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

Role Of Women In Gothic Literature English Essay

3873 words - 16 pages

“The role of Women in Gothic Genre is as victims, always subject to male authority.”
Gothic literature is centred around novels that intertwine horror, romantic tragedy and mystery. It began mid-18th century and has since then gained immense popularity blending realistic characters with supernatural elements. Bram Stoker’s ‘Dracula’, Emily Bronte’s ‘Wuthering Heights’ and works from Coleridge such as ‘Christabel’ and ‘The Ancient Mariner’ are examples of Gothic literature that emerged in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. The gothic genre during this period introduced the establishment of women as a ‘damsel in distress’, subject to male authority and social demands; this is apparent in Stoker’s ‘Dracula’ as the Count victimises women to defeat his male opponents and the three female vampires are brought to an untimely end by male figures. In Bronte’s ‘Wuthering Heights’ Catherine and Cathy are victims to social demands and entrapment by the male antagonists and in Coleridge’s work Christabel is victimised by a supernatural figure in the poem, unable to save her father from Geraldine’s seduction. It can be argued that Stoker and Coleridge criticise the portrayal of strong women as all female predators in their work are displayed in a negative light, holding unfavourable characteristics, particularly shown through their sexuality and the signs of affection displayed. They describe the female’s death as gruesome and inevitable. It can be argued that gothic authors also portray some female characters within their work as independent and powerful. ‘Dracula’ and ‘Christabel’ deviate from the stereotypical female ‘victim’ using women as predators, posing a threat to other characters, and very often males; for example in ‘Dracula’ Jonathan Harker is seduced by Dracula’s three female vampires. With relation to context, female independence and sexuality was a subject often debated and frowned upon by society; Stoker, Coleridge and Bronte partially challenge these ideas and the representation of women - whilst considering some females as victims to the adverse events occurring in the story. However are they portrayed as powerful and a challenge to the patriarchal social system or are they victims subject to male authority?
A debate in the 19th Century concerning the emergence of women as strong, educated characters and reflecting writers beliefs that female characters can overpower dominant males became known within Gothic literature as the “New Woman”. It depicts females to pose a potential threat to the male characters and their supremacy blurring predators and victims together. Greg Buzwell suggests “the most radical and far-reaching change of all concerned the role of women, and the increasing number of opportunities becoming available to them in a male-dominated world.”[footnoteRef:2] This is particularly evident in ‘Dracula’ as Mina represents the image of the “New Woman”. The structure of Stoker’s novel allows her to illustrate her thoughts in...

Find Another Essay On Role of women in Gothic Literature - English - Essay

the role of women in the tragedy of hamlet - english - essay

1373 words - 6 pages The Role of Women in the Tragedy of Hamlet Though both female characters seem to play a key role in the plot of the Shakespearean play entitled Hamlet, they are generally portrayed as powerless and compliant individuals that are used by essentially all the male characters, thus driving their mental state into complete insanity. The following essay will go into depth with the mistreatment of the women in Hamlet, in specific, how both Gertrude and

Role of Personal Experience in English Romantic Literature

1316 words - 5 pages Wordsworth reflects on his first-hand observation of society’s materialism and the need to focus more on the natural and the spiritual.  He sadly discerns that people are too concerned with “Getting and spending” (319; line 2), and that they have “given [their] hearts away” (319; line 4).  English Romantic writers sometimes included reflections of their own childhood in their writing as well.  Charles Lamb’s essay “Christ’s Hospital Five-and-Thirty

The Evolution of the Role of Women in British and American Literature

2343 words - 10 pages . In earlier literature women took the role of being the “housewife” or the household caretaker for the family while the men provided for the family. Women were hardly mentioned in the workforce and always held a spot under their husband’s wing. Women were viewed as a calm and caring character in many stories, poems, and novels in the early time period of literature. During the early time period of literature, women who opposed the common role

Good and Evil: The Role of Men and Women in Literature

2265 words - 10 pages female; men are just lacking masculine characteristics. The greater significance of these three poems is again, the progress of men and women in society and how they compare to good and evil. In essence, role of women in society has changed dramatically from old English literature to modern day English literature. Women have been empowered to be the hero or a story, and to aid to a man, or to avoid one. Women also represent the good and pureness

Voices of post colonialism in Purple hibiscus - English Literature - Essay

1304 words - 6 pages his family and to a greater extent upon his community. He is particularly forceful with his family and if there is disobedience he resorts to violent means, however he does not see the error in his methods, rather Adichie shows it through different character’s perspective. In addition, the affects of colonisation on Papa is seen through different character’s perspective. [2: A-Level English Literature B. Critical anthology (2015)] In Simon

