When Sir Michael states that he is deeply in love with Lucy Graham, he goes on to state that he never loved his two previous wives. He states that his marriage with Alicia’s mother was dull. Also, that his first marriage was “too dull to be extinguished, too feeble to burn” (Braddon 12). He goes on to claim that his feelings for Lucy are different.
This passage could mean two different things. It could be to show the reader that Sir Michael is truly in love and is able to feel so weakly about his past marriages because he feels so strongly about Lucy. However, I feel this passage is to show the reader that Sir Michael has never truly been in love before, does not know what love is, and is foreshadowing that Lucy will simply become another wife that Sir Michael will lose interest in once he finds another person that gives him the spark of love.
What I really think this passage is about is to give the reader more insight into Sir Michael’s past marriages and allow the reader to make a prediction on how his new marriage may play out. The way Sir Michael describes both his previous marriages as dull shows that rather than the marriages themselves not working out, it may simply be that Sir Michael loses interest in a marriage once he finds a new person who brings a sense of excitement or, what he calls the spark of love, into his life.
“Ah, that wonderful Madam Mina! She has man’s brain, a brain that a man should have were he much gifted”
When first introduced, Mina is described in the novel to possess man like qualities. She is strong, brave, and described as having a man’s brain. These are stated as positive things and give the reader the perspective that she is an important character who is willing to step up to any challenge. However, this image of Mina changes throughout the story. After her run in with the Count, Mina is no longer the strong brave woman the book portrayed her as. Her descriptions take a turn as she is described as something purer and more childlike. There are lines that describe her to be sleeping like a child. On top of this, towards the end of the story, the book goes on to say that it is up to the men of the story to save Mina from the terrible darkness that is inside of her. Also, it is hinted at that because of the illness, Mina is too weak to venture into such dark places.
It seems after being infected by the Count; Mina has lost all the qualities that make her strong. Because of what she went through, she is portrayed as less than the men around her and needs the help of others to be saved. This is such a drastic change from the way she was portrayed earlier in the story. Now that she is a victim of Dracula, Mina has lost her man like qualities and is described as a helpless woman who needs to rely on others. Perhaps this is due to Victorians at this time not wanting to relate anything manly to someone who has become a victim. This change could have also been made to continue the trend of Dracula going after women in the story. It would be out of character for Dracula to go after someone possessing man like qualities. Because of this, after the incident, Mina is no longer described with these qualities.
The passage I have chosen to close read is almost all of page 45. During one of his nights with the Count, Jonathan finds himself surrounded by three women as he is falling asleep. Immediately, Jonathan goes on to state how beautiful each of the women are. As he continues to describe their beauty and all of the things he wishes they would do to him, it becomes clear to the reader that Jonathan also has other thoughts about the approaching women. For every comment Jonathan makes about his lust for them, he counters it with a thought of how much fear they put in him. Eventually, Jonathan even slowly becomes aware of the monster like qualities that the women posses. However, he continues to desire them.
I believe this is due to the women having a supernatural power over Jonathan. I feel that Jonathan’s true thoughts during the encounter are those of fear and unease, but due to some supernatural ability those warning thoughts are blocked out by those of sexual arousal. This makes sense due to Jonathan’s initial thoughts being sexual but then immediately followed with warnings for himself. This could be Stoker making a reference to the idea that women have power over men through their beauty. This theme was present in Lady Audley’s secret at Lady Audley herself used her beauty to gain a position of power. Seeing as this is a common theme in other stories, I could easily see it present in this one. It could possibly refer to women being able to manipulate men into not noticing their terrifying true intentions. While for Victorians this could be something more realistic such as gaining power through a marriage, in Dracula their intentions are much more monstrous as they desire to kill Jonathan for his blood.
“How pitiless these women are to each other….she sniffs trouble to her fellow female creature and rejoices in it”(236)
Throughout the end of the second volume, Robert continues to have thoughts about women and how they interact with each other and those around them. These thoughts stood out to me in how repetitive they were and how often Robert continued to have these thoughts. Also, these thoughts were something that I did not expect to come from Robert, as the book did not make it obvious earlier that Robert has strong feelings against women. In the passage listed above, Robert mentions how women will rejoice in finding a way to put each other down. He goes even further to mention that women put other’s life in their hands. He even goes on to claim this for all womankind.
I felt these thoughts arose out of nowhere and did not expect them from Robert. While he was shown to be frustrated by the fact that his case was continuing to hit dead ends, it seems a questionable way to let out your frustration on all women as a whole. I feel these thoughts came from a deep anger towards Lady Audley that has been growing in Robert throughout the story. Now that he has hit a point where he is gathering strong enough evidence against her, Robert feels he will have the upper hand. This may have been what led him to thinking these irrational thoughts. Also, after seeing numerous women acting in secretive and sly manners, Robert may have started thinking of all women in this way with maybe the exception of a few who help him in the story.