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Lucy Westenra
Dracula character
Lucy Westenra (Sadie Frost).jpg
Created byBram Stoker
Portrayed byRuth Landshoff (Nosferatu)
Frances Dade (Dracula)
Carol Marsh (Horror of Dracula)
Soledad Miranda (Count Dracula)
Fiona Lewis (Bram Stoker's Dracula)
Susan Penhaligon (Count Dracula)
Isabelle Adjani (Nosferatu the Vampyre)
Sadie Frost (Bram Stoker's Dracula)
Lysette Anthony (Dracula: Dead and Loving It)
Tara Birtwhistle (Dracula: Pages from a Virgin's Diary)
Muriel Baumeister (Dracula)
Sophia Myles (Dracula)
Anaïs Delva (Dracula, l'amour plus fort que la mort)
Linda Bella (Dracula Reborn)
Asia Argento (Dracula 3D)
Katie McGrath (Dracula)
Lydia West (Dracula)
In-universe information
SpeciesHuman
Vampire
GenderFemale
OccupationSocialite
FamilyMrs. Westenra (mother)
NationalityBritish

Lucy Westenra is a fictional character in the 1897 novel Dracula by Bram Stoker. The 19-year-old daughter of a wealthy family, she is Mina Murray's best friend and Count Dracula's first English victim. She subsequently transforms into a vampire and is eventually destroyed.

Character history

Lucy Westenra is a 19-year old woman, "blonde, demure, and waiting for the right man to come along to marry her".[1] She is, however, not a passive woman, and clearly expresses her sexual desires: she has three suitors, and writes to her friend Mina that she would like to marry all of them.[1] All three propose to her on the same day—Arthur Holmwood, the wealthy son of Lord Godalming; Quincey Morris, an American adventurer; and Dr. John Seward, a psychiatrist—and she chooses Holmwood. She is prone to sleepwalking and is attacked by Dracula, who gradually drains her of her blood until it eventually proves fatal. In her final moments, her vampiric side emerges and nearly tries to bite Arthur, but Lucy regains her human senses and before dying asks Abraham Van Helsing to protect Holmwood, which he does.[2]

A week after her burial Lucy rises from the grave as a vampire, attacking children, which Van Helsing identifies by the telltale bite marks on their necks and the timing of her death and the start of the attacks.[3] She is then confronted and eventually destroyed by Van Helsing and her suitors, allowing her to rest in peace. Lucy's death and subsequent transformation as a vampire motivate her suitors and Mina to join forces with Van Helsing and Jonathan Harker in hunting Dracula in retaliation.

Critical readings, historical background

According to Sally Ledger, Lucy "is at first sight an archetype of Victorian femininity" but later shares characteristics with the then-feminist ideal of the New Woman.[1]

Leslie Ann Minot pointed out, in a 2017 essay on Lucy Westenra and other 19th century female characters, that if Dracula is an overt portrayal of a sexualized monster then Westenra is problematic since her attacks on children would then equate to "the sweet Lucy sexually molesting toddlers"; Minot sees this as one reason why the character has received less attention than others. She historicizes the character (and the novel) by placing it against a backdrop of a number of well-publicized cases of molestation and abuse of children by mother figures, particularly in the context of baby farming, citing the case of Margaret Waters). Victorian society had begun to take an interest in the welfare of children, resulting in the Factory Act of 1891 and the foundation of the SPCC, which would become the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children.[4]

Stoker was well aware of these developments and was close friends with W. T. Stead, the newspaper editor who supported the SPCC, published lurid accounts of child abuse and was himself jailed for the abduction of a 13-year old girl, which he organized as a demonstration. Stoker used newspaper clippings in the novel that are pastiches of the sensationalist writings of Stead and others about child prostitution, in particular Stead's "The Maiden Tribute of Modern Babylon", and he describes the lower-class victims in much the same way. Their childish talk leads to "bloofer lady" as a child's way of saying "beautiful lady". This "bloofer lady" talks to children and lures them with the promise of riches and games, and after returning, bearing bite marks, they become emaciated and weak and wish to return to the "bloofer lady". All this is described in language similar to that of newspaper reports on women seducing children into prostitution. Minot also called Lucy "a demonic mother-parody, taking nourishment from children instead of giving it".[4]

Appearances

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On screen

Characters based on Lucy

On stage

Lucy in Stoker's Dracula.
Lucy in Stoker's Dracula.

In novels

In comics

Radio

In 1938, the CBS radio series The Mercury Theatre on the Air made its debut with Dracula. Lucy appears in the middle of the broadcast as the ill fiancée of Arthur Seward, and it is only later established that she is a victim of Dracula. Elizabeth Farrell performed as Lucy, opposite Orson Welles.

References

Notes

  1. ^ a b c Ledger 101.
  2. ^ Stoker, Bram. Dracula (PDF).
  3. ^ Ledger 104.
  4. ^ a b Minot.
  5. ^ Cardullo 137, 276.
  6. ^ a b Browning and Picart 50.
  7. ^ Browning and Picart 287.
  8. ^ Tardit, Patrick (16 December 2013). "Anaïs, reine de Disney" (in French). Vosges Matin.
  9. ^ "The Secret History of Elizabeth Tudor, Vampire Slayer". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved 10 January 2019.
  10. ^ Dracula Lives #10-11 (January 1975), Tomb of Dracula Vol. 1 #7 (March 1973), and Marvel Comics Presents: Dracula Vol.2 #2-3 (2010)
  11. ^ Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe #14 ("Book of the Dead and Inactive II", March 1984), pg. 30: "Vampires: Lucy Westerna"; and Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Deluxe Edition #20 ("Book of the Dead", November 1988), pg. 38: "Vampires: Lucy Westernra"

Bibliography