• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month
Page
  1. 1
    1
  2. 2
    2
  3. 3
    3
  4. 4
    4
  5. 5
    5
  6. 6
    6
  7. 7
    7
  8. 8
    8
  9. 9
    9

Discuss the relationship between sexuality and cruelty AND/OR or death in any TWO texts.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Discuss the relationship between sexuality and cruelty AND/OR or death in any TWO texts. Dracula's brutal sexuality is exposed when Mina is physically forced to drink the Count's blood. However, in contrast, Lestat psychologically taunts Claudia because she will never experience adult sexuality. Vampires, therefore, cannot be characterised as homogenous creatures, but like humans have considerably differing natures that are driven by individual desires. From this assertion, my argument in this essay will discuss the diverse nature of vampires and humans in the texts Dracula and Interview With The Vampire. Besides suggesting that power, sadism and erotic desire are fundamental to the relationship between sexuality and cruelty. Vampires crave power. In Dracula, power is manifested by the Count's defense of his aristocratic heritage. Michel Foucault's work on sexuality reminds us that: 'one of the characteristic privileges of sovereign power was the right to decide life and death' (Foucault p.135). Considering this, Jonathan Harker's commentary assists in determining Dracula's perception of social status, as his journal comments on the exalted manner in which the Count expresses himself: 'Whenever he spoke of his house he always said "we," and spoke almost in the plural, like a king speaking' (Stoker p.40). In which case Jonathan Harker's diary establishes the Count's assumptions concerning his position in the social strata. Dracula then, is clearly an advocate of feudal systems of power, and seeks to defend and possess divine power. Therefore Dracula's Eastern aristocratic heritage is defended and extended, through the destruction of mortal sexuality. As well as attacking the West, since he first attacks Lucy Westenra, a surname signifying perhaps Westerner? By attacking women, Dracula seeks to possess absolute authority over Western males, by usurping human procreation. It is clearly significant then, that Dracula attacks women, as he attempts to succeed in this quest by making love not war against his enemies. Dracula is intent on making the women his own, seen in the threat to Van Helsing's men: 'Your girls that you all love are mine already; - my creatures, to do my bidding...' ...read more.

Middle

Yet, in Interview With The Vampire antagonism is an omnipresent threat within vampire society since internal power struggles continually occur. The New World vampires commonly experience discord amongst their own kind, as they compete for power. Thus establishing amongst them a hierarchical order, as well as an omnipresent fear of rebellion from the subordinate vampire. Therefore, when Lestat indulges in grotesque forms of sexuality it is used as a mechanism to maintain superiority over Louis. Lestat clearly glories in sexual perversity when he realises he has found a way to keep Louis, and relishes sexual voyeurism, as he secretly observes Louis take Claudia. Lestat's perverse sexual pleasure shocks Louis: 'It was Lestat...laughing, his body bent as he danced in the mud street....he taunted me ...he'd caught me in the act' (Rice p.83). However, both participate in sexual cruelty, when Claudia is made into a vampire, as Lestat and Louis both engage in paedophile and incestuous activities. This is seen as Louis and Lestat claim Claudia their as daughter and bed partner, offering to share their coffin with her during the day. By making Louis, the synthetic mother of Claudia, Lestat continues as dominant male vampire, because Louis is now trapped by his 'maternal' responsibilities for the child. Here, Anne Rice's text reveals a feminist agenda connected to sexuality and power. The vampire relationship bears comparison to the mortal world, since the birth of children, has been a device with which to entrap women. Therefore, the dilemma of Louis, is doubled with that of subjugated mortal women. Claudia is a crazy mixed up (vampire) kid, for she presents a number of paradoxes. Firstly, she has a considerable amount in common with her 'father' Lestat. Therefore, a Freudian psychoanalysis, where a child and parent of opposite sexes form a close bond is a particularly appropriate analysis of the relationship between Lestat and Claudia. This is evident since the seduction of entire families by Claudia, and Lestat's daily menu of young woman as entree and young man as desert, show both vampires enjoy engaging in ritualistic sexual depravity. ...read more.

