Dracula: A representation of Victorian society
Dracula is a highly sensual novel which intelligently reveals the gender equation in the Victorian period. Not underestimating the intrigue of vampires by themselves, the novel can said to be an effective commentator on the issue of sexuality, especially female sexuality and the reaction of patriarchal disposition of the age towards it.
The basic theme of the novel is the depiction of good versus evil. However, this theme is complicated when the evil isn’t simply a blood-thirsty vampire who’s after human blood but also the overarching female sexuality. This palpable misogyny seeks to subdue all expressions of female sexuality even as the male protagonist, Jonathan Harker secretly enjoys the idea of being ravished by the three daughters of the Count.
It’s unthinkable in that age for a woman to even consider transgressing marked sexual boundaries, and hence Stoker conveniently ignores it.
In the novel, women are generally put in distinct categories of the madonna and the whore. Jonathan’s loyal fiancée Mina is the conventionally suitable Victorian woman, so is Lucy in the initial part of the novel. However, Lucy’s subtle yet lucid expressions of possible transgressions of sexual behaviour unveils the response of patriarchy towards female sexuality. It’s unthinkable in that age for a woman to even consider transgressing marked sexual boundaries, and hence Stoker conveniently ignores it.
The number three is important to compare Lucy’s wish to marry all three of her suitors and it is shyly expressed and later checked by herself as blasphemous, even as Jonathan is rather aroused by the idea of being approached by three pulchritudinous and upright women only to conveniently let go of the opportunity to avoid hurting his demure fiancée.
Stoker’s response is easy to guess as he proceeds to have Lucy attacked by the Count and thereby be turned into a vampire, the epitome of evil in the novel. Of course, the three daughters of the Count who ostensibly approach Jonathan have to be non-human, and also to be chided by the Count. The virginal Mina is the only woman who is a part of the action till the end.
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