Feminist Ideals In Frankenstein Essay

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How could feminist ideas enhance your understanding of a chosen literary text? Within Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein there are many aspects that are open to feminist reading. This essay will focus upon the monster as an embodiment of female intellect and creativity, showing how the monsters treatment by his creator leads him to violent outbursts of frustration mirrored with the emergence of the female gothic. It will also analyze the female characters within the text and how the contrast between them highlights Shelley’s frustration in regards to the female position within society. The story shows that Dr Frankenstein created his monster in order to indulge in his want to be like a god, a bringer of life so “a new species would bless me as its creator and source; many happy and excellent natures would owe their being to me”[1] this creation of a being who’s natures were owed to man from a feminist perspective can be considered a representation of female intellect and intelligence. Many women at the time of the novels conception, were educated to solely for the purpose of marriage, their minds were formed and educated with the patriarchal expectations of idealised feminine models. These ladies would then marry into lives of general servitude and obedience. Unable to advance themselves further than the four walls of the family home they were expected to ignore this intellect and express themselves through their household and children. They had been given the tools of education but no direction as how to express or use them. The monster also experiences this sense of abandonment; he is given the tools to speak, think and learn but never taught their full potential. This point is made clear in the first conversation between Dr Frankenstein and his creation “ Unfeeling and heartless creator! You had endowed me with perceptions and passions, and then cast me abroad”[2]
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