Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Women of Dracula

As we have discussed before, the Victorian ideal of femininity centers around the idea that women should be pure emotionally and physically.  Bram Stocker's "Dracula" presents this ideal and the antithesis of this ideal.  Johnathan's encounter with the "brides of Dracula" represent the Victorian idea of how women should not act.  The brides of Dracula are lustful and sexually expressive, things that were looked down up through the lens of Victorian femininity.  When the brides visit Johnathan in an attempt to feed on him, they are driven away by Dracula, but their lust for him is apparent.  "Your's is the right to begin."  The view Johnathan as a piece of meat to be chased after and fed upon.  From this, the reader can conclude that, like in "Carmilla," vampirism was used in the Victorian age to express the suppressed female sexuality.

Lucy and Mina, on the other hand, represent the feminine ideal to the fullest.  They are pure of the evil's of the world, devoted to Van Helsing and Jonathan, and, most importantly, they are virgins.  When these characters are  compared to each other, the theme of vampirism and a lack of femininity is easily seen.  They stand in stark contrast to each other.  Furthermore, in an earlier blog cataloging the works and influences of Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu, I commented that "Carmilla" is often thought of as a large influence on Bram Stocker.  I think that the appearance of an identical theme with almost identical players affirms that point.  Carmilla can be equated to the Brides of Dracula, while Laura seems very similar to Mina and Lucy.  Men of this time seem fascinated with not only women's sexuality, but with contradictions to the socially accepted norm.

1 comment:

  1. You really have a way of capturing the essence of this novels representation. I enjoy your analysis of the historical construct of the characters, especially regarding Draculas brides being the anti of Victorian ideals. You also hit Lucy and Mina spot on. As for your statement that “Men of this time seem fascinated with not only women's sexuality, but with contradictions to the socially accepted norm” I almost feel women helped ease in the contradiction for men. The role of Victorian women is too forgive men, because of course they would act vile or sin at times, as they have to go out into that sinful world. Such as, that sinful word of Dracula. Of course someone might be seduced, they had too go there. It is the women’s job however, too be the moral compass. Well, according too the Victorian age anyway (and all those handbooks that got printed).