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Portrayal of Women in Bram Stoker’s Dracula

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  1. Introduction
  2. Mina: The Victorian Ideal for women
  3. The Victorian marriage
  4. The difference between Mina and Lucy
  5. The Succubi
  6. Conclusion

Horror stories are known to be misogynistic in their portrayal of women; Bram Stoker's Dracula is no exception. The novel offers a stereotypical, character archetype of the female in various forms: Mina Harker, Lucy Westenra, and the Succubi. The women are used to embody ideas and values of the woman living in the Victorian Age. Women had a strictly defined role within the era; there was no thought of equality; no thought that women could liberate themselves sexually. Dracula is sopping wet with overtones alluding to women's sexuality and sexuality in general. Stoker uses these characters as a critique against women's liberation; to stress that sexual liberation, for him, meant damnation. Mina Harker is the embodiment of Victorian virtue in which she is loyal, earnest and, above all, solely has an identity dependent upon her husband; Lucy Westenra, Mina's good friend, embodies the desire of women who want to liberate themselves. As the novel shows, desires of such leads to death; the Succubi, Dracula's servants, embody the abysmal end to which the road of sexual liberation leads. Mina Harker is beloved in Stoker's eyes, but from a modern point of view, sets the forward drive of women's liberation into a sudden and screeching halt.

[...] I wonder where Jonathan is and if he is thinking of me! I wish he were here? (77). The quote emphasizes Mina's preoccupation. From the line, if he is thinking of shows that she is obviously thinking about Jonathan. Try as she might to put her mind elsewhere by journeying to the cliff's edge near the shore, writing and trying to enjoy Lucy's company, she cannot extract herself from the void in which Jonathan's absence has put her in. During this time Mina is inactive, but when she receives a letter from a Nun keeping Jonathan at an abbey because of his failing health at escaping the confines of Dracula, she is suddenly thrust forward into action. [...]

[...] Although Lucy claims not to revel in this sort of vanity, she shows an exultation at being an object of desire. 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 (67). Lucy is far more modern in thought than her friend Mina. She wonders why a woman can't love more than one, but she quickly undercuts her statement with a claim that it is and she ?must not say Lucy may have declared, then directly crosses out the statement, but that does not mean such a desire is eliminated. [...]

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