Role Of Women In Frankenstein

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The presentation of women in Frankenstein
Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein”, first published in 1818, was written in a time period where society’s general opinion was that a woman’s role was predominately to be a loving, caring mother and a faithful, docile companion to her husband. This attitude is reflected in Shelley’s portrays of women in her novel as passive, self- sacrificing, loyal, and completely dependent on men. They are a means by which emotions are invoked within male characters and serve only as companions and beautiful possessions.
Caroline Beaufort, mother of the protagonist Victor Frankenstein, is an example of the embodiment of this ideal. She is the wife of Alphonse Frankenstein and within the novel plays the role of a perfect daughter, wife, and mother. Throughout her life she never has any other role than one in which she serves another and is thus never allowed to have a story of her own. In her early years she serves her father and cares for him in his illness and though it was courageous of her for taking up the burden of providing for her
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They all fit the archetype of a damsel in distress needing to be saved by others; Caroline by Alphonse, Elizabeth and Justine by the Frankenstein family, and are never given the chance to save themselves. Their lives are dedicated to the caring and nurturing roles of daughter, wife, and mother and they play the “perfect woman”; quiet and beautiful, waiting by the sidelines as the forever faithful companion to the male characters. Everything that happens to them is a result of someone else’s actions and is only significant as it affects the male characters. They have no control over their own fates and are portrayed as too fragile and precious to carry their own storyline and seem to exist only to wait to be sacrificed for the benefit of
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