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Repressed Sexuality in Bram Stoker's Dracula

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Repressed Sexuality in Bram Stoker's Dracula

    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 sexual search of the novel unearths the following:  seduction, rape, necrophilia, pedophilia, incest, adultery, oral sex, group sex, menstruation, venereal disease, voyeurism" (Leatherdale  155-156).  While there are many other interpretations of the novel, such as the vampire as a Satan figure who wishes to take away the mortality Christ won mankind, this analysis will explore how it reads as a story of repressed sexuality and the conflict it creates for the characters living in a repressed Victorian world.

Christopher Craft, in his review of the novel, argues that the gender roles of males and females were extremely well-defined and limiting in Victorian society.  The male was perceived as the stronger of the sexes, and women were relegated to a voiceless and submissive role.  He argues that Harker's eager anticipation of the incestuous vampire daughters is a direct parallel of the roles of men and women in Victorian society, but the roles are reversed "Harker awaits an erotic fulfillment ...

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... novel allows an outlet for natural, human biological necessities, no doubt many Victorian readers were similarly thrilled and repulsed by its deliberate depiction of them.


Auerbach, N. A. and Skal, D. J.  Bram Stoker:  Dracula:  Authoritative Text, Contexts, Reviews and Reactions, Dramatic and Film Variations, Criticism.  New York, W. W. Norton & Company, 1997.

Carter, M. L. (ed.).  Dracula:  The Vampire and the Critics.  Ann Arbor, U.M.I. Research Press, 1988. 

Darling, L.  Dracula is us:  the vampire always sinks his fangs into our deepest fears.  Newsday.  Nov. 8, 1992, (07) 1-5.

Leatherdale, C.  Dracula:  The Novel and the Legend:  A Study of Bram Stoker's Gothic Masterpiece.  Brighton, Desert Island Books, 1993.

Taylor, S. B.  Stoker's Dracula.  The Explicator.  Vol. 55.  Sept. 1, 1996, (29-31) 1-3. 

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