To the Lighthouse

The Heroines of Crime and Punishment, King Lear, and To the Lighthouse

A heroine can be defined in two different ways: the first, as the principal female character in a novel; or in the second way, as a woman noted for a courageous action or significant accomplishment. The heroines of King Lear, Crime and Punishment and To the Lighthouse fit both these definitions. Cordelia, the good daughter and heroine in King Lear, refuses to insincerely flatter her father with fake professions of love and is consequentially disinherited. Despite this rejection, she still unconditionally loves her father and ultimately returns to save her father from her wicked sisters. Sonya is the heroine of Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment. She is extremely religious but more devoted to her family. To support her impoverished family, she sacrifices her body as well as her purity by becoming a prostitute. Providing optimism, hope and reassurance to all those around her, Mrs. Ramsay's role in To the Lighthouse is to bring unity to her family and guests as the provider and caterer to others' needs. Each of these characters are comparable in that they all embody both meanings of the term heroine; as principal female characters in each work, they are self-sacrificial for the benefits of others around them whom they love, truly a...

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