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Dracula And The Threat Of Female Sexual Expression By Bram Stoker

1697 words - 7 pages

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 Dracula was. As the story unfolded, Jonathan realized he is not just a guest, but a prisoner as well. The horror in the novel not only focuses on the “vampiric nature” (Soyokaze), but also on the fear and threat of female sexual expression and aggression in such a conservative Victorian society.
“Dracula, in one aspect, is a novel about the types of Victorian women and the representation of them in Victorian English society” (Humphrey). Through Mina, Lucy and the daughters of Dracula, Stoker symbolizes three different types of woman: the pure, the tempted and the impure. “Although Mina and Lucy possess similar qualities there is striking difference between the two” (Humphrey). Mina is the ideal 19th century Victorian woman; she is chaste, loyal and intelligent. On the other hand, Lucy’s ideal Victorian characteristics began to fade as she transformed from human to vampire and eventually those characteristics disappeared altogether. Lucy no longer embodied the Victorian woman and instead, “the sweetness was turned to adamantine, heartless cruelty, and the purity to voluptuous wantonness” (Stoker 187); her more flirtatious and overtly sexual side took hold. As a result of the transformation, “Lucy represented the potential for women in this strict Victorian society to give into temptation” (Podonsky) and evolve their personalities from pure to evil. The three “weird sisters” (Stoker 71) represent the complete opposite of the ideal Victorian woman with erotic and sexually aggressive characteristics. They were described has having a “deliberate voluptuousness which was both thrilling and repulsive, and as she arched her neck and licked her lips like an animal…the moisture shining on the scarlet lips and on the red tongue…” (Stoker 55-56). This depicted a very subliminally sexual scene between Jonathan and the sisters portraying female dominance, aggression and prowess.
The three sisters and Lucy’s “impure, hypersexual mannerisms were deemed unacceptable” (Humphrey), described as animalistic and repulsive to men because it was considered improper behavior for woman during that time. Dracula presented a clear underlying theme that portrayed the threat of female sexual expression along with a switch from male...

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