Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Blood is the Life!

Renfield is a deranged inmate in a lunatic asylum who eats bugs and spiders to gain their life force.  "The blood is the life!" he rages.  Gradually, he demands larger living things.  Birds, yes a bird.  And perhaps a cat?
One of the more interesting characters in a cast of many eclectic sorts, Renfield is Count Dracula's minion, of sorts.  He is under Dracula's influence, but did not become mad because of it—or did he?  Only Mina truly touches his afflicted mind, but softly, not enough to cure him or bring him out of the madness.  It is often the madman in stories that reveals the deepest and most troubling theme, and in this case it is love, blind devotion, and ultimately, betrayal.

Clinical vampirism is sometimes referred to as Renfield Syndrome, a mental disorder resulting in an obsession to drink blood.  The term was named after Dracula's assistant.  The diagnosis is rarely used, but most commonly pinned on serial killers who like to drink the blood of those they've murdered.

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