Roles of women within the Gothic

Mind Map by abby_somers, updated more than 1 year ago
Created by abby_somers almost 7 years ago


revision of different types of female characters found within Gothic literature

Resource summary

Roles of women within the Gothic
  1. femme fatale
    1. openly sexual, uses sexuality to manipulate men
      1. this behaviour represents dystopian world in which patriarchy is usurped
      2. often outcast/rejected from society as a result of transgrassions
        1. this is done through a physical or social death, in which she is labelled a 'fallen women'
          1. restores order and patriarchal society
        2. e.g. Isabella from 'Northanger Abbey'
          1. e.g. Beatrice from 'The Changeling'
          2. innocent/trembling victim
            1. e.g. Elizabeth and Justine - 'Frankenstein'
              1. threatened by supernatural/monster/tyrannical male/patriarchal society/basically anything
              2. maternal figure
                1. most likely a trembling victim before she became a maternal figure
                  1. respected by society and reader
                    1. due to traditional and expected fulfilment of her role as a woman
                    2. rescued by heroic male figure to become maternal figure
                      1. essential to a 'good' upbringing of child
                        1. teaches children emotional intelligence
                        2. easily expendable within Gothic context
                          1. helps create 'Gothic' childhood
                            1. due to lack of maternal figure
                              1. therefore child grows up with lack of emotional intelligence and a sense of abandonment
                                1. leaves potential for 'evil stepmother' figure to take her place
                        3. Freudian concept of 'Oedipus complex'
                          1. male protagonists are sexually attracted to mother
                            1. this transgresses normal social boundaries, which again is an element of Gothic
                              1. e.g. Victor Frankenstein's nightmare in which he kisses his love Elizabeth who transforms into his dead mother's corpse
                                1. symbolic of repressed sexual feelings towards mother
                            2. e.g. Caroline in Shelley's 'Frankenstein'
                            3. Gothic heroine
                              1. arguably Eleanor Tilney from 'Northanger Abbey'
                                1. can best be described as...
                                  1. an innocent/trembling victim,
                                    1. placed in a situation in which they could transgress and become a femme fatale
                                      1. who manages to overcome this situation and refrain from transgression
                                        1. shows strong will, bravery, courage, strong moral compass
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