The novel of ‘Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley and ‘Dracula’, by Bram Stoker are undoubtedly amongst the greatest novels within the Gothic Horror Genre that have ever been written. Shelley and Stoker wrote at opposing ends of the nineteenth century, a century full of people who seem to have been obsessed with the Gothic tradition and supernatural. Many novelists were inspired to write great horror stories, and hence, the Gothic tradition is reflected in their work and used as a device in which to build tension, suspense and fear within the reader’s mind.
What Shelley and Stoker did not know was that they had established parameters for future horror stories to come. Frankenstein is a novel, which is based on story telling and reminiscing, thus history. As opposed to Dracula, which is written as events happen, Frankenstein is written looking back in retrospect. A very noticeable element which both novels share is that they integrate love and sex and yet still manage to keep the strong theme of horror Sexuality in Dracula comes under extreme threat.
The social normative’s surrounding Victorian sexuality are displaced and the reader is left to face up to what they fear the most; deviant forms of sexuality and gender indentity distortion. Their conflict arises over a duel to see who is able to assert more power over women, both sexually and intellectually, gender functions that are woven tightly into Victorian ideals about masculine and feminine counterparts; as shown by Lucy. The killing of Lucy is a powerful reinstatement of male sexual dominance.
Lucy poses a threat by exposing herself as a danger to sexual propriety; a threat to Victorian idealogy; “Why can’t they let a girl marry three men or as many as want her? ” Once infected by Dracula, Lucy becomes sexually overt and aggressive; and is portrayed as a monster and a social outcast. In order to rectify Lucy’s condition she is sexually overpowered by her fianci?? e Holmwood; he penetrates her to death with a stake through the chest, a staking which is overtly sexual in interpretation,
“the thing in the coffin writhed; and a hideous, blood-curling screech came from the opened red lips. The body shook and quithered and twisted in wild contortions; the sharp white teeth champed together till the lips were cut, and the mouth was smeared with crimson foam…. ” This sexual innuendo restores the Victorian balance of sexual penetration from the female domain back its accepted station within the male domain. Showalter interprets the killing as a gang rape, done with “impressive phallic instrument”. Dracula represents deviant sexuality.
Dracula displays the breakdown of normal gender roles posed by the New woman, by creating a physical transformation from the sexually passive women into the sexually aggressive vampire in his victims. In contrast to this theme, Frankenstein creates the monster and usurping the role of women, Victor is also rejecting normal human sexuality. His terrible nightmare after the creation of the monster seems to support the idea that Victor is repelled by normal sexuality. When he attempts to kiss Elizabeth, she turns into a corpse, the corpse of Victor’s mother, perhaps indicating that Victor is frightened by incestuous desires.
His response to his father’s suggestions that he marry may be read as a highly telling revelation of his feelings about sexuality, “Alas! To me the idea of an immediate union with my Elizabeth was one of horror and dismay” He explains that this is because the threat of the monster still hangs over him, but other readings are certainly possible. The same may be said of his words to Elizabeth on their wedding night; “Oh! Peace, peace, my love” he tells her, “this night, and all will be safe:but this night is dreadful,very dreadful! ” The reader wonders how Victor could possibly misinterpret the monster’s threat,
“I shall be with you on your wedding-night” Since it is uttered soon after Victor destroys the female companion, to the reader it seems quite clear that the threat is to Elizabeth, and yet Victor interprets it as a threat against him, and leaves Elizabeth, on the pretext of saving her from sight of the combat he expect, alone in the bedroom to be murdered by the monster. There is a notion of the double against aids in interpretation. I feel the monster is seen as an externalisation of Victor’s sexual impulses, the ugliness of the monster suggesting his horror of normal sexuality.
The monster assures Victor that he will be with him on his wedding night, the time Victor can no longer avoid confronting his sexuality. He leaves Elizabeth alone, but that part of himself he rejects, his sexuality, does not disappear. Instead, it turns destructive; he unleashes upon her this ugly, violent thing; the embodiment of his twisted sexual impulses. The appearance and actions of the monsters are very important factors of each novel so as reader creates the desired reactions and feelings. Each author has created shocking appearances in each monsters so as to set the initial fear within the readers.
Dracula and the creation both have powers, however it is more common to see evil being beautiful, alluring and seductive in many cases. In appearance, Count Dracula is described as being a, “tall old man, clean shaven, save for a long white mustache and clad in black from head to foot, without a single speck of color about him anywhere”. Contrary to popular understanding, Stoker has his Dracula sporting a large, bushy Victorian mustache and having profuse head of dense, curly hair, massive eyebrows, and peculiarly sharp white teeth, especially the canine teeth.
Dracula also posses astonishing vitality, as witnessed every time that he appears in a difficult situation. (need more on Dracula) The monster is essentially benevolent, innocent and freed from prejudice, he represents the possibility of a new start. Peter Brooks argues that 2the story of his education is a classic study of right natural instinct perverted and turned evil by social culture. As his education proceeds, as he moves from nature to culture, the monster learns more and more of the injustices of society.
As he learns about emotions and comes to desire love and companionship, he is rejected because of his physical ugliness. It is interesting how Shelley create such a love yearning creature into such a terrifying monster. Sophie Johnstone English course work Dracula, Bram Stoker Frankenstein, Mary Shelley Show preview only The above preview is unformatted text This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Mary Shelley section.