Coming Out of the Closet – …Or Coffin.

In Bram Stoker’s Dracula, many hints to sexuality can be found. While it may seem that this is limited to a heteronormative form of sexuality, the text is not free of homoeroticism. In the passage after the three ladies tried to seduce Jonathan, Dracula shouts: “How dare you touch him, any of you? How dare you cast eyes on him when I had forbidden it? Back, I tell you all! This man belongs to me! Beware how you meddle with him, or you’ll have to deal with me” (Stoker 46).

This passage proves that Dracula becomes territorial or even jealous when it comes to Jonathan. By forbidding the women to “touch” or even only to “cast eyes on him”, Dracula claims Jonathan for himself. That nobody is even allowed to look at him shows that the count is very sensitive about Jonathan’s contact to other people. The rhetorical questions and exclamation points emphasize that he is very serious and enraged about the women trying to be in close sexual context with Jonathan. It is also revealing that Dracula would forbid the women to have anything to do with Jonathan in the first place. Furthermore, Dracula demands for the women do go back and threatens that they would have to “deal with” him, in case that they would lay hands on him again.

This is followed by a claim from the women that Dracula was unable to love which he denies. That the word “love” is brought up multiple times is surprising because the passage about Jonathan and the women was mainly about desire and fear, as we discussed in class. The shift towards Dracula’s ability to love raises the question of why it is important in the situation and what Jonathan has to do with it. Additionally, Dracula is not specific about the gender of his previous love affairs. The simple conclusion would be: Dracula feels homoerotic love (or at least affection) towards Jonathan which leads to jealousy when Jonathan desires women.

One thought on “Coming Out of the Closet – …Or Coffin.”

  1. This is a really interesting close-reading of this passage and I am definitely convinced by your argument. I especially like how you analyzed this passage in conjunction with the following part where Dracula talks about love, since the combination of these two elements is very revealing of homoerotic undertones. This attraction between Dracula and Jonathan would actually explain a lot of things, such as why Dracula keeps Jonathan alive and unharmed for so long (you’d think after going so long without any human prey he would at least chew on his throat every once in a while). The idea of homoeroticism in Victorian novels is very interesting to explore since it’s something that’s not talked about much, though we’ve definitely experienced it in the books we’ve read (ie. Robert and George, Holmes and Watson). This specific instance is a little different though, because Dracula is an evil, otherworldly creature, so the argument could be made that this book is painting homosexual relationships as monstrosities.

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