Gender Roles In Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

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The eighteenth century occurred after both the Industrial Revolution and Enlightenment and many different progressions, both good and bad, happened during this time. These include the growing questions on gender roles and the role of a person in society as a whole. In all kinds of societies, people are treated and raised in different ways according to certain traits they own and how society perceives these traits. Jean-Jacques Rousseau's philosophy on the effect of society on an individual addresses these situations and explains why and how people are influenced by society. In the novel Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, three characters, the Monster, Victor Frankenstein, and Elizabeth Lavenza, are all manifestations of the people which society …show more content…
This is shown by how she awaits for him on the topic of marriage, and even suggested that they do not get married for "an early marriage would at all interfere with any future plans of honour and utility that [Frankenstein] may have formed," (Shelley). Elizabeth can also be seen sacrificing certain aspects of her life, and eventually her actual life, to Frankenstein and to the family. During the time of the eighteenth century, "women span, kept house, and raised children" and were often confined to the house (Barker-Benfield 156). For Elizabeth, and other women, this was widely accepted and known. According to Rousseau's philosophy, Elizabeth is a prime example of society creating an image which raises those within that community into what that image pertains. An example is Frankenstein's dying mother telling Elizabeth to look after the children that she was leaving behind, instead of asking her husband or older family. Elizabeth selflessly does what is best for the family and watches over them, something that is what society teaches women to do from birth.

In history, the society of an area and period heavenly influences the people of the community. Rousseau's philosophy of high society transforming the individual character and their development is a large theme for Frankenstein. In Frankenstein, the major characters are all models of the ideal persona that society imagines for them based on their sex and