Bram Stoker

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Romantic Love, Seduction, and Sexual Purity Theme Analysis

Themes and Colors
Writing, Journaling, and Messaging Theme Icon
Illness, Madness, and Confinement Theme Icon
Christianity, Science, and the Occult Theme Icon
Romantic Love, Seduction, and Sexual Purity Theme Icon
Life, Death, and the Un-Dead Theme Icon
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in Dracula, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.
Romantic Love, Seduction, and Sexual Purity Theme Icon

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.

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Romantic Love, Seduction, and Sexual Purity ThemeTracker

The ThemeTracker below shows where, and to what degree, the theme of Romantic Love, Seduction, and Sexual Purity appears in each chapter of Dracula. Click or tap on any chapter to read its Summary & Analysis.
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Romantic Love, Seduction, and Sexual Purity Quotes in Dracula

Below you will find the important quotes in Dracula related to the theme of Romantic Love, Seduction, and Sexual Purity.
Chapter 3 Quotes

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.

Related Characters: Count Dracula (speaker), Jonathan Harker, The Three Sisters
Page Number: 33
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 4 Quotes

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!

Related Characters: Jonathan Harker (speaker), Count Dracula, Mina Harker
Page Number: 45
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 5 Quotes

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.

Related Characters: Lucy Westenra (speaker), Arthur Holmwood
Page Number: 51
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 12 Quotes

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. . . .

Related Characters: Dr. Seward (speaker), Lucy Westenra
Related Symbols: Blood
Page Number: 128
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 16 Quotes

Come to me, Arthur. Leave these others and come to me. My arms are hungry for you. Come, and we can rest together. Come, my husband, come!

Related Characters: Lucy Westenra (speaker), Arthur Holmwood
Related Symbols: Blood
Page Number: 181
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 17 Quotes

We women have something of the mother in us that makes us rise above smaller matters wen the mother-spirit is invoked. . . .

Related Characters: Mina Harker (speaker)
Page Number: 197
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 21 Quotes

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!

Related Characters: Count Dracula (speaker), Mina Harker
Related Symbols: Blood, Bats
Page Number: 246
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 26 Quotes

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 . . . .

Related Characters: Mina Harker (speaker), Jonathan Harker
Page Number: 310
Explanation and Analysis:

Now God be thanked that all has not been in vain! See! the snow is not more stainless than her forehead! The curse has passed away!

Related Characters: Quincey Harker (speaker), Mina Harker
Page Number: 325
Explanation and Analysis: