Roles of Women in Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

1119 WordsJun 22, 20185 Pages
In “Frankenstein” penned by Mary Shelley, one cannot help but notice the role of women in the novel compared to men. Even though Mary Shelley is the daughter of Mary Wollstonecraft, a mother advocating for women’s rights in society, she displays the roles of Caroline, Elizabeth, and Justine as passive women. This may be the time period when women were considered inferior to men. Caroline, Elizabeth, and Justine are depicted as possessions by men, admired for their superficial beauty, and do not take action without the permission of men. On the other hand, Shelley illustrates Safie as a woman who speaks up for her own rights when her father forbids her to find Felix. The three points that contribute greatly to the passive role of women are…show more content…
Elizabeth desires to understand how Victor is doing in college. However, as Victor’s possession, Elizabeth can only visit Victor under the approval of Victor’s father. Also, in another letter that Elizabeth writes to Victor while Victor is in England, Elizabeth asks Victor if he has fallen in love with another woman. Elizabeth points out, “Tell me, dearest Victor. Answer me, I conjure you, by our mutual happiness, with simple truth – Do you love another” (Shelley 166). Due to Victor’s lack in response to Elizabeth’s letters, Elizabeth becomes worried about her love for Victor. Although Elizabeth comprehends her love for Victor during her childhood years, she has no right to prevent Victor to fall in love with another woman. Elizabeth’s role as Victor’s possession illustrates how only Victor can choose whether he wants Elizabeth or the other woman. Similarly, Justine displays her passivity when she cannot prove her innocence for the murder of William Frankenstein. In the article, “The Ghost of a Self”, Vanessa Dickerson describes Justine as, “an innocent, sensitive, beautiful, and loving servant who is unjustly executed for the murder of little William Frankenstein” (85). Justine desires to prove her innocence, but as a household servant in the Frankenstein family, only Victor’s appearance in court will prove her innocence. Elizabeth also wants to prove Justine’s innocence. However, as Victor’s possession, Elizabeth’s stance of Justine’s innocence is also

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