In Bram Stoker’s novel, Dracula, Stoker portrays many different aspects of women’s roles in the nineteenth century. Women had a strictly defined role within the era; there was no thought of equality, no thought that women could liberate themselves sexually. Stoker uses women in this novel to critique against women’s liberation. Stoker’s portrayal of women makes the novel seem like a fantasy. Women are primarily objects of delicate beauty who occasionally need to be rescued from danger. In the novel Mina Murray is the embodiment of Victorian virtue in which she is loyal, earnest, innocent, and dependent of her husband.
Stoker creates another character, Lucy Westenra who is completely opposite of Mina. Lucy is embodies the desire of women who want to liberate themselves. Only Mina shows any considerable strength or resourcefulness. Lucy is primarily two-dimensional victim, picture of perfection who is easy for Dracula to prey upon. Mina is not most noteworthy for her physical beauty like Lucy. Mina’s sexuality remains mysterious throughout the whole novel of Dracula. Even though she gets married, she never gives voice to anything resembling a sexual desire or impulse, which enables her to retain her purity.
Stoker creates suspense about whether Mina will be lost like Lucy. Throughout the novel, Mina portrays what women are expected to do in the society. In the beginning of the novel, Lucy is much like Mina. She is a paragon of virtue and innocence, qualities that brings three suitors to her. Lucy differs from Mina in one aspect, she shows her sexuality. Lucy’s physical appearance captivates each of her suitors, and she displays comfort or playfulness about her desirability that Mina never feels.
Stoker amplifies this faint whisper of Lucy’s insatiability to a monstrous volume when he describes the undead Lucy as a wonton creature of ravenous sexual appetite. With Stoker’s concern with female chastity and virtue, it is hard to imagine him granting his female characters the degree of sexual freedom. Lucy’s wounds suggest a virgin’s first sexual encounter. She escapes into the night and is penetrated in a way that makes her bleed. “As she looked, her eyes blazed with unholy light, and the face became wreathed with a voluptuous smile…She still advanced, however, and with a anguorous, voluptuous grace, said: ‘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! ’ There was something diabolically sweet in her tones— something of the tingling of glass when struck— which rang through the brains even of us who heard the words addressed to another” ( Stoker 227). This threat becomes reality as Lucy, now a blood and sex starved vampire, does her best to lure her fiance into eternal damnation.
Lucy is the first to fall under Dracula’s spell because she displays comfort or playfulness about her desirability that Mina does not show. Stoker also describes her as the “loose” woman, she isn’t conservative as Mina and she loves all the attention from her suitors. Lucy also falls under Dracula’s spell because Dracula has this charm that attracts Lucy making her have strong desire for Dracula. Lucy shows that she has sex appeal and that she has desirability for men; and it made her an easy target for Dracula, knowing she will give in when he approaches her.
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