Innocence as a major theme of Gothic Literature - Year 13 - Significance of innocence in the Gothic

1325 words - 6 pages Innocence is often an important element in Gothic writing. Mahdi Succar Innocence is used as a major theme in Gothic literature as its definition is broad. The term applies to the virginity of a woman as well as the pureness of an individual or a lack of identity. Its connotations and its use vary depending on the context. Women are often portrayed as innocent as they have not yet made love. They

Essay evaluating the role of women in Richard III

1327 words - 5 pages plot than they seem. Madonne M. Miner, author of the critical essay, "Neither Mother, Wife, nor England's Queen", addresses the women's role in Richard III and concludes that all the women are flat characters, but by doing so she limits the understanding of the affect they have on the audience's comprehension of the plot. The women of this play function as voices of protest and morality. Focusing on the men alone, the play would mostly be about

Roles of Women in Literature

517 words - 2 pages The Realm of Women in Literature      “So it is naturally with the male and the female; the one is superior, the other inferior; the one governs, the other is governed; and the same rule must necessarily hold good with respect to all mankind.” This quote, spoken by the famous Aristotle, proves to be timeless. The words express knowledge concerning gender that proves to be centuries ahead of its time. Aristotle however

Plight of Women in Literature

1689 words - 7 pages author’s use of setting, symbolism, and dynamic characters, the allegorical nature of certain stories in literature give insight on the plight of women - which may be interpreted differently by different people. Myself, as a woman and a mother can empathize with the fictional yet seemingly realistic,“round” female characters in the stories The Shawl, A Jury of Her Peers, The Worn Path and Two Kinds, whereas a woman who is not a mother, or a man

Literary Devices of Gothic Literature

1708 words - 7 pages going to happen. Without these dramatic events, the reader would not be intrigued and/or interested in reading the book (Lake 2008.). Along with dramatic events being sporadic throughout the stories, creating interesting characters is another thing that authors favor in Gothic literature. Stock characters are common: the villain, women in need of help, and the hero are seen very often in almost every story. The villain is typically a monster or a

The Culture of Gothic Literature

1531 words - 6 pages from ghostly or other worldly revenge. The initiation of fear comes from an outside source. In Stevenson’s Jekyll and Hyde, the terror lies within the psychological issues of mankind. Kathleen Spencer’s essay “Purity and Danger: Dracula, the Urban Gothic, and the Late Victorian Degeneracy Crisis,” exhibits the transition from rural to urban setting in Gothic literature. She points out that the move of the setting in Dracula strikes fear in

Similar Essays

Fear In Gothic Literature English Essay

582 words - 3 pages Gothic literature novels have the ability to pull the reader into a setting and instill a sense of fear into them. Novels create this sense of fear by using key elements such as atmosphere, setting, etc. These elements are used by the authors to create a feeling of fear. Samuel Taylor Coleridge uses superstition, imagery, and symbolism to create this atmosphere of fear in Rime of the Ancient Mariner. On the mariner’s voyage, he kills the

Victorian Women In Dracula By Bram Stoker Gothic Literature Essay

1209 words - 5 pages Madi Wray Virtue & Vice: Gothic Storytelling Prof. Tim Decker 26 October 2017 The way in which women are depicted in today’s society, and how they were viewed during the late 1800’s are definitive opponents to one another. In the Victorian society, women that were pure and chaste were favored. Women that were not pure and chaste were looked down upon and usually did not partake in societal events. Much like the ideas of Victorians, Bram Stoker

Role Of Women In The Canterbury Tales Literature Essay

1095 words - 5 pages for the time period. Works Cited Chaucer, Geoffrey. “The Miller’s Prologue and Tale.” The Norton Anthology of English Literature. 9th ed. New York: W.W. Norton, 2013. Print. Chaucer, Geoffrey. “The Wife of Bath.” The Norton Anthology of English Literature. 9th ed. New York: W.W. Norton, 2013. Print. “Women in medieval society.” The British Library, The British Library, 17 Jan. 2014,

Role Of Women In Shakespearean Literature

1057 words - 4 pages uncommon for women until a few decadesago. In Richard III, marriage is not so much in the forefront, but the role of marriage in thepolitical motives of Richard is present in his seduction of Lady Anne and hisnegotiations with Queen Elizabeth to marry her daughter. Marriage was a commonly used negotiating pointfor powerful families. Marriages basedon the notion of romantic love were not common in the upper classes of