Femininity In Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

The first women to appear in the novel Frankenstein are Caroline Beaufort and Elizabeth. Caroline and Elizabeth are similar, both are caretakers who are controlled by a sense of duty, and are also dependent on a male character. Caroline spent many of her early years taking care of her father. She was “entirely occupied in attending him,” who was ill for a long time (19). She did not use her time on herself, instead she spent her youth attempting to help her dying father. When Caroline’s father died, Frankenstein’s own father found her “weeping bitterly” and “came like a protecting spirit to the poor girl, who committed herself to his care” (19). This line depicts Caroline as a helpless woman who could not do anything for herself. She even needed …show more content…
Safie’s mother was a “Christian Arab” that was captured and turned into a slave by the Turks (93). Her mother told her “in the tenets of her religion, and taught her to aspire to higher powers of intellect and an independence of spirit forbidden to the female followers of Mahomet” (93). Safie became exactly what her mother told her to be, thoughtful and independent. When her father was thrown in prison for being “obnoxious to the government” and escaped, Safie felt her father was acting dangerous and irrational (92). After her father escaped prison, she carried out the most feminist act in the novel. She rebelled against her father’s commands, following her own desire to be an independent woman and Felix’s feelings for her. The Arabian society’s expectations of women, which are easily one of the most repressive in the world, did not appeal to Safie. She was “outraged” when her father “commanded his daughter to think no more of her lover” (95). Not only was Safie different from other women in her country, she also created a contrast to the European females through her act of rebellion. Although Safie is an unusual woman for the time, she also has many beneficial, traditional feminine qualities. Beside her beauty, she was always happy, “her presence diffused gladness through the cottage” and lifted the spirits of the other people in the cottage (87). Safie comes across as the type of person others love to be around. She could sing “in a rich cadence, swelling or dying away, like a nightingale of the woods” (88). She was even a nurse, like many of the other women, when her attendant became “dangerously ill” she helped her “with the most devoted affection” (96-97). By making Safie into a delightful entertainer and nurturing character, Shelley highlights the positive aspects of femininity and purposely gives them to this

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