Bram Stoker, an Irish novelist, wrote the gothic horror novel “Dracula” in 1897. This book was the first leading piece of vampire fiction, and it set the standard for all vampire-centric novels. The novel is written in epistolary style, which means that it is told from the characters’ points of view as they record their everyday activities in journals, letters, and so on. The novel’s surface teaches the reader of the re-enactment of the Good and Evil. Dracula can also be dangerous when he has a strong moral intent. He is a sexual threat to the kingdom and he wants only the human bodies in his vast kingdom. His thirst for blood increases and to fulfill the desire of his thirst he continues to attempt the sexual activity despite knowing the laws and rules of the society. For most readers, the novel derives their attention towards the hostility of female sexuality.
The novel is written merely from the perspective of the four main characters Jonathan Barker, Mina Murray, Dr. John Seward and Dr. Abraham Van Helsing. Jonathan Barker is a young lawyer from London who is sent by his firm to close a deal with a man named Count Dracula in Transylvania. Barker’s journal entries account for the main occurrences of his adventure from Bistritz to the Borgo Pass. He is engaged to Mina Murray, a young orphan who later helps Barker in locating Count Dracula in the end. His character is seen as dynamic because, in the beginning, he was in denial about everything concerned with the Count. He believed vampires were a superstition but he quickly started to form a different opinion upon seeing the Count’s monster-like characteristics during his traumatizing experiences in Transylvania. Mina Murray is Jonathan Barker’s fiancé (she becomes his wife later on in the book) and is a courageous woman who puts her shorthand and typing skills to good use when the fight against Dracula ensues. Van Helsing even calls her the “man’s brain”. Dr. John Seward is close to thirty years old and is one of the unsuccessful suitors of Lucy Westerna. He is an intelligent man who runs a lunatic asylum. He is a former student of Van Helsing and proves to be a brave man when it comes to joining forces against the Dracula. Dr. Abraham Van Helsing is a doctor as well an attorney. He is an unmarried, old gentleman who is fatherly. Hailing from Amsterdam, he is well-versed in medicinal knowledge and folklore, which is why he was given full charge of Lucy Westerna’s illness known as vampirism. He also holds the responsibility of tracking down Count Dracula. A protagonist of the story, Van Helsing proves to be a strong leader who was adamant about destroying the Count and also motivated others to do so.
The setting in the early chapters of the book is shown to be a remote town of Transylvania, Romania during the end of the nineteenth century. The people there are highly superstitious and continue to live under the circumstances rather than do something about the Dracula. The setting then shifts to London where the culture is a bit more advanced. While here, the Count goes up against the protagonists Van Helsing, Dr. Seward, Mina, Quincy and Godalming. The novel is set during the Victorian era and the start of the novel is about Dracula’s castle, which gives off a dark and oppressive feeling. This fear filled aspect of the book continues to remain throughout the novel’s gothic style and influences future occurrences in the book as well (Halberstam 341). The dark theme plays a significant role in the characters’ own reactions to various events that take place throughout.
This novel seems to revel in the male creative energy during Victorian times, especially with respect to the theme of female sexuality. In Victorian England, the sexual conduct of women was managed by society’s greatly inflexible desires. Women in Victorian society basically had just two choices: being an innocent and pure virgin or a family-oriented woman. On the off chance that she was none of these, she was viewed as a prostitute, and hence of no use to society. When Dracula arrives in London and starts to work his underhanded enchantment on Lucy Westenra, it becomes clear that the looming fight between pure and evil will pivot upon female sexuality. Mina and Lucy are both less similar to genuine individuals than encapsulations of ideals of the female version concocted during the years. They are modest, immaculate, pure of the world’s disasters, and concerned with giving their all to the respective men in their lives. Be that as it may, Dracula debilitates to transform the two ladies into their contrary energies, into ladies known for their ampleness as well as proudly open sexual cravings. Dracula prevails with regards to changing Lucy, and once she successfully turns into a vampire, the only option available to Van Helsing’s men is to kill her, keeping in mind the end goal to give her back to an acceptable and pure version. After Lucy’s change, Mina is kept a close eye on, with the men being stressed that another Victorian ideal of womanhood would succumb to Dracula’s cruelty. Truth be told, the men are concerned with their own security above anything else. As the novel progresses Van Helsing’s group is taunted by Dracula, who says, “Your girls that you all love are mine already; and through them you and others shall yet be mine.” (Stoker) In this scene, the Dracula speaks of a male dream that has existed since forever. It is a woman’s cravings that result in men being prepared for a diminishing poise that comes at a cost. The ideal woman of the Victorian era is meant to be sweet, kind and a complete angel along with being repressed sexually. This goes against the characteristics of the three female vampires depicted in the novel. Living in the Count’s castle, these vampires are very assertive in terms of sexuality. Their comparison with women who are human is made more evident by the changes that Lucy has to go through. When human, she is a very nice and gentle woman who is very humble about the three suitors having proposed to her in the same time-span. However, when she turns into a vampire, she turns out to be more physically active and kisses her life partner with a strange confidence. Notwithstanding the female vampires being assertive sexually, the demonstration of killing vampires by inserting stakes into their hearts can also be seen as a sexually suggestive conduct. As such, the demonstration of Lucy fiancé, Arthur Holmwood’s staking of her on becoming a vampire can also be viewed as Arthur affirming his strength over Lucy and reestablishing the customary sexual orientation parts in their relationship. Dracula is a morality play and off course it distinguishes the clear line between the good and the evil (Craft 117). The Dracula wants to stay alive because he wants to live long. He is afraid of dying. But his soul will get peace only when he will die a peaceful death. He kills human to survive himself. The other characters have no idea how to destroy him that’s the reason they are afraid of the Dracula. They can be equated to sex.
The novel has been written with intense feelings on the writer’s part, having used his imagination. In lieu with Romanticism, the novel is written with a delight taken in the concepts of horror and fear amidst a picturesque Transylvania setting. The novel helps revive the Gothic architectural style and continues to stay throughout the story. Stoker’s novel is based upon the occult and supernatural occurrences, which the concept of Romanticism seemed to agree with. Furthermore, the novel places emphasis upon the criticism of the ideals of woman as being pure and also the heroic narrator in every novel. It is an overall extremely well-written novel that captures the reader’s interest and brings forth the gothic aspect of vampires, a concept that had not really been explored in novels before Bram Stoker’s Dracula came along.
Craft, Christopher. “Kiss Me with those Red Lips”: Gender and Inversion in Bram Stoker’s
Dracula.” Representations, no.8, 1984, pp. 107-133.
Halberstam, Judith. “Technologies of Monstrosity: Bram Stoker’s” Dracula”. Victorian
Studies, no. 36.3,1993, pp. 333-352.
Stoker, Bram. Dracula. Modern library, 1897.