The Derivation of Incest and Pedophilia as a Repressed Societal Fear in Dracula

The Derivation of Incest and Pedophilia as a Repressed Societal Fear in Dracula

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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,...


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... the discourse when the trope of sexual explicitness is represented. The vampire bite is understood as a distinctly sexual act, initiating the transition of the victim towards passion and lust. The inclusion of children into the realm of vampirism, even in the absence of obvious sexual and gender distinctions, does not escape the implications of the nature of this act. Jonathon Harker, in his seemingly innocent epilogue, aligns sexuality with children. The child becomes bound by the same repressive fear applied to the male-female relationship. If the child can fall victim to the vampire, then the domestic sphere, the family, can be split not only along the lines which compromise the holy bond between husband and wife, but also those between the positions of parent and offspring, which extend the repressive field of sexuality into the realm of pedophilia and incest.

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