Dracula in a Feminist Light
There are several different ways of looking at the novel
, by Bram Stoker, written during the Victorian Period. Judging the book with a feminist lens enables the reader to realize how sexist the views were amidst this period in history. During the Victorian Period, standards regarding ladylike behavior were very limiting and disregarded women’s expression of natural emotion. The expectations to which women were held was naive. They were expected to be powerless and nondominant, or they would be deemed an evil seductress.
Society during the Victorian Period maintained rigid social standards and expectations for women. Men were permitted an unjust amount of freedom compared to women. Mina can be perceived as obedient, listening to anything a man mindlessly uttered. Due to her feminine nature, the reader is left to assume that Mina is near useless in defeating Dracula. John Harker complains about women in general, ”
They are devils of the Pit!” (67) Mina is restricted throughout society, and suppressed in her womanly form. Despite being as bright as she was, the men viewed Mina as a tool only to be utilized when necessary. She represents all women of that era, in that they were viewed as nothing more than a mindless pawn in the hands of men, displaying just how corrupt and patriarchal the Victorian Period truly was.
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Women embodied purity, weakness, and a simple innocence, constantly being viewed as the leading temptation to sin. Mentioned often throughout Dracula, Mina is referred to as possessing a “man’s brain.” Constantly being expected to refrain from expressing emotion, having a “man’s brain” was unnatural for women during this time. Men inherited the idea that they were never wrong in asserting their dominance, presupposing that women were to maintain submissive dependence upon men. Lucy supports these beliefs by questioning Mina, “Why are men so noble when women are so little worthy of them?” (67) Alluding to the fact that, again, it was not outside the “cultural norm” to accept women for nothing more than a boon to an