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The publication of Dracula and the homoerotic themes scandalized under the narrative, created a question on the motivation of the author Bram Stoker. It has been noted above that the horror story is a social commentary on the misunderstanding and the treatment of homosexuals as well as exploration on the ‘homoerotism’ of Dracula. Perhaps Dracula is merely an extension of the true author.
We contend that the vividness of the character Dracula is either a representation of the closet Bram Stoker or if not his close friend and correspondent, the multi-sex oriented (bisexual, paederastic and homosexual [even metrosexual with current standards] Oscar Wilde.
It must be realized that Stokes began writing the story one month after Oscar Wilde was legally cross-examined for sodomy. The ignorance of connection between the two was due to the absence of literature that would connote Wilde’s name. Yet what is not apparently there may exist there by using using deliberate names to fulfill the gaps in communication.
It is very possible that Dracula is Wilde; a horror allegory for a gay closet ‘trapped’ and ‘afraid’ during the trial. The Oscar Wilde trial is one of the most scandalous and expository nature of the Victorian underground in the nineteenth century. The trial commences the legal prosecution of the gays under the Criminal Law Amendment Act of 1885 which states the condemnation of homosexual acts not amounting to buggery. The crisis of the closet is untenable; whereas Stokes wanted to embraced the ideology of homosexuality, common fear for persecution of gays forced him to be discrete and displaced his ideas on Dracula.
Stoker has been many times associated with Withman and his open correspondent with him. His admires Whitman for ‘function[ing] as badges in homosexual recognition in England fin-de-siecle. ’ Stoker writes an insidious letter to Whitman: I would like to call you Comrade and to talk to you as men who are not poets do not often talk. I think that at first a man would be ashamed, for a man cannot in a moment break the habit of comparative reticence that has become a second nature to him, but I know I would not be long ashamed to be natural before you….
You have shaken off the shackles and your wings are free. I have the shackles on my soldiers and still—but I have no wings. If you are going to read this letter any further I should tell you that I am not prepared to give up all else so far as words go. The ‘love letter’ address to Whitman suggests the fight for gay freedom of movement vis-a-vis his literary writings. The metaphysical connection between the two men is demonstrated in the letters. Gays are not simply gays because of their sexual quirks or fancies but more on their emotional predisposition.
As Stokes further asserted, “How sweet a thing it is for a strong healthy man with a woman’s eye and a child’s wishes to feel that he can speak so to a man who can be if he wishes a father, and brother and wife to his soul. ” Stokes believed that he is different from the normative ‘kind’ of human species. It is not known if Stoker’s presumed gayness resulted from the classical Oedipus imbalance or is a genetically determined trait. However it is clear that he identifies himself to be a different kind, those who practiced sodomy and has distinct preference for young males.
While it is true that he is a proud member of the third class, tradition and fear of experiencing societal pariah urges him towards complacency and discretion. Stoker cannot openly write his intellectual positions on the assertion of third gender roles in the Victorian society and their so-called coming out. Stokes later became a member of the organization of gays with Whitman as a ‘special’ comrade. Oscar Wilde’s trial prove to be the turning point of decisions for his literary career.
The infusion of homoeroticism within Dracula is so discretely hidden that, for a common reader, Dracula is nothing but bat-like demon. Within the realms of persecution, Dracula is perhaps the safest route for gay literary ideology and at the same time, avoiding inspection from the anti-homosexual Victorian law enforcers. Wilde’s trial forces the author Bram Stoker to secrecy. Irving also enjoys a strong emotional discourse with Irving, a gay poet: In those moments of our mutual emotion he too had found a friend. Soul had looked into soul!
From that hour began the friendship as profound, as close, as lasting can be between two men…And the sight of his picture before me, with those loving words, the record of a time of deep emotion and full understanding of us both, each for a time of deep emotion and full understanding of us both, each for the other, unmans me once again as I write. The souls of the two distinguished individuals commune; it borders beyond physical adoration. They understand each other’s needs and ambitions depicting mutuality among men—a mirror of homosexuality that is very misleading and the parameters rather abstract.
Stoker’s love for Irving is open, honest and metaphysical; there were no records to the consummation of their love but Stoker, many times, admitted to the alluding most profound male relationship of all time. Note that in Dracula, there is no consummation between the vampire Dracula and the human Jonathan Harker. Perhaps Stoker wants to project the essential element of third gender relations which hinges on emotional and intellectual connections. That is perhaps, why, Stoker condemns the vulgar representation of the third gender of Oscar Wilde.
Oscar Wilde, during his trial, exposing the darker sides of the third sex legion. He commented, “Vices so flaggitous, so opposed to nature, even in its lowest and crudest forms that the poignancy of moral disgust is lost in the horror. ” Stoker argues that some gay literature are censorious and exploits and denigrates the essentials of gayhood. Stoker always asserts discretion even in his letters and literary works. Such discretion fed under rigidity of censorship allowed him to explore the subtextual tools in implicating homoeroticism within his Dracula story.
Wilde was Stoker’s primary rival but whether he sympathizes with his enemy’s crimes is another story. One thing is certain: the Oscar Wilde trial forced Bram Stoker to methodically used discretion in several of his correspondence. V. Conclusion The paper discussed the homoeroticism in Dracula and the psycho social ideologies that lay basic foundation to the horrorific nature of the epistolary literature. Beyond horror, the Freudian theory of subconscious explained the motives of the antagonist Dracula. Sedwick’s principle on exceeding structured binary opposition to categorized the atypical Dracula.
In understanding Dracula and its’ author Bram Stoker, subtextual language and discrete elements embedded within the horror story and the correspondence of Stoker to some of his friends reveal insights in the subversive gay literature. Homoeroticism of Dracula reveals the culture of third gender during the late Victorian period. Dracula, a homosexual closet beyond the hyperbolic monster demonstrates effeminate morphology and behavior. More so his strange attraction to Jonathan Harker. Displacement behavior explained his opinion on sexual gratification.
Dracula, is perhaps, Wilde, a representation of the archenemy of Bram Stokes during his collegiate years. It is the literary by-product of the censorious laws of old England which was heightened during Wilde’s trial.
Dalby, R. and Hughes, W.. Bram Stoker: A Bibliography. Westcliff-on-Sea: Desert Island Books, 2005. Freedman, Alfred M. and Harold I. Kaplan. Comprehensive Textbook of Psychiatry . Baltimore: Williams & Wilkins Company, 1967. Hughes, William. Beyond Dracula: Bram Stoker’s Fiction and its Cultural Contexts Basingstoke: Macmillan, 2000.
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