The Vampire: What Boundaries Does the Vampire Threaten? Discuss with R

Topics: Vampire, Dracula, Abraham Van Helsing Pages: 27 (9188 words) Published: October 7, 2003
The Vampire
What boundaries does the Vampire threaten?

Written by Amanda Turner

Discuss possible answers to this question with reference to at least two critical or theoretical essays and at least two tellings' of the Dracula story._______________________________________________ The Vampire in Dracula threatens the very existence of Victorian England. Stoker constructs the vampire as an embodiment of threat by surpassing his Gothic novelist predecessors to bring the threat of the Gothic home to Victorian England (Arata 119). This in turn crosses the boundary between what is foreign and what is national; and dually East and West. Dracula is open to many interpretations, each accompanying their own boundaries the Vampire threatens. Marxist's view Dracula as a metaphor for capitalism, whilst the queer perspective views it as a struggle between homosexuality and heterosexuality. Others such as Auerbach argue that "Dracula is in love less with death or sexuality than with hierarchies, erecting barriers hitherto foreign to vampire literature; the gulf between male and female, antiquity and newness, class and class, England and non-England, vampire and mortal, homoerotic and heterosexual love, infusing its genre with a new fear: fear of the hatred unknown" (p. 148). This essay is arguing that Dracula does cross all of those fore-mentioned barriers, as well as crossing a myriad of others. The essay is using the novel Dracula by Bram Stoker and the 1931 film version of Dracula by Tod Browning as the literary base from which the boundaries are derived and analyzed. Other boundaries threatened are; familial boundaries including maternal and paternal roles; pre-oedipal and oedipal, as well as the boundaries between child and adult. Sexual and human taboo boundaries are threatened, incorporating masculine and feminine as well as gender boundaries. The boundary between conservative and liberatory is threatened, evident in the contrast between Victorian women and the new woman. The threat of conflict between desire and fear; sanity and insanity; the realm of the unconscious versus the conscious, are all evident in the boundary between self and other; and Christianity is also threatened in Dracula. This essay analyses the threat these boundaries face from a historical perspective; a psychoanalytical lens (primarily Freud and Lacanian); queer and gender studies analysis; Jungian approach; and a Marxist interpretation, to assess the preternatural jeopardy the Vampire embodies. It is however important to note that the boundaries in Dracula are not as clear cut as suggested: instead they are fused and intertwined with one another. Sexuality in Dracula comes under extreme threat. The social normative's surrounding Victorian sexuality are displaced and the reader is left to face up to what they fear the most; deviant forms of sexuality and gender identity distortion. This is witnessed in the conflict between Dracula, and Van Helsing and his entourage; the Crew of Light. Their conflict arises over a duel to see who is able to assert more power over women, both sexually and intellectually, gender functions that are woven tightly into Victorian ideals about masculine and feminine counterparts; as shown by Lucy. The killing of Lucy is a powerful reinstatement of male sexual dominance. Lucy poses a threat by exposing herself as a danger to sexual propriety; a threat to Victorian ideology - "Why can't they let a girl marry three men or as many...
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