Analysis Of Mary Shelley 's ' Frankenstein '

1701 WordsOct 24, 20147 Pages
Frankenstein is a novel that is practically devoid of any female presence, yet author Mary Shelley pens a story that is lush with portrayals of feminine ideology. Throughout the course of this novel, the audience is introduced to three different female characters. The first is Elizabeth Lavenza— Victor Frankenstein’s wife. She is presented as a passive and weak woman who embodies the traditional role of women in the 19th century. Caroline Beaufort is present in the novel, but her role is limited to the ways in which she influences Victor, as she dies early in his childhood. The one strong female voice in this novel is that of Justine Moritz. Justine lives in the Frankenstein household, and she possesses a womanly voice that she can…show more content…
Victor is possessive, and he implies the possibility of female ownership— comparing Elizabeth to a favorite animal of his. Not only does Victor compare women to something that can be owned, which necessitates commodification, but also he posits that women are related to the superficial, or beautiful while men are related to the complexities and important inner workings of life, “I delighted in investigating the facts relative to the actual world; she busied herself in following the aerial creations of the poets” (20). Here, Victor is hinting that he, a man, focuses on the important questions of the world, whereas Elizabeth, a woman, only focuses on beauty and whimsical writings. More importantly, he associates himself with creation, as his investigations revolved around this subject, while his idea of women’s work is centered in the lack production of anything tangible. Together, Victor creates an aura of submissiveness in women with his illustrations of ownership and mental superiority over women. Frankenstein’s childhood, once idyllic, takes a turn when he becomes motherless at the hands of his adopted “playmate”, Elizabeth (20). Elizabeth infects Victor’s mother, Catherine, with scarlet fever, which overwhelms her to the point of death. Victor is saddened by his mother’s death, but he does not consciously dwell on it— in fact he shows no grief, “My mother was dead, but we had still duties which we ought to perform; we must
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