Monsters & Madness

Secret Lives in Victorian Literature

A New Role

Dracula thus far has been a captivating read. There is so much suspense and mystery that goes on throughout the text. One thing that I have noticed while making my way through the novel is that women have a significant role in the story like no other book we have read so far, even Lady Audley’s Secret. This seems unusual for a 19th century Victorian era novel, especially when an Irish-Catholic male is the one writing it and putting these new details out there. Dracula, a male character, even is depicted as having female qualities. He is described to have red lips and an emotional state of mind. “I too can love,” is a statement Dracula makes that shows his emotional side. An interesting letter to read in this novel full of letters is when Lucy writes to Mina about her proposals. “My dear, it never rains but it pours. How true the old proverbs are. Here am I, who shall be twenty in September, and yet I never had a proposal till to-day, not a real proposal, and to-day I have had three. Just fancy! THREE proposals in one day! Isn’t it awful! I feel sorry, really and truly sorry, for two of the poor fellows.” She is surprised to have received three marriage proposals in one day. There is plenty of repetition of “three proposals” that tells us that we should pay attention to this. Having three proposals gives some kind of power to Lucy, who is a woman. She has the power to make her life the way she wants it by picking who she marries. This concept is new to the Victorian era. We see Lucy Graham get a proposal from a Michael Audley in Lady Audley’s Secret and she takes it right away. Now Lucy (from Dracula) has three different proposals, which gives her the power to control her own destiny, rather than have one man decide it for her like the rest of the Victorian era dwellers.

1 Comment

  1. I agree that the women in Dracula are given a lot of power. I like your connection to Lady Audleys secret, and I would compare Lucy’s three proposals to the proposal that Alicia turned down. Alicia was in love with Robert, so she refused to marry someone she did not love, which was so out of place in the Victorian era. Now we see it again in Dracula, with Lucy saying no to two men, and then they still follow her around and care for her while she is ill. It seems to be a theme in Victorian novels to go against what is expected in Victorian times. Perhaps these novels are just putting into words the thoughts and feelings of people at this time, which eventually start becoming incorporated into real life.

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