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In addition, as already shown in the earlier mention of Max Nordau and Cesare Lombroso, the characters in the novel frequently refer to contemporary theories in medicine and psychology.
The entire novel is presented in the form of letters, diaries and newspaper cuttings: so the scientific method of observing and recording information is integral to both the structure of the book itself, and to the attempts of Van Helsing and his friends to destroy Dracula.
Those who took a hostile attitude towards the New Woman saw her either as a mannish intellectual or, going to the opposite extreme, an over-sexed vamp.
The act of vampirism itself, with its notion of tainted blood, suggests the fear of sexually transmitted diseases such as syphilis and, more generally, the fear of physical and moral decay that was believed by many commentators to be afflicting society.
The rather more free-spirited Lucy is not so lucky.
Some critics have argued that Stoker uses the character of Lucy to attack the concept of the New Woman – a term coined towards the end of the Victorian era to describe women who were taking advantage of newly available educational and employment opportunities to break free from the intellectual and social restraints imposed upon them by a male-dominated society.
Dracula’s forays into London, for example, and his ability to move unnoticed through the crowded streets while carrying the potential to afflict all in his path with the stain of vampirism, play upon late-Victorian fears of untrammelled immigration.
The latter was feared as leading to increased levels of crime and the rise of ghetto communities.
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Stoker uses the figure of the vampire as thinly-veiled shorthand for many of the fears that haunted the Victorian .