Bloodthirsty Resistance

While there are many passages in Dracula that are filled with sexual undertones, the section where Mina describes the Count forcing her to drink his blood is one that comes across as very explicitly sexual.  Mina states, “When the blood began to spurt out, he took my hands in one of his, holding them tight, and with the other seized my neck and pressed my mouth to the wound, so that I must either suffocate or swallow some of the-Oh my God” (307).  Blood has many different meanings within the novel, yet in this scene the most obvious interpretation of it seems to be semen.  This scene reads as very sexually violent and nonconsensual especially with the use of words such as, “seized,” “pressed,” and “suffocate.”  Dracula is forcing Mina to become a vampire but making her drink his own blood, in a way he is converting, or corrupting her.  Throughout the novel, both Mina and Lucy are described as pure, innocent, and wholesome beings.  In this particular moment, Dracula can be seen as someone disrupting Mina’s purity and innocence especially when Mina herself cannot even bear to tell the men that she was forced to swallow some of Dracula’s blood.  By doing this, Dracula has permanently violated and altered Mina and she can no longer be perceived as virtuous, innocent, or entirely human.

Carol Senf’s article “Dracula: The Unseen Face in the Mirror” focuses on how the main English characters and Dracula are similar rather than different.  She brings up the point that the novel never includes a chapter told from Dracula’s perspective and she questions the belief that Dracula is the only villain in the story. Senf particularly analyzes Dracula’s role as a sexual threat and what his thirst for blood can be interpreted as. In the scene above, it appears that Dracula is a violent individual who wants to corrupt the pure, innocent human body with blood, which in this instance seems to represent either semen or some kind of poison.  Senf writes, “his thirst for blood and the manner in which he satisfies this thirst can be interpreted as sexual desire which fails to observe any of society’s attempts to control it” (428).  The scene above does express Dracula’s sexual desire because he wants Mina to drink his blood that is coming out of the wound in his chest, which he opened himself. Dracula himself does not want to drink his own blood, but instead wants to convert Mina to a vampire so that she too will share this sexual desire and thirst for blood, which is such a stark deviation from her purity.  Dracula uses his thirst for blood as an act of defiance and particularly in the scene with Mina, uses her as a mechanism for blatantly destroying the societal norms that Mina so clearly embodies.  Senf’s challenge that Dracula may not be the only villain in the novel is also on display here because he himself is not drinking human blood, Mina is.  If Dracula uses his sexual desire to combat a society that condemns his sexuality, then maybe he is not the true villain and those who support such a society are.