This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Feminist Perspective Of A Sicilian Romance And The Castle Of Otranto

2845 words - 11 pages

A Feminist Perspective of A Sicilian Romance and The Castle of Otranto

  In eighteenth century novels, a common means of discussing the role of women in society is through the characterization of two good sisters. The heroine of such a novel is a pure, kind young woman who also has a streak of spunkiness. Her sister may be more good and kind, but she is more submissive and reserved. I would like to look at these sisters (and their mothers) in Ann Radcliffe’s A Sicilian Romance , and The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole.
     It is possible that The Castle of Otranto was the first to introduce these two good sisters as a means of exploring the duties and expectations of modern woman and her right to love. Interestingly, the book comes out in favor of increased individuality and lessened submissiveness. One way contemporary ideas of femininity were being defined was through conduct books written to guide women. “Prescriptive writing…in the eighteenth century tended to portray most women as largely passive in the face of men, biology, and fate...” (Hunt, 75). Walpole and Radcliffe explore what happens when a woman is not passive. The consequences of this independence are gauged against the fate of the more acceptably feminine sister (and mother).
     Though not blood relatives, Isabella has been raised as Matilda’s sister, and her relationship with the prince and princess is one of daughter to parents. Isabella has a more independent identity than Matilda does. There are suggestions that Isabella is slightly more sensual than Matilda, someone who admits her sexuality and attraction to men. Bianca, Matilda’s lady, says, “But there is my Lady Isabella would not be so reserved to me: she will let me talk to her of young men; and when a handsome cavalier has come to the castle, she has owned to me that she wished your brother Conrad resembled him.” To which Matilda replies, “I do not allow you to mention my friend disrespectfully. Isabella is of a cheerful disposition, but her soul is pure as virtue itself.” Matilda opposes “virtuous” with “cheerful,” the latter word given as an opposition to the suggestion that Isabella may have a flirtatious nature. It seems that one who is very pure and virtuous must not only hide sexual interest, but must curb evidence of any happiness or active enjoyment of life. This cheerfulness might indicate self-interest or a threateningly passionate nature. When Hippolita announces that a marriage between Frederick and Matilda has been proposed, Isabella says to Hippolita , “...But think not, lady, that thy weakness shall determine for me. I swear, hear me all ye angels—” (Walpole, 106). Matilda, who is in love with Theodore, cannot but agree to obey her mother. 
     Hannah More was a writer of a popular conduct book, Strictures on the Modern System of Female Education. Kathryn Kirkpatrick writes that Hannah More felt that “One of the duties that the middle-class woman was to learn from her reading was how to...

Find Another Essay On Feminist Perspective of A Sicilian Romance and The Castle of Otranto

The Castle of Otranto and Wuthering Heights: Love Beyond Classes, Life, and Death

1436 words - 6 pages Setting his work in the Middle Ages in a remote castle with horror and fantastic elements, Horace Walpole popularized the Gothic Romance genre with his 1764 novel The Castle of Otranto. He was the vanguard in bring thrills to readers with ancient prophecies, mysterious deaths, specters and supernatural events in his novel. However, the Gothic genre reaches a climax in Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights (1847), which is marked by its

Horace Warpole’s The Castle of Otranto Compared to Oedipus Rex

1924 words - 8 pages Romance, murder, superstition, ghosts, darkness, religion, and castles are some of the features of the paradigm of the Gothic genre in literature. Horace Warpole’s The Castle of Otranto was the first Gothic novel and the above aspects, which he used as tropes, defines the genre. The story of The Castle of Otranto follows the downfall of the protagonist, Manfred, beginning with him as a Prince, then having to sign his abdication and working

Comparative essay on the novels Castle of Otranto and The Wasp Factory

1632 words - 7 pages her to choose her future. Realizing this, she, in essence, transcends her physical body, gaining a freedom others can only dream of."Now the door closes and my journey begins" (244).The past hovers over the present like a dark cloud. In Castle of Otranto, it controls the present through the use of supernatural forces. In The Wasp Factory, it explodes to the surface, freeing Frances in the process. In real life, whether the past controls us, as in Castle of Otranto, or liberates us, as in The Wasp Factory is for us to determine.

