Women in “Frankenstein” are by large presented as caring but submissive and powerless. Victor and the monster share the same view of women because to both of them, a woman is a definitive partner, giving solace and acknowledgment. For Victor, Elizabeth is the sole delight that can alleviate his guilty mind; likewise, the creature looks for a female of his kind to sympathize with his dreadful presence. Each eventually destroys the other’s love interest, transferring woman’s status from an object of desire to something that can be used to inflict revenge; women thus are never given the chance to make their own decisions in the novel. The following essay will discuss how women are presented in “Frankenstein” by Mary Shelley.Firstly, the female gender in Frankenstein is presented as a possession. Victor’s mother describes Elizabeth as a “…pretty present for Victor…” (18) to have. The use of the word “present” creates a sense of possession- as if a woman is merely an accessory to a man. The fact that the mother, a female herself, is saying this implies that she was raised to believe this and that this is how their society is shaped. In addition, the same possessive ‘my’ pronoun is used by Walton when writing to Margaret in his letters and lines like “Farewell, my dear, excellent Margaret.” (3) show this.Next, one of the ways the presence of female characters is demonstrated to have no say and no immediate significance in the story, is the part of Margaret Saville, sister of Robert Walton. Immediately, readers are not given any information about Margaret’s own life or portrayal to give them an understanding of whom every one of these letters is being sent to. Rather, Margret is viewed as the only connection tying Robert to the world back home and the solace he swings to for moral help. As a result, readers are disconnected from Margret’s feelings including apprehension and worry for her brother and the minimal relief she may be feeling can only be inferred from lines like “You will rejoice to hear that no disaster has accompanied the commencement…” (1). Furthermore, as a woman, it can be inferred that Margret was forced to stay home and do house duties, while her brother sought danger and adventure to accomplish his dreams.Moreover, women are presented as insignificant in the novel because of the lack of any direct speech from them, leaving the novel with three main narrators of whom were all males; Robert Walton, Victor Frankenstein, and the monster. Portrayed as innocent and powerless females, characters like, Caroline Beaufort, Margaret Saville, and Elizabeth Lavenza played insignificant roles in which they only suffered in eventually followed by death; only to affect the dominant males in the story. Shelley also uses Elizabeth’s death to describe the merciless way she was left on the bed after being killed. “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.” (179) This suggests how poorly this female character was seen to be killed in such a violent and careless way.Finally, a woman who Victor saw as his only love quickly became one of his last priorities on his wedding night. When the monster stated “I shall be with you on your wedding night,” Victor could only focus on ways to save his own calamitous life instead of realizing the monster was planning to take away what seemed most valuable to him, Elizabeth. Also, Victor doesn’t listen to Elizabeth’s demands, almost ignoring her existence because of his fixation with his work. Because females in this novel are presented as naive and innocent characters, Victor refused to trust Elizabeth with the secret of his creation, consequently letting her die without any clue as to who her murderer was. In conclusion, women in this novel are seen only to provoke, encourage and strengthen the development of the male characters. Every female character undergoes the same storyline of suffering eventually followed by death and none were even given the chance to express who they truly were or their version of the story, leaving the readers with only the minimal descriptions provided by the dominant male characters.
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