The Mixed-Up Gender Roles in Dracula In the Victorian Era gender roles were very clear-cut and were not to be ignored. Men were masculine, tough, and considered protectors. Women were meant to be pure, kind, matronly, and frail. These were the stereotypical social behaviors of the genders and they were very strongly enforced. Women wouldn’t find a husband if they began to act at all masculine and subsequently, men would never find a wife if they began to act feminine or do “girly” things.
The line between masculine and feminine was scarcely crossed and when it was the person doing the crossing was an oddity. The line of gender is frequently crossed in Dracula by Lucy, Mina, Jonathon, and especially Dracula himself. The character in Dracula that crosses the gender line the most out of all is Mina. Mina was independent, smart, and resourceful. At one point in the novel Mina acted out one of the masculine features a male would have: protectiveness. Mina stayed with Lucy when she had become a meal for Count Dracula.
She did everything she could to protect Lucy from the unthinkable. Mina, Dr. Seward, and Van Helsing do all they possibly can to protect Lucy. Eventually Mina must leave Lucy on the news that her fiancee, Jonathon Harker, is in a hospital after having been missing for months. Mina is also very much in control of herself. She is very much opposite Lucy in the fact that her and Jonathon have a gender-equal relationship. Just because Jonathon is the male, he doesn’t treat Mina like a fragile being but as an equal.
Jonathon Harker can also be seen as having feminine behavior or being put in feminine situations. Jonathon completely succumbs to the power and beauty of the Brides of Dracula, like, stereotypically, a women would release all power to a handsome, well-established, potential husband. Other than the fact that he is paralyzed by the beauty of three women, he is also the “damsel in distress. ” Jonathon is being controlled and taken advantage of by another man. He is completely powerless and trapped by Count Dracula, making him helpless and in need of a “savior. Again, Mina becomes the masculine one and travels to meet the wounded and petrifies Jonathon in the hospital. On a smaller, more figurative scale, Lucy has also skipped genders in the novel. While Lucy completely portrayed the typical weak, fragile women by becoming a victim of Dracula’s, she also crossed over to the masculine. When Lucy became a vampire she became a target for the men and Mina. She was stronger, and shortly smarter than the men. She was also a predator by preying on small children in the night when a reader would expect her to be doing the complete opposite.
Lucy had just become engaged to Mr. Holmwood therefore, insisting that the next thought on her mind would be having babies, not eating them. Every reader knows the reason that Dracula kidnapped Jonathon and kept him captive in his castle: to feed. However, through out the novel, the homosexuality in Dracula’s words and actions were apparent. Generally, the thought that Dracula had kidnapped a man and kept him in his castle against his will would assume the homosexuality of Dracula for us. In addition, Dracula was also sought out by a group of people to be executed.
Not only was it a group of men that did the assassination, but a woman was the mastermind behind the ordeal. Mina was the one that did the research and allowed the necessary killing of the monstrous vampire to take place, making Dracula’s role as a male become weak and easily destroyed. Another reason Count Dracula’s role as a man was put in jeopardy was the way he assuaged women. Instead of asking for courtship of a woman the way Morris and Holmwood had, he had to resort to sadistic measures.
Count Dracula had to seduce and persuade basically hypnotize woman to do what he wanted making him seem desperate, like a stereotypical woman. In the novel of Dracula, the lines of gender were crossed many times making the reader think deeply about the roles of gender that were presented. Lucy, Jonathon, Mina, and Dracula all, at some point, behaved inn counter gender ways. That fact made Dracula an even more interesting read because it made the reader think about things that they wouldn’t normally during another novel.