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.
In Bram Stokers Dracula, the Count Dracula represents a homosexual figure, which in Victorian times was seen as an inversion of the “typical” male figure. Diana Kindron states the Victorian idea of a homosexual was one of a male body being fused with a female soul. This is just what Count Dracula represents in Bram Stoker’s novel, Dracula.
With male supremacy over powering the new femininity, the battle is lost in Stokers classic novel ‘Dracula’. Women resume their role as the traditional house wife and mother that society has crowned them to be, whilst men still rein in their ability to suppress the female mind. With Mina’s unsuccessful attempt at being a ‘New Woman’ individual, Lucy’s ultimate demise and Count Dracula’s termination by a knife to the throat and a stab through the heart, we can see that the theme of the ‘New Woman’ not only rises throughout the novel, but is also inevitably brought back to the conventional and traditional characteristics of the Victorian Woman.
In Bram Stoker's Dracula, the most blatant and powerful symbol is blood. He takes the blood that means so much to the believers of this legend and has it represent more than even they could imagine. Blood is the main object associated with vampires and vampirism. From a mythical standpoint, it is the basis of life for the vampires as they feed off of the blood of young, vibrant souls. From a more scientific standpoint blood is what would drip out of the corpse's mouth when family members would dig up their dead kin to check for the dreaded disease. Stoker takes the significance of this symbol and puts his own unique twist to the meaning of blood. He combines the traditional folklore of vampirism and the immense sexual undertones of the Victorian era to create a simply horrific tale which completely confuses the emotions of his readers. Stoker knew bloods importance in vampire history and used the overwhelming symbolism to convey his own personal lust and sexual obsessions. The scenes where Lucy is receiving transfusions; first from Holmwood, then from Seward, and the unforgettable vampire baptism between Dracula and Mina all have these very erotic, sexual feelings associated with them. What makes these so powerful is the combination of violence and sex. As a reader, you know that what Dracula is doing are horrific and wrong, but because they are so sexually described and associated you think you should enjoy them, but you can't. This is the confusion which stoker implements into his readers minds, especially ones of the Victorian era. This is why stoker used blood as the most important symbol in the novel; to create an intense horror that was not just in the words of the book, but in the minds of the reader.
Bram Stoker’s “Dracula,” came to print in 1897, at the height of Nineteenth century Victorian life in Europe, a progressively modern era that saw much medical and technological advancement. This era brought with it the contentious idea of an empowered woman, the “New Woman,” a woman who aspires to be educated as well as sexually and economically independent. Stoker gives a contrasting view of this notion in “Dracula.” While the main characters, Lucy and Mina, are clearly opposite in personality, they are both portrayed as unequal, defenseless objects that are to be protected and desired. However, one woman’s fate is determined by her weakness, while the other is determined by her strength.
Anna Julia Cooper once said, "Peace produced by suppression is neither natural nor desirable". The Victorian era was a time when men's rights were high above those of women and when concealing sexuality was the social norm. Sexuality was often suppressed because of the restraints put on women. The characters in Dracula were comfortable in this situation, until a rather supernatural disturbance arises and changes the ideology of the Victorian era. The character Dracula is the component needed to counter these limitations, but the fear associated with change lead to people reacting with violence and going against their moral compasses, in order to restore a sense of normality. In Bram Stoker's Dracula, the
Lucy enjoys the attention of her male suitors and even indecently jokes about polygamy, expressing a hidden want for sexual autonomy. Once Dracula arrives in England, Lucy becomes his initial target. Lucy’s sleepwalking shapes her into an ideal victim, as she is exposed in a vulnerable state in which her subconscious yearnings are more accessible and she is also physically available to Dracula. For her break of social protocol, she is transformed into a vampire, characterized by “voluptuous wantonness” (Stoker 231). She becomes even more beautiful in her undeath, in a state where she can embrace her sexuality, which enforces the belief that visible sensuality in women is unorthodox. In addition, the traditional view of what a woman should be, a nurturer, mother, and wife, is drastically inverted for a woman who does not wish to stay confined. Lucy is denied the opportunity to be married and instead develops into a child-feasting fiend. Her susceptibility to seduction is punished with an unnatural, vulgar monstrosity. Subsequently, Lucy is finally killed and reverted to her original, pre-vampiric state, when her fiancee, the male figure she was to be subordinate to, stakes her. This action cements a patriarchal figure’s control over Lucy once again, who only then, can be returned to a peaceful state of purity, while the other two prospective suitors watch as Arthur exert his dominance over Lucy. Comparatively, the female character who survives the Dracula’s tactics is Mina who does not succumb by maintaining the socially demanded
Have you ever wondered why females were placed on specific restrictions and guarded by their husbands in the Victorian period? Men were afraid of the manifestation that females would undergo; females would display horrific characteristics that could incinerate a man’s soul, engage in lustful activities that were unimaginable, and created an atmosphere that contained both despair and lust. However, men assumed that the female’s pure soul was being corrupted by a demonic force, which was out of their grip and understanding. In Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Stoker illustrates a group of men (Van Helsing, Johnathan Harker, John Seward, and Quincy Morris) who were afraid of Lucy’s transformation, and were willing to go so far just to end or destroy the manifestation entirely.
