IntroductionIt is highly likely to hear the name MaryShelly and remember two other significant names in literature; her novel Frankenstein and her mother MaryWollstonecraft, the writer of A Vindication of the Rights of a Woman whichmade a powerful case for women’s liberty and education. Taking this fact intoregard, it looks baffling to view Frankenstein as a purely patriarchalwork which fully pays attention only to men’s world, lacks active femalecharacters and grants no voice to them. This paper aims to explain the factthat she pictures a problematic, male-dominant society through creatingactive men and very few female characters in public. Through comparing mainmasculine and feminine characters in various terms, these questions are goingto be answered that why femalecharacters are presented passively, ignored or voiceless and what Mary Shellytried to include in the novel by depicting such egotisticallyself-absorbed male characters. Male CharactersVictorand Walton share various similar traits of characteristics common to the men ofthe androcentric 18th century. While women are viewed as inferior tomen, the weaker sex and better suited for nursing, men are dangerously ambitious,egotistical, prove high aspirations of glory in their desires and ambitions.
Walton,like Victor, declines to regard the probable dangers and consequences of hisactions: “These are my enticements, and they are sufficient to conquer all fearof danger or death, and to induce me to commence this laborious voyage with thejoy a child feels.” (Shelley 13).On the other hand, Victor’s affectionate wordsare superficial and false as his actions do not correspond with them, oneexample is declaring love to Elizabeth but never being close to her. FemalecharactersSeveralcritics believe that women were strongly oppressed in the novel: “CarolineBeaufort, Elizabeth Lavenza, Justine Moritz, and Agatha De Lacey are fixed inroles expected of women at this time – wife, mother, daughter – and aresomewhat idealized” (Morrison, qtd.in Fisher and Silber 112). These women dietaking care of others, or are killed. We only hear of them through the malenarrators.
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While Walton is busy exploring the world, the story portrays Margaretas a proper lady since she takes care of her sick father setting herself asidecompletely: “Her father grew worse; her time was more entirely occupied inattending him; her means of subsistence decreased”. As another instance, Elizabethis considered as a possession by Victor for she was given to him as a present,like an object: Onthe evening previous to her being brought to my home, my mother had saidplayfully – ‘I have a pretty present for my Victor – tomorrow he shallhave it.’ And when on the morrow, she presented Elizabeth to me as herpromised gift, I, with childish seriousness, interpreted her wordsliterately, and looked upon Elizabeth as mine – mine to protect,love, and cherish. All praises bestowed on her, I received as made to apossession of my own. Emphasis added (Shelley 29) AfterCaroline’s death, she is issued as the new ‘mother’ of the household, beingdeprived of the opportunity of travelling (like Victor). ConclusionShelley excluded women or portrayedthem voiceless, insignificant and passive in order to depict their low positionin the patriarchal society of that time. She presented them as their malecounterparts’ reflections as wives, mothers, daughters or sisters.
In the end,they die taking care of others, or are killed, which proves she did not hold thatthe passive take-carer role was appropriate for them. They become victims ofmen’s self-adoration which can be deciphered as a punishment for theirobedience. She proved that such these women do not survive in the world sheknew.