Document Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Committee Chair

Ana Gal

Committee Member

Jeffrey Scraba


Bram Stoker's Dracula, published 1897, includes a host of sexual themes and metaphors. The literary figure of the vampire is almost universally understood to be ripe with sexual imagery. In Stoker's work, this theme extends to a persistent allegory of sexual assault. The two main female characters, Lucy Westenra and Mina Harker (née Murray) are attacked by Dracula in scenes that mirror rapes. In these scenes, Dracula bites the women, a stand-in for penetration, and then forces them to drink his blood, reminiscent of oral sex. Another character, Jonathan Harker, is nearly assaulted in the same way by three female vampires who live in Dracula's castle. The implications of these scenes are far-reaching and problematic within a rape culture framework. The characterization of Lucy, Mina, and Jonathan, as well as the resolutions to their attacks imply a sort of a hierarchy of victimization that unfortunately represents real-life responses to sexual violence. Examining Stoker's treatment of these themes provides an understanding of Victorian culture as inherently unsafe for survivors, both male and female. It also highlights certain ways in which modern society has remained toxic in our perception of rape.


Undergraduate Honor's Thesis

Library Comment

Honors thesis originally submitted to the Local University of Memphis Honor’s Thesis Repository.