Frankenstein

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Discuss the presentation of women in the novel. Do Victor and the monster differ in their views of women, and if so how?

In “Frankenstein”, Mary Shelley exemplifies each woman as submissive and disposable. Three ideas that present Shelley’s point of view are that women are seen as possessions, female characters are used only to mirror the male characters, and that women in the novel are portrayed as the representative women of the time period. Female characters like Elizabeth, Justine, Margaret, Safie, and Agatha serve a specific purpose in the novel. The creation and planned destruction of the monster were surrounded by the actions of two main female characters, which strengthen the importance of their influence upon Victor Frankenstein. Frankenstein's father first met Caroline Beaufort while she was taking care of her dying father "with the greatest tenderness". She is first female encountered in the novel and becomes a model around which many of the other females are based. Caroline is the exception to the other women in the novel because she is not as innocent and passive as them, she acts righteously and sacrifices her life when she aids Elizabeth to recover from a severe case of scarlet fever. Elizabeth’s submissive nature represents how she becomes like a puppet to Victor. She is described as a possession rather than an individual and was treated as though she was not capable of making her own decisions and needed a man to guide her. Frankenstein admits, "I looked upon Elizabeth as mine" and the fact that she must be “owned” in such a way suggests her weakness and vulnerability. A key character that is seen in the novel is the Frankenstein’s servant, Justine. She has a character that is very passive and is the one who rarely speaks in the novel. Justine is framed for the murder of William Frankenstein and even in the face of the greatest injustice, she never put up a violent struggle to fight for her life. Justine willingly took the death penalty for a...
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