Masculinity In Victorian Gothic Novels

In both Robert Louis Stephenson's The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and Bram Stoker's Dracula, cultural expectation uncovers anxieties surrounding sexuality in the Victorian period. Stephenson's book depicts the masculine as a car of personal denial where the protagonist Jekyll will not allow himself to surrender to his immoral alter-ego. Similarly, the book Dracula depicts sexual power as a major hazard to masculinity, whereby the male heroes refuse to permit the females to act upon their erotic desires for dread that such liberation will destabilise patriarchal control. Whilst Victorian ideology is not outwardly challenged in the novels, as liberation intimate or otherwise is entirely condemned, investigating the function of the masculine reveals a relatively radical gender ideology which contests Victorian expectation.

In general, critics touch upon oppression of the female within the Victorian period and forget the same subjugation confronted by men. Female disempowerment is commonly accepted whereas male hurting in the context of the same public rigidity is often omitted in criticism of the time. Critic George Landow responses that 'feminist evaluation of the Gothic focuses on the matter of the stereotyping of the feminine characters regarding to male fantasy', however Stoker's Dracula indulges the male creativeness by subverting stereotypical feminine people and allowing women ability through intimate liberation. Stoker troubles Landow's comments it is merely the female that suffers under marginalisation of the stereotype by presenting masculine subjugation as a consequence of cultural restraint. Critic Cyndy Hendershot's work on male oppression in Victorian modern culture further issues ideology of that time period. She argues that, generally, the idea of Victorian masculinity is ambiguous as stereotypical and presumptuous representations of male individuals are hardly ever questioned. Stefan Collini is a critic who acknowledges the ambiguity surrounding representations of Victorian masculinity. He reviews that there is apparently an over-all consensus of gender ideals whereby the accepted sole, rigid idea of Victorian masculinity continued to be unquestioned. Collini suggests that the idea of Victorian masculinity as heterosexual increases from an unquestioned assumption of this as typical. As a result, it seems that the novels work to test accepted jobs of gender and sexuality within the Victorian period.

Within Victorian society, one of the essential concerns was the preservation of reputation. Alongside this concern place an anxiousness over sexuality and how to express and, subsequently, suppress, sexual wants. In many ways, the oppressive aspect of society, and consequently the inability for men, as well as women, to be sexually expressive, only heightened the fascination of a more sinister area of sexuality. In Jekyll and Hyde, there's a major emphasis on the worthiness systems within Victorian modern culture, especially with regards to their matter to protect reputation. This is made visible through the heroes of both Utterson and Enfield, both respectable users of the world who consider gossip as detrimental to someone's reputation. Dr Jekyll's major concern is the way in which others understand him and he is conscious to maintain an upstanding reputation throughout the novel. On the other hand, the character of Hyde is presented as wholly monstrous and as a means through which Jekyll may become uninhibited, unleashing the emotions population compels him to contain. The characters are anxious to stay within the limitations of cultural expectation, yet this overbearing drive of constraint is often harmful as it is clear in both novels that what's constantly suppressed is ultimately released.

It is interesting to consider the role of the male heroes within the books as it is noticeable that the masculine is not, as it could first look, prioritised. Furthermore, the omission of the female, which would generally suggest lack of authority for the feminine, suggests here that the male characters are problematic to themselves, revealing the weakness of the guy in a supposedly patriarchal world. In Jekyll and Hyde, how the male heroes are so evidently troubled about women and sexuality, even though there are no predominant feminine characters, shows that the masculine sphere is continually threatened by female influence. In many ways, the removal of the womanly exposes the imperfections of the masculine, and shows that it is not the feminine who causes the male to put up with but the men alone. The threat of female sexual appearance despite the insufficient females within the book demonstrates the internal turmoil the men face under the constraints of the Victorian contemporary society. Dracula uses feminine sexuality as a danger to men, again demonstrating the power that women carry over the men and consequently emphasising the weakness of the guy.

