Portrait Of Dracula

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Dracula: A Portrait of Victorian Society Every novel is a product of its time, and no matter what genre, every author reflects the world around them. In the 1897 novel Dracula, author Bram Stoker examines societal anxieties regarding sexuality and from these observations he draws parallels to characteristics in the story’s antagonist, Dracula, and vampirism itself. Stoker recognizes the distinct sexual repression of the late 19th century and specifically incorporates elements of homosexuality, feminine sexual freedom, and emasculation of men. All of these topics would be seen as highly controversial at the time. By centralizing the conflict between an enemy who embodies all of these traits, and a group of protagonists who do not, the novel…show more content…
Throughout the story the male characters are constantly making an effort to embody everything that the count is not. For example the men are constantly reaffirming their sexualities in their personal journals and diary entries. For example, early in the novel all three of Lucy’s suitors avidly describe how enamored by her they are. A close bond clearly exists between the male story’s male protagonists, they all become close friends and exhibit socially acceptable connections between men. As observed in this excerpt from Dr. Seward’s diary, he is admirable of Jonathan’s masculine characteristics, but is careful not to step over social boundaries: “He is uncommonly clever, if one can judge from his face, and full of energy…he is also a man of great nerve. That going down to the vault a second time was a remarkable piece of daring. After reading his account of it I was prepared to meet a good specimen of manhood.” (Stoker 199) This personal admiration reflects both the societal fears that Dracula embodies himself, and the emphasis Stoker puts on the protagonists to model social norms. By polarizing both sides between what is normal and what isn’t, Stoker is able to able to capture the difficulty of accepting what is different or unknown into…show more content…
Vampirism itself is used as a tool to both highlight and take advantage of a male dominated society’s fears of women’s sexual freedom, emasculation, and homosexuality. When a woman becomes a vampire in the story, she sheds her innocence and breaks the societal bonds placed over her sexuality. By being totally willing and able to express sexual desire, men suddenly no longer hold this familiar power over women. Coincidentally, when the women in the novel break this established norm, the men also lose their own sense of purity by falling victim to their own desires, effectively losing more of their established image to the influence of women. Finally, Dracula threatens the idea of sexual sanctity at the time by demonstrating various homosexual traits. It is clear that this is not only a horror novel solely because of its famous monster, but also because of all of the threats he posed to the chastity of Victorian

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