Free Essay: Violence and Power Within Dracula's Grasp Throughout many Jonathan is struggling with an inner conflict, and one of the supernatural; man.
Table of contents
- Literary Examination Topics Concerning ‘Dracula’ simply by Bram Stoker
- Power and Control in Dracula :: Dracula Essays
- Is Dracula a Gothic Novel?
- Literary Examination Topics Concerning ‘Dracula’ simply by Bram Stoker
Assimilating material from the Gothic does, however, allow Hardy to explore issues of concern to himself and his contemporaries and to play on their fears. One of the most obvious similarities is that, like the earliest Gothic literature, both works feature young women as central characters.
Unlike the persecuted maidens of early Gothic fiction, however, these young women are no longer sequestered at home. Instead, because both writers were aware of the sexually and intellectually liberated New Woman of the period, their characters walk openly into situations where they encounter dangers in the form of mysterious strangers. Seduced by these exotic foreigners, they leave their homes only to experience the negative consequences of such actions. Courted by three men, Lucy chooses Arthur Holmwood His title after the death of his father, Lord Godalming, suggests his affiliation with the forces of good just as her name suggests light and identification with Western culture.
While sleepwalking in Whitby, she encounters Dracula who eventually turns her into a vampire. That she meets Dracula in a state of unconsciousness somewhat absolves her from guilt, and her soul is saved when Arthur and the other agents of goodness assemble to end her vampiric existence by driving a stake through her heart.
Literary Examination Topics Concerning ‘Dracula’ simply by Bram Stoker
Instead of turning her into a monster, though, Mop merely abandons her to raise their daughter alone. Not only do both works adapt the familiar Gothic storyline of young women haunted by mysterious foreigners, but both resemble the Child ballad cited at the opening in which a dark and brooding stranger seduces a young woman to leave her home and family. It is that we become as him; that we henceforward become foul things of the night like him—without heart or conscience, preying on the bodies and the souls of those we love best. To us forever are the gates of heaven shut. Stoker also reminds his readers of more mundane examples of death.
The next evidence of his influence over her were singular enough, and it would require a neurologist to fully explain them …. Her father, knowing her hysterical tendencies, was always excessively anxious about this trait in his youngest girl, and feared the attack to be a species of epileptic fit. With the exception of vampirism, which is obviously an extreme supernatural condition, both works rely on realistic physical ailments and demonstrate the degree to which physical and mental illness as well as death are a frightening part of the human condition.
As is appropriate for a time when the British Empire was beset and besieged both from within and without, both works depict xenophobia. What ought they to be in China? At this point, Harker rebels at the thought of bringing this foreign threat to England:. This was the being I was helping to transfer to London, where, perhaps, for centuries to come he might, among its teeming millions, satiate his lust for blood, and create a new and ever-widening circle of semi-demons to batten on the helpless.
The very thought drove me mad. Many a worthy villager envied him his power over unsophisticated maidenhood—a power which seemed sometimes to have a touch of the weird and wizardly in it. Personally he was not ill-favoured, though rather un-English, his complexion being a rich olive, his rank hair dark and rather clammy—made still clammier by secret ointments.
Both Hardy and Stoker reveal their shared fears, and both works also incorporate characteristics associated with the Gothic, including indirect narration.
Power and Control in Dracula :: Dracula Essays
Beginning in Transylvania, Dracula is set in towns and cities that its English readers would have known, including London, Whitby, and Exeter. By not displacing his narrative to a distant site, Hardy participates in the domesticating of the Gothic that is evident as well in The Picture of Dorian Gray and Dracula. All these writers bring the Gothic home. As O'Malley says explicitly, instead of being foreign, the Gothic has become all too familiar: "The Gothic as a genre has collapsed into the contemporary novel, because the Gothic, indeed, has come home to England.
The estate is called Carfax, no doubt a corruption of the old Quatre Face … The house is very large and of all periods back … to medieval times for one part is of stone immensely thick with only a few windows high up and heavily barred with iron.
It looks like part of a keep, and is close to an old chapel or church. The only exhibition that ever made, or ever will make, any impression upon my imagination was the first of the series, the parent of them all, and now a thing of old times—the Great Exhibition of However, Hardy reveals himself to be less confident about this kind of progress by linking Mop to more primitive forces represented by his sexual power over women and his association with pagan music and by revealing his dominance over the progressive Ned whose work on the Crystal Palace identifies him with industrialism.
So far this discussion suggests that both Hardy and Stoker are using their fictional creations to address concerns that their readers would have shared, including anxiety about the vulnerability of women, worry about the foreigner, and fear of atavism and degeneration. Nothing so far has touched on the link between the Gothic and horror, but this connection will illustrate what distinguishes the Gothic from realist works that employ Gothic material. The connection is definitely present as scholars such as Botting and Allison Millbank 8 have noted, but merely pointing to the extent to which the Gothic is woven into the realistic novel is insufficient.
One of the first scholars to address the connection between the Gothic and realism as well as one of the first twentieth-century scholars to take the Gothic seriously is Leslie Fiedler whose classic Love and Death in the American Novel emphasizes the importance of both the Gothic and horror to the American literary experience:. In our most enduring books, the cheapjack machinery of the gothic novel is called on to represent the hidden blackness of the human soul and human society.
No wonder our authors mock themselves as they use such devices …. However shoddily or ironically treated, horror is essential to our literature. It is not merely a matter of terror filling the vacuum left by the suppression of sex in our novels, of Thanatos standing in for Eros. Knowing what might drive these unpleasant circumstances into full-blown Gothic horror will help discriminate the Gothic from realism, however. This chapter will investigate the Gothic within Victorian realism on the basis of this key principle: that it is not where the Gothic might be found that is important, but why it is found there, what it is employed to do, and under what conditions it achieves this.
