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“I used to fancy that life was a positive and perpetual entity, and that by consuming a multitude of live things, no matter how low in the scale of creation, one might indefinitely prolong life. At times I held the belief so strongly that I actually tried to take human life. The doctor here will bear me out that on one occasion I tried to kill him for the purpose of strengthening my vital powers by the assimilation with my own body of his life through the medium of his blood…”

This is the plainest explanation Renfield ever gives about his thoughts and motives. His goal is to increase his lifespan, not to become more powerful in any way. Apparently Renfield’s initial plan was not just to spill Seward’s blood. Renfield admits to murderous intent in his attack on Seward, but it seems once he spilled Seward’s blood, that blood drew all of his attention.

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“Even if [Madam Mina] be not harmed, her heart may fail her in so much and so many horrors and hereafter she may suffer, both in waking, from her nerves, and in sleep, from her dreams. And, besides, she is young woman and not so long married, there may be other things to think of some time, if not now.”

What “other things” is Van Helsing thinking of? One possibility is pregnancy, and the belief that the fetus could be affected by the mother’s experiences, thoughts, and emotions. This could have a positive or a negative influence; a strong negative influence, such as a serious fright, could lead to the child being disabled or disfigured.

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