Frankenstein

Gender Roles in Frankenstein and Fantomina College

It is no surprise that the function of men and women in a society plays a huge role in the pieces of literature that would arise during a specific time. The roles of both men and women in the 18th century, for example, may even align with those in the next century. For instance, both Eliza Haywood’s Fantomina: Love in a Maze (1735) and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1818) depict women as nothing more than objects. In Haywood’s novella, Fantomina is described as a “Victory” after she is assaulted by Beauplaisir whereas in Shelley’s novel, Elizabeth is introduced, after the death of Caroline, as a “pretty present” for Victor. However, because they were written a century apart, the two texts also demonstrate a difference in response to the roles that were upheld in each of the societies the texts took place in. Both Haywood and Shelley critique the traditional roles of women during their time period but while Fantomina challenges the traditional roles of a woman, the women of Frankenstein uphold them.

One of the ways that Fantomina challenges the role of a woman in British society is by changing her appearance from a lady of higher social standing to a woman of lower standing - a prostitute. When Haywood states that there is no...

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