The Sexuality of the Dark and Mysterious Man Essay

Bram Stoker’s novel, Dracula is a piece of gothic literature in which Count Dracula inflicts grief and pain upon mortal men by attempting to charm and steal their women, eventually turning them into vampires. Stoker portrays women as unintelligent beings who will follow the Count because of his apparent charm, strength, and stereotypical beauty. The Count is a dark, beautiful, and mysterious man, and this covers up the evil that he has committed and the amount of lives he has taken.In Dracula, Stoker uses gender roles to show the dominance of men and the sexuality within their roles, while showing women as victims of their own rebellion and prey to the men’s beauty. Throughout Dracula, the qualities of men are exemplified and praised, while women are the ones vulnerable to the Counts attacks. Stoker’s reasoning behind creating these females as vulnerable creatures may be that women are seen to be weak and men “are naturally more aggressive” (Ojeda 19), therefore able to prevent Dracula from attacking them.This aggressive and strong nature is what allows men, in a typical 19th century setting, to work in the outside world, while females are restricted to the house. An example of this is whenever Jonathan Harker goes to Transylvania to perform business with the Count, while his fiance, Mina, stays home with her friend Lucy.

In contrast to the current society’s “emasculat[ion]” of men, Stoker shows them to be brave, bold, and brilliant. Stoker’s exemplification of the gender roles hints at male superiority, leading one to see that men are the rising sexual power throughout the novel.In the 19th century, the idea of the “New Women” had come about, and these women “violated conventional expectations about women’s sexuality” (Signorotti 620) by speaking out against their rights.

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Therefore, it can be seen that “Stoker’s overriding concern in Dracula is the threat of rampant female sexual desire” (Signorotti 620), and to control this, he creates the character of the Count, who is a stereotypical man, always in control. An example of Dracula’s superiority is apparent in the way he bites the women whenever he takes the blood from them.This form of penetration shows that he is in control of this ‘sexual’ relationship. Stoker also seems to suggest that even getting married and being associated with a woman makes a man lose a part of his masculinity and independence. An example of this idea is seen in Jonathan Harker’s character, the least stereotypical man, yet he is the only one married. This suggests that real men do not get married. Another explicit example of male superiority is whenever Professor Van Helsing compliments Mina for her “[masculine] brain” (Stoker 240), hinting that a male’s thoughts and ideas are superior to a female’s.Men that fulfill the gender roles fit into the stereotype and are considered sexy, regardless of their possible bad habits.

The gender roles of a man demand that he be the protector and the provider for the people surrounding him, especially the women. In Dracula, the men are fulfilling the stereotype by going out to conduct business, as Harker does in Transylvania, and by providing protection for their women, as the men do for Lucy whenever it is suspected that the Count is taking blood from her. Their obedience of these roles is what allows the men to survive through Dracula’s torturous ways.However, the women rebelled against their roles by wanting to do things such as “proposing [by themselves]” (Stoker 109), and this led to them being put into situations in which their feminism and humanity was under attack. For example, whenever Lucy becomes a vampire, she is seen in the cemetery with a child clutched to her chest and whenever she sees the men approaching, she grows and then devours the baby. This is the degradation of women “to the level of the animal” (Eltis 456), all due to her refusal to fulfill her duties as a women.If the women complete their tasks by keeping to housework, they would not interfere with the men’s roles in the business and social world. The men’s fulfillment of their duties and expectations also allows for them to be “naturally attractive and desirable despite any socially repulsive behaviors” (Halberstam 348), such as violence.

In Dracula, Stoker makes it seem that violence is a sexy necessity. The reason for the sexuality of violence is that it fits the role of a man’s protectiveness, and this is also the reason why people stay in abusive relationships.They feel that the man they are with is masculine and that violence is an inherent and necessary trait because he is the controlling figure in the relationship. In the novel, Stoker “placed the women of Dracula firmly under male control and subjected them to severe punishments for any sexual transgression” (Signorotti 620), and one of Stoker’s evil forms of punishment was turning a woman into a vampire, then driving a stake through her heart and beheading her. At this time, this was accepted because violence was being used to rid the world of what was thought to be negative change.Now, men are fulfilling their duties, even as they kill people. Stoker leaves no option when it comes to violence, because one is either a vampire who kills people, or a person who hunts and kills vampires. The submissive nature of females allows for males to use almost any form of force to control them, yet still be seen as sexually attractive.

In Dracula, Lucy has a “deviant” (Eltis 456) nature, which encourages her to support the New Woman and speak for herself, regardless of its social acceptance. In order to control her, Arthur, her fiance, “becomes the embodiment of determined, self-controlled masculinity” (Eltis 456).Whenever she becomes a vampire and takes on a more assertive role, Arthur is the one who pierces her heart with a wooden stick. He was hesitant at first, but with encouragement from his friends he was able to kill Lucy.

This is a symbol of the social order society works under. The males are the dominant figures and if a women tries to take the lead, he will resort to violence and break her heart in order to remind the woman of the males assertion as the dominate figure. However, since a woman is expected to obey the man’s orders, she does not retaliate or speak up against him due to her submissive nature.Again, this goes back to the acceptable gender traits that are emplaced by society. Women, no matter the situation, are supposed to be compliant and submissive, while it is a man’s duty to be a assertive and forceful so that he can keep her ‘in-check. ’ This goes back to the theory of why people, specifically women, stay in abusive relationships. It is because they feel that if their partner is abusive, then he is a ‘real’ man, as defined by the gender roles he is supposed to fulfill.

Despite his severely flawed character, in terms of violence and inhumanity, the man remains the sexy and dominant figure in any relationship.Throughout the novel Dracula, Bram Stoker emphasizes the importance of gender roles and how they are influential in the sexuality and humanity of a person. The instant the women feel that they want to become ‘New Women,’ issues begin to arise. However, by the fulfillment of the social expectations, both males and females are able to work together and efficiently in a society. Over the years it has become clear that regardless of the amount of change in the way society thinks, men will remain the dominant figures in majority of the relationships.

Men have and always will be the ‘ big dogs,’ due to the influential works of authors, such as Bram Stoker, who encourage the male dominance and sexuality. On the other hand, women are still taught to be compliant and submissive, never to question or rise against their male partners. This medieval ideology is still present in modern-day society. Stoker’s work show that, regardless of the innovation of time and history, men are the figurehead in a patriarchal society and their actions, not matter how violent or frowned upon, is still deemed acceptable because it is masculine.Works CitedEltis, Sos. Corruption of the Blood and Degeneration of the Race: Dracula and Policing the Borders of Gender.

” Dracula. Ed. John Paul Riquelme. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2002. 450-65.

Print. Gardiner, Judith Kegan. , ed. Masculinity Studies ; Feminist Theory: New Directions. New York: Columbia UP, 2002. Print.

Ojeda, Auriana, ed. Male/Female Roles. Michigan: Greenhaven, 2005. Print.

Signorotti, Elizabeth. “Repossessing the Body: Transgressive Desire in “Carmilla” and Dracula. ” Criticism 38.

4 (1996): 607-32. ProQuest Research Library. Web. 3 Dec. 2012.

Stoker, Bram. Dracula. Ed. John Paul. Riquelme. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2002.



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