What Does One Call A Female Villain? Essay

1491 Words Nov 15th, 2016 6 Pages
What does one call a female villain? Surely one can ascribe femininity to polarizing literary figures, as evidenced by the “heroine” and even occasionally the “femme fatale.” Yet, even in modern literature, there is no exclusive juxtaposition to a heroine; the term “villainess” is coined as slang by Merriam-Webster. Perhaps this can be seen as an offshoot to the meek roles women played, not only in society but in literature, for the majority of history. In the nineteenth-century, Ivan Goncharov disguised the villain of his novel, Oblomov, as an innocent young woman by the name of Olga Ilinskaya. Though she is depicted as a twentysomething with delicate hands, an affinity for needle work, and girlish eyes, underneath the presumed gender role lies a cold and manipulative woman. Olga, though initially manifesting as Oblomov’s savior, is ultimately the most emotionally damnable character in the novel. Her displays of cunning and vanity elevate her to the level of a bona fide villainess. Through a close reading of Goncharov’s Oblomov, one can reveal Olga’s corrupt behavior to be the result of crippling egoism, immaturity, and a desire to be dominated. Upon Olga’s introduction in the novel, readers learn she is not the most cordial of women in the eyes of potential suitors. Depending on who is asking, Olga comes off as “shallow” or “intimidating” when refusing mazurkas. Only Stoltz, a older friend, seems to delight in her wit and seemingly elevated intelligence. Olga was not…

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