“Do Victor and the monster differ in their view of women, and if so, how?“
To start off, women in the novel, Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, are proven over and over to appear as very passive and disposable. All women in the novel had little to no character development and were flat in all aspects of literature. They were all submissive extras that merely helped with the progression of the male-dominance that is present in Frankenstein. During the time the novel was written, women’s rights were considered as absurd as animal rights, and that is perfectly reflected in Mary Shelley’s novel.
The first example of a very prominent woman-submissive is Justine. Justine’s voice was seldom heard; she was constantly placed behind everyone else and she is ultimately framed for the murder of Victor’s brother, William – it is very important to note that Victor could’ve helped Justine and admit to his crime but decided against it. Agatha De Lacey’s feelings and emotions were also constantly disregarded. She proceeded to care for her brother and father despite her own sadness for their poverty. Safie was racially fetishized and was betrothed to Felix. They saw her as a beautiful woman and nothing more. Even though the monster learned the language because of her, he also saw her as merely a pretty thing, “countenance of angelic beauty.” Now the main example is Elizabeth. From the very beginning, she was brought to Victor by his mother, Caroline, who told him that Elizabeth for him. She is described by, “none could behold her without looking at her as a distinct species, as being heaven-sent, and bearing a celestial stamp in all her features,” and led to Victor thinking of her as, “the most fragile creature in the world.” Unfortunately, she also became a victim and was reduced to becoming an object for revenge, along with other female characters. She is depicted as a stereotypical woman of being beautiful and angelic, weak and submissive; therefore, representing the ideal womanhood with its promises of love and comfort.
Both Victor and the monster saw a woman as the ultimate companion. The difference between the two characters is that Victor was possessive over Elizabeth and it was more so of her existing for him and not for her to be a companion and a partner; even though companion-ship was present in their relationship. “I looked upon Elizabeth as mine – mine to protect, love and cherish. All praises bestowed on her I received as made to a possession of my own,” she is simply demeaned to becoming something of Victor’s for him to do whatever he pleases with her. By the end, Elizabeth was Victor’s constant that was able to alleviate his guilty conscience. Fortunately, Victor was proper in the way where he did not verbally or physically debase her.
The similarities between the two males are very prominent when the monster requested Victor to create a female companion for him. He compares himself to Adam and complains that God has created Eve for Adam, whereas his creator did not do that for him. The parallels here are very interesting; Eve was for Adam, the female monster was to be for the creature, Elizabeth is for Victor. “Like Adam, I was created apparently united by no link to any other being in existence.” “The creature mourns, “no Eve soothed my sorrows, nor shared my thoughts; I was alone.”” After agreeing to create the monster’s female, Victor eventually destroys her. It is also interesting to note that Victor chose to destroy the female monster and not the male. There is another contrast with this scene: both of the main characters destroyed the other’s love interest. Both, Victor and the monster have also chosen to ignore the consequences that might happen with their female companions; Victor had ignored the monster’s threat of him being with Victor on his wedding night and chose to think selfishly that the monster was out to get him, only. He disregarded the fact that the monster could end up killing Elizabeth and proceeded to get married to her soon after, which led to the consequence of Elizabeth being murdered. The fact that creating a female could create numerous negative outcomes also seemed to slip the monster’s mind. Creating another one of his species could not only have brought harm to society, but also to the female, which is proven in the film, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein directed by Kenneth Branagh. It is obvious that Frankenstein and his creation have many parallels and their views on women are very similar, as well.
The monster and Victor both say and wish that they are different from each other, but it is proven otherwise in many different scenarios. When it comes to women, their intentions are the same recipe but different outcomes.