What is one scene from Dracula that reveals or demonstrates a primary theme?
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One major theme in Bram Stoker's novel is that of gender roles in Victorian Society. Throughout Dracula, Stoker's band of righteous men battle against the evil influences of a vampire attack on the women they love. The men want Lucy and Mina to return to the sweet, pure women that they knew and loved. A vampire's bite releases the so-called "evil" side of a woman-- the sexual "vamp" who destroys men's souls by luring them into her embrace. When Lucy is transformed, she becomes more seductive, demonstrating a release of sexual repression. Arthur and Van Helsing come face to face with the changed Lucy in the cemetery, and Lucy says that she wants to "kiss" Arthur. Van Helsing pulls Arthur back and Lucy is furious. "Good" Victorian women don't behave that way, and Lucy has become one of the "evil" undead. It's significant that Arthur Holmwood is the one to strike the blow that "sets her soul free" and returns Lucy's soul to the innocent state that it was in before Dracula's attack. The one who loves her most is the one to drive a wooden stake through her heart so that she will be able to go to Heaven like a "good" woman would.
During childhood Bram Stoker suffered from a chronic illness which not only kept him from living normal childhood experiences but also forced him to live indoors or at least not exposed to direct light. It is difficult to ignore this influence upon his creation of the vampire prototype.
Into adulthood, Stoker "stole" the first fiancée of Oscar Wilde. The idea of gratifying one's wants or needs at another's expense is also a main leit motif throughout the story.
Bram Stoker was a bit obsessional about "documenting" Dracula. He spent almost eight years gathering information from weather records, ships' logs, etc. to make the setting as authentic sounding as possible.
A good example of a theme is when Van Helsing explains why Lucy needs to be killed. He says that her mortal soul is trapped in her undead body, and it needs to be set free. He acts as if it is a kindness. This is an example of the theme of immortality and salvation.
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