Frankenstein: Roles Between Males And Females



The division of roles between the male and the female characters in Mary Shelly's Frankenstein is apparent throughout the novel. Although the males constitute the most part of the novel, the seemingly insignificant number of women contribute to the underlying interpretation of the story. During the time of Frankenstein, society was dominated by males, whereas the woman had virtually no responsibility. Victor wants to create a male "being of a gigantic stature" (82) to depict the status of men in his society, that is, all-powerful and dominating. The outcome of his experiment, however, takes a turn in the opposite direction when he becomes the victim of his own creation. Both creature ...

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that distinguish them from others. Shelly's women are portrayed as "gentle and affectionate" (65) and they have features of an "angelic beauty" (144). Victor describes Elizabeth as "the most fragile creature in the world" (65) showing that he feels superior to her. Since the women are mainly confined to the home, they are naive and are not as prepared for the outside world as the men are. (Mellor, 276). This is perceivable in the opening letters from Walton to his sister, Margaret Saville. While Walton is far away from home on a "long and difficult voyage" (51) Margaret remains at home "alarmed for his safety" (55). This shows a split between emotional activity, in which the women mostly participate, and intellectual activity, restricted to the men (Mellor, 275). In addition, Walton is desperately in need of a friend and the fact that he specifically "desire[s] the company of a man" (53) suggests that a female companion would not be sufficient since she does not have the ...

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Added: 2/21/2006 10:44:13 PM
Category: Book Reports
Words: 1128
Pages: 5

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