Victorian culture centered around the adherence to social customs of restraint, decency and honor, and violation of these terms resulted in severe consequences. Bram Stoker’s Dracula raises questions regarding social and religious anxieties about what happens when traditional institutions fail. While Stoker’s honorable quartet contemplates the finishing of the beast of their conquest, Mina Harker examines the implications of her own vampiric experience. Mina voices her concerns: “I am not worthy…I am unclean to His eyes, and shall be until He may deign to let me stand forth in His sight as one of those who have not incurred his wrath” (Stoker 344). Mina wrestles with her right to exist not only in a man’s presence, but in the sight of God himself. Throughout the rest of the novel, the interactions between Dracula and the women of his objectification are laced with undertones of sexual assault, a highly ignored topic of Victorian consciousness. The men blame Dracula for this sin, yet Mina blames herself. She worries for her own purity and cleanliness because it is so valuable for the only offices afforded to her as a woman in the time period: a wife and mother. As a wife, Mina fears for the sacred bond of holy matrimony that binds her to Johnathan and therefore to society. God is originally at the center of the holy ties which bind man and woman together in marriage, (the basis of Victorian society) and Dracula’s infiltration of this sacred establishment amplifies Victorian concerns about the breakdown of traditional institutions.
If the audience takes Mina to be a paradigm of chaste Victorian woman, the anxiety which Dracula’s violation causes her is justified because it challenges her entire existence. Moreover, because of Victorian attitudes toward religion were in such turmoil at the time, the challenge to the favor of God is particularly interesting. Not only would Dracula’s intrusion into sacred bonds challenge the institution of marriage, but it also confronts the issue of personal salvation. Mina directly addresses this concern in her exclamations, but it also holds truth toward the ideas of the era. Dracula raises the question of whether progress is the will of God, or if deviating from social constructions founded on heavenly principles is actually a violation of His mandate, making humans unworthy of his favor. These constructions of evil challenge traditional truths of faith and institution, exemplifying Victorian anxieties in the era.