Stoker's Dracula And Traditional Gender Roles In Dracula

2733 Words 11 Pages
Register to read the introduction… Harker, through whose eyes we view this part of the tale, becomes the typical damsel-in-distress figure of popular fairy tales, writing, "This castle is a veritable prison, and I am a prisoner!" (Stoker 25). Later, when he chances upon a room containing three beautiful female vampires, they become the sexual predators, and Harker the prey, inverting the usual plan of the aggressive male and the resistant female. Even when he escapes the castle, the psychological wounds incurred by his experiences there leave him sickly and bedridden, having fallen into the traditional, stereotypical role of the weak-bodied woman. Mina writes, "All the resolution has gone out of his dear eyes, and that quiet dignity which I told you was in his face has vanished" (Stoker, 100). As he spends months outside of the castle, however, his illness subsides and his masculinity returns, reaffirming Dracula's influence as the cause of this rebellion of traditional gender …show more content…
But I suppose the
New Woman won't condescend in future to accept; she will do the proposing herself. And a nice job she will make of it, too! (Stoker, 86-7)
Mina describes the newly-burgeoning concept of womanhood with a playful tone, and while she does not condemn it, she seems to consider it fictional, as though it were a game of make-believe to be played by truly feminine women rather than a new social order in the making.
Lucy's story demonstrates Dracula's blurring influence on these traditional Western gender roles. At the beginning of the novel, Lucy fits into the societal mold of the female: attractive to multiple men through her sweetness and physical beauty, but devoted only to one, Holmwood. Showalter quotes Stoker, "The most masculine man draws the most feminine woman, and vice versa" (Showalter, 8). Applying this scheme to his own novel, then, we see Stoker's suggestion that, at the onset, Lucy is the most (traditionally) feminine woman. Upon her infection at the hands of Dracula, however, Lucy's femininity rapidly wanes as she gains the voracious appetite of the vampire, corresponding to the sexual appetite of the male. She attempts to seduce Holmwood: "Oh my love, I am so glad you have come! Kiss me!" (Stoker, 154), but Van Helsing stops him from fulfilling her desire; at this point, the virtuous Lucy returns for the last time, thanking the
…show more content…
To do so, Holmwood must once again resist her attempted seductions. She implores, "Come to me, Arthur. Leave these others and come to me. My arms are hungry for you. Come, and we can rest together. Come, my husband, come!" (Stoker, 204-5). Again, the fiancé is entranced, and only avoids succumbing to temptation through the interference of Van Helsing. When they finally succeed in expelling the vampire virus from Lucy's dead body, she becomes again the figure of pure

Related Documents