Bram Stoker – “Dracula” (1897)

Dracula – the disturbing element in a well-balanced Victorian world

To be different in the Victorian society meant to face, in a way, being portrayed as a villain. One can take this novel as a clear example of what the social scientists call ethnocentrism. Dracula personifies the ultimate other for the narrators of the book: he is foreign, he is of other religion, he is an aristocrat (as opposed to the middle-class bourgeois individuals), and he does not conform to the sexual conventions of the age (the “normal” thing to do being to repress your desires). To see the ethnocentric perspective, one must look at who tells the story. The multiple points of view were supposed to convey some sort of objectivity (just like in journalism, multiple subjective opinions can lead to a relatively objective account). However, all the narrators are British, Victorian, “sane,” “normal,” “good,” “rational” people. The world for them is “full of good men, even if there are monsters in it” (Mina Harker – Chapter 17). We never get to know what Dracula really thinks, nor Renfield. We only get to read what the narrators remember (remarkably, in great detail) and how they feel about them.


The unbalance must be corrected and eliminated in a “rational” and “proper” manner, for it is nothing but that – a disturbance of the Victorian status quo: “I suppose one ought to pity anything so hunted as the Count. That is just it. This thing is not human, not even a beast” (Mina Harker – Ch. 17).


As a note, it is interesting to see that after she had been “contaminated,” Lucy (who was loved by everyone) becomes almost instantly a creature that deserves nothing but death: “At that moment the remnant of my love passed into hate and loathing. Had she then to be killed, I could have done it with savage delight” (Dr. Seward – Ch. 16). A cure is not even an option.

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Works cited:


Stoker, Bram – Dracula


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