According to the Victorian Web, a new and budding author named Bram Stoker entered the world in the year 1847, on the eighth of November. From a young age, Stoker loved to read about folklore, and later on in life he aspired to be an author. Although Stoker published several stories, only in the year 1897 did he publish his most well-known novel, Dracula. After this success, Stoker went on to write several other novels, and eventually died in the year 1912. (Scarborough)
“We have to free half of the human race, the women, so that they can help to free the other half. ”- Emmeline Pankhurst. Pankhurst, a suffragette during the Victorian era in the UK, made the claim that the freedom of all humans is intrinsic to the success of humanity. The protest for freedom for women during the Victorian era was called the New Woman movement.
1. Introduction Madness as a theme plays an important role in Bram Stoker 's “Dracula”, almost every character at some point exhibits some kind of behaviour which could be connected with mental instability. “The working notes for the novel show that the idea of madness was present from an early stage; a cast list dating from the spring of 1890 includes a mad doctor and a mad patient who has ‘a theory of perpetual life’.” (Pedlar136). Even though, male and female characters are equally susceptible to madness, their actions and states which are similar in their nature are seen and dealt with in different ways.
Feminist Reading: Dracula between Beauvoir’s and Roth’s Ideas In her article, “Suddenly Sexual Women in Bram Stoker’s Dracula” Phyllis Roth argues that Dracula is a misogynistic novel which is obvious in the system of power in which men are dominant and active figures whereas women are just followers and obedient to their system. She draws on Simon de Beauvoir’s idea that “ambivalence as an intrinsic quality of Eternal Feminine”, in order to show that women are victims to men powers. In her chapter, “Myth and Reality”, Beauvoir discusses the way that anybody in the society, specially men, doesn’t do their job in taking a step towards the oppressed women, but to act just like what the system of myth impose them to act.
New Woman is one of the most prominent theme in Bram Stoker’s novel, Dracula. The New Woman concept was a feminist ideal emerged in the late 19th century when women started to push the limits set by male-dominated society. The figure of the New Woman is independent, free spirited, educated and uninterested in traditional value of marriage and children. The New Women threatened conventional ideas about ideal Victorian womanhood. In Dracula, Bram Stoker discusses the changing roles of women through its two main female character, Mina Harker and Lucy Westrenra.
Lucy Westenra is the best friend of Mina Harker and thus the second female main character of the novel. Stoker describes with Lucy a representative of the New Women movement, as the time was seen by the British population. She is single and lives with her mother, who is suffering from heart disease. Her family, that was once very prosperous, consist only of herself and her aging mother. She is Dracula’s first victim /vampire child in England.
Although this seems like a simple story of good triumphing over evil, this work is a product of its time. For example, there are many elements of sexuality throughout the novel. Women were not expected to openly find a husband because it could suggest “a worrying sexual appetite” (Gender Roles, Marriage and Sexuality). In Victorian society there were very rigid expectations for women. There were only two sides to a woman either a pure unmarried virgin or a married woman and mother.
Bram Stoker’s Dracula is a novel set during the Victorian Era, made up of a series of documents such as journal entries and letters between several characters. The Victorian society didn’t allow a woman to choose her destiny. By law, a woman was the property of her father, husband or even her brother. (YILDIRIM,46)
‘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
TITLE The horror and mysteries that surround modern culture today through literature, films, and holidays can almost always be attributed to Bram Stoker. Stoker’s most famous novel Dracula focused on the dark side of human nature, realism, and female sexuality that was unheard of during the Victorian Era. Dracula was critiqued and over analyzed by many for the controversial topics that laid in his text.