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Embracing Female Sexuality In Bram Stoker's Dracula

2383 words - 10 pages

Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula, written in 1897 during the Victorian era depicts and delves through the historical context of what society was like in the past. His extraordinary piece places a strong emphasis on sexuality by contrasting it with the conventional and stereotypical views towards sexuality that was once embellished during his life time. By painting an elaborate picture of the conservative society Stoker once grew up in, I contend that through his main female characters, he pursues to epitomize and challenge the Victorian notion of sexuality by incorporating female characters with strong sexual desires. This essay is primarily set forth to bring into light key ideas that may alter the way one perceives this novel by highlighting that Dracula is a seditious novel that embraces female sexuality in a time where “society sought to suppress woman sexuality” (Catherine J. Rose, 2).
Dracula accentuates the lust for sexuality through the main characters by contrasting it with the fears of the feminine sexuality during the Victorian period. In Victorian society, according to Dr.William Acton, a doctor during the Victorian period argued that a woman was either labelled as innocent and pure, or a wife and mother. If a woman was unable to fit in these precincts, consequently as a result she would be disdained and unfit for society and be classified as a whore (Acton, 180). The categorizing of woman is projected through the “uses the characters of Lucy and Mina as examples of the Victorian ideal of a proper woman, and the “weird sisters” as an example of women who are as bold as to ignore cultural boundaries of sexuality and societal constraints” according to Andrew Crockett from the UC Santa Barbara department of English (Andrew Crockett, 1). By contrasting the two types of woman in the novel, Stoker is inevitably trying to confront the idea of female sexuality by deliberately allowing some characters to act upon their own desires.
As the novel gradually progresses, the prejudiced view of sexuality unfolds through the different acts that Stoker presents for the reader. Stoker makes it clear for the reader that sexuality is a prominent theme by using vampirism as a disguise for the characters to show their “greatly desired and equally strongly feared fantasies” according to Phyllis Roth, the author of the novel "Suddenly Sexual Women in Bram Stoker's Dracula” (Roth, 59). In some cases, one might be able to suggest that the novel explores this idea that women are in fact more sexual than men. While it has been previously discussed that sexual acts were perceived to be a disconcerting subject matter during the traditional Victorian era, the conversion of the female characters into vampires is a sexual act that in a sense attracts and perhaps sexualizes them. One might be able to insinuate that Dracula gave these women an opportunity to go beyond what was expected for them during the Victorian era, and act upon their sexual desires that they have...

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