The existence of alien and intolerable behavior generates fear into society’s mentality of the expected conduct. But does the ‘queer’ lurk under the bed? Or is it a part of all of us? The classic text “Dracula”, written by Bram Stoker, is valuable in understanding the course of society in its exploration of tabooed acts and mentalities, supported by the “Queer Theory” prevalent in the mid 1900’s.
Although the queer theory describes the author’s subconscious drive for homosexual and feministic expression, Stoker’s stand point, however, is to highlight society’s vulnerability caused by their oppression of individuality and lack of conformity. Through this text we have been able to understand the flaws in a conformist society where individuality and the “different” are oppressed. Each community has their own particular morals and ethics, and when the actions of the different penetrates and ‘influences’ these expectations, those in power result to force in order to restore the original values that were compromised.
Stoker’s warning of the supernatural feared the people of his century, anyone who appeared or acted ‘differently’ to what was expected, as represented through the characters in Dracula. It has been rumored that Dracula extends the element of the “Queer Theory” to a whole distinct level. Through analysis of Dracula’s behaviors, it is questioned whether or not Dracula indeed was queer himself. Besides the supernatural and gothic abilities that he encompassed, Dracula showed evidence of homosexuality. When the Count saw my face, his eyes blazed in some sort of demonic fury” (Page 33), is evident of the desire for blood, which according to the ‘Queer Theory’ symbolizes his confused sexual desire for men. Dracula thus represents the disturbance in masculinity, as he enters his femininity; a further demonstration of the 1900’s ‘Queer Theory. ’ Therefore it can be argued that Dracula is valued by the social outcasts of modern society as it gives hope to those who choose the express their individuality.
Unusual behaviors are often intolerably indicated within a society that has strict expectations and values. Stoker’s upbringing revolved around women who were independent in their own ways, however societies expectations disallowed this aspect of humanity as men where thought to be the masculine and dominant figure. The queer theory suggests that Bram Stoker concealed his “mismatch of gender roles, sex and desires” (Judith Butler, 1994) due to the clashes of his personal upbringing with society’s expectations.
Women being the submissive and weak figures reflected through the words of Stoker as he portrayed this bewilderedness through Dracula who himself becomes weak at any sense of unassertive or dominant sex. Dracula’s confusion is evident as he seduces the ‘devoted’ Lucy where he demonstrates the authoritative paternal figure yet. However, when he portrays his desire and possession of Jonathan, claiming “he belongs to [him]” (Page 46), he symbolizes the feminine teenage girl who has a fascination with the opposite sex.