How does Angela Carter reinterpret the Gothic Conventions in ‘The Tiger’s Bride’ and ‘The Courtship of Mr Lyon’?
In ‘The Tiger’s Bride’ and ‘The Courtship of Mr Lyon’ Carter subverts several conventional gothic aspects. Females in traditional fairy-tales are often passive and submissive victims, whereas there is a reversal of this role, in how Beauty returns to save the Beast from death. Carter presents several changes of form and character, which in some ways eradicate the traditional gothic image. Carter uses Beauty in ‘The Courtship of Mr Lyon’ to initially represent the archetypal female in fairy-tales; she’s a ‘lovely girl’, and dutiful to her father, being ‘possessed by a sense of obligation’ to him. In comparison Beauty in ‘The Tiger’s Bride’ is astute and opinionated; she lets out a "raucous guffaw’ when the Beast requests to see her naked. However both grow to love a beast and transfer a young girl’s affection towards her father, to a lover as they sexually mature. Beauty in ‘The Tiger’s Bride’ changes so much, she becomes a ‘wild’ lion herself. This distorts the traditional form of a fairy tale, with tranquil women that remain pure and innocent, as Carter explores unafraid, brave protagonists. It also alters the hierarchy, with women being more important than men, reflecting the challenges of ‘male chauvinism’ by the feminist movement in the 1970’s, alongside usurping typical gothic conventions. Carter further adds a modern twist through constructing the characterisation of the male protagonists. A beast is a typical feature in fairy tales but in ‘The Courtship of Mr Lyon’ Carter exaggerates his features, perhaps shocking the reader; he’s a lion with a ‘mane and mighty paw’ that walks ‘on all fours’. The biggest link between the stories is the anthropomorphisation and transformation. In ‘The Tiger’s Bride’ this is a dramatic surprise, as the reader has an expectancy that the beast will transform into a human; Beauty instead becomes a lion. This...
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