Conclusion

As Louis recalls Madeleine's insatiable lust was painful: 'it was cutting me, scoring me, so I all but cried out as it went on and on...' (Rice p.292). Therefore, a close alliance between the two female vampires must present an enormous risk to the domination of sexuality by male vampires. As a consequence, both Claudia and Madeleine die whilst Louis survives. Furthermore, this is not convincing justice for the death of Lestat, as Madeleine is innocent. Clearly, the vampires are motivated by fear of the potent liaison between Claudia and Madeleine. Furthermore, Louis is rescued from death, because of the homoerotic desire of Armand. A relationship that is now possible, as the two overtly lasciviousness female vampires and their, powerful natures are extinguished. Therefore, in Interview With The Vampire, sexuality and cruelty function principally to sustain male sexual domination and homoerotic relationships. One of the main points I have argued in this essay, is that power and sexual cruelty prevail through conflict. My assertion in Dracula is that conflict is external to vampire existence, whereas in contrast, internal conflicts exist in Interview With The Vampire. Therefore in conclusion, it is essential to say that although both narratives are told in the first person, the viewpoints in the text are endorsed by use of opposing narrative strategies. In Dracula the text is narrated by mortals, therefore the reader is greatly influenced by the mortal perspective. Whilst in contrast, the narrative of Interview With The Vampire is recounted from a vampire's perspective. Accordingly, then, Dracula and Interview With The Vampire, present the reader with a textual biased perspective. The narrators present their own ideologies relating to power and sexual cruelty projecting their own identities and environment. As Michel Foucault argues: 'We must conceptualize the deployment of sexuality on the basis of the techniques of power that are contemporary with it (Foucault p.150). Therefore, sexuality and cruelty, operate by reflecting the personal, political and social opinions of their narrators. Consequently, Dracula reflects mortal ethics, in contrast to Interview With The Vampire, which through a single narrative is unmistakably opinionated but applies vampiric reasoning. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Bram Stoker section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Bram Stoker essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    How does Bram stoker manipulate audience response to Jonathan Harker and Dracula in his ...

    5 star(s)

    So by doing this Bram Stoker is showing Dracula as an even more possessive person, but he is also showing that he is powerful character, he's trying to show Dracula as a bad character in the story. As the chapter continues, Bram Stoker portrays Dracula as an evil character when Jonathan first meets him in person.

  2. Marked by a teacher

    "How does the multiple narrative structure affect the portrayal of Dracula and how is ...

    4 star(s)

    He also uses binary oppositions such as good and evil to show a clear divide between the count and the rest of the characters. Dracula is portrayed as an anti-hero in many ways, one of which is the way he has so many feminine features.

  1. In his novel "Dracula", how does Bram Stoker use Gothic conventions to engage the ...

    It is a strange and unfamiliar experience for Jonathan. A quote showing this is "the impression I had was that we were leaving the west and entering the east". This creates an atmosphere of fear and suspense because it suggests that Jonathan is leaving the west (an area which he knows well and is familiar with)

  2. Discuss the role of sexuality in Dracula. What does the novel suggest about sexual ...

    We witness such a transformation in Lucy Westenra <javascript:ScrollingPopup('http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/dracula/terms/char_5.html', 'a7af4e0b9f', '500', '500')>, who becomes a dangerous figure of sexual predation bent on destroying men with her wanton lust. Because of her immoral mission, the men realize that Lucy must be destroyed.

  1. How does Stoker present men and masculinity in Dracula?

    at Lucy's burial, "I grieve my heart out", he is also the most intelligent, and knowledgeable of the new species, (the vampire). Holmwood/Goldalming share the weakness for women, as they almost fall victim to Lucy's seductive nature as a vampire.

  2. Dracula: a novel of fin de si&amp;amp;egrave;cle fear?

    extraneous individualising traits upon them, in this vein Senf notes that With the exception of Dr. Van Helsing, all the central characters are youthful and inexperienced -two dimensional characters whose only distinguishing characteristics are their names and their professions; and by maintaining a constancy of style throughout and emphasising the

  1. Discuss possible answers to this question with reference to at least two critical or ...

    241). 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" (p. 181). "Those serial transfusions which, while they pretend to serve and protect 'good women,'

  2. Bram Stoker's Dracula

    They send for help from Arthur and Quincey in their quest to kill her and move on. Seward's diary is interrupted here with an undelivered letter to Seward from Van Helsing. It is meant to be delivered in the case of an emergency.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work