Female Roles In Frankenstein

1283 Words 6 Pages
In Mary Shelley 's Frankenstein, there seems to be some issues with gender. While this novel was written during a predominantly patriarchal time for women, it is interesting how Mary Shelley, a female author, would submit to portraying female characters as powerless figures. As the daughter of the “first feminist,” Mary Wollstonecraft and William Godwin “a radical philosopher,” Mary Shelley seemingly misrepresents women in her novel. Additionally, Mary Shelley excludes females as a whole except as a subservient supportive role for a male (Ball). Moreover, Mary Shelley illustrates Caroline, Elizabeth, and Justine as helpless damsels in distress whose only saving grace is that of a male. Shelley further illustrates how their powerlessness …show more content…
Elizabeth Lavenza, the adopted sister/cousin and betrothed of Victor Frankenstein is not only seen as an object of beauty but also seen as a prize with her “saintly soul and her living spirit of love to soften and attract” (Dickerson). This “cherub--a creature who seemed to shed radiance from her looks and whose form and motions were lighter than the chamois of the hills” was a blessing at the Frankenstein household (Dickerson). Elizabeth 's beauty is captivating; thus her identity is solely linked to beauty not intellect. Mary Shelly strips Elizabeth 's character of any depth in relation to a strong feminine role. Instead, Shelley ensures that Elizabeth 's passive character is secondary to that of Victor. Moreover, Elizabeth is given the role of caretaker and mother at the Frankenstein household after Caroline Beaufort passes away and she buries her own grief to console …show more content…
She devoted herself to those whom she had been taught to call her uncle and cousins. Never was she so enchanting as at this time, when she recalled the sunshine of her smiles and spent them upon us. She forgot even her own regret in her endeavors to make us forget (Shelley 50).
Mary Shelley silences Elizabeth by making the Frankenstein males ' grief more important than her own; thus Elizabeth exists only to contribute to the Frankenstein mens ' lives. Elizabeth has no ownership of her own feelings or thoughts. Furthermore, as Victor 's prized “possession,” Elizabeth becomes the Creature 's target and falls victim to Victor 's lack of responsibility and abandonment of the Creature: Why am I here to relate the destruction of the best hope, and the purest creature of the earth? She was there, lifeless and inanimate, thrown across the bed, her head hanging down, and her pale and distorted features half covered by her hair. Every where I turn I see the same figure –her bloodless arms and relaxed form flung by the murderer on its bridal bier (Shelley

Related Documents