In Bram Stoker’s “Dracula” a prominent theme is sexuality. I believe that this theme is buried throughout the whole novel with it being symbolised in many different quotes and actions of different characters. The novel represents the sexual desire of a man in an extremely prejudice society, as the novel was written during the Victorian era of the nineteenth century, therefore it follows a Victorian culture in regards to the gender roles that men and women should socially follow. Due to this the different characters in the text are different representations of these roles, for example Mina, is what we would see as the “ideal woman.” as she is clever and a good partner who pushes boundaries, but always understands her place in society. Therefore she is not overly promiscuous in regards to her best friend Lucy. Lucy we see as a complete juxtaposition to Mina with them being best friends however holding completely different personalities, meaning Lucy openly talks about her sexual desires with many different possible partners throughout the text. Men however were put on a pedestal for the free nature and authority. This is recognised by the women of the novel when Lucy asks Mina “My dear Mina, why are men so noble when we women are so little worthy of them?” (Stoker. Bram. 96) we see this as a way of Lucy questioning a society and recognising the faults of a society where women were extremely sexually repressed as a woman could only be seen as being worthy of being a wife as long as she repressed her desires. In result of Lucy’s free will when it came to being a promiscuous victorian woman it’s almost as if she is later punished for this. When she is bitten and receives a blood transfusion. There are extreme sexual implications when it comes to this part of the novel as Lucy is infused with the blood of the three possible suitors that she peaked interest in during the novel when she questions “why can’t they let a girl marry three men or as many as want her and save this trouble.” (Stoker. Bram. 96). I believe that this quote in particular shows that she does not have any real feelings for these three suitors and therefore her feelings towards them take the stance of being more of a sexual attraction. Not only this but the transfusion implicates Lucy’s possible desire for a marriage with different men. There is no denying the fact that it is questionable that the three men were white and privileged so this was an act of the men almost purifying her blood as in my opinion they see Lucy as a threat to their society due to her sexual freedom and beauty this may lead to her having certain powers over men, meaning that if they are physically ruined then no men will want them in the future so they were essentially be socially outcasted. There is a quote from Van hesling in the novel where he implies that in result of Lucy’s transition into a vampire that this allows her to engage in some type of intercourse with the three men in result of the transfusion. “But there was a difficulty, friend John. If so, then what about the others? Ho, ho! Then this so sweet maid is a polyandrist, and me, with my poor wife dead to me, but alive by church’s law, though no wits, all gone-even I, who am faithful husband to this now-no-wife, am bigamist.” (Stoker. Bram. 176)
Mina is a character who Stoker uses as a juxtaposition to her best friend Lucy she is seen as an ideal Victorian woman from the quote from her husband Jonarthon Harker saying “One of God’s women, fashioned by his own hand to show us men and other women that there is a heaven we can enter, and that its light can be here on earth. So true, so sweet, so noble.” (Stoker. Bram 306) upon the discussions between |Mina and Lucy whilst Lucy clearly states her opinion and how sexually driven she is in reality, we never get a take on Mina’s opinion, I believe that is is left untold as Mina knew her place in society therefore never felt the need to comment. As rather than using her feminine power to portray a sexual need, she would use to actually educate herself and better the men that were around her in her life. For example in the novel she learns and perfects shorthand so she can help her husband. This portrays Mina almost as a crutch for her husband and it’s clear that he heavily relies and admires her for this.
It is portrayed that men almost like to exploit innocent and pure women as when mina is attacked during the novel it is seen as almost a test of her own place in society and how submissive she is.
