Dracula contains a long meditation on "proper," socially-sanctioned love, and "improper" relations of lust and seduction. Much has been made of this aspect of the novel, particularly in 20th-century criticism, and with good reason: it is impossible to separate the act of Dracula's forcible blood-sucking, directed at unsuspecting women, from the process of violent seduction and sexual assault.
Jonathan and Mina Harker, and Arthur (Lord Godalming) and Lucy, are the novel's two primary romantic pairs. Their loves follows remarkably similar tacks, but the former survives, and the latter, sadly, does not. An early romantic intrigue in the novel is Lucy's entertaining of three suitors: Dr. Seward, Arthur, and Quincey. But this "romantic intrigue" so typical of Victorian novels is only a prologue, in this novel, to the actual drama of Lucy's life—the fact that she is bitten by a vampire, and becomes a vampire herself. Thus, not only is Arthur robbed of his future wife—he must participate in her "true killing" (that is, the freeing of her soul from the cycle of undeadness). Van Helsing believes that Arthur will be able to let go of his love for Lucy by helping to drive a stake through her heart and cut off her head. It is a gruesome, if necessary, end to their love.
On the other hand, Mina and Jonathan have a love characterized by mutual help during times of illness. First, Mina cares for Jonathan after his nervous collapse, prompted by his stay at, and escape from, the Castle Dracula. Later, Jonathan fights bravely to kill Dracula—to release him from his own undeadness—in order, also, to free Mina from Dracula's spell. Opposed, then, to these "natural" processes of romantic love are the processes of demonic possession and seduction. Harker is "seduced" by the Three Sisters at Dracula's castle, though he manages to avoid falling into their clutches. Dracula "seduces" both Lucy and Mina. In the former case, he suggestively "penetrates" Lucy's neck while Lucy, who had been sleepwalking, is sprawled over a mossy embankment, outside. With Mina, Dracula is found forcing Mina to suck Dracula's own blood from a cut in his abdomen. This, also highly sexually-suggestive, creates a bond between the two that can only be broken by Dracula's true death.
Thus, at the end of the novel, the killing of Dracula allows Jonathan and Mina to live together as husband and wife, and to start a family—this is considered the "natural" outcome of a Christian marriage. Meanwhile, the others of the group, those whose hearts were broken by Lucy, find their own separate loves in time and marry as well.
Romantic Love, Seduction, and Sexual Purity ThemeTracker
Romantic Love, Seduction, and Sexual Purity Quotes in Dracula
Well, now I promise you that when I am done with him you shall kiss him at your will. Now go! go! I must awaken him, for there is work to be done.
At least God's mercy is better than that of these monsters, and the precipice is steep and high. At tis foot a man may sleep—as a man. Good-bye, all! Mina!
I am very, very happy, and I don't know what I have done to deserve it. I must only try in the future to show that I am not ungrateful to God for all His goodness to me in sending to me such a lover, such a husband, such a friend.
Once again we went through that ghastly operation. I have not the heart to go through with the details. Lucy had got a terrible shock and it told on her more than before, for though plenty of blood went into her veins, her body did not respond to the treatment as well as on the other occasions. . . .
First, a little refreshment to reward my exertions. You may as well be quiet; it is not the first time, or the second, that your veins have appeased my thirst!
We are truly in the hands of God. He alone knows what may be, and I pray Him, with all the strength of my sad and humble soul, that He will watch over my beloved husband . . . .