with Irish blood sucking revenants and fairies they do not appear to have inspired him to create the bloodsuckerDracula. It is clear that Vlad the Impaler was the one historical figure who inspired the character of Dracula. This is seen in his nationality and the fact that he fought against the Turks like the fictional character. More significantly it can be seen in the name of the Count, which was clearly based on Vlad’s surname Dracul. While it is highly likely that the Irish horror writer based his character on Vlad the Impaler, in many ways the vampire is the creation of his imagination. Many of the traits of the Count are entirely fictional.  
==Further Reading==
Leatherdale, Clive. Dracula: The Novel & the Legend: A Study of Bram Stoker's Gothic Masterpiece (New York, Aquarian Press, 1985).

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