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Devils And Angels Essay

1120 words - 4 pages

Bram Stoker’s “Dracula,” came to print in 1897, at the height of Nineteenth century Victorian life in Europe, a progressively modern era that saw much medical and technological advancement. This era brought with it the contentious idea of an empowered woman, the “New Woman,” a woman who aspires to be educated as well as sexually and economically independent. Stoker gives contrasting views of this notion in “Dracula.” While the main characters, Lucy and Mina, are clearly opposite in personality, they are both portrayed as unequal, defenseless objects that are to be protected and desired. However, one woman’s fate is determined by her weakness, while the other is determined by her strength.
Lucy Westerna is introduced as a beautiful, flirtatious, young woman. Lucy is wealthy and takes pleasure in a carefree life. She enjoys spending her days taking walks and admiring art in the local galleries. Lucy is uninterested in books or education. However, she is very interested in becoming a bride, and with her enticing splendor has captured the hearts of several suitors. Judith Weissman explains how Lucy’s accommodating nature makes it hard for her to choose just one man, as she feels capable of pleasing and would be happy to oblige all three men (3). Lucy writes to Mina and describes in a self-satisfied tone of the three proposals she received in one day. One critic notes, although she claims to be remorseful for the broken hearted men she has been forced to reject, she sounds rather jubilant in her description (Johnson 4). Nonetheless, Lucy accepts the noble Arthur Holmwood’s proposal. Arthur is a doctor, whom Lucy’s mother likes very well.
While Lucy is overjoyed with planning her nuptials and daydreaming of her soon to be married life, her happiness quickly turns to restlessness as Arthur must leave to look after his ailing father. In Arthur’s absence, Lucy unknowingly takes up her old nervous habit of sleep-walking. Late in the night while sleep-walking she makes her way to the church courtyard overlooking the harbor. Here, Lucy is exposed and helpless and Dracula begins to take advantage of her. As Weissman notes, the change in Lucy is almost immediate; throughout the day she appears frail, gloomy and preoccupied, but as night falls, Lucy’s manner changes and she is sultry and aggressive (4). Arthur Holmwood returns to Lucy’s side and with the help of Van Helsing and his group of God-fearing men attempt to save her. Sadly, the men’s efforts are in vain, as Lucy does not contest her transformation and surrenders to Dracula. Lucy’s undead body is buried; however, she flees her coffin nightly to feed on unsuspecting victims. Dr. Seward notes in his diary, “ ‘ The sweetness was turned to adamantine, heartless cruelty, and the purity to voluptuous wantonness’ ” (Diary, 29 September, Continued). Van Helsing and the gang of men descend on Lucy’s burial chamber where they dread the task that is at hand. Nonetheless, Arthur bravely accepts the duty...

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