‘Women Are Chewed Up by the Plot Disassembled in….the Way Victor the Scientist Dismembers the She-Monster…They Are Martyrs and Victims.’ How Helpful Do You Find This View of Shelley’s Presentation of Women.
English and Literature
Submitted By elunaj
‘Women are chewed up by the plot disassembled in….the way Victor the scientist dismembers the she-monster…They are martyrs and victims.’ How helpful do you find this view of Shelley’s presentation of women.
The quote is suggesting that Mary Shelley is to blame for the women’s deaths in the novel and is comparing her to Victor Frankenstein when he too, destroys a female. However, I find that Mary Shelley is demonizing male patriarchy, as in the novel; it is they who are the destroyers of women. Shelley uses the fate of Justine to expose the unjust institution, in which is the unjust treatment by a male dominated institution. When in trial, Justine says that her “passionate and indignant appeals were lost upon them….and I received their harsh, unfeeling reasoning of those men”, it shows how cold hearted the men were towards her and didn’t take her feelings into consideration as women didn’t have a say in the justice system. The judges problematically base their judgments on facts and lack compassion as they have problematic interpretations – their male way of thinking blocks compassion. Mary Shelley describes Justine as a “saintly sufferer”; similarly, the quote refers to women as ‘martyrs’, this idealizes women as they are too pure, and have done no wrong in the novel. She attempts to empower women which shows how incredibly passionate she is, however, the males such as Frankenstein feel threatened by this and allows her to die In the courts of justice. Shelley also problematizes the view of women, as men are possessive over them as is Frankenstein with Justine as he says she’s all ‘mine’ and constantly uses this term to establish his point. The quote however, shows that the critic lays the blame on Shelley for the misfortunes of the female characters in the novel. An example of a strong, independent woman throughout the novel is Elizabeth in Justine’s trial as she shows compassion, however her ‘heart-rendering eloquence’ had failed to move the judges.