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Angel in the House, Devil in the City

Explorations of Gender in Dracula and Penny Dreadful

Lauren Rocha

Season 1 of the television series Penny Dreadful showcases a Victorian London where monsters are reimagined as part of mainstream society. Much of season 1’s plot centres around an adaptation of Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel Dracula, complete with a story arc involving a group of men attempting to save Mina Murray from a vampire master. At the end of Dracula, they are able to save Mina from Dracula’s influence and she is restored to a state of purity; however, in Penny Dreadful, Mina and the female characters remain unsaved. This article focuses on Penny Dreadful and the failed restoration of the gender order of Dracula’s society. It specifically emphasizes deeper gender issues present in the show’s adaptation of Victorian London, arguing that by allowing the main characters to be urban monsters, the show provides a non-human lens through which to examine societal constructs of gender in relation to selfhood.

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