One of the main element styles within Stoker's novel is the fear surrounding sexual manifestation. Female sexual manifestation sometimes appears as a danger which provokes a kind of pleasure in the male imagination. The individuals are liberated from the stresses of public constraint through the imagination, through which they can provide a free of charge rein to their sexual desires. Female sexuality is fundamental to the novel's exploration of the role of the guy within Victorian contemporary society as the book shifts power from one gender to some other, as the females exercise their voluptuousness and the men respond to maintain cultural order. Critic Heath feedback that feminism 'makes things unsafe for men, unsettles assumed positions and undoes given identities'. Stoker's Dracula confirms this theory in its exploration of sexually powerful women who threaten patriarchal authority. On the other hand, how the female personas enhance into vampire vixens is not categorically a feminist depiction as the females simply enhance into embodiments of Dracula, and therefore they alter and take on a masculine form to be able to gain vitality. The three females who become sexualised are evidently representations of gender subversion as they seek to dominate Harker and use him to fulfil their own erotic urges. Yet, in many respects, these females must take up the role of the male in order to obtain any form of power. Their sharp pearly whites, which they are identified to bite Harker with, are certainly phallic icons which epitomise the penetration of the victim. Ultimately, the way females attain power in the novel is through masculinity, therefore gender ideals aren't subverted in this sense. Although feminine character types in the book are permitted a amount of power and erotic liberation, masculinity remains as the better position.

Stoker uses Freudian theory in his book in order to look at sexuality in the Victorian period without appearing overtly critical of the world in which he lived. The vampire component of the book distances the reader from the modern culture being described yet there are obvious parallels which suggest Stoker's deliberate attempt to task accepted ideology.

Dracula starts with a description of Jonathan Harker's explanation of how he finds the castle. Harker uses the word 'uncanny' in this information which immediately makes reference to Freud's theory, published in 1919, on 'the uncanny'. This theory is referenced throughout the novel, as the vampire who results in death with his mouth, is consultant of the first stage of psychosexual development, regarding to Freud. It really is at this time where, Freud feels, the person produces the compulsion to eliminate whatever is living.

The individuals of Lucy and Mina are shown as being wholly devoted to the men in their lives. This innocence depicts these women as both docile and two-dimensional. Dracula threatens to improve these women into 'devils of the Pit' and give them power through sexualisation, and it is merely through these transformations that the feminine characters may acquire a voice within the text. When Lucy Westerna is altered into a erotic being by Count up Dracula, she changes from a vulnerable and passive feminine character into a vampire vixen who seeks to satisfy her own sexual desires. She actually is at first submissive at the hands of the male characters but, once she becomes sexualised, she hunts for to use men for her own edge and fulfil her sexually.

Stoker's Dracula investigates the opportunity of some sort of 'fluidity' within gender tasks. When Lucy changes into a 'voluptuous' vampire, any potential man suitor is warned off at the demand of any form of objection to founded sexual identity. The men are perturbed at the chance of a woman usurping electric power and subverting accepted roles. Lucy's transformation sometimes appears as so insubordinate of social expectation that Truck Helsing's men are driven to kill her in an attempt to reinstate public order. The men are fearful that Mina will also be altered and dedicate themselves to controlling female sexual behavior to ensure that the ladies do not become disparaged socially and for that reason not capable of any romantic relationship with them. The men's fears on the women's transformations are totally selfish as they feel unsafe with any episode on social order. Dracula mocks them saying 'your young ladies that you like are mine already; and through them you and others shall yet be mine'. He advises here that his change of women into sexualised vampire vixens, where their erotic desires are uncontained and liberated, leaves men revealed and will eventually ruin patriarchy within modern culture.

