What Is The Victorian View Of Women In The Novel 'Dracula'?


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Will Martin answered
The portrayal of women in Dracula is very interesting because it has two "heroines" who seem to embody different concepts or ideals of womanhood. Lucy Westenra, the lesser figure, is in many ways close to the "typical" Victorian view - rather empty-headed and flirtatious, very dependent on men both for approval and support. It could be seen as a macabre comment on this view of woman as "clinging" and dependent, that Lucy's four suitors all actually end up giving their own blood for her! It may also be part of the hostility that often went with this portrayal of womanhood, that in her Un-dead state Lucy preys shamelessly on the men who loved her.

Minna Harker, by contrast, is very much a "New Woman" a popular figure in the late Victorian novel. Highly educated, brave and intelligent, she is given much more prominence in the novel than Lucy. Some critics think Stoker shows hostility towards this type of woman, but I think Mina is a very admiring portrait. The scenes in which she is excluded from the men's counsels, because she might unwittingly betray them, show far more sympathy for her than for them. It's also noticeable that Dracula goes to a lot more trouble over Mina than he does over most of his victims! (And the very intelligent Van Helsing also admires her hugely.)

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