This is a final essay I wrote for Dracula, which shows further understanding and thoughts after reading it.
The men were portrayed to be the only ones who worked hard for a living, where the women were considered to be “delicate flowers,” who were too weak and vulnerable to contribute.
In the time that Dracula takes places, the Victorian Era, the way women were and the way men and women treated each other was a lot different from today. The role of all Victorian women was to be helpless and fragile. They did not have a voice of their own and were incapable of making their own opinions. They didn’t make any decisions for themselves beyond ensuring that their children were taught moral values. The “perfect” wife in this time would provide a large family and ensure everything in their household ran smoothly to make sure there was no stress put on her husband so he could get on with making money. To a Victorian woman, getting married was signing a contract. Becoming a man’s wife meant becoming his property, he gained her rights and “ownership” of her body.
The story of Dracula would have ended much differently if had occurred today. Clearly our modern society is nothing like it was in the Victorian Era, which would make for many changes. First, if this had happened today I believe Lucy could have possibly survived. It was noticed when Lucy became sick, the men said she looked “weak, frail, pale”, but in the Victorian Era women were thought to be so weak that it wasn’t out of the ordinary for her to become sick and need the protection of men. Her sickness wasn’t thought much of and for a long time they didn’t suspect anything suspicious was happening. Also, if this had occurred today Mina may have never been attacked by Dracula. When the men set out to take down Dracula and the young vampires he had created Mina was told to stay home and to not help because the work was “far too dangerous” for a woman to take part in. Mina was a very smart woman and could’ve provided help to the men with tactics to kill Dracula, which she would have been able to do in our time. While the men were out on their missions she was left by herself, which is when she became vulnerable to Dracula. If they had stuck together they all would’ve had more success. This shows that the men always thinking of the women as being weak made them weaker than they actually were.
If the genders of the characters were reversed it would be much different, but it would be in the main interest for the main characters to have seen themselves as equals and work together. If Jonathan Harker, Dr. Seward, Van Helsing, Quincey Morris, and Arthur Holmwood were women their talents, especially of Van Helsing and Dr. Seward, would be put to no use in their discoveries of Dracula. Their knowledge would be ignored because as women they would be thought of to be “helpless and wouldn’t have any thoughts of their own.” Lucy and Mina as men would be working together on their own protecting the others unless they found new characters with knowledge which would be able to help them. When you think of the story this way you see further of how silly it was for society to not have treated each other equally because each individual had different talents and, really together they could have defeated Dracula much easier. With the physical strength of all the men, the knowledge of Van Helsing and Dr. Seward, and the planning and scheming of tactics from Mina it would have made it much easier on all of them. It would have been much easier to take down Dracula by outsmarting him together as equals.
There were many ways the story of Dracula could have gone, of course it would have been different if it had happened in any different era. Maybe after Dracula had occurred people came to more realization that the model of the victorian women was wrong and, male or female, everyone should be treated equal. Even today you see cases where men are thought to be superior to women but society is finally come to realization that men can’t be successful without women and women aren’t successful without men. We are all equal and we need each other.