Women’s Place in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein

Women’s Location in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein


Upon the completion of Mary Shelley’s well-known animal unique Frankenstein, it is rather hard to argue about the function of the female characters in the story. Truthfully, they did not play any significant function in the advancement of the plot. All the significant characters are male; therefore, it can be easily dismissed that the novel is extremely dominated with masculine habits and actions.

Nevertheless, the fact that Mary Shelley, the daughter of the well-known feminist, Mary Wollstonecraft, used the female characters with constant tasks of domesticity which primarily supported the male characters can be argued as a sign of their considerable role in the progress and development of the male characters.

Their roles in the story strengthen the reality of patriarchal authority in early history of women. By ways of showing the domestic functions of women in Frankenstein, Mary Shelley has the ability to specify and show the scenario of ladies which is also present in her mother’s well-known work A Vindication of the Rights of Woman.

Women’s Place in Frankenstein

First, we mention the female characters of the story to be able to distinguish each character’s role in the advancement of the story. Plainly, the novel revolves around the story of a scientist, Victor Frankenstein, who produced a beast by ways of various body parts and organs. The very first female character to be introduced is Victor’s mother Caroline Beaufort who later becomes Caroline Frankenstein.

Caroline Beaufort is the daughter of Alphonse Frankenstein’s buddy, Beaufort. When Beaufort died, Caroline becomes better half to Alphonse. Victor’s narrative of her attributes in Chapter One currently suggests a woman’s typical function of supporting her male. Victor describes that “She acquired plain work; she plaited straw and by different means contrived to earn a pittance hardly enough to support life” (Shelley 28).

In this regard, a lady is represented as somebody who should be strong enough to support a life. Clearly, the life which is being described is the life of Caroline’s dad. He is the very first guy to have actually applied the concept of patriarchy in the story since as a guy, Caroline feels obliged that she needs to tend and devote her time to offering look after her father.

This argument can, of course, be countered by declaring that Caroline might just be a really loving daughter who wants to commit her time tending to her dad’s needs.

Nevertheless, the fact that upon her father’s death she surrenders herself to end up being the other half of Alphonse is a sign that as a grieving lady, she is mentally weak and in requirement of someone manly to protect her. The stories did not discuss that Alphonse and Caroline were in love, it is merely stated that they wed later on.

Another female character in the story who plays a significant role in the life of Victor is his youth pal, Elizabeth Lavenza. She is an orphan whom Caroline and Alphonse embraced because of her childish sweetness and charm. The role of Elizabeth is additional reinforced as that of a woman whose responsibility is to accompany a male and meet his satisfaction. “the result was that Elizabeth Lavenza became the inmate of my moms and dads’ house– my more than sister– the lovely and loved companion of all my occupations and my enjoyments” (Shelley 235 ).

The principle of Elizabeth’s role as a constant buddy of guys is likewise present in the monster’s demand that Victor develops a female equivalent for him due to the fact that he is lonesome. “I am alone and miserable, man will not connect with me, but one as deformed and terrible as myself would not reject herself to me” (Shelley 140).

The creature merely wishes to have a companion to share his life with– to have pals and a family where he could belong. One can argue that the beast’s need for another animal is because of his solitary presence as a terrible being however, the truth that he utilizes the word “herself” to refer to the animal he wishes to share his world with offers an impression of a libido that just a female equivalent can satisfy.

The creature did not request a father or brother; though, he did not define a woman, the use of the pronoun “herself” already says everything. Another element that a person needs to take a closer look is Victor’s self-proclaimed ownership of her. He thinks about Elizabeth as a possession that his mother has actually approved him.

The day prior to Elizabeth showed up in their family, Caroline tells Victor that the next day he will get his present. “she provided Elizabeth to me as her assured gift, I, with childish seriousness, analyzed her words actually and considered Elizabeth as mine– mine to safeguard, love, and treasure.

All applauds bestowed on her I received as made to a belongings of my own” (Shelley 235). Even on Caroline’s death, she passes on domesticity to Elizabeth as she leaves her the duty of looking after her more youthful kids. “Elizabeth, my love, you must supply my location to my more youthful children” (Shelley 38). This premise plainly demonstrates the role of ladies as simply caretakers of household tasks and kids.

According to the book Mary Shelley: Her Life, Her Fiction, Her Monsters, “The guys in Frankenstein’s world all work outside the home, as public servants (Alphonse Frankenstein), as researchers (Victor), as merchants (Clerval and his dad), or as explorers (Walton)” (Mellor 116). This fact remains in contrast to the nature of the females’s operate in the story.

The women are limited to the housework. Elizabeth is not even allowed to come with Victor’s journeys because as a woman, she does not have the same opportunities such as him. Mellor claims that, “Mary Shelley, doubtless inspired by her mom’s A Vindication of the Rights of Female, particularly depicts the consequences of a social building of gender which values guys over females” (115 ). The novel constructs the reality of women’s scenario as slaves of domesticity by methods of putting them behind the existence of the males.

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The presence of female characters in the story of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein plays a substantial role in depicting the restricted opportunities and rights that ladies have back in the Victorian era. Shelley’s characterization of the ladies demonstrates and represents the weak point of the male characters such as Victor Frankenstein and the creature that he has actually produced.

The function of women in this story is clear: they are highly deprived of their rights as human beings. Shelley’s discussion of Caroline Frankenstein and Elizabeth Lavenza as women who are submissive and uncomplaining signifies the women’s failure to free themselves from the dominance of guys.

Functions Cited

Mellor, Anne Kostelanetz. Mary Shelley: Her Life, Her Fiction, Her Monsters. Taylor & & Francis, 1988.

Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft. Frankenstein, or, The Modern Prometheus, the 1818 text.

Ed. James Rieger. USA: University of Chicago Press, 1982.

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