Dichotomy In The Monk

709 Words 3 Pages
Together, this trinity of unholy women embodies a bestial form that both seduces and terrifies the traveler — in his words, the attack was “Honey sweet… but with a bitter underlying the sweet.” (Stoker 69). While the vampires fulfill Jonathan’s physical yearning with their beautiful bodies, their tart presence signals to him the possibility of moral violation. These are the women who yield to the impulses that their moral and societal obligations would otherwise prohibit; the sexually tinged bodies of these vampire women terrorize the Victorian man because they embody behaviors that, at the time, were considered heavily immoral. This is because one of the most prevalent dichotomies in the Victorian era was that of men as protectors and women as frail, angelic figures. The terms used to mark the monstrous women who advance toward Van Helsing in the final scenes of the novel both delineate and subvert this dichotomy; they are “Radiantly beautiful [and] so exquisitely voluptuous, that the very …show more content…
The first object of his desire is an effigy of the Virgin Mary that he often adores in sexual terms. Matilda, who initially disguises herself as a man but reveals herself to look exactly like the effigy, becomes the object of the monk’s desires and awakens his transgressive passions. Matilda’s doubling with the beautiful Virgin Mary unveils the illuminating differences between one and the other: whereas the effigy represents a woman that is beautiful, pure, and virginal, Matilda is unveiled as a sensual, seductive, and demonic character. Similarly, in Carmilla, the text’s namesake vampire doubles — and even triples — herself by restructuring her name and omitting her past. But, Carmilla’s tripling leaves a trail that ultimately uncovers her vampiric patterns and leads to her femicidal

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