The Portrayal of the Feminine in Stoker’s Dracula

1386 words 6 pages
Discuss the portrayal of the feminine in Stoker’s Dracula

In Dracula, Stoker portrays the typical women: The new woman, the femme fatale and the damsel in distress, all common concepts in gothic literature. There are three predominant female roles within Dracula: Mina Murray, Lucy Westenra and the three vampire brides, all of which possess different attributes and play different roles within the novel. It is apparent that the feminine portrayal within this novel, especially the sexual nature, is an un-doubtable strong, reoccurring theme.

The first proper introduction to women in Dracula is when Harker encounters with the three vampire brides. During this encounter the gender roles are reversed as Harker becomes submissive to the
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A Victorian woman effectively had only two options: she was either a virgin, a model of purity and innocence, or else she was a wife and mother. If she was neither of these, she was considered a whore, and thus of no consequence to society. Thus making the real fear of this book, not darkness and vampiric nature, but instead the loss of female innocence: a trait that is of extreme value and importance to men. If Dracula succeeds in turning women into vampires, this will fully release their sexuality and its expressions, making them impure and no longer innocent as seen within the three vampire brides.

When considering and analysing the character of Lucy, it is evident that even before a vampire, she exerts a sense of sexuality and arrogant flirtatiousness. “Why can’t they let a girl marry three men, or as many as want her, and save all the trouble? But this is heresy and I must not say it”. When Lucy writes this she suggests that maybe she has some hidden desire to break out of the restrictions and constraints of Victorian expectations. Another example of Lucy’s sexual nature before becoming vampire is in her statement to Mina saying “My dear Mina, why are men so noble when we women are so little worthy of them?” this one line reduces Lucy to a frivolous Victorian woman whose desire to be satisfied by men is as strong her desire to satisfy men herself.

In the Victorian era, women were titled either as daughter, wife, or