Manusya, Journal of Humanities

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In the late-nineteenth century, Victorian people lived their lives in fear and anxiety caused by the negative consequences of the Industrial Revolution and uncertainty about their future. The concept of degeneration invented by influential nineteenth-century European scientists was used to explain the causes and effects of these pessimistic outcomes. It terrified Victorian people because it proposed the idea that the Caucasian race would be physically degraded and would, unavoidably, face extinction because later generations would become morally and culturally corrupted. This concept is reflected in the analysis of Bram Stoker's Dracula (1897) in the form of sexual degeneration in the form of sexual degeneration in the late-nineteenth century and how the novel seeks to deal with the tensions of the era by both reinforcing Victorian values and highlighting the importance of an adaptability to change. Relying on the social and cultural context of degeneration in nineteenth-century Britain, this paper shows that vampires in the novel can be seen to represent degenerate people and they also symbolize the Victorians' fear regarding changes in gender roles during the late-nineteenth century. Decadent women of the period are portrayed through the figures of the female vampires and Lucy Westenra who express their lack of self-control by being excessively sexual and resigning wifehood and motherhood. While Lucy is eliminated from the text, Mina Harker survives through to the end since she is proved to be a good and loyal wife who uses her knowledge and intellect to provide her husband with support when it is needed. A character like Mina helps reduce the tension and anxiety about sexual morality, gender roles and the possibility that the English race will become extinct because she reaffirms Victorian values and also proves that it is not necessary for the country to collapse because of change.

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