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What boudaries does the vampire threaten? Discuss possible answers to this question with reference to at least two critical or theoretical essays and at least two tellings' of the Dracula story._______________________________________________

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The Vampire What boundaries does the Vampire threaten? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Discuss possible answers to this question with reference to at least two critical or theoretical essays and at least two tellings' of the Dracula story._______________________________________________ The Vampire in Dracula threatens the very existence of Victorian England. Stoker constructs the vampire as an embodiment of threat by surpassing his Gothic novelist predecessors to bring the threat of the Gothic home to Victorian England (Arata 119). This in turn crosses the boundary between what is foreign and what is national; and dually East and West. Dracula is open to many interpretations, each accompanying their own boundaries the Vampire threatens. Marxist's view Dracula as a metaphor for capitalism, whilst the queer perspective views it as a struggle between homosexuality and heterosexuality. Others such as Auerbach argue that "Dracula is in love less with death or sexuality than with hierarchies, erecting barriers hitherto foreign to vampire literature; the gulf between male and female, antiquity and newness, class and class, England and non-England, vampire and mortal, homoerotic and heterosexual love, infusing its genre with a new fear: fear of the hatred unknown" (p. 148). This essay is arguing that Dracula does cross all of those fore-mentioned barriers, as well as crossing a myriad of others. The essay is using the novel Dracula by Bram Stoker and the 1931 film version of Dracula by Tod Browning as the literary base from which the boundaries are derived and analyzed. Other boundaries threatened are; familial boundaries including maternal and paternal roles; pre-oedipal and oedipal, as well as the boundaries between child and adult. Sexual and human taboo boundaries are threatened, incorporating masculine and feminine as well as gender boundaries. The boundary between conservative and liberatory is threatened, evident in the contrast between Victorian women and the new woman. The threat of conflict between desire and fear; sanity and insanity; the realm of the unconscious versus the conscious, are all evident in the boundary between self and other; and Christianity is also threatened in Dracula. ...read more.


384). England feared the threat foriengers posed; because according to Arata, it displayed the possibility of a 'reverse colonisation'. Arata argues that "in the case of Dracula, the context includes the decline of Britain as a world power at the close of the nineteenth century, or rather, the way the perception of that decline was articlulated by contemporary writers" (p. 120). He also believes that "the decay of British global influence, the loss of overseas markets for British goods, the economic and political rise of Germany and the United States, the increasing unrest in British colonies and possessions, the growing domestic uneasiness over the morality of imperialism -- all combined to arode Victorian confidence in the inevitably of British progress and hegemony" (Arata, p. 120). He argues that the fear of 'reverse colonisation' is apparent in Stoker's Dracula; "Harker envisions semi-demons spreading through the realm, colonising bodies and land indiscriminately. The Count's 'lust for blood' points in both directions: to the vampire's need for its special food, and also to the warrior's desire for conquest. The Count endangers Britain's integrity as a nation at the same time that he imperils the personal integrity of individual citizens" (p. 125). This is evident on page (67) of Stoker's text: This was the being I was helping to transfer to London [Harker writes in anguish] where, perhaps for centuries to come, he might, amongst its teeming millions, satriate his lust for blood, and create a new and ever widening cricle of semi-demons to batten on the helpless. Harker himself conceedes that Dracula is the most Western in the novel. Dracula is punctual, intelligent, organised and well-read in english literature and english life (Stoker, p. 30). It is in Dracula's extensive knowlede of England that a threat between when is English and what is foreign is tested. Dracula threatens racial boundaries. Arata argues that "Dracula represents the nobleman as warrior. ...read more.


389). It is in this suggestion that the transgression between sane and insane is the most coherent. Dracula threatens Christianity. Punter argues that Dracula is an inversion of Christianity, and in particularly "Pauline Christianity, in that Dracula promises -- and gives -- the real resurrection of the body, but disunited from soul" (p. 27). Punter argues that Dracula blurs the line between man and God; seen in the relationship between Renfield and Dracula. "His 'disciple' Reinfield regards him as a god; and his satanic aspects are all the more interesting if we remember that his real-life ancestor gained his reputation for cruelty because of his assiduity in defending the Christain faith against the marauding Turk" (Punter, p. 28). Renfield as a disciple of God (Dracula) is especially evident in Browning's Dracula, because Renfield refers to Dracula as "master" and also grovels to him and does his bidding, which shows Dracula's omnipotence. Dracula is set up as the anti-Christ, because instead of giving life, he takes life. Dracula threatens and crosses a myriad of boundaries. Stoker does challenge the conventions of society in his novel, such as challenging the domestic role in women, but Stoker ultimately takes the safe road as he reverts back to the marriage between Jonathan Harker and Mina, and he also puts Mina back into a domestic role, through her becoming a mother. Although giving birth to Quincey can be seen as regressing back into the traditional Victorian role of women, Stoker sets this up to show that women can both be educated as well as embodying maternal qualities. Dracula is very complex and it is open to a number of different readings. This essay has looked at Dracula from a historical perspective; a psychoanalytical lens (primarily Freud and Lacanian); queer and gender studies analysis; Jungian approach; and a Marxist interpretation, and there are still other possible readings available from which Dracula can be read. Dracula evokes fear, and illuminates its Gothic properties by contesting and distorting the existing social normatives of Victorian society, and by introducing themes and attitudes considered sexual and human taboo. ...read more.

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