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What exactly is the major theme of the novel "Dracula"?

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cici17 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted July 17, 2008 at 5:13 AM via web

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What exactly is the major theme of the novel "Dracula"?

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Susan Woodward | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

Posted July 18, 2008 at 3:52 AM (Answer #1)

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There are many themes woven throughout Bram Stoker's novel, but the prevelant is probably that of good vs. evil.  I know it sounds cliche, but most works in the Gothic genre use this as a main theme.  Freud and Jung's exploration of the human psyche and the development of psychoanalysis in the late 19th century led people to study more about the human mind and what lies in the shadowy recesses.  These ideas found their way into the literature of the time period (Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde or The Picture of Dorian Gray, for example).  In Dracula, Stoker's band of righteous men battle against the evil influences of a vampire attack on the women they love. Another theme of gender roles in Victorian Society presents itself through this conflict.  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.  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...pay attention to the sexual overtones there as well.


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