In a particular addition of Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula, Maurice Hindle had suggested that “sex was the monster Stoker feared most.” This essay will examine the examples of this statement in the Dracula text, focusing on female sexuality. The essay will also briefly look at an article Stoker had written after Dracula which also displays Stoker’s fear.
Sticking true to the Vicortain setting of his novel, Bram Stoker ensures that gender and gendered behavior is well defined throughout his novel Dracula. He explicitly genders the characterizations of his characters; however, most of them do not portray characteristics exclusively associated with their gender. In order to highlight such complexities, Stoker must acknowledge prevailing thoughts on gendered behavior. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, masculinity is associated with “strength...vigor…[and] power” ("masculine, adj. and n."). Contrastingly, the feminine is seen as “delica[te]” ("feminine, adj. and n.") and emotional. One of the strongest characterististics of either masculine or feminine behavior is that it is “often contrasted with a corresponding object deemed to be” ("feminine, adj. and n.") of the opposite gender. It is this strong contrast that Stoker’s portrayal of characters with a mixture of a traits a bold choice. Stoker’s portrayal of Dracula as the epitome of traditional masculinity casts negative light on the masculine archetype; when this villain is
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.
In the novel, Dracula, by Bram Stoker, we are introduced to two specific ladies that are essential to the essence of this gothic, horror novel. These two women are Mina Harker and Lucy Westenra. The purpose for these two women was for Stoke to clearly depict the two types of women: the innocent and the contaminated. In the beginning, the women were both examples of the stereotypical flawless women of this time period. However, as the novel seems to progress, major differences are bound to arise. Although both women, Lucy and Mina, share the same innocent characteristics, it’s more ascertain that with naïve and inability of self control, Lucy creates a boundary that shows the difference between these two ladies and ultimately causes her
In the late 19th century, when Dracula by Bram Stoker is written, women were only perceived as conservative housewives, only tending to their family’s needs and being solely dependent of their husbands to provide for them. This novel portrays that completely in accordance to Mina Harker, but Lucy Westenra is the complete opposite. Lucy parades around in just her demeanor as a promiscuous and sexual person. While Mina only cares about learning new things in order to assist her soon-to-be husband Jonathan Harker. Lucy and Mina both become victims of vampirism in the novel. Mina is fortunate but Lucy is not. Overall, the assumption of women as the weaker specimen is greatly immense in the late 19th century. There are also many underlying
Throughout the Victorian period in which Dracula was written, there was great concern over the roles of women, and the place they held in society. The two central female characters in Dracula are Mina Murray, later Mina Harker, and Lucy Westenra, though arguably Dracula’s three daughters also hold a strong place in terms of female characters in the novel also.
In his Literary Theory: The Basics, H. Bertens classifies stereotypes of women in literature into a number of categories; dangerous seductress, self-sacrificing angel, dissatisfied shrew, and defenseless lamb, completely incapable of self-sufficiency, or self-control, and dependent on male intervention. Bertens concludes that the primary objective of these women – or “constructions” – is to serve a “not-so-hidden purpose: the continued cultural and social domination of males”. One such novel that came under feminist scrutiny for these particular reasons was Bram Stoker’s Dracula, although this perlustration didn’t occur until 70 years after Stoker originally penned his masterpiece. However, during the mid-1960s, the rise of the feminist
During the Romantic Era, Bram Stoker created a timeless monster in his novel, Dracula. Stoker uses a series of letters and journal entries to tell the story form a first person point of view. The Count, for whom the book is named, seems to be invincible to mere man. Stoker uses his character of Dracula to reflect the elements of romanticism through his supernatural powers, a fascination with youth and innocence, and imagery.
