Women’s Role in ‘Frankenstein’: Analyzing Female Characters in Mary Shelley’s

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Updated: Sep 07, 2023
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When one hears the word “Frankenstein”, monstrous images often jump to mind – a colossal creature with bolts in his neck or perhaps a crazed scientist meddling with the very essence of life. However, beneath these dominating figures lies a subtler yet profoundly impactful narrative layer: the women who shape, influence, and navigate the tumultuous landscape of Mary Shelley’s iconic novel. In a time when women were expected to remain on society’s periphery, Shelley masterfully weaves feminine characters that provide background, depth, dimension, and moral resonance.

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As we plunge into the tale’s chilling depths, it’s crucial to spotlight these women, whose roles might seem secondary but whose impact reverberates through every twist and turn. Their presence is the heartbeat amidst the eerie silence, challenging readers to look beyond the monstrous and into the soul of Shelley’s world.

A Quick Peek into Mary’s World

Step back to the early 19th century, and you’ll find yourself in Mary Shelley’s realm. A young woman, merely in her late teens when she began penning “Frankenstein,” Shelley was weaving tales in an era dominated by male writers. Born to radical thinkers, her life was a tapestry of tragedies, love, and intellectual discourse.

While the women of her day were largely confined to drawing rooms, Mary challenged conventions in her writings and personal life. Surrounded by literary giants like her husband, Percy Shelley, and Lord Byron, Mary wasn’t just a silent observer. She had a voice and used it to craft one of the most iconic gothic novels ever written. Her world was a swirling mix of revolutionary ideas and stifling expectations, and it was in this very crucible that “Frankenstein” took shape.

Silent Strength: More Than Meets the Eye

When you think of “Frankenstein,” you probably picture the green monster or the mad scientist, Dr. Frankenstein. But there’s a backbone to this tale, and it’s made up of women.

Elizabeth, for starters, is Victor’s adopted sister and later fiancée. While she seems like your typical damsel in distress at a glance, there’s depth there. She embodies purity, innocence, and love. When things get bonkers, it’s her love that Victor clings to. Her tragic end (spoiler alert: she gets murdered) shows the real price of Victor’s obsession.

Then there’s Justine. Poor Justine gets blamed for a crime she didn’t commit. She symbolizes how society often places the blame on the wrong shoulders. Sound familiar, even in today’s world? Uh-huh. Her fate is a wake-up call to the consequences of unchecked ambition.

And let’s not forget about Victor’s mother, Caroline. She might be the epitome of motherhood, with her compassion and selflessness. In her short stint, she sets the standard for love and care in the Frankenstein home. And her death? A pivotal moment that shakes Victor’s world.

Why It Matters: Not Just Background Noise

Now you might think, “Okay, but these women seem like side dishes to the main course.” Bear with me. While they might not be front and center, these ladies represent the story’s moral compass. They’re like the voice of reason when the world is going haywire.

Think about it. Remove these women, and what do you have? Just a mad scientist and his monster, running amok. The women bring the emotional weight, the consequences, and the real-world connection to the tale. They’re the glue holding the narrative together, highlighting the chaos that unfolds when humanity’s moral fabric starts to unravel.

An Ode to the Modern Reader

So, why should we care about the women in an old-timey novel in our uber-modern, tech-filled world? Because they’re relatable. They show us the strength in subtlety, the power in quiet resistance, and the resilience of the human spirit. These women’s natural, raw, human emotions surround us in a story filled with unnatural creations.

The Final Word

“Frankenstein” isn’t just about a monster. And it’s not just about the guy who made the monster. It’s a deep dive into humanity, society, and our choices. And right there, amidst the chaos and the science bits, stand the women – unwavering, unforgettable, and undeniably pivotal.

So nod to those unsung heroes next time you pick up that novel. The ladies remind us that sometimes, strength and impact come not from a roaring voice but from a steady, gentle presence.

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Women's Role in 'Frankenstein': Analyzing Female Characters in Mary Shelley's. (2023, Sep 07). Retrieved from https://papersowl.com/examples/womens-role-in-frankenstein-analyzing-female-characters-in-mary-shelleys/