Vampires, part 2 of several


OK, I can’t resist talking more about Dracula the book and the monster–it’s too rich a metaphor to pass up. I promise to go back to Thirsty and to try to bring in some monsters in search of a more general pattern, but not this post: this post belongs to the night.

from Wikipedia

I will again make my usual disclaimer that what you see in a story depends on where you sit, but that any good story contains metaphors that can be interpreted, and interpreted on any number of levels. I am a developmentalist by trade and  mostly eclectic in my approach, but Freud makes a lot of sense to me.

I’m not going to parse the vampire from a Freudian viewpoint. That’s already been done I’m sure, and while it would be fun it would be a book in itself. I’m just going to look at the main story line, and in fact only one level of the main story line, with the intent of asking ‘who is Dracula?’

The story then is that Jonathan Harker, who has just become a solicitor, is sent to Castle Dracula in Transylvania from London to discuss the Count’s purchase of an estate in England. While there he encounters the wives of the vampire, who try to seduce and kill him. Dracula himself stops them, but would have killed Harker had Harker not escaped. In England, Dracula finds Harker’s fiancee-then-wife Mina and her friend Lucy. Lucy wastes away suspiciously and dies (despite Van Helsing’s interventions). Soon after, children from the area are being stalked at night by a beautiful lady, and Van Helsing realizes that it is Lucy, now a vampire. She is found and killed. Dracula, in retaliation, hunts Mina, bites her and shares his blood with her, cursing her with a connection to him. Harker, Van Helsing and the others follow Dracula back to Transylvania using Mina’s connection with the vampire to hunt him. Eventually, it is Harker whose knife cuts off the Count’s head (though Quincy Morris stabs the vampire through the heart before dying of wounds inflicted by the Gypsies protecting Dracula’s coffin).

Who’s who? Jonathan Harker has just become a solicitor . . . this is his first position. He is the boy grown, transitioning to manhood. Mina is engaged to him, the girl on the threshold of being a woman. Lucy is the innocent, courted by three men, and accepting one of them the day Dracula begins to drain her life away.

Jonathan’s encounter with the three wives of Dracula . . . forbidden sexuality with father stopping it . . . and with it the implicit threat of death. With Harker we see the oedipal conflict with Dracula cast in the role of father.

What about Lucy and Mina? Certainly you could follow the train of thought to see Dracula in the role of the jealous/incestuous father, and the only way Jonathan and Mina can then enter the realm of an adult sexual relationship is by getting rid of daddy.

Jan points out at this point that it isn’t that simple. Most women with vampire phobias, for instance, have mothers who dominate them, have poor boundaries, or in general suck their lives from them. And that for a woman, the prototype of any adult heterosexual relationship is layered: certainly it includes her relationship with her father, but before that relationship her mother was there, too.

So we have Dracula as the predatory parts of father, the suffocation and life-stealing parts of mother, and . . . our own projection of the parts of our selves that are greedy and oral and fearsome.


2 Responses to “Vampires, part 2 of several”

  1. 1 Karen

    …yes but. For the older vampire novels, yes on all accounts. Twilight is a little different for a few reasons. 1) The relationship with the vampire is explicit and 2) the sexuality of that relationship is purposefully withheld. Until the 4th novel, and after marriage, there was no sex. Fo the tweens who read this book, a lot of the attraction is the same that a girl that age would feel for a teacher, or an authority figure–the ability to test out amorous feelings without the threat that they may actually come to fruition. There was also an element of protection and control that both male love interests provide (one a werewolf, the other a vampire). The main character didn’t need to control herself, to think for herself, because there were big strong men around to do that for her. In fact, at the point when both men are removed from the picture, the main character is a hot mess.

    • So you’re talking a thrilling/forbidden romance without sex? First, sounds father-daughter to me (though I haven’t read it). Second, why read it?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: