Gender Roles of the woman and manIsolation and Authority Over centuries women have been oppressed by male members of society and societal expectations of them which have been installed throughout their childhood and taking over their lives. Women of Romantic era had expectations from them. They were to tend to the house, be a nurse a comforter and adhere to all other aspects of homelife. Women were often depicted as complacent, submissive and even docile to their lack of education and knowledge of society. Gothic literature explores this in various novels. Women are often main characters whom are set in the domestic sphere as during this time women were trained to maintain a home and were not encouraged to leave and engage in adventures. Men on the other hand are free to travel and experience the world while also having a family, they attend social events and are members of society in which they can excel and learn far beyond the means of a woman. They were depicted as well educated to the society and knowledgeable on a variety of different subjects.Within the first chapter of A Sicilian Romance Radcliff uses the Marquis Julia and Emilia’s father as an example to address the constraints that gender roles had on women raising an awareness to the problems they create. The Marquis forbid his daughters to leave the castle that they resided. Their father only returned to oversee their education “ as his pride, rather than his affection seemed to dictate.”(Radcliff 4) Though unable to leave the castle grounds both Julia and Emilia dreamt of the world outside the castle walls. Radcliff implies using Julia’s desire to explore that women should be allowed to adventure out and explore the world. Many gothic novels suggest that the male authoritive figure is there for just that ‘authority’ there is very little fatherly love towards the daughters and are usually under the care of an older female member of the household. Their father the Marquis provides a fine example of this he had moved to Naples following his second marriage and rarely made an appearance only to dictate the education of his daughters. He was accompanied by his new wife and son Ferdinand The Marquis was proud of his son “His son, who had been educated under his immediate care, was the sole object of his pride” (Radcliff 8) this is a clear example of the difference between men and women and their worth. A male is inspired to progress, learn and thrive in society having the freedom to experience life, explore and venture out.Men and Male household members had an authority over the women in the household, having the authority to prevent women in the household developing knowledge and independence as Radcliff presents in chapter one once again limiting them to the castle “though Emilia now Twenty and her sister Eighteen, they had never passed the boundaries of their fathers domains” (Radcliff 5) this not only showed the power in which their father held over them but also supressing them from exploring the outside world and gaining knowledge of society and limiting their personal and educational development though many males saw it as a precautionary measure, a way to keep their daughters pure and safe. In Mathew Lewis’s The Monk the character of Antonia was portrayed as a paragon of feminity. She is a conventical young woman, Antonia is inexperienced, hardly speaks and her existence lies only in that of the domestic sphere. Socially awkward, her knowledge restricted to the Bible and that of what her mother educates her “Tis young creature…who is totally ignorant of the world. She has been brought up in an old castle in Murcia; with no other society than her mothers.”(Lewis 11) This example shows how women were seen, even by members of their family and how they were introduced by clearly making it known that they were inexperienced, clueless to society and to any social interaction out of the domestic sphere. I find this extremely annoying that throughout each of these novels they portray women as inadequate beings only suitable for a variety of knowledge supressed and prevented from exploring and interaction with society. Another author who portrays women as a submissive sex is Mary Shelly in her novel Frankenstein. Shelly characterizes each woman in the novel as being passive, practical and disposable. The idealize gender role of the time of which its set.
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