If we begin to uncover at least a few of the different epistemologies of realism where the Gothic has an influence this will allow us to develop a much deeper understanding of the generic relationships between realism and the Gothic. Flaubert, Tolstoy, Twain and Hardy too confront readers with unpleasant and inescapable realities: The ordinary humans in this realist fiction suffer from a variety of physical and mental illnesses as well as from poverty and unemployment.
Romantic love does not transport them beyond their ordinary circumstances; family members and friends are indifferent to their suffering; the people who should love and protect them are often responsible for their suffering and may even take gleeful delight in it ; and even loving individuals are powerless to protect those they love from harm.
In addition, while earlier literature and art had sometimes reminded viewers and readers of the pains of the flesh, such memento mori were generally created within a religious or heroic context that also encouraged the search for something beyond mere material existence.
Physical death was unavoidable, but there was something beyond—either immortality or glory—that is no longer in evidence in realism. The Gothic at the end of the nineteenth century and after goes one step further and focuses on the most graphic, painful and degrading aspects of death, disease and sexuality.
At mid-century Edgar Allan Poe is also an expert at evoking horror. And of course there is always the vampire, that creature from the grave who nonetheless returns to impact the living. The existence of the vampire is a reminder of things worse than death and disease, it seems. Botting provides a succinct overview of some reasons for this transformation that took place during the period when Stoker and Hardy were writing:. Along similar lines, the work of criminologists like Cesare Lombroso and Max Nordau attempted to discriminate between humans: some were more primitive and bestial in their nature than others.
Anatomical, physiological and psychological theories were brought to bear on identifications of criminal types, those genetically determined to be degenerate and deviant.
Is Dracula a Gothic Novel?
Atavism and recidivism, the regression to archaic or primitive characteristics, dominated constructions of deviance and abnormality. Often writers used this scientific language to depict the real horrors they saw, and many of the horrors reveal that nineteenth-century confidence in science, technology and rationalism was illusory.
Hardy demonstrates that being human can be painful and reveals the extent to which vulnerable people are often hurt. The result is that her former lover kidnaps their child while the man who had rescued both her and that child is frantic at the loss. They would merely see such pain as part of the human condition.
His characters are creatures of the flesh rather than intellectual beings. Writing at this time, both Bram Stoker in his novel Dracula and Oscar Wilde in his novel The Picture of Dorian Gray present characters whose body and souls become corrupted by evil. Stoker and Wilde suggest a similar moral message for society; how humanity should accept the changes in society, specifically the movement of immigration, sexuality, and feminism, otherwise individuals become susceptible to evil and their body and souls become corrupted. Both novels contain an eponymous antagonist; focusing on the individuals who are the cause of evil within society.
In Dracula, Stoker presents the antagonist Dracula as a disease who infects the characters surrounding him and influencing them with his corrupted intentions. An example being Lucy Westenra who Stoker presented her as pure and innocent from the start but then becomes an enchantress due to Dracula corrupting both her body and soul. He does this by doing an inhumane act of drinking her blood leaving her in a state of voluptuousness.
Literary Examination Topics Concerning ‘Dracula’ simply by Bram Stoker
As the Novel progresses, we begin to see the impure side of Lucy and the ideal Victorian women being thrown out. The pure and innocent Lucy is sexualised more than Mina and her beauty is emphasised greatly compared to Mina. This possibly could foreshadow what will happen to Lucy when she is a fallen victim to Dracula just like the three female vampires.
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Victorian literature tends to present the vampire myth as a sexual allegory in which English female virtue is menaced by foreign predators. During the course of the book Dracula attacks both Mina and Lucy; but Mina, due to the traditional Victorian qualities of determination and loyalty towards her husband is able to resist his advances. The rather more free-spirited Lucy is not so lucky. Some critics have argued that Stoker uses the character of Lucy to attack the concept of the New Woman — a term coined towards the end of the Victorian era to describe women who were taking advantage of newly available educational and employment opportunities to break free from the intellectual and social restraints imposed upon them by a male-dominated society.
Those who took a hostile attitude towards the New Woman saw her either as a mannish intellectual or, going to the opposite extreme, an over-sexed vamp.
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The two women in Dracula , Lucy Westenra and Mina Murray, embody two different vews of womanhood, and meet very different fates. In the stories women manage their relationships with other women in a way that excludes patriarchal power structures. Bram Stoker includes numerous references to the very latest ideas and inventions in his novel.
Dr Seward keeps his diary using a phonograph which was a relatively new and expensive piece of technology in ; similarly, references to Kodak cameras, portable typewriters, telegrams being sent across Europe and the blood transfusions carried out by Professor Van Helsing all reflect the rapid technological changes taking place in the late-Victorian period. In addition, as already shown in the earlier mention of Max Nordau and Cesare Lombroso, the characters in the novel frequently refer to contemporary theories in medicine and psychology.
The entire novel is presented in the form of letters, diaries and newspaper cuttings: so the scientific method of observing and recording information is integral to both the structure of the book itself, and to the attempts of Van Helsing and his friends to destroy Dracula. Set against this atmosphere of scientific advance, however, are the intangible concepts of religious faith and the supernatural.
Van Helsing may use blood transfusions in an attempt to keep Lucy alive, but he also resorts to garlic flowers and crucifixes to hold the vampire at bay. Throughout the novel there is a sense that Dracula, with his ability to pass through keyholes like a mist and his affinity with bats, rats and wolves, represents the inexplicable; an alien force which science on its own cannot defeat.