Stoker depicts Victorian horror at the idea of a sexually liberated woman through his description of Harker's own fear at confronting the vampires. His dilemma encompassing the kiss of the vampire, where he feels both desire, in his 'longing' for the kiss, and 'deadly fear' at exactly the same time, is rep of just how that Victorian society constrained 'the ability to move of sexual desire' for men, as well as for women. His confusion concerning whether he was fantasizing in his visions of pleasure as the women approached him suggest that he'll not allow himself to consider any libido as real and he will not confront his thoughts. He decides that if the vampires are more than simply visions they will drink his blood vessels, making themselves stronger and, in turn, weakening him. However, he's still fearful of the vampires if they are simply visions as they still threaten to drain him of semen, because they are providing him with sexual joy, as he lies in 'languorous ecstasy'. Harker's weakness as a male is discovered when he is described as being both sickened and thrilled by the idea of any sexual contact with the feminine vampires. This demonstrates the oppressive mother nature of Victorian society for the reason that Harker was compelled to subdue his desires as he did not have the energy to act upon them. The way in which Stoker depicts Harker's dread in burning off valuable substance, whether bloodstream or semen, in either situation, presents an image of the collapsing patriarchal structure of Victorian world. Stoker may be warning men of the cultural change, but it seems more likely that he is encouraging public ideology to be reconsidered.

The function of the vampire in the novel can be viewed as as a representation of sexual oppression. The male personas in Dracula all combat to contain female sexuality as they stress because of their own wellbeing. In Christopher Craft's essay on gender and inversion in the novel, he argues that Dracula uses gender stereotypes to be able to encourage exploration into sexuality and to ensure that social expectation can be re-imagined. He remarks that the novel's depiction of transformation, whether from victim to vampire or from vampire to the victim, permits an investigation into sexuality and gender.

Often, how the novel troubles oppressive Victorian world is overlooked in favour of its apparent denunciation of gender inversion. Dracula appears to imply a failing on the part of women who seek to subvert regular social roles yet in many ways the females are not allowed any form of power as they choose masculine characteristics when they are transformed into vampires. It could be said that gender jobs aren't definitively reversed in the book, as the females must become male as they become vampires. In becoming guy, the feminine vampires lose any maternal sense as they victimize innocent children and they become penetrators in their want to suck blood from other victims. The book, therefore, does not have any real woman representation, suggesting that Stoker had not been setting women and men up against each other but commenting on society all together.

Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde is a novel which confronts anxieties of the Victorian period. The narrative presents the idea of one body which includes two opposing personas. Dr Jekyll, who is well-educated and an upright person in society is included within the one body alongside the wholly immoral Mr Hyde. Dr Jekyll's underlying want to liberate himself from the oppressive contemporary society in which he lives is outplayed through his alter-ego Mr Hyde, who looks forward to the independence of acting upon his wishes and individual urges. This representation seems to emulate Victorian society's deep-rooted fascination with emancipation from social imprisonment.

Many critics suggest that masculinity is often provided as an flexible and indefinite sphere within the book, a factor which includes permitted a amount of reimagining the concept of the men in books. Critic Cohen argues that from as soon as the 1880s, 'fictional depictions of British masculinity often narrativise the down sides of the male embodiment as a splitting within the male subject matter precisely in order to assert new modes of self-representation'. He implies here that the male physique was less frequently written as a stable representation and was more commonly represented as a persona with an increase of than one persona.

The image of Victorian London provided by Stephenson is a contemporary society almost entirely lacking in females. The one woman who's within the narrative is the maid who witnesses the murder of Sir Danvers Carew. Her position instantly suggests that the woman is lower class and she is provided as an almost insignificant person in society. She represents your body of Sir Danvers Carew as 'beautiful'. This is the only instance book in the novel where there is any form of connections between the genders and, even this relationship is provided as non-sexual. The consequences of such a repressive modern culture are clearly harmful to people who inhabit it, as Dr Jekyll shows through Hyde, and this oppression is demonstrated through having less open libido within the novel. Furthermore, the absence of women within the novel suggests that the male identification turmoil was a social creation somewhat than anticipated to female effect. The men in the novel are at peril using their sexual identity and place in modern culture as a result of imposing nature of contemporary society itself.

