Stereotypes Of Women In Lady Audley's Secret

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Women are thought of as children, specifically “girls”, juxtaposed in conjunction with nature’s beauty, mythicized as unique beings illuminated with magic and deceit, and overall needy materialistic creatures. Such common stereotypes of women are portrayed in Mary Elizabeth Braddon’s Lady Audley’s Secret through the character, Lady Audley, who emanates child-like qualities and thought processes, but actually shares the same calculative logic as a male counterpart would stereotypically “have”. Throughout the novel, the narrator (Braddon), often describes Lady Audley in a magical manner, highlighting her physical characteristics by using vivid and bright colors and often comparing Lady Audley to the physical environment, whether it be explicitly, …show more content…
Her mood, brooding, is reflected in her thoughts as she considers what she would be feeling if she were younger and full of “childish innocence, childish follies and selfishnesses, or frivolous feminine sins that had weighed very lightly upon her conscience”, which evokes a sense of confusion to the reader who may have previously associated her as childish, but with evil intent, as we assume she has murdered her former husband. Up until now, we have regarded Lady Audley as a girl, but here we finally can see her capabilities as a woman. However, her thoughts go into further complexity. Even though in this passage she is also considering when she “first looked in the glass and discovered that she was beautiful”, something that she would also now consider “a counter-balance of every youthful sin”, but then thinks about her adult sins, of how her recognition of her own beauty has changed her to become “selfish and cruel, indifferent to the joys and sorrows of others, cold-hearted […] with that petty woman’s tyranny which is the worst of despotisms”. Her despotism, meaning absolute power or control; rigid restraint, could refer to her control over Michael Audley, and truly anyone else in the novel. For example, Robert Audley suspects she is guilty with murder of his best friend, but still treads carefully out of kindness, to protect and shield her from potential dangers

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