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What are the symbols of the book?

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monesha | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 5, 2007 at 5:46 AM via web

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What are the symbols of the book?

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dwalters76 | College Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

Posted April 9, 2007 at 9:16 AM (Answer #1)

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Multiple symbols revolve around the theme of good versus evil. The crucifix and the empty cross, for example, are symbols of fear, loathing and danger to Dracula. There is a certain irony here as the cross is the ultimate symbol of redemption to all Christians. Sin is recognized and can be redeemed by coming to the Cross. The cross is also a symbol of resurrection, the gift of eternal life through Christ to which all Christians can aspire. As the undead Dracula is immortal; however, his immortality is not an eternal joyful thing. Other symbols are tied to good versus evil, but in a more discrete way, primarily femaleness. Stoker creates several instances in which the female is the evil symbol. First, the three weird sisters Harker encounters in Dracula’s castle are both his dream and his nightmare-they embody both the dream and the nightmare of the Victorian male imagination in general. The sisters represent what the Victorian ideal stipulates women should not be-voluptuous and sexually aggressive-thus making their beauty both a promise of sexual fulfillment and a curse, offering Harker more sexual gratification in two paragraphs than his fiancée Mina does in the entire novel. However, this sexuality threatens to undermine the foundations of a male-dominated society by compromising men’s ability to reason and maintain control. As a result, the sexually aggressive women in the novel must be destroyed. That brings us to Lucy, and the stake Holmwood buries in her heart in order to kill the demon she has become and to return her to the state of purity and innocence he so values. This violent act is unmistakably sexual, and the stake is an unambiguous symbol for the penis. In this way, it is fitting that the blow comes from Lucy’s fiancé, Holmwood: Lucy is being punished not only for being a vampire, but also for being a willing victim. When Holmwood slays the demonic Lucy, he returns her to the role of a legitimate, monogamous lover, reinvesting Lucy with her initial virtue.

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