Roles of Sexuality and Gender in Dracula
Bram Stoker’s ?Dracula ?is about Dracula’s life and his change of location to England, told from the viewpoints of those impacted by Dracula. The first half of the novel has an underlying theme of sexuality and gender roles. Mina represents the socially acceptable woman who is loyal to one man and serves him and is not licentious. Her character is contrasted to the female vampires in Count Dracula’s castle in Transylvania and Lucy, who are promiscuous and use seduction. These two types of characters are used to represent the Victorian beliefs of an ideal woman and the beliefs of how women should not act.
Mina represents the ideal Victorian woman. She is smart and is the lover of Jonathan Harker. She portrays the Victorian belief of how women are supposed to serve their men on varied occasions. Instead of gaining education for herself or own desire, she uses practices shorthand so that she may “be useful to Jonathan” (Stoker 86). She also proves that she is a monogamous and a loyal woman because the entire time Jonathan is gone, she only thinks about him and ends up marrying him when they reunite. It is even confirmed that Mina is considered an ideal woman due to her description being that she is “?one of God’s women, fashioned by his own hand to show us men and other women that there is a heaven where we can enter” (Stoker 306).
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Mina is the character that Lucy and the three female vampires introduced to us in Count Dracula’s castle. Almost every time the three vampires appear in the novel, they are described in a very sexual way. When they are introduced in chapter 3, they are described having “voluptuous lips” and Harker even admits that he has a burning desire that they kiss him. The vampires seem to have a very seductive side to them. Vampires are evil creatures and thus what they do is evil. Lucy is a contrast of the ideal Victorian woman. Victorian women should be loyal to one man, and Lucy is anything but that. She complains about having to choose between the three men who have proposed to her and says, “Why can’t they let a girl marry three men, or as many as want her, and save all this trouble? But this is heresy, and I must not say it” (Stoker 96). Stoker shows that this kind of thinking is morally wrong by having the character Lucy recognize that she has states words of heresy right after she says them.
It is clear throughout the novel that sexuality and gender roles are an important theme of Stoker’s ?Dracula. ?The novel is a proximity of the female characters, specifically Mina and Lucy. Also, including the three female vampires we mentioned early in the novel. The novel represents the ideal loyal and obedient Victorian woman through Mina, while showing that the non-monogamous and promiscuous characters of the female vampires and Lucy, are how society believes women should not be.
Word count: 500″