Whilst Stephenson reveals the idea that Victorian contemporary society regarded exhibits of sexuality as indecent, Hyde's actions within the book are undoubted of any sexual character. When Hyde is first presented to the novel, there is a information of him trampling a lady underfoot, and, later, he pays for her family to keep peaceful about the incident. This event could insinuate that Hyde was involved in the common Victorian crime of child prostitution. Furthermore, having less libido towards females for the male people may imply these men were concealing homosexual tendencies. The close romantic relationship shared between Utterson and Enfield could also imply that both of these men take part in some type of sexual behaviour that could have been condemned at that time.

Freudian theory labels the character of Hyde as an illustration of the unconscious head, known as the 'id'. Jekyll's ability to conform to sociable expectation is managed by his 'ego' which suppresses his unconscious thoughts. Critic Michael Kane thinks that Victorian society found the unconscious head as harmful. He responses that repressed wishes were 'projected upon those it considered inferior', not only women but any lower order of society, who 'became the unconscious of reputable culture'. His ideas claim that gender is not the significant factor which causes people to action upon their basic urges; it is the idea of levels of the category which impose cultural rigidity. By this he means that higher class citizens are more likely to reduce any 'poor' desire for their position within world. This argument is not backed by the novel, however, as Jekyll is a doctor so he is clearly informed and he is a respectable person in society who falls victim to the interpersonal oppression he faces.

The novel uses the idea of 'the double' to be able to examine the way in which heroes of either gender can be identified by more than one state, exploring Stephenson's own boasts that every individual contains some form of alter-ego. Dr Jekyll can be an upstanding resident who conceals an immoral 'monster' in the form of alter-ego Hyde. Throughout the novel both are presented as entirely unique beings and it is merely in the novel's bottom line that the reader can grasp the two personas as one character. The usage of the two times personality of Jekyll and Hyde is a good concept when contemplating male gender personality, as the dual mother nature of the individual is said to 'destabilise male figure itself'. The book challenges the theory that 'the male character represents definitely the embodied traits of a men and a gender ideology that qualifies masculinity as 'proper' male character'. Even though the novel will may actually confront gender stereotypes referenced in the last statement, the thought of masculinity is difficult to consider in the framework of social affect, the theory that contemporary society constructs just how that gender id is made. Stephenson does not condemn men as individuals but remarks along the way that the stringency of Victorian population and its targets does not take into account the duality of human being nature.

Both Stoker's Dracula and Stephenson's Jekyll and Hyde show a similar narrative structure, introducing a monstrosity and then discovering this notion before eradicating the monster with the objective that cultural order is reinstated. The monster in Dracula is the Count himself and the monstrosity of the book is the liberation of feminine sexual expression through his transformation of women into vampire vixens. Stephenson's book shows the monster as repressed dreams of Jekyll which are unveiled through the vehicle of Hyde. At the end of the novel, Jekyll shows that he recognizes Hyde will be forget about by enough time Utterson reads his final letter. At the end of Stoker's book, Dracula is killed and Little Quincey's delivery fulfils Van Helsing's prophecy of 'the children that are to be' and restores order among the city. Critic Christopher Craft feedback that the 'monstrous' risk in the books is 'covered and lastly nullified by the narrative requirement that the monster be repudiated and the world of normal relationships restored'. The repair at the end of both books shows that gender ideals cannot be subverted entirely, despite challenging social expectation to a certain level. Nevertheless, the conclusions of the books aren't positive which suggest that although ideals remain as established this is not necessarily the best result and there can be an inference that change must be produced.

Gothic novels are commonly recognised as text messages which exemplify the subjugation of women the oppression faced by the male individuals is often disregarded. Both men and women suffered evenly under the repressive Victorian modern culture which directed erotic behaviour and regarded open sexual expression as depraved. The function of the male character within the novels is not only to criticise the patriarchal contemporary society of the 19th hundred years but to challenge just how that public ideology was a detrimental factor to men and women.

Also We Can Offer!

Other services that we offer

If you don’t see the necessary subject, paper type, or topic in our list of available services and examples, don’t worry! We have a number of other academic disciplines to suit the needs of anyone who visits this website looking for help.

How to ...

We made your life easier with putting together a big number of articles and guidelines on how to plan and write different types of assignments (Essay, Research Paper, Dissertation etc)