Looks that Kill


Bram Stoker’s Dracula reflects Victorian society. He uses three female archetypes to show the changes of the time. The Victorian era was a time of scientific innovation, breaking from the church, and the emergence of “The New Woman.” Lucy represents traditional Victorian society with her purity and innocence. Mina embodies the “New Woman” because of her new-world ideas of femininity and her aspirations to work with Jonothan. The three vampire sisters demonstrate breaking from the church. Explicitly focusing on Lucy’s development from innocence to evil. The weird sisters hold the most power out of any of the women because of their vampirism. Their powers of seduction and femininity lead men to their deaths, as seen in their attempt at Jonathan. 

The weird sisters are a great example of the fem fatale. We see Lucy start to exhibit some of these traits in her transformation. “In a sort of sleep-waking, vague, unconscious way she opened her eyes, which were now dull and hard at once, and in a soft voluptuous voice, such as I had never heard from her lips…” In this passage, we see Lucy begin to become a dangerous seductress. As soon as she opens her eyes, her sweet innocence is replaced with a cunning mind and dark agenda. She demands Arthur kiss her with intent to suck his blood and kill him. Luckily, Van Helsing recognizes her vicious agenda and stops him. “Not for your life! he said; not for a living soul and hers! And he stood between them like a lion at bay.” The curious part about this quote is that Helsing has separated Lucy from themselves. They are the living, and her soul is gone, dead. Helsing is scared of her now. She has been dehumanized; Lucy is now an ”it,” an evil, inhuman entity. Like the weird sisters, she holds divine feminine power in looks that will literally kill.   





4 thoughts on “Looks that Kill”

  1. I wonder how this passage works in juxtaposition with earlier parts of the text. Lucy underwent multiple blood transfusions, an intimate act which is likened to sex by Bram Stoker, with noble Englishmen, yet still undergoes this transition to the dark side. Her becoming the seductress present in this passage seems to call into question the ability of English values in fending off the threats of foreign powers. What might Van Helsing’s intervention act as a symbol for regarding societal events.

  2. I like the different positions Stoker portrays on women and their position in society. Some pure and innocent, others hostile and deranged. The comparison of the two shows how power is divided between them. I like how Lucy portrays a more “powerful” woman than Mina, even though most of society would probably regard Mina to be the more Victorian-fit, individualized woman. I think dehumanizing women in this story shows how men had an ability to exploit in 18th century Transylvania.

  3. I really enjoy how you recognized the separation that Dr. Van Helsing created between Lucy and the men. I think that this speaks volumes about how the men perceive women who are undead and, in this case, how men in this time period perceive women. I especially find it interesting that you framed this as being dehumanizing. I agree with this statement as in many cases we see the men perceive Lucy as more of an object rather than a being with feelings.

  4. First: I love the title of this post it pulls you in so well! But also I agree so much with everything you said! I didn’t even pick up on the weird sisters being a representation of leaving the church, but looking back I’m like “obviously!” I also love what you said about when Lucy starts to turn bad she becomes a seductress, I feel like that’s true of most of what we’ve read so far(Lady Audley’s secret, both poems).

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