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Essay about Feminism in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

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For centauries, women have been forced to live life in the outskirts of a male dominated society. During the 1800’s, the opportunities for women were extremely limited and Mary Shelly does an excellent job in portraying this in her gothic novel, Frankenstein. Furthermore, in this novel, Mary Shelly shows how society considers women to be possessions rather than independent human beings. In addition, the female characters rely heavily on men for support and survival, thus proving their inability to do it on their own. Lastly, the female characters in this novel are in many ways victimized by the male characters. In conclusion, in Mary Shelly’s novel Frankenstein, the female characters always fulfill the limited and archetypical roles that are set for them by society.

In this novel, many female characters are considered to be possessions. In fact, they are considered to be the servants of men. “I have a pretty present for my Victor—tomorrow he shall have it.” (Mary Shelly, Pg. 70) For instance, Elizabeth is given to Victor as a gift without any consideration for her feelings. As a result, Victor has the power to “protect, love and cherish” (Pg. 21) Elizabeth or neglect and isolate her. As well, Elizabeth’s main role in this novel is to comfort and alleviate Victor’s feeling of guilt and sadness. She is always there for Victor as a source of comfort. In contrast, Victor leaves Elizabeth to explore his passions. For instance, after Victor goes to university, he doesn’t come back for two years. During this time, he expects Elizabeth to wait for him as if she was his property. Moreover, Elizabeth is not the only female character who is under Victor’s control. In fact, Victor presents the female monster to the creature as a bargaini...


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...s the female character. In total, the female characters are always victimized because of their qualities and gender. In conclusion, by destroying the female characters, Mary Shelly alludes to the idea that women are always in victimized positions in society.

In conclusion, most of the female character are often isolated, victimized and ultimately killed by the male characters. Furthermore, it is rather ironic how Mary Shelly, the daughter Mary Wollestonecraft who wrote the Vindication of the Right of Women chooses to portray women. In this novel, the female characters are the exact opposite of the male characters; they are passive, weak and extremely limited. Mary Shelly repeatedly shows women in a victimized position exhibiting to the audience how things should not be. In conclusion, Mary Shelly’s novel is a reflection of how women were treated in the 1800’s.


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