The Vampire: What boundaries does it threaten?

Essay by hobaUniversity, Bachelor's October 2003

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The Vampire

What boundaries does the Vampire threaten?


Discuss possible answers to this question with reference to at least two critical or theoretical essays and at least two tellings' of the Dracula story.


The Vampire in Dracula threatens the very existence of Victorian England. Stoker constructs the vampire as an embodiment of threat by surpassing his Gothic novelist predecessors to bring the threat of the Gothic home to Victorian England (Arata 119). This in turn crosses the boundary between what is foreign and what is national; and dually East and West. Dracula is open to many interpretations, each accompanying their own boundaries the Vampire threatens. Marxist's view Dracula as a metaphor for capitalism, whilst the queer perspective views it as a struggle between homosexuality and heterosexuality. Others such as Auerbach argue that "Dracula is in love less with death or sexuality than with hierarchies, erecting barriers hitherto foreign to vampire literature; the gulf between male and female, antiquity and newness, class and class, England and non-England, vampire and mortal, homoerotic and heterosexual love, infusing its genre with a new fear: fear of the hatred unknown" (p.

148). This essay is arguing that Dracula does cross all of those fore-mentioned barriers, as well as crossing a myriad of others. The essay is using the novel Dracula by Bram Stoker and the 1931 film version of Dracula by Tod Browning as the literary base from which the boundaries are derived and analyzed. Other boundaries threatened are; familial boundaries including maternal and paternal roles; pre-oedipal and oedipal, as well as the boundaries between child and adult. Sexual and human taboo boundaries are threatened, incorporating masculine and feminine as well as gender boundaries. The boundary between conservative and liberatory is threatened, evident in the contrast between Victorian women and the new...