A Feminist Perspective of Othello

2534 words - 10 pages A Feminist Perspective of  Othello      Throughout the length of Shakespeare’s tragedy Othello there is a steady undercurrent of sexism. It is originating from not one, but rather various male characters in the play, who manifest prejudicial, discriminatory attitudes toward women.   In the opening scene, while Iago is expressing his hatred for the general Othello for his having chosen Michael Cassio for the lieutenancy, he

Gothic Fiction: The Representation of Evil in Horace Walpole’s The Castle of Otranto

2368 words - 9 pages Gothic Fiction: The Representation of Evil in Horace Walpole’s The Castle of Otranto. The Castle of Otranto is a 1764 novel written by Horace Walpole. It is regarded as the first Gothic novel, initiating a new literary genre which became extremely popular in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Gothic literature’s desire to explore the unknown, the unexplainable, inexplicable and the terrifying can be seen as a reaction to

Taking The Castle of Otranto as your example, outline the main conventions

1327 words - 5 pages Taking The Castle of Otranto as your example, outline the main conventions of the Gothic novel, and show how your knowledge of Taking The Castle of Otranto as your example, outline the main conventions of the Gothic novel, and show how your knowledge of these conventions affects your reading of Northanger Abbey. Is Northanger Abbey most accurately described as parody of the Gothic genre, or is there a more complicated relationship going

A Feminist Perspective of On the Road and The First Third

644 words - 3 pages Much has been written about the Beat generation, especially about the hold its radical freedom has exerted on the American imagination. The Beats who stand out in most of our minds are men and the freedom they enjoyed--a freedom of movement, of creativity, of sexuality--is coded as a particularly male kind of freedom. My paper will suggest that in their autobiographical texts On the Road and The First Third Jack Kerouac and Neal Cassady

A Feminist Perspective of William Shakespeare

1532 words - 6 pages A Feminist Perspective of Shakespeare      Although William Shakespeare reflects and at times supports the English Renaissance stereotypes of women and men and their various roles and responsibilities in society, he is also a writer who questions, challenges, and modifies those representations. His stories afford opportunities not only to understand Renaissance culture better but also to confront our own contemporary generalizations about

A cultural feminist perspective of HBO's Trueblood

1083 words - 5 pages of female gender roles in the minds of viewers. Peforming a textual analysis on various episodes from season one of Trueblood, I will be applying the cultural feminist perspective to examine how female characters are objectified to attract a male audience, viewers are given a false representation of female empowerment to draw in the “educated” female audience, and how female sexuality is defined by masculine hegemony perpetuated by both men and

A Sicilian Romance by Ann Radcliffe

1410 words - 6 pages A Sicilian Romance ::: PlotThe happening takes place at the end of 16th century in Sicily, better in the Castle of Ferdinando Mazzini: "a man. His first wife, Louisa Bernini, died after giving him two daughters, Julia and Emilia, and a son, Ferdinand.After the death of his first wife, he committed the education of his daughter to Madame Menon and married Maria de Vellarno then he moves to Naples with her and his son while Julia and Emilia

Canterbury Tales: A Feminist Perspective of Wife of Bath

1133 words - 5 pages A Feminist Perspective of Wife of Bath Many literary critics throughout the years have labeled the Wife of Bath, the "gap-toothed (23)" character of The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer, a feminist. She is a strong-willed and dominant woman who gets what she wants when she wants it. However, this is not the definition of a feminist. A feminist is someone who believes that women and men are equal, while also is able to recognize and

Similar Essays

Homoerotic And Homophobic Possibilities In The Castle Of Otranto

1393 words - 6 pages Homoerotic and Homophobic Possibilities in The Castle of Otranto Eve Sedgwick describes the gothic novel as a “dialectic between the homosexual and homophobic” (92). Homosexuality was first recognized in the eighteenth century and resulted in far reaching social responses. With the establishment of the term “homosexuality”, social tensions appeared. These tensions found their way into novels as fears of sexuality and the struggle for sexual

The Castle Of Otranto, By Horace Walpole

1454 words - 6 pages . She marries Theodore, her true love, and lives an enjoyable life as princess, all of which would not have been possible if she had adhered to the social norms. On top of the success Isabella experiences, he also serves justice to Manfred. Since Manfred is the antagonist that represented patriarchal injustice, he in the end loses his throne and is left to repent. A Sicilian Romance follows the same type of trends as The Castle of Otranto with the

Castle Of Otranto Preface Analysis

2385 words - 10 pages Horace Walpole (1717-1797) invented the Gothic novel in his attempt to blend wildness and imagination of the old romance, in his own words "an attempt to blend the two kinds of romance, the ancient and the modern'' in one step altogether, the Castle of Otranto. A novel he claimed to have written immediately after being inspired by a dream, "I waked one morning...from a dream, of which all I could recover was, that I had thought myself in an

Gothic Elements:The Castle Of Otranto By Walpole And A Scene In Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey

1645 words - 7 pages Austen’s parody of the gothic novel in Northanger Abbey contrast in many different ways to illustrate gothic tropes as well as Austen’s perspective view on the subject of the gothic through the use of, diction, setting, character and tone. The diction in each novel is very different for both. In The Castle of Otranto, Walpole uses words like, “curdled”, “terror”, and “darkness” which connote a negativity meaning (Walpole 28). This is a traditional