The Position of the Bizarre Sisters – An Evaluation of the Vampire Girls in Bram Stoker’s Dracula

The three vampire ladies who inhabit the extra distant areas of Depend Dracula’s citadel are of nice significance to the narrative. Stoker’s depiction of them could possibly be thought of to embody the very worst Victorian nightmares relating to womanhood. Jonathan Harker’s reactions after his encounter with them additionally convey late nineteenth-century anxieties regarding the feminization of males.

Feminine gender identities have been narrowly outlined in Victorian society. Girls have been typically thought of to be of two varieties, both the doting spouse and mom, or the fallen girl. The vampire ladies, or ‘bizarre sisters’, as Harker calls them – referencing the three witches from Macbeth – could possibly be thought of an exaggerated literary equal of those fallen ladies. With their “good white enamel” (p.37) and “voluptuous lips” (p.37), they’re portrayed as overtly sexual beings. Their look and habits stand in stark distinction to that of Jonathan’s fiancĂ©e, the virtuous Mina, who he describes as having “naught in widespread” (p.53) with the vampire ladies.

Throughout his seduction, Jonathan’s reactions to the bizarre sisters are decidedly ambivalent: “There was a deliberate voluptuousness which was each thrilling and repulsive” (p.38). He encounters them in a far-flung chamber of Fort Dracula while in an ambiguous state of consciousness, a typical motif in Gothic literature: “I suppose I should have fallen asleep; I hope so, however I concern, for all that adopted was startlingly actual” (p.37). Considered from inside a Victorian context, Harker is portrayed in a considerably feminized place, with the gender roles reversed, in that he’s a person being seduced by ladies, when in nineteenth-century society males could be anticipated to imagine the position of seducer.

It’s debatable that the actions of the vampire ladies of their seduction of Harker characterize newfound anxieties in regards to the emergence of the New Lady. The New Lady was a kind of girl who challenged the prevailing Victorian notions of womanhood. Though Mina could possibly be thought of a New Lady, together with her monetary independence gained from having a profession earlier than marriage, she discusses this class of ladies with disdain. Concerning attitudes to marriage, she states that “I suppose the New Lady will not condescend in future to just accept; she is going to do the proposing herself” (p.89). It will seem that of their seduction of Harker, the feminine vampires could possibly be thought of New Girls in gentle of Mina’s remarks.

Inside the context of Gothic literature, Stoker confronts a number of conventions, one in every of these being by means of the position of Jonathan Harker in Dracula’s citadel. In eighteenth-century Gothic novels, reminiscent of Ann Radcliffe’s influential The Mysteries of Udolpho, it’s a younger girl – of a ‘tremulous sensitivity’ and far susceptible to fainting – who finds herself ensnared in a distant citadel and on the mercy of male predators. In Dracula Stoker has subverted conference by having a male character on this position, a element consolidated by Harker’s response to his grisly encounter with the vampire ladies: “the horror overcame me, and I sank down unconscious” (p.39). He’s a person assuming the position usually occupied by ladies in Gothic narrative.

Mina’s position as a New Lady is supported additional throughout her encounter with the bizarre sisters a lot later within the story. The vampire ladies are proven to beckon to Mina, referring to her as ‘sister’ of their invitation to affix their ranks.

Jonathan’s “agony of pleasant anticipation” (p.38) when being seduced by the vampires is echoed in Van Helsing’s personal anxieties when staking the undead ladies. He additionally notes the ladies’s sexual attraction in related tones to Harker: “She was so honest to look on, so radiantly lovely, so exquisitely voluptuous”, (p.370). If Victorian masculinity could possibly be undermined by means of the menace posed by sexually engaging ladies, then Van Helsing’s staking of the feminine vampires could possibly be thought of a reassertion of male patriarchy.

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