In Carmilla and “The Vampyre” the authors use storytelling and descriptive language to address conventions about sexuality in European culture in the 19th century. The ideas first started in these works helped to define the vampire genre and helped to challenge established religious, cultural, and gender roles of the era. In “The Vampyre”, Polidori
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.
I have had a long attraction to vampires ever since I was a young person. I remember watching the movie INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE (1994) for the first time, I was mesmerized. Louis played by the actor Brad Pitt and Le Stat played by Tom Cruise were sophisticated, worldly, exciting and most of all sexy. They were not sexy in the traditional sense of “tall, dark and handsome”, more like pale and with sunken in eyes, but yet I found myself deeply attracted to them. I found their lure and mysteriousness sexy and exciting. I found myself wanting more. I often attribute my birthday being on Friday the 13th to my interest in what most people would fear, my love for vampires. And even though you do not see any character in the film have sex. The overwhelming sexual tension in the film makes the air thick. The common mix of sexuality and fear is what fuels our desires towards the undead, and such is the case in Interview With a Vampire. In my paper, I plan to discuss the mix of sexuality and fear in reference to the film.
Society has set rules in place that are constricting of new ideas and behaviours. If history has taught us anything, it is that we as a society need to be more open minded, specifically with sexuality. It is 2015 and we are aware that woman’s sexuality is a very real thing that should be celebrated, ‘The company of Wolves’ shows us that we haven’t always embraced woman’s sexuality with open arms. Throughout history people who were homosexual were often thought of at sinners, rebellious or even possibly having a mental illness. ‘Dracula’ has undertones of homosexuality but does it ever so slightly that society didn’t know what to make of it. Dracula is a rich, established vampire who might be gay, this thought is allowing people to get used to the idea that homosexuality doesn’t make you evil. ‘The Company of Wolves’ and ‘Dracula are both stories that deal with repressing sexuality, pushing the boundaries of society’s “normality” and embracing new generations and ideas. The characters Dracula and the Wolf both represent anxieties about sexuality, i.e homosexuality and woman’s sexuality, and at one point being unheard of or unspoken about by society.
The story of Dracula is well documented and has stood the test of time since it’s Victorian age creation. More times than not, literature writings are a reflection of the era from which they are produced. In the case of Dracula, Vampire literature expresses the fears of a society. Which leads me to the topic I chose to review: sexuality. The Victorian Era was viewed as a period diluted in intense sexual repression and I believe that Dracula effectively exploited this as the fear of sexuality was commonplace in the society. In this paper I will examine Bram Stoker’s Dracula and highlight his use of sexuality. I will analysis the female sexuality that is prevalent throughout the book, the complexities are at work within the text, and the
The first relationship explored in the novel, that of Dracula and Jonathan, defies the constraints of heteronormative sexuality. Dracula’s interest in seducing, penetrating and draining another male are desires that are acted out in the novel, however not solely by the Count himself, but instead by his three vampiric paramours. The homoerotic desire between Dracula and Jonathan is offered a feminine form for the masculine penetration that is being detailed (Craft,
Perhaps no work of literature has ever been composed without being a product of its era, mainly because the human being responsible for writing it develops their worldview within a particular era. Thus, with Bram Stoker's Dracula, though we have a vampire myth novel filled with terror, horror, and evil, the story is a thinly veiled disguise of the repressed sexual mores of the Victorian era. If we look to critical interpretation and commentary to win support for such a thesis, we find it aplenty "For erotic Dracula certainly is. 'Quasi-pornography' one critic labels it. Another describes it as a 'kind of incestuous, necrophilious, oral-anal-sadistic all-in-wrestling matching'. A
The vampire has been a mysterious and enticing figure since its entrance into popular culture, usually regarded as the tale Dracula written in 1897 by Bram Stoker. Stoker, and later Anne Rice, as well as many other writers and directors have capitalized on the fascination the public has with these dark creatures of the night. Whether they are in books or on the big screen vampires capture our imagination, tantalizing us with a taste of the darker side of life. But if vampires are so dark and so different than we are, is that what makes them so fascinating? Is it because they symbolize the forbidden? Is it because they resemble humans, but act nothing like them? Or is it because we all have a fascination with things that we don't
Although in modern times people are exposed to sexuality from a young age through advertisements, media, and pop culture, during the Victorian era in England, the only acceptable exploration of repressed sexual desire was through a book that upholds the Christian belief of sexuality’s corruptive effects on society. In Bram Stoker’s Dracula, a gothic, horror novel, Dracula, a vampire from Transylvania, preys on Mina Harker, a devoted Christian and intelligent woman, and Lucy Westenra, an innocent, young woman pursued by three suitors, by luring them and sucking their blood; the women and their suitors form a gang of vampire fighters who track and eventually kill Dracula defeating his devilry with the forces of
