Lucy: Flirting with Death?

At first blush, Lucy is a figure of girlish innocence who dies pure. However, an alternate reading suggests that Stoker attempts to use Lucy’s promiscuity to justify her fate. She is portrayed as overly flirtatious when, after turning down two proposals, she “couldn’t help feeling a sort of exultation that he was two in one day.” After all three proposals she wonders “Why can’t they let a girl marry three men, or as many as want her…?” The idea of a woman not being singularly connected with only one man would have made her “a horrid flirt” and I believe that Stoker intended the audience to view her as such. Many characters view Lucy as the embodiment of purity and innocence, making her ‘promiscuity’ a representation of evil living hidden amongst goodness. 

Lucy attempts to take the traditional (and only socially acceptable) path, a monogamous marriage to a man. She never lives to see her wedding day as she dies shortly after getting engaged. She dies because she has been seduced by Dracula. One of her first encounters with him sees her “waking unclad in a churchyard at night,” which would be the height of scandal for a young lady if anyone other than Mina was to find out. Lucy effectively cheats on Arthur with Dracula. In a world where a one-time blood transfusion is as good as a wedding, Dracula weds Lucy night after night. Only once she is dead do the other characters see her secret inner self reflected on her outer self. Her pristine white dress is stained with blood and “the purity [turned] to voluptuous wantonness.” 

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