Gender Roles In Bram Stoker's Dracula

1350 Words6 Pages

At first glance, the novel Dracula by Bram Stoker appears to be a typical gothic horror novel set in the late 1890s that gives readers an exciting look into the fight between good and evil. Upon closer inspection, it becomes apparent that Dracula is a statement piece about gender roles and expectations for men and women during the Victorian age. Looking at the personalities, actions, and character development of each of the characters in Dracula bring to light startling revelations about Victorian society and how Stoker viewed the roles of men and women during this time period. To really understand Dracula, it is important to note that this novel was written during a time “of political and social upheaval, with anxieties not just about the …show more content…

Most of the men are shown to be brave in the face of danger and are extremely devoted to their significant others. They are also very heroic and in Quincey Morris’ case, he is willing to die for what he has determined to be a noble cause. An example of this heroism can be seen in Chapter 12 when Van Helsing states “A brave man's blood is the best thing on this earth when a woman is in trouble. You're a man, and no mistake” (Stoker,Chap.12). According to Van Helsing, the most useful thing to a woman in trouble is simply the very presence of a man and if a man is unable to help his wife, he is not considered to be a true man. In Chapter 13, Stoker also describes the emotional side of relationships between men, “In such cases men do not need much expression. A grip of the hand, the tightening of an arm over the shoulder, a sob in unison, are expressions of sympathy dear to a man's heart” (Stoker, Chap. 13). According to Stoker, men do not express their sympathy through words, but through their actions or a hard slap on the back. The only time a man is allowed to break down is in the presence of a woman, “I suppose there is something in woman's nature that makes a man free to break down before her and express his feelings on the tender or emotional side without feeling it derogatory to his manhood” (Stoker, Chap. 17). Throughout the novel, Stoker continuously reinforces and instills the …show more content…

The fact that there were some role reversals in the novel, especially among the female characters, made most characters all the more dynamic. All the same, the novel was very obviously influenced by gender roles and when Stoker was writing Dracula there was an obvious dividing line between male and female characters that he would not cross. Stoker’s preoccupation with female sexuality in Dracula “is attested to by the fact that [gender roles] actually come to dominate the story, with the vampire hunters mainly concerned not with Dracula himself but with his effect on their beloved companions” (Dixon) While Mina, who represented the ideal Victorian woman, acted as a support system and assistant to the heroic group of men. While things have changed significantly for men and women alike in the modern age, Dracula will likely remain in place as one of the most famous and telling critiques of Victorian gender

Show More
Open Document