Dracula is a mythical creature designed to wreak havoc on the lives of mortals through the terror and intimidation of death by bite. Vampires are undead beings that kill humans for their blood to survive. Human blood is the vampire’s sustenance, and only way of staying alive. Throughout time, humans have come up with ways to repel vampires, such as lighting jack-o-lanterns on All Hallows Eve, placing garlic around the neck, a stake through the heart, sunlight, etc. Both beings have a survival instinct, whether it be hunger or safety, both are strong emotions. In the novel Dracula by Bram Stoker, the characters Lucy, John, and Van Helsing strive for survival, therefore killing Dracula.
Bram Stroker's Dracula(1897) setting and characters depicts of late nineteen century Britain had failing Victorian social systems. The story also tells of class system, values, technological advancement, and intellectual understanding of British people. This new change in end of nineteen century have impacted Dracula's writing. Studying this can enrich our understanding of historical implication of the book by observing locations, Characters, and important symbolism within it.
The Victorian Era has a large impact on the evil’s that is Dracula. The fears of society at the time as well as Stoker’s own beliefs on sex and homosexuality impact this as well. During the mid 20th century there were a lot of limitations for women. Everyone during this time was held to a high social standard but men had more lenience in the social world with freedom and pleasures that females did not get to experience. In this patriarchal society, men were becoming dominant over women which cause excuses for men’s sexual urges. Women were to refrain and dismiss sexuality altogether. They were to never be seen as assertive as this would be both alarming and unnatural. A “lady” should never act in such a way. “The theory justifying
The Victorian Era lasted most of the 19th century with Queen Victoria’s reign over Great Britain. During this period there was an ideology of “the modest and dutiful woman” and the “courteous man” that was sought after. Any kind of indecent or unseemly behavior was looked down upon as the people of the Victorian era were a proper people who did not act like savages. Now this perspective of crude content created a lot of censorship. Today, we are less modest with the invention of the internet, but the high society thing to do was to be prudent. Writers of that time had to be a little creative to slip salacious content into their works secretly to keep their works from being rejected from society and censorship. Bram Stoker,
In 1897 Irish creator distributed Dracula, setting up the advanced vampire novel. Before composing Dracula, Stoker met Armin Vambery who was a Hungarian essayist and voyager. Dracula likely rose up out of Vámbéry's dim stories of the Carpathian mountains (Time web). Stoker at that point put in quite a while looking into European old stories and fanciful stories of vampires. Dracula is an epistolary novel, composed as an accumulation of reasonable, yet totally anecdotal, journal sections, wires, letters, ship's logs, and news sections, all of which included a level of itemized authenticity to his story, an aptitude he created as a daily paper essayist.
I wish I would have written in the conclusion of my Dracula essay that Dracula, by Bram Stoker, along with Pollution and Redemption in Dracula, by Anne McWhir gave insight into Victorian values. I’ve previously stated that I was so focused on the events in Dracula that deeper themes and connections went over my head. Having to write the essay provided a better understanding of the period. Most of the actions carried out in Dracula are because of each character’s strong sense of duty and rationality. Jonathan Harker shrugs off the villagers warning because he does not believe in superstitions. He continues to the castle because he has a job to do. The novel really captures the hypocrisy of the Victorian Era through Lucy’s transformation. The