In a world of True Blood and Twilight it is easily seen by the current young adult generation as to how sexualization of vampires is inevitable and as a result is easily accepted. However according to Christopher Craft and his work on “Gender and Inversion”, that conventional vampiric sexualization is more complex than perceived. Craft’s work outlines many of Bram Stoker’s theses throughout his novel Dracula. He states how there is a gender inversion within Stoker’s vampire; questioning conventional Victorian “gender codes” as the novel unravels. Focusing primarily on the gender paradigm, Craft surfaces arguments that would shatter beliefs of homophobic readers, introducing the implicit homoeroticism within the story. Stepping back,
Bram Stoker, author of Dracula, not only creates the early depiction of vampire stories; but writes more to contradict the age old beliefs of women and their role in society. Dracula is more that just a vampire story. There is a deeper level to this. A level in which it can incite change in the way one percieves women. There is a noition that all women were to be the same but Dracula refutes that. Vampire sexuality, as represented in Bram Stoker 's Dracula, reveals itself as both a phenomenon that is terrifyingly to the average and as a distorted mirror image of human behavior and ideals. On one hand, the vampire inspires a bigoted response because his needs violate the normal limits of matrimony. He is physiologically dependent on women who are foreign to him. With that being said, the novel undermines the simple idea of the foreign, by suggesting that the most unique aspects of a vampire 's sex life are strangely familiar because they parody or literalize human sexuality. This argument wrap around the idea that there is a culture shift in Victorian women which becomes to be defined as the “New Women” of this society. Most can point to the evolution through Stoker’s female characters. The change in women and their exploration of sexuality also accompanied by the rebellion agsisnt the Victorian beliefs expresses extreme desire for the breakout of gender roles. Bram Stoker’s Dracula will exhibit powerful female charaterisitics and sexuality that challenges the Vicotiran
Bram Stoker’s “Dracula,” a novel about a vampire who disrupts the lives of Jonathan Harker and his friends, seems to turn the sequence of events into an expression of the fears and anxieties that are prevalent in Victorian society. Lucy Westenra could be seen as the Ideal Victorian woman through her purity and beauty. However, such moments as “why can’t they let a girl marry three men, or as many as want her,” disrupts that idea (64). The novel registers concern about women’s gender and sexuality. Indeed, Dracula can be read as a warning of what will happen to woman who exhibit these behaviors through showing and comparing the experiences of Lucy, the vampire sisters and Mina. Such concerns are resolved by the end of the novel with the death of Lucy and the vampire sisters symbolizing the death of the sexual New Woman.
The Vampires in the novels explore sexual deviancy, but are always ultimately punished in doing so. The homosexual parentage of Louis and Lestat to Claudia and of Armand to Sybelle and Benji are both destroyed in their own way. Claudia and Louis’ final rejection of Lestat and Armand’s failure in being able to protect Sybelle and Benji from Marius, are both examples of homosexual families being explored and then finally being punished for going against the accepted social norm of 20th century culture. This supports Haggerty’s claim that readers want to ‘explore unauthorized desires and at the same time see them bleed’, by exploring and then destroying homosexual relationships repeatedly throughout the collection. When reading the characters as ‘homosexual’ as Haggerty suggests, this punishment dynamic makes it unavoidable to find truth in Haggerty’s claim that Rice
Vampires as a whole species have changed as time progresses, and so has Bram Stoker’s iconic Count Dracula. Although the Count ranks as, perhaps, the most famous vampire, vampire stories, myths, and legends were in circulation for over a century before Stoker wrote Dracula. Starting in the 1700’s, vampire stories began appearing in southeastern Europe, exploiting fears of witches and evil spirits. Like many monsters, vampires evolved to reflect societal fears which was taken advantage of by several writers including Bram Stoker. This interpretation of the older legends acted as a metaphor for the west’s fear of eastern foreigners and, unintentionally, one of the most popular reference points for future vampire stories. As vampires have been around for almost three centuries, they have adapted and changed with the times, becoming more modern and reflecting the fears and desires of their audience. Since his creation, Dracula has morphed from his initial monstrous depiction into many modern interpretations, including a children’s character.
The three vampires prepare to feed on Jonathan while seducing him in his trance-like state. “I could feel the soft, shivering touch of the lips on the supersensitive skin of my throat, and the hard dents of two sharp teeth, just touching and pausing there. I closed my eyes in a languorous ecstasy and waited...” (Stoker 45-46). This quote describes how the vampires explicitly lure in Jonathan until he is helpless, vulnerable, and easy to feed on. A parallel can be made between the vampires thirst for Jonathan’s blood and the victorian female’s lust, or thirst, for sex. Jeffery Andrew Weinstock, author of academic journal “Vampires, Vampires, Everywhere!” describes the sexuality of vampires. “Vampires provide representations of tabooed sexuality to establish and reinforce proper sexual roles. Vampires are, quite simply, very, very naughty. They are seldom decorously heterosexual, monogamous, and respectful partners” (Weinstock 4). Vampires’ actions are considered taboo in the twenty-first century, much less the Victorian Era. To conclude, vampires are sexual creatures that show a side of live the Victorians tried to