The Portrayal of the Feminine in Stoker’s Dracula Essay

1390 Words Apr 28th, 2012 6 Pages
Discuss the portrayal of the feminine in Stoker’s Dracula

In Dracula, Stoker portrays the typical women: The new woman, the femme fatale and the damsel in distress, all common concepts in gothic literature. There are three predominant female roles within Dracula: Mina Murray, Lucy Westenra and the three vampire brides, all of which possess different attributes and play different roles within the novel. It is apparent that the feminine portrayal within this novel, especially the sexual nature, is an un-doubtable strong, reoccurring theme.

The first proper introduction to women in Dracula is when Harker encounters with the three vampire brides. During this encounter the gender roles are reversed as Harker becomes submissive to the women
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These three brides represent the femme fatale, the fatal woman. The over sexualised women whose charms ensnare her lovers in bonds of irresistible desire, often leading them into compromising, dangerous, and deadly situations. These women serve as monstrous reminders of what happens if the boundaries of proper behaviour and traditional gender roles are crossed. These women, although beautiful, possess the wrong type of beauty, one of which brands them as evil, openly sexual and seductive women. Who, in addition lack the chaste passivity and fragility of the ideal Victorian lady, thus making them deserving of some form of punishment in order for them to be returned to their pure, innocent, albeit dead, human form.

These women have strong sexual powers, to which they use to their advantage in dangering men with their reasoning. Nearing the end of Dracula the three brides are brought back into focus. When even Van Helsing, the strong doctor and picturesque example of what a Victorian male was expected to be, hesitates because “She was so fair to look on, so radiantly beautiful, so exquisitely voluptuous, that the very instinct of man in me, which calls some of my sex to love and to protect one of hers, made my head whirl with new emotion.” This heightens the danger over the women’s control and influence over men as even the knowledgeable and powerful…