English_Master February 27, 2016 No Comments
FRANKENSTEIN: SHELLEY USE OF MASCULINE AND FEMININE ROLES Shelley began writing ‘Frankenstein’ in the company of what has been called ‘her male coterie’, including her lover Percy Shelley, Lord Byron and his physician John Polidori. It has been suggested that the influence of this group, and par­ticularly that of Shelley and Byron, affected her portrayal of male characters in the novel. As Ann Campbell writes: “The characters and plot of Frankenstein reflect… Shel­ley’s conflicted feelings about the masculine circle which surrounded her” Certainly the male characters in ‘Frankenstein’ are more developed that those of the females. Elizabeth Fay has suggested that the female characters are ‘idealized figures’ in much of Shelley’s work, particularly in the descriptions of Caroline and Elizabeth, the two mother figures in the novel. Caroline is, on surface value, a perfect parent, together with her husband, which renders Victor’s irresponsibility in abandoning the creature more unforgivable. She possessed a mind of uncommon mould’ which was also ‘soft and benevo­lent’; she is compared to a ‘fair exotic’ flower which is shel­tered by Alphonse; she drew ‘inexhaustible stores of affec­tion from a very mine of love to bestow’ on Victor, and her ‘tender caresses’ are some of his ‘first recollections’. She is the idealized mother, a figure that...
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