The Treatment of Women in Bram Stoker's Dracula Essay

The Treatment of Women in Bram Stoker's Dracula Essay

Length: 1042 words (3 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

The Treatment of Women in Bram Stoker's Dracula  


In reading Bram Stoker's Dracula, I find the treatment of the two main female characters-- Lucy Westenra and Mina Harker-- especially intriguing. These two women are two opposite archetypes created by a society of threatened men trying to protect themselves.

Lucy is the Medusa archetype. She is physically attractive, and wins the heart of any man who comes near her (e.g. Arthur, Quincey, Jack, and Van Helsing). Her chief quality is sensual beauty, but her sexual desire is repressed and not allowed to communicate. And yet both the spiritual side and the sexual side are in her, and when the long repressed sexuality finds a vent, it explodes and takes over completely. In other words, she is transformed into the completely voluptuous female vampire precisely because her sexual side of personality had been completely buried by her Victorian education. Her repressed self needs such expression that when Dracula came along, she went out to greet him, and then invited him into the house (by opening her window to the bat). He is her vent for sexual expression.

When Lucy becomes a vampire herself, John Seward describes her as follows:

She seemed like a nightmare of Lucy as she lay there; the pointed teeth, the bloodstained, voluptuous mouth -- which made one shudder to see -- the whole carnal and unspiritual appearance, seeming like a devilish mockery of Lucy's sweet purity (252; ch.16).

And for this voluptuous Lucy he has no pity: "the remnant of my love passed into hate and loathing; had she then to be killed, I could have done it with savage delight" (249; ch.16).

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.

 

Text Cited

Stoker, Bram. Dracula. Ed. Glennis Byron. Peterborough: Broadview, 1998.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Essay on Hypnotism’s Influence on Bram Stoker and Dracula

- The use of hypnotism is extensive throughout the last few chapters of Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Van Helsing places Mina in a hypnotic state or trance numerous times in order to locate Dracula and to learn about his premeditated actions. Stoker’s great use of hypnotism is what leads to Dracula’s destruction in the end. However, what influences Stoker to use hypnotherapy in order to kill off the most important character in his book. Taking a New Historical approach can help a reader understand how Stoker was influenced by his culture to incorporate hypnosis into Dracula and why he chose it as a method for destroying Dracula, while healing Mina....   [tags: Character Analysis, Dracula]

Strong Essays
2905 words (8.3 pages)

Essay on Dracula, Dracula And Dracula

- Imagine the late 1800’s, walking alone on a dark and eerie street. Not a single human soul in sight. As you walk further and further into the unknown you gradually get a chill running, screaming down your spine. You know you shouldn’t be here or anywhere even remotely close to where you are right now. But the pure fear of what might come drives you onward further and further until you reach the large, stronghold like, gothic, Castle Dracula. However nowadays people visit the castle on a daily basis....   [tags: Dracula, Vampire, Vlad III the Impaler]

Strong Essays
1319 words (3.8 pages)

The Dragon in Brain Stoker´s Dracula Essay

- ... Several blood transfusions are given to Lucy but yet she still dies. Lucy then turns into a vampire. Lucy is then stabbed and beheaded to ensure her death. Harker finally returned to England and is wedded to Mina. Mina is then fed upon Dracula and she is forced to feed upon him, this starts the next chain of events. Jonathan Harker, Van Helsing, Quincy Morris, Dr.Seward, and Arthur Holmwood all set out in search of Dracula in order to destroy him and save Mina. Dracula, meaning dragon in Romanian, represents a diabolical monster power....   [tags: power, human, virtue, transfer]

Strong Essays
960 words (2.7 pages)

Essay on An Analysis Of Bram Stoker 's ' Dracula '

