This book I think shows a very c lear and obvious theme of femininty throughout the novel. It shows women as innocent, quiete, and having high morals. Then they are sucked into the evil that is Dracula. The women are shown as whores to us the readers, and they even have a parallel to the Siren creatures - especialy Dracula's brides. They lure in men, and use their sexuality to do what they want with them.
Gynophobia is so prevalent in the horror story that Count Dracula comes across as the main tyrant of fear, but only a naive reader would think this. The true terroristic element comes from the fear of sexual expression of women. There is substantial evidence supporting female repression, “In the coffin lay no longer the foul thing, her destruction was yielded as a privilege to the one best entitled go it, her face of unequalled sweetness and purity.” (Stoker 134) Starting with Lucy’s transformation of becoming a vampire, it awakens her sexuality thus exposing the men’s vulnerability. Attempting to demonstrate woman can’t handle power. She becomes a sex crazed feign the men must destroy, to k... ... middle of paper ... ... her life is spared in the end.
But why this attitude? I believe it is the aggressive sexuality that the vampire Lucy displays that ... ... middle of paper ... ...in excluding her from their undertakings, and include her again. However, now that she is infected with vampire blood and is capable of reading Dracula's mind, the men both fear and need her. They are forced to accept her in the public realm, but the quest is to eventually rid her of evil influence and restore her purity again, that is, to turn her back into the virtuous woman who will stay in the dominion of the home and not pose a threat to men. The end of this novel is the restoration of a world as the Victorians know it: the vampire destroyed, the women rid of their evil sexual desires and kept out of the dangerous world outside their homes, and the men safe and free in a male-dominated world, playing their exclusive gallant, intelligent, and adventurous roles.
An essay in the mid 1800’s on the duties and nature of men and women claims that “[women] must be enduringly, incorruptibly, good” (Ruskin, 120). There was an impossible expectation of purity, and innocence, which was ore suited for fictional women than actual human beings. The purity of women, however goes beyond sexual purity but also the purity of their minds from the dangerous feminist ideals which where threatening their compliance in the overwhelmingly patriarchal society. Once sullied you switched from innocent to temptress, from the good woman to a vampire a minion of Dracula. The nature of black and white, clear-cut status of women was a common theme in Victorian novels, going beyond just vampires.
Furthermore, Macbeth himself, although clearly playing a pivotal role in the fatal act, is not entirely convinced that he should murder in order to become king and is therefore not nearly as responsible as his wife. Lady Macbeth however, manipulates her husband and convinces him to go through with the murder, even though he would have sooner not killed the king without her intervention. Lady Macbeth believes wholeheartedly that the King must die, from as soon as she is aware of the witches’ prophecy. After reading Macbeth’s letter to her, Lady Macbeth is certain that her husband “shalt be what [he] art promised”. However she also believes that her husband is “too full of the milk of human kindness to catch the nearest way”.
Through Stoker’s complete and utter manipulation of Mina and Lucy, he practically forces the reader to analyze the co-existence of dominant males and inferior females in society and to simultaneously accept the fact that the actual text of Dracula is reinforcing the typical female stereotypes that have developed throughout the ages. Stoker uses phenomenal imagery to produce a late nineteenth century setting, located somewhere within eastern Europe. Transylvania, the infamous home to Dracula himself, is described in great detail in Harker’s journal. There, Stoker purposely and meticulously outlines Dracula’s castle and the surrounding town. Stoker manages to do this with a very gothic tone, immediately lowering the societal status of women.
According to Altner, “Romance between Mina Harker and Count Dracula is not a new concept. While vacationing in Whitby, Mina is instantly attracted to a handsome stranger. Mina holds secret, passionate assignations with him, although she feels guilty about her husband Jonathan (72). Stoker argues that “Mina is authority’s scapegoat; she dies to illuminate the necessity of escape. There is nothing pretty about Mina’s death or undeath.
In Case's article “Tasting the Original Apple,” it talks about the role that now the new woman has and how it comes into conflict with how men react towards it as stated “Dracula is often read as a largely reactionary response to the threat of autonomous female sexuality posed by the phenomenon of the "New Woman," with its anxieties about female sexuality being most clearly visible in Lucy Westenra's story. Particularly once she has been "vamped," Lucy's sexual assertiveness seems to link her with the New Woman. But Lucy's actions as a vampire, like those of the "awful women" (42) Jonathan encounters at Dracula's castle, perhaps owe less to the specific threat posed by the New Woman's insistence on sexual autonomy than to the ambivalences built into the model of Victorian womanhood from the start. Since ideal womanhood (and the ground of male desire) was characterized by a combination of total sexual purity and at least the potential for passionate devotion to a man, this model... ... middle of paper ... ...if not all some. From Lucy her own words, “Why can’t they let a girl marry three men, or as many as want her, and save all this trouble?” (Stoker and Hindle, 67).
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 Cro... ... middle of paper ... ... the Victorian ideals is seen as a threat to society and is deemed unfit. This scene illuminates and magnifies upon addressing his strong character by nature, which in many ways contrasts upon Harkers character in the novel. Conclusively, while Bram Stokers novel Dracula is seen as a gothic and horror story, I argue that it is a novel that seeks to address female sexuality directly. Seen through numerous passages, Stoker confronts and battles the views between sexuality during the Victorian era though his genius of characterization of characters present within the novel. As it seems highly intentional to me, I respect the way in which he criticizes and critiques upon female sexuality by bringing into light new ideas regarding female desires.
As Stade states “Women are...much more susceptible to Dracula because…. [women’s] beauty is skin deep....[women] are crazy, criminal, selfish...sexy, half-evolved monsters of appetite….A woman needs a husband to keep her in line.” Though Stade observes, that Mina is pure and “clean” on the exterior, she is a typical woman whom he describes above, i.e; as a wild animalistic being who allegedly needs “protection” of a man; her father, brother than her husband and eventually her son(s) to keep her on the right “path” and guided by the better being, the male. Stade also believes that without her husband and the others, Mina would never have the chance to escape vampirism. As a female, despite the outstanding traits she shows in the novel, she would never be able to outplay Dracula and would surely end up a vampire herself just like Lucy and the Vampire