Sexual Hypocrisy In Bram Stoker's 'Dracula'

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‘Dracula’ is a modern play adapted, by Liz Lochhead, from the classic horror novel written by Bram Stoker. The play is set during the Victorian era and develops the key themes that were prevalent during this era such as sexual hypocrisy. Lochhead’s unusual approach places much more significance on the female characters, in particular, Mina and Lucy and puts much less significance on the more well-known and traditional main characters such as Dracula and Van Helsing. The power dynamics of the Victorian era conditioned men to be strong and women to be weak, innocent and fragile. As women had to be innocent and expressing sexual desires was seen as a form of corruption that made you guilty, women’s rational and natural desires were silenced and…show more content…
Here the audience can see that Lucy is introduced first, which suggests she is of high importance when compared to previous ‘Dracula’ adaptations. If you break down the stage direction, it vividly describes two conflicting elements in Lucy’s character. The first being her flirtatious and sexual nature which contrasts with the description of Lucy being on a swing which represents her innocence and childlike character. She is mainly described as a child emphasising that Lucy, along with other Victorian women, has been conditioned to act in a way which sees women as objects who aren’t allowed to express their rational sexual desires. The reason why these two aspects are so contrasting is that having sexual desires as a woman is seen as a form of corruption which contradicts with her supposed innocent and pure child motif. Just after this stage direction, the very first line is “Who shall I marry Tom, Dick or Harry?”. Yet again, her child motif is symbolised through having Lucy referring to a nursery rhyme. However, on a deeper level, the fact that the very first line Lucy says in this play is about…show more content…
In Act 1: Scene 8, Lucy’s feelings about marriage are meant to represent how Victorian men said that women should act towards marriage when she says, “Why can’t they let a girl marry three men at once, or at least as many as want her?”. By describing Lucy as saying this, it emphasises the promiscuous nature of her character who comes across to the reader as an immature young woman who is playfully suggesting becoming a bigamist. However, another idea that is created is that Lucy has been brought up to believe that marriage is the be all and end all of an upper-class woman’s existence. This would explain why she is instinctively tempted to accept any marriage proposal that she might be offered from any male character that ‘want to have her’. Thirdly, it’s also implied that her main priority in life is to get married and that any other ambitions should be put to one side until that day. Another part of the play that represents ideas relating to marriage and motherhood is after Lucy has had her head shaved during her post-seduction ‘illness’, she tells Florrie, “Said he loved it long and loose and me looking a little like a school girl”. When Florrie asks whom she is referring to, Lucy replies, “Daddy…Arthur!....Someone…? I forget.” Lochhead has cleverly purposefully made it so Lucy mixes up the identities of Lucy’s father and groom-to-be to emphasise the
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