Idealized Woman Essay

1509 WordsOct 16, 20117 Pages
Idealized Women in Literature Women in literature throughout history have commonly been portrayed with the characteristics of the ideal woman. The ideal woman as portrayed by literature is generally depicted as being weak in one respect or another, whether it is physically, mentally or emotionally. They are selfless, compassionate, and more often than not, are expected to be subservient and loyal to their significant others. Additionally, they are for the most part presented as being naïve or uneducated. These idealized women in literature have been employed in a multitude of ways in order to fit the specific needs and communicate the thoughts of the author. These could be to either allow the men to appear stronger, mentally or physically, or reinforce to society the duties of women in general among many other possibilities. Elizabeth from Frankenstein, The Intended from Heart of Darkness, and Effie from The Maltese Falcon, through their actions and comprehension of the general proceedings in each work, all insinuate that the idealized woman in literature should be subservient to the male figures in their lives and are unfamiliar or naïve with the widespread goings-on regarding the lives of their male counterparts. One quality that all three of these characters have in common is that they are all loyal to their male counterpart. With respects to The Intended, she remained loyal and faithful to Kurtz despite his absence for many, many years. Even after his death, she still remained dedicated to him. This can be seen when Marlow narrates, “She was in mourning. It was more than a year since his death, more than a year since the new came; she seemed as though she would remember and mourn forever” (Conrad 183). She could have chosen to move on with her life sooner, even prior to his death if so desired, however, she is represented as an ideal woman since she did not

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