Katherine Ramsland in The Science of Vampires has this to say about the sexual scene of Dracula and Mina. “All that sucking suggests an infantile state, and the repressed male sexual imagination of Victorian times.” (Ramsland, Katherine p.223) To add to this Stephen King said this about the scene. “The Count clutching Mina, his face slathered with her blood. In an obscene parody of the marriage sacrament, he opens a vein in his own chest with one dirty fingernail and forces her to drink.” (King, p73) After Mina has been seduced by Dracula, the heroes of the book put into motion their plans to stops him. The character Van Helsing tries to bless Mina in one point of the book with a Holy Communion wafer, but when it is placed on her forehead, it burns her.
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.
The nature of black and white, clear-cut status of women was a common theme in Victorian novels, going beyond just vampires. Stubbs observes that there are two types of women in Victorian novels. The first is the sweet and innocent respectable virgin, and then there is the more promiscuous “femme fatale” that corrupts men with her sexuality. (Stubbs, 10) In Dracula Mina touches both of these categories but ends firmly planted in the prior. Mina nearly descends from the sweet and respectable woman into a vampire the very epitome of femme fatale.
Mina says in the play “flowers of garlic were hung from the window frames”, which suggests she was scared of Dracula. She also has a crucifix on the table. Mina says “the night air touched my face”, setting a ghostly scene. The setting could be improved by having Dracula bursting his way in through a locked door. This would cause shock and increase the feeling of tension.
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.
This is a common theme, especially within the tales that we have seen;most notably comparable is the tale The Girl with the Hungry Eyes. A magical lust is used by the vampire. This tactic seems to be most common in literature about female vampires and Chugoro is no exception. Love is used as a manipulation tactic, but it is compounded with being forbidden which makes the love all the more enticing. Chugoro even recalls briefly a tale warning him of such follies made by foolish lovers, when he falls for the vampire.
Lucy has to be punished since she allowed to be bitten by Dracula and kept acted far from the standards of a Victorian woman. Swartz-Levine explains, “ Lucy, gives permission for these acts to occur--she is performing an act of contrition by admitting her sins and asking for punishment so that she can be forgiven and attain the afterlife” (5). By admitting to her sins and being killed in her vampiric form her soul is freed and she can be forgiven in the afterlife. Due to vampire lore one who becomes a vampire has their soul trapped in torment until they are killed. Lucy’s death symbolizes salvation and freeing her soul from her vampiric form is how.
Contemporary society overindulging in its use of the vampire has established it as extraneous, creating a reduced effect of revulsion and fear towards the vampire and thus a devalued consequence in the response of society. Silence of the lambs can be seen as an updated narrative of reverse consumerism as Hannibal’s “compulsion to feed on humans” is a reflection of the monstrously exaggerated civilization of the 20th century. Therefore these examples show how the qualities of the vampire manifest fear and how this shapes the manner in which society responds to it. Through a feminist reading of Bram stoker’s novel Dracula, there is examination into the alluring power of the vampire that accompanies their overt sexuality. This is a facet of the vampire, which creates a "greatly desired and equally strongly feared fantasy" (Glennis Byron, 1996) within the society of the Victorian era.
Dracula is selecting the women he wants to transform very meticulously. He will not settle for a plain Jane, he must have the beautiful Lucy. To Stoker, Lucy’s sexuality would have lowered her in the eyes of the class system. Stoker likens this to her descent into vampirehood, as a fall from good graces into the pits of despair and turmoil. However, even a woman with as loose and unbound morals as Lucy does not deserve to rot in Hell for something she did not do.
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.