- Life in the Victorian era may be particularly unconventional and exotic to some individuals of today’s society. Bram Stoker, author of the well-known Gothic horror book, Dracula, displays what life was like back then. “For much of this century the term Victorian, which literally describes things and events (roughly) in the reign of Queen Victoria, conveyed connotations of ‘prudish,’ ‘repressed,’ and ‘old fashioned’” (“Victorian England:”). The Victorian era extended from 1837 to 1901.Compared to today especially, people at that time were highly puritanical....   [tags: Vampire, Dracula, Bram Stoker]

Strong Essays
849 words (2.4 pages)

Dracula, By Bram Stoker Essay

- Dracula is a popular novel published in 1897. It is a well-known piece of literature and resembles a great deal of characteristics associated with gothic literature. Dracula, by Bram Stoker, and my short story, The Crow, share many characteristics that make them a gothic tale. Three main components of gothic literature used in Dracula, as well as my short story, The Crow, are forces of nature, the supernatural, and isolation. Forces of nature are used throughout Dracula. In Dracula, the wolves share an important role when it comes to forces of nature....   [tags: Gothic fiction, Dracula, Bram Stoker, Novel]

Strong Essays
703 words (2 pages)

Gender in Bram Stoker's Dracula Essay

- Gender in Bram Stoker's Dracula During the Victorian Era, women struggled to attain gender equality by challenging the traditional roles that defined them. These women no longer wanted to remain passive and obey the demands of their husbands nor be domestic and the caretakers of their children. They strived to attain the role of a 'New Woman', an intelligent, liberated individual who was able to openly express her ideas (Eltis 452). Whereas some women were successful in attaining this new role, others were still dominated by their male counterparts....   [tags: Bram Stoker Dracula Essays]

Strong Essays
2702 words (7.7 pages)

Essay Dracula by Bram Stoker

- Evil never conquers because good always overcomes it. A good example of this is the book Dracula by Bram Stoker because the author expresses the nature of good vs. evil. Dracula wants to come to London because he wants to turn everyone into vampires. The basic background of the book Dracula is when Jonathan Harker, a realtor who is sent to Transylvania to complete a transaction with Dracula so he can come to England. What Harker does not know is that Dracula has a plan for world domination....   [tags: Dracula Bram Stoker Essays]

Strong Essays
1720 words (4.9 pages)

Essay on Bram Stoker's Dracula is Anti-Christian

- Bram Stoker's Dracula is Anti-Christian There are many ways that Bram Stoker's Dracula can be considered Anti- Christian by showing of Anti-Christian values and perversions of the Christian religion. In chapter one as Jonathan Harker is traveling to Castle Dracula he is met by several people. When he meets these people and tells them where he is going they cross themselves along with doing several other superstiscious actions. One of the women he meets gives him a crucifix to protect him on his journey....   [tags: Bram Stoker Dracula Essays]

Free Essays
1507 words (4.3 pages)

Bram Stoker's Dracula Essay

- Bram Stoker's Dracula In act 2 scene 6 and act 3 scene 6 of the play ‘Dracula’, the playwrite creates impressive tension by using spine-chilling, ghostly settings, and slyly showing us situations in which characters such as vampires, prey on vulnerable characters such as Mina. Also, he uses soliloquies to give the opposing character no power. Also, by using soliloquies in these scenes he gives the point of view from the weak characters’ eyes. Firstly, the playwrite creates impressive tension by using shadowy, ghostly settings....   [tags: Bram Stoker Dracula Essays]

Free Essays
649 words (1.9 pages)

Bram Stoker's Dracula Essay

- Bram Stoker's Dracula Bram Stoker's Dracula is one of the most renowned British novels of all time. It has left its marks on many aspects of literature and film. Many thematic elements are present throughout the story and have been interpreted in many ways. Stoker uses his characters to manifest the themes that he wishes to imply. Three themes that present themselves throughout the book are the theme of Christian Redemption, science and technology, and sexual expression. Christian Redemption is shown in many ways throughout the book....   [tags: Dracular Bram Stoker]

Strong Essays
1686 words (4.8 pages)