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Discuss the role of women and children as victims in Gothic literature

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A role that often portrayed as a trembling and innocent victim, the maiden is characteristically frail and most often depicted as blondes. During the time, the genre was first emerged until the mid-19th century the role of women in society had little to no change at all: The wife and the daughter got unworthy inheritance, such as bible, books and household goods (Sandra & Susan 1979, p. Women were denied right to vote or to own property. They were expected to be subservient to men. Widow could not remarry.

Cultural expectations refrain women to expressing freely in the presence of a man. Women were expected to be virtuous, pleasing, and admiring towards their other half at all times. The prescribed sex role in Gothic literature, is easy as identifiable in the Castle Ortranto’s narrative in the beginning of the story. “Manfred, Prince of Otranto, had one son and one daughter; the latter a most beautiful virgin, age eighteen, was called Matilda” (Ozert 2015, p. Reflecting on the narrative choice is easy to depict the presumed roles of girls as a means of preserving bloodlines.

Horace’s creation of the prosecuted maiden further suggests the male dominance in the society of in the time. A more illustrated example of male dominanceThe emergence of the gothic novels of the 18th Century showed the terrifying and the dark side of the supernatural beings. Although most of the gothic novels use vivid imagery of romance and rhythmical language, they are mainly created to evoke feelings of terror. Women and homosexual men write most of the gothic stories and their primary target audience are the women. The Gothic novel plays a crucial role in reassuring the women that their husbands are not dangerous as gothic portrays them.

The general roles in the literature are that of villainous and heroic character. The female characters in the novel are portrayed as innocent, selfless and virtuous women. Most of the novels written by Ann Radcliffe such as A Sicilian Romance depict the role that women have in the society (Radcliffe, 2004, p. She is a pioneer of the Gothic novels. Her style of writing is Romantic in its description. The gothic fiction novels set the foundation for the women, which has been continued by the 19th-century work of art such as Mary’s Frankenstein, Poe’s short stories and Samuel Coleridge’s Christabel.


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preview essay on Discuss the role of women and children as victims in Gothic literature
  • Pages: 9 (2250 words)
  • Document Type: Essay
  • Subject: Literature
  • Level: Undergraduate
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