ACC English 4
September 8, 2013
Female Sexuality in Dracula
Bram Stoker’s Dracula was written and set in the late 19th century. It is one of the great classic gothic horror novels of all time. This novel appeals to a male audience more than a female one, because of its genre and graphic imagery. One of the most pertinent themes present in the novel is the theme of female sexuality and the symbolism it presents. In the novel, it is evident that the women characters reputations play a large role in how the male characters judge them. A prime example of this is when Arthur Holmwood has trouble believing that Lucy could ever contradict the characteristics of an ideal Victorian woman until he sees her actions after she has been subject to Dracula’s bite. In Bram Stoker’s Dracula, pathos is utilized to convey the theme of female sexuality to portray false morality that was present in the Victorian times.
In Victorian times, women were very limited in their freedoms. In fact, “a woman’s place was in the home, as domesticity and motherhood were considered by society at large to be a sufficient emotional fulfillment for females” (Abrams). The role of the typical Victorian woman in the home consequently kept them out of the public social scene. In Victorian society, there were essentially two paths that a woman could take. “She could either be pure and virginal (or a mother/wife), otherwise she was regarded as a whore” (Abrams). Other people in the Victorian times had other opinions about Victorian morals and standards. In an article written by Herbert Schlossberg, he includes a primary resource that quotes a Victorian philosopher: “The progress made in refinement of manners and morals seems to have gone on simultaneously with the imprrovement in arts, manufactures and commerce. It moved slowly at first, but has been constantly increasing in velocity. Some say we have refined away all our simplicity and have become artificial,...