Dracula as a story may be seen as a classic horror tale of a bloodsucking monster who dines on the blood of the living, an embodiment of Satan himself getting the weak to bow down to him. But an underlying meaning of the character and what he represents is what I feel Bram Stoker was genuinely trying to get across to his readers, the hope to display woman as having the same desires as men through sexuality in his writing. Stoker, by pointing out the sexual repression of women during the Victorian era was hoping to display how during the period they were expected to be pure until marriage and not show or perform any seductive or flirtatious acts around men. An example of how Bram Stoker was attempting to get this message across can be seen in this quote. “In a sort of sleep-waking, vague, unconscious way she opened her eyes, which were now dull and hard at once, and said in a soft, voluptuous voice, such as I had never heard from her lips, “Arthur! Oh, my love, I am so glad you have come! Kiss me!”(Stoker, 70-71). The context of this quote is from Lucy attempting to seduce Arthur Holmwood in an attempt to kill him to escape what is her apparent demise. The relation to the new woman and this quote is that while Lucy is turning into a vampire, she becomes overly sexualized. Like other vampires around Dracula, her repressed sexuality is finally noticed, and she becomes the sexual aggressor instead of having men flock to her in attempts to gain her hand in marriage.
This piece of text taken from Greg Buzwell’s article Dracula: vampires, perversity, and Victorian anxieties, ties well with what I believe Stoker was hoping to get across, “Some critics have argued that Stoker uses the character of Lucy to attack the concept of the New Woman – a term coined towards the end of the Victorian era to describe women who were taking advantage of newly available educational and employment opportunities to break free from the intellectual and social restraints imposed upon them by a male-dominated society.” These “new woman” were trying to change the game and become the ones who were going after men, or at least add a balance that was unseen before this time. To summarize the main point, I believe Stoker is promoting not primarily sexualization of woman, but the ability to let women feel and do as they please instead of leaving themselves to do what men decide is ok for them to do within this era.