The character and the novel

This has caused the romantic ‘knight in shining armor’ theory to go down the proverbial drain, because women are in charge of their own destiny now, not waiting around to be chosen. This has lead to men being less domineering. Since this deficiency in dominance has happened, it has left women with a desire for authority. To women, Dracula represents the ultimate control and ascendancy. “Your girls that you all love are mine already. ” States Dracula smugly. (p. 306) Take ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’, a teenage television series, for instance.

This modern show portrays vampires as sexual, desirable beings with feelings. This is contrary to the book in which it states that one of Dracula’s advantages over his opponents was his lack of emotion. Van Helsing testifies: “He is brute, and more than brute: he is devil in callous, and the heart of him is not;” (p. 304) In ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’, the main character – an independent teenage girl – even goes as far as falling in love with a vampire-turned-semi-human, and has a relationship with him.

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This is taking women’s fantasies to an extreme. Through media such as music, Internet, books and movies, a culture has formed. Popular culture in the final years of the 20th century has been marked by an escalation of interest in the supernatural, the alien, the macabre and the occult. Marilyn Manson – who got his first name from the famous actress Monroe, and his last name from the infamous killer Charles – was a morbid singer, who was inspired by the vampire genre. His music was dark and heavy and usually referred to drugs, violence and hatred.

He was at the height of that culture in 1998, when being ‘gothic’ was trendy for some. If one compares Manson’s features to those of Dracula’s, we see many similarities: long angular face, dark hair, piercing eyes. Even his stature is not unlike that of the Counts. If each era and culture since pre-history has invented and reinvented its own vampire figures in the spirit of the age, then Marilyn Manson is our very own modern vampire. I believe that Manson identifies greatly with the social outcast, the Count, and that Dracula is his inspiration for his twisted weirdness.

‘Goths’ as they were called were people who would go about dressed in mostly black drapey clothing, with black and white made up faces. These people mostly listened to the cult bands, Marilyn Manson, Slipknot and Korn. These people, were mostly the ‘outcasts’ of school life (academically, athletically). The Goths were known as ‘freaks’, and that is the image they strived for. By dressing and looking so differently than others, they made themselves objects of scorn. The Goths were quite like the original Count Dracula: he was an outcast.

He was the only male vampire that we are introduced to in the novel, he was the last of his kind and he was scorned. Anne Rice has revived the gothic genre in her modern romantic horrors about vampires. She has quite a large following and an eager readership. Her twisted and at times perverted novels have resulted in the box office hit: Interview with a Vampire, starring some of Hollywood’s most popular and sexy actors. The chief reason why Dracula was so popular is as follows. When Dracula was first published, in 1897, it was during the sexually repressed Victorian era.

The general public ‘guzzled’ this novel up because it expressed so much of their ‘improper’ unspoken feeling and curiosity. The idea of sucking someone’s neck to drink his or her blood is so symbolic and suggestive of blatant sexuality. This novel masked intense sexuality, but subliminally, the reader could ascertain what Stoker meant, using slight imagination. This titillated the prude Victorian public of the late 1800s, and intrigued them. They had created a compromise where sex is twisted to the point it is not only accomplished without genitalia, but also without guilt, and without love.

The combination of death and sexual activity brings one of the 19th century’s major public preoccupations, death, the dead, funerals, tombs together with its major private and secret preoccupation, sex and sexuality. In the novel, there are also very surprising references to being sexual. As Jonathan Harker notes about the weird sisters in his journal: There was something about them that made me uneasy, some longing and at the same time some deadly fear. I felt in my heart a wicked, burning desire that they would kiss me with those red lips. (p. 53)

There was a deliberate voluptuousness, which was both thrilling and repulsive, and as she arched her neck she actually licked her lips like an animal, till I could see in the moonlight the moisture shining on the scarlet lips and on the red tongue as it lapped the white sharp teeth. (p. 54) This section of the book must have been very thrilling for the dull Victorians. They were not habituated to women being able to express themselves sexually or being predatory. A tad of shocking bisexuality is also implied by the women, since they laugh and whisper together.

One even utters: “He is so young and strong; there are kisses for us all. ” (p. 53) The other characters in the novel show some sexuality as well. Originally ‘pure’, Lucy is the first to flaunt it when she writes to Mina saying: “Why can’t they let a girl marry three men, or as many that want her, and save all this trouble? ” (p. 80) This is implying her own sexual greediness even before she becomes a vampire. When she is finally fully transformed into a vampire, she becomes openly lustful for the men around her. This scares the men, and they immediately try to restore her goodness.

In closing, Dracula has remained popular throughout time because of its historical relevance, its feministic views, and its era changing vampire, but the ultimate reason is its implied sexuality. There is a direct correlation between the continual popularity of Dracula and it’s sexual implication. It will always appeal to the public because it will always be a sexual book and based on a sexual idea. It will continue to fascinate the minds of the masses because Dracula is an excellently written novel, leaving the most outrageous details unsaid, and the imagination to fly.

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