Like Dracula, Oscar Wildes “A Picture of Dorian Gray” was also written during the Victorian era in the nineteenth century therefore holds the same audience outlook of the time, that women had their place in society as did men. Women in this novel are almost useful objects for the main protagonist a young and beautiful Dorian Gray who’s looks do not change with age. Therefore he is almost seen by women as an ideal sexual partner. This novel was seen as extremely taboo during the times of the Victorian era due to its sexual implications and promiscuous text. Lord Henry spends much of his time mentoring Dorian Gray even though he has a wife whom its clear he doesn’t spend as much time with, along with other female characters throughout the novel that are related or friends of the main male characters, we never actually see from them. When we do hear about these characters however, most of the implications are completely downgrading and negative, almost as if it is an extremely sexist novel. this represents how the society is extremely masculine in the fact that men have the utmost authority and women essentially have to wait for their attention. In comparison to Dracula I believe that it is quite shocking how absent women are during this novel with it almost being completely from a males perspective and the only female character holding much significance would be Dorians love interest Sibyl Vane. Lord Henry makes a remark about Lady Brandon, stating that “She is a peacock in everything except beauty.”(Wilde. Oscar. 11) there is a hugely demeaning quote in the novel which descries perfectly the role in which women hold during this society which comes from Henry when he says “My dear boy, no woman is a genius, women are a decroative sex. They never have anything to say, but they say it charmingly. Women reprisent triumph of matter over mind, just as men reprisent triumph of mind over morals.” (Wilde. Oscar. 67) This is reference to how women are basically seen as completely inferior to men. Dorian has a very brief and short romance with Sybil until he esentially tells her that she is no longer worthy of him. Unlike the character of Lucy in Dracula. It seems that the strict dender roles of the victorian era are maintained by the characters of this novel.
I believe that Basil in this novel is a character who is a complete personification of the author Oscar Wilde. Basil has somewhat of a distorted love for Dorian Gray even thbough he is familiar with the sins that he has committed. Although there is no direct mention of homosexualty in the novel there are huge implications and references that caused a stir for Oscar Wilde during the Victorian era as homosexualtiy was a hugely taboo subject, in regards to this, there is an extremely suggestive quote that Dorian is sleeping with different men in perhaps public toilets when Wilde writes “creeping at dawn out of dreadful houses and slinking in disguise into the foulest dens in London.” (Wilde. Oscar. 162) Even though there are very strong suggestions that the protagonist of this novel is indeed homosexual, he is still as sexist and degrading to women as is Lord Henry. Oscar Wilde was openly homosexual which in the victorian era was seen as a great offence therefore, stoker who was a friend of Wilde kept quiet about his own sexual preferences however wrote Dracula in response.This is why the novel became such a contriversial masterpiece, this was due to the contriversial trial which surrounded oscar Wilde. Many people who read the novel branded it as indecent exploiting its hidden sexual themes and erotic homosexual natrure, however, Wilde defended his novel believeing there was no sexual intent behind it and that it was simply men relating to other men with no sexual intent or hidden desires. During the beginning of the novel it is clear that Basil Hallward to is esentially the creator of the Dorian gray painting, is in fact in love with his creation. Dorian discovers that he can commit many sins and not ever be questioned or caught due to his outragously good looks. Therefore, he carries out many crimes for example murder and the corruption of young men. This is key to the real life trials of Oscar Wilde, as due to this part of the novel Wilde went to prison in result of showing a love for young men and Dorian gray was a reprisentation of this love.
Homosexuality is prominent throughout Dracula in a way that the novel almost delves into the most outrages sexual fascinations that are completely taboo for the era. This is because it is easy to corrolate sex and horror so closely with the erotic feel of monstors. In particular count dracula himself. It is almost as if every time Dracula does bite someone it is in a very erotic and sensual way. But Stoker leaves these idea’s rto the reader without directly adressing them himself within the text. I believe that Dracula’s homosexual desires are supressed by his sexual desires towards women as they are seen as montrous.
In regards to previously talking about the blood transfusion part of the novel with the character of Lucy there are almost sexual implications between the three men with their blood all being mixed together, this gives almost a personal erotic feel to the scene as if the men are all sharing one woman between them. Dracula’s attack on all the women of the novel is a huge im plication of the vampires sexual dominance over all the women that he encounters. His bites can be seen as a form of a sexual attack due to how erotic they are and how they are performed with all the women hugely struggling and desperate to be free from his grasp.
There is seemingly some sort of sexual desire between Jonathon Harker and Dracula from the quote “There lay the count, but looking as if his youth had been half renewed, for the white hair and moustache were changed to dark iron grey; the cheeks were fuller, and the white skin had seemed ruby red underneath; the mouth was redder than ever…” (Stoker. Bram. 2) in despite of his relationship with Mina this description of the Dracula by Harker almost implies that he has a deep desire for him as he describes him so vividly, almost the way you describe someone that you love.
I believe that there is a significant detail in the fact that Dracula is imprisoned in his castle walls, therefore cannot go out into direct sunlight. Also he would perform his attacks at night before going back to his coffin. This could have significant corrolations to the society of ninteenth century and men who were homosexual not being able to come out and show who they really are as they would be hit with the harsh consequences.