The Derivation of Incest and Pedophilia as a Repressed Societal Fear in Dracula
Franco Moretti provides a cogent argument for a particular understanding of societal fears existing in the Britain mind of the Victorian Era manifest in the gothic novel, Dracula. In his reading of Dracula, he chooses to extrapolate these fears along the lines of Marxist and psychoanalytic interpretative frameworks. Though Moretti admits that “it is hard to unite them harmoniously” (Moretti 104), he does not suppose these two frameworks to be mutually exclusive. In both cases, terror serves a dual function. It simultaneously expresses and hides the unconscious content of society. Dracula serves a metaphor for this content in two capacities. On the one hand, he symbolizes the uncontrollable individual pursuit of capital outside any moral boundaries. On the other, he symbolizes the liberator of sexual desire, the element which draws the trope of lust and passion into explicit social discourse. The repressive element in relation to this symbol is established solely in how it compromises the integrity of the Victorian notion of the woman. When Moretti notes that “[f]ear and attraction are one and the same… (Stoker 99)”, he is addressing the dynamic between a man and a woman. “Vampirism is an excellent example of the identity of desire and fear: let us therefore put it at the center of analysis. (100)” Though his concern throughout the article seems to be caught up in deriving the real fear in British society, by thematizing the male-female portion of the transgressive sexuality spectrum, he overlooks what appears to be, through further textual analysis, an equally prevalent hidden fear in British society: pedophilia.
Moretti establishes the family, not marriage, as “one of the institutions most threatened by the monsters is the family. (Moretti 98)” If it were the case that the threatened marriage held primacy among British fears, then the reclamation of Mina’s purity would have served to illustrate the re-establishment of social integrity. However, the domestic sphere is not complete without offspring, which serves to unify and continue the cohesive national British identity. Whereas Mina’s purity serves a glaring illustrative point, the relevance of the question of purity lies in how it compromises the continuation and propriety of the hereditary line. The characters in Dracula seem innately aware of the priorities in line with this supposition, that not only must the line continue, but it must retain its integrity. Dr. Seward knows it might become “necessary to take certain steps. (Stoker 377)” and fully condones the use of euthanasia. Mina fully accepts “that there have been times when brave men have killed their wives and their womenkind… (372)”
In this regard, Mina’s position distinctly resembles that of Lucy. Once it became clear that Lucy had become a fully realized sexual being, she became useless to society. Accordingly, she “died” in the eyes of the...