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Most Significant

The biblical and religious references in this journal entry were a tough slog for me.

“‘…the Master is at hand.’”

Renfield is casting the Count as his personal deity.

“It looks like religious mania, and he will soon think that he himself is God.“

At the moment, though, Renfield thinks the Count is his god.

“…in [Renfield’s] sublime self-feeling the difference between myself and attendant seemed to him as nothing.These infinitesimal distinctions between man and man are too paltry for an Omnipotent Being. … The real God taketh heed lest a sparrow fall; but the God created from human vanity sees no difference between an eagle and a sparrow.”

The bible verse that Seward is mangling is Matt 10:29-31 :
“Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? And one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.” (KJV)

The usual interpretation is that not even something as trivial as a sparrow’s fall will not take place without God’s knowledge and consent. Seward turns this into “God taketh heed lest a sparrow fall”, suggesting that God is watching over sparrows to keep them from falling. He then says that “the God created from human vanity sees no difference between an eagle and a sparrow”.

This is pretty messed up, particularly in the context of “the difference between myself and attendant seemed to [Renfield] as nothing”. It foreshadows some very sloppy thinking on Seward’s part. Seward seems to have missed the repeated messages in the gospels about how the wealth and social status of people is, if anything, a hindrance to their salvation. * He believes he is an eagle, and the attendant is a lowly sparrow, because it makes him feel good, not because he has evidence to support this belief.

I think this is a telltale signal of Seward’s character, for those familiar with the basics of Christian (and Anglican) belief. That would probably be a large proportion of Victorian society of all classes.

—————
*For example, “…when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.” (Matt 6:1-6, passim, KJV) Or, “Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven. And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.” (Matt 19:23-24)

Bryan Alexander

Good analysis!
Seward is deeply flawed. Another mad scientist, alongside van Helsing.

Most Significant

Yes, they make quite a pair :)

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