Women are regarded as being second to man in the society, and this is significantly challenged by the modern woman. She believes in enjoying equal rights as those of men, and they demand inclusion in every matter whether political, scientific or military. In the novel Dracula by Stoker, the cultural difference between men and women is drawn by the characters used in the Victorian era. Bram Stoker wrote the novel Dracula in the 19th century, and it was composed in the style of letters, newspaper articles, journal entries and telegrams to convey a realistic story to the reader. The major theme found in the novel is gender roles in the 19th century, primarily referred to as the Victorian Era. During this period, women struggled to attain gender equality through challenging traditional roles that defined them. These women, as perceived in the novel, do not want to be domestic and act as caretakers of their children, nor obey the demands of their husbands but to remain impassive (Kunz 34). The women strived to become a modern woman, who is liberated, intelligent and who can openly express her ideas without fear of intimidation. Throughout the novel, Stoker portrays females as being inferior to men, as seen from the characteristics of Dracula’s victims; showing that gender roles in patriarchal societies are strict and restrict both women and men with the ladies being viewed as the distressed gender while the male is expected to be heroes who should be dependent upon.
In Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula, Stoker’s use of inverted gender roles allows readers to grasp the sense of obscureness throughout, eventually leading to the reader’s realization that these characters are rather similar to the “monster” which they call Dracula. Despite being in the Victorian era, Stoker’s use of sexuality in the novel contributes to the reasoning of obscureness going against the Victorian morals and values. Throughout the novel the stereotypical roles of the Victorian man and woman are inverted to draw attention to the similarities between Dracula and the characters. Vague to a majority of readers, Bram Stoker uses Dracula as a negative connotation on society being that the values of
The late nineteenth century Irish novelist, Bram Stoker is most famous for creating Dracula, one of the most popular and well-known vampire stories ever written. Dracula is a gothic, “horror novel about a vampire named Count Dracula who is looking to move from his native country of Transylvania to England” (Shmoop Editorial Team). Unbeknownst of Dracula’s plans, Jonathan Harker, a young English lawyer, traveled to Castle Dracula to help the count with his plans and talk to him about all his options. At first Jonathan was surprised by the Count’s knowledge, politeness, and overall hospitality. However, the longer Jonathan remained in the castle the more uneasy and suspicious he became as he began to realize just how strange and different
After decades of cheesy horror movies, the image of vampires has been misconstrued as sparkly, angsty teenage boys or handsome men that lure in girls for the fresh blood of a virgin. Many of these stereotypical vampires are influenced by the story of Dracula, held in the Victorian era. Yet, many of the stories published about vampires diverge from the message that Bram Stoker is trying to make. During the Victorian period, sexuality is repressed by society, as sexual behaviors from women are viewed as unacceptable. In the Gothic horror novel Dracula, Bram Stoker uses the traumatic experience of Jonathan Harker at Count Dracula’s castle and the invasion of vampires in Great Britain to create a social commentary on the sexual repression occurring in this era and its detrimental effect on the men.
The relationship that exists between gender, sexuality and sexual practice is one that is not static, but is ever changing and shifting dependent upon the society in which it exists (Brickell, 2007). This essay aims to describe how Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel, Dracula, presents a “characteristic, if hyperbolic, instance of Victorian anxiety over the potential fluidity of gender roles” (Craft, 111-112), whilst also inverting and subverting conventional Victorian gender patterns through the characterisation and portrayal of the vampire women residing in Count Dracula’s castle, Mina, and Lucy as well as the ‘feminine’ passivity and submissive depiction of Jonathan Harker.
Bram Stoker's novel Dracula, published in 1897, explores various sexual erotic possibilities in the vampire's embrace, as discussed by Leonard Wolf. The novel confronts Victorian fears of homosexuality; that were current at the time due to the trial of playwright Oscar Wilde. The vampire's embrace could also be interpreted as an illustration of Victorian fears of the changing role of women. Therefore it is important to consider: the historical context of the novel; the Victorian notion of the `New Woman' specifically the character of Lucy Westenra; the inversion of gender roles; notions of sexuality; and the emasculation of men, by lessening their power over women; in the novel Dracula. In doing this I will be able to explore the effects