Mina is intellectually equal to the opposite sex, but physically and emotionally submissive. Mina is devoted to her husband Jonathan, she is the ideal woman Victorian woman. Once Mina has been bitten, her transformation slowly spreads, the thoughts that have been repressed for so long have surfaced. Dracula is represented as having an unquenchable thirst for blood and even power. Using his male dominance and superiority over women to fulfill his every desire, having little regard for the well-being of others.
Bram Stoker, describes one of the verbal taboos of the Victorian era, violence, through the representation of vampires as “monsters” through the point of view of their victims in his novel Dracula. Stoker portrays violence in three distinct categories- physical, visual and psychological. Each one of these categories is described by one of the antagonists in the Novel, with Count Dracula as the physical aspect of violence, his underlings, the female vampires as the visual and Renfield, the patient at Dr. Seward’s mental asylum, as the psychological aspect of violence. This essay looks at the portrayal of such Categorical violence as different renditions of a “monster” and considers why Stoker would segregate violence in such a manner.
In Dracula, the two leading ladies, Mina and Lucy, represent the two stereotypes of women that existed during the time period. The way each woman is described frames them directly against one another, because even if they are close friends, a woman’s worth is determined by how she is compared to other women. Each woman is described, as in Frankenstein, relative to their position to men and how they interacted with men. Moving past Jonathan’s time in Transylvania and back to London, the two main women, Mina and Lucy, are both markedly feminine. They don’t do anything that is “improper” by society’s standards, which makes them worthy of the respect and attention that the male characters pay them.
Dracula turned Westenra into a bloodthirsty vampire which completely contradicted her former self. Another example of heresy and adultery would be when the three creepy vampire sisters wanted Harker at the same time. Having multiple spouses or love interests was not accepted in the Victorian Era. Furthermore, Murray was almost killed but lived to see the day that the Count would die. Murray was a much stronger character or woman than Westenra because Murray was informed and aware of the risks at hand unlike Westenra who was doomed from the beginning because of her ignorance.
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.
Are they loved ones, or enemies? Whatever the case may be Stoker has taken someone who has made and impact on him and chiseled at their personality to create the characters in this book. The real question is who is Dracula to Bram? Is it a childhood bully, or an evil side of Bram?
This is extremely evident between the two films Dracula and Vampire in Brooklyn. One major change between the two is the overall image. Lugosi plays a creepy, not so attractive dweller of the night, while Murphy plays a rock star-esc persona, with good-looking hair, rings, and fancy clothes. This shift came during the 50’s and 60’s when vampires started to become more sensual. (From Dracula to Edward) Vampires started to become more attractive with actors such as Christopher Lee playing Dracula; we see the shift of the handsome vampire and the beautiful women as victims.
For instance, the very first sentence of Hollinger’s essay starts off with this quote, “As Stephen Neale suggests, an intimate relationship seems to exist among the filmic presentation of the horror monster, the castration anxiety it evokes, and the cinematic representation of the female form.” (Hollinger pg. 243 of the Monsters book), in which she uses to intrigue the reader and to give the reader an idea about the work. Hollinger tells the reader that Neale thinks that the usual origin of a monster in a film is due to a relationship that went wrong and also claims that men are more vulnerable to certain anxieties. The placement of her reference to Neale’s essay allows the reader to conduct an idea of what the essay is going to be about and makes the reader think about what is more threatening between feminine monsters or masculine monsters.
In Bram Stoker’s Dracula, the bloodsucking aspect of vampirism both disgusts and attracts the characters. All instances of bloodsucking are eerily sexy, or have elements of seduction incorporated with feelings of immoral lust and sexual repression. One example of this is from Chapter 3 when Johnathan says “There was a deliberate voluptuousness which was both thrilling and repulsive, and as she arched her neck she actually licked her lips like an animal.” (3.32) The conventional gender roles are reversed in the quote with the female vampire as the active aggressor and Johnathan as the passive receiver of the kiss.
It seems that through the latter, Stoker may be trying to explore his homoerotic desires. In agreement with this, Roth states that the novel 'manages a fantasy which is congruent with a fundamental fantasy shared by many others.', showing that Dracula was not just Stoker exploring his own sexual wishes but was also felt by others in society, thus showing that femininity was on the rise. Patmore epitomises the perfect Victorian woman:
Throughout the Victorian era, probably one of the biggest worries was the role of women in society. In “Dracula”, Bram Stoker makes most of the women in his story as very sexual and some as pure. The pure women in society were liked and the impure were considered evil and tempting. Throughout the story, Mina is the perfect fit for the “angel of the house” by remaining smart and loyal and she is seen as heroic and strong in the end because of it. Mina’s relationship with Harker represents the traditional part in society that women should play in the Victorian age.
In the novel Dracula by Bram Stocker there I an abundance of evidence that suggests that the female characters are treated differently than their male counterparts. The sources that I have read have failed to address key parts of this topic. The articles that I have read are “Feminism, Sex Role Exchanges, and Other Subliminal Fantasies in Bram Stoker's Dracula” and “Desire and Loathing in Bram Stoker's Dracula”. The articles fail to include how women have their own power. In this essay, there will be an investigation into the gender roles of men and women and how men will push down and leave women behind.