Dracula: Competition and the Social Adulterer;
Good vs. Evil
Throughout Stoker’s Dracula, a central theme is evident, Competition. The term competition refers to a test of skill or ability. Most of the competitions in Dracula are those between Dracula and the “good” men. Stoker’s novel can be seen as a similar version of the “Primal Horde” theory in which Freud created. A primal horde is a group of people arranged around a single dominant male, who has total authority over the group and holds claim over the females. Though this theory is also connected with incest, I would like to re think the sexual competition that takes place in this novel in terms of interracial competition. Though Dracula has his own women, he is interested in the women who belong to someone else. Dracula strives to be the single dominant male, by hoarding women around him and claiming them as his own. In this sense, Dracula can be seen as “the ultimate adulterer, whose purpose is nothing if it is not to turn good Englishwomen like Lucy and Mina away from their own kind and customs.” (Stevenson) Stoker does an amazing job of illustrating vampire sexuality as a “doubled phenomenon”. (Stevenson) In this essay I will look at the dual interpretations between “feeding” and “sex” and how they intertwine.
Stoker’s ability to illustrate the unfamiliar roles in which many in this novel take on proves to be helpful in understanding the relations between all the characters in the novel. In this essay I would like to argue that throughout Stoker’s novel there is a constant competition between good and evil. I believe Stoker set up Dracula like a competition between the band of men and Dracula. Who wins? When Dracula is described throughout the novel he is always seen as a foreign being, strange to the eye. “I knew him at once from the description of the others. The waxen face; the high aquiline nose, on which the light fell in a thin, white line; the parted red lips, with the sharp white teeth showing between; and the red eyes that I had seemed to see in the sunset on the windows of St. Mary's Church at Whitby. I knew, too, the red scar on his fore- head where Jonathan had struck him. (Stoker, 292-93) John Allen Stevenson brings up a great question in his critical essay about Dracula. “In what way are vampires another “race”?” (Stevenson) Vampires can be seen as another race because they have human tendencies that differ from those of humans. In Stevenson’s essay as well as mine, I use the word interracial to refer to the relationships between vampires and non- vampires. All the vampires in the novel described similarly. Stoker’s emphasis on red and white is used to describe the transition period and the completed vampirism. The three women that Jonathon
Harker encounters in Dracula’s castle are also described as having “brilliant white teeth that shone like pearls against the ruby of their voluptuous lips" (Stoker, 46). Even more importantly, Lucy and Mina start to also have these similar features during the time that Dracula was visiting them. Stoker uses color in this novel as a way to create racial classifications. Unlike humans, vampires are described as having pale skin, similar to a corpse and red voluptuous lips as if they are stained with blood. In Stevenson‘s essay he argues that the scar that both Mina and Dracula have function as a caste mark, a sign of membership in a group foreign to the men Mina belongs to. Jonathon describes Mina’s scar as the "red scar on my poor darling's white fore- head" (Stoker, 321). Van Helsing gives this scar to Mina in attempts to protect her from further attack. This can be seen as a way that they are marking Mina as a foreigner.
To further understand the competition that occurs in the novel, we must look at Stoker’s description of the men that try to save Mina and Lucy as well as destroy the Count. Stevenson argues that Stoker describes the men in a moral rather than physical matter, using terms to...
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