Introduction Lacey are fixed in roles expected of

Introduction

It is highly likely to hear the name Mary
Shelly and remember two other significant names in literature; her novel   Frankenstein and her mother Mary
Wollstonecraft, the writer of A Vindication of the Rights of a Woman which
made a powerful case for women’s liberty and education. Taking this fact into
regard, it looks baffling to view Frankenstein as a purely patriarchal
work which fully pays attention only to men’s world, lacks active female
characters and grants no voice to them. This paper aims to explain the fact
that she pictures a problematic, male-dominant society through creating
active men and very few female characters in public. Through comparing main
masculine and feminine characters in various terms, these questions are going
to be answered  that why female
characters are presented passively, ignored or voiceless and what Mary Shelly
tried to include in the novel by depicting such egotistically
self-absorbed  male characters.

 

Male Characters

Victor
and Walton share various similar traits of characteristics common to the men of
the androcentric 18th century. While women are viewed as inferior to
men, the weaker sex and better suited for nursing, men are dangerously ambitious,
egotistical, prove high aspirations of glory in their desires and ambitions. Walton
,like Victor, declines to regard the probable dangers and consequences of his
actions: “These are my enticements, and they are sufficient to conquer all fear
of danger or death, and to induce me to commence this laborious voyage with the
joy a child feels.” (Shelley 13).On the other hand, Victor’s affectionate words
are superficial and false as his actions do not correspond with them, one
example is declaring love to Elizabeth but never being close to her.

 

Female
characters

Several
critics believe that women were strongly oppressed in the novel: “Caroline
Beaufort, Elizabeth Lavenza, Justine Moritz, and Agatha De Lacey are fixed in
roles expected of women at this time – wife, mother, daughter – and are
somewhat idealized” (Morrison, qtd.in Fisher and Silber 112). These women die
taking care of others, or are killed. We only hear of them through the male
narrators. While Walton is busy exploring the world, the story portrays Margaret
as a proper lady since she takes care of her sick father setting herself aside
completely: “Her father grew worse; her time was more entirely occupied in
attending him; her means of subsistence decreased”. As another instance, Elizabeth
is considered as a possession by Victor for she was given to him as a present,
like an object:

 

 

 

 

On
the evening previous to her being brought to my home, my mother had said
playfully – ‘I have a pretty present for my Victor – tomorrow he shall
have it.’ And when on the morrow, she presented Elizabeth to me as her
promised gift, I, with childish seriousness, interpreted her words
literately, and looked upon Elizabeth as mine – mine to protect,
love, and cherish. All praises bestowed on her, I received as made to a
possession of my own. Emphasis added (Shelley  29)

 

 

After
Caroline’s death, she is issued as the new ‘mother’ of the household, being
deprived of the opportunity of travelling (like Victor).

 

Conclusion

Shelley excluded women or portrayed
them voiceless, insignificant and passive in order to depict their low position
in the patriarchal society of that time. She presented them as their male
counterparts’ reflections as wives, mothers, daughters or sisters. In the end,
they die taking care of others, or are killed, which proves she did not hold that
the passive take-carer role was appropriate for them. They become victims of
men’s self-adoration which can be deciphered as a punishment for their
obedience. She proved that such these women do not survive in the world she
knew.

 

 

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