Qns: How are women depicted and treated in gothic literature?
Women in gothic literature are depicted and treated differently in different periods of the gothic genre. Their roles are also subverted at times to achieve certain aims of the gothic novels. Basically, women are often placed in the bad light of society where they may either be weak or corrupted and treated badly by male characters. However, their roles changes as society progresses.
In early gothic, women are depicted as foolish and helpless as they are often under the oppression of man. Gothic literature develops the character of women such that they are indecisive and submissive. For example in “The Castle Of Otranto”, Hippolita is depicted as an obedient wife of her husband who is a tyrant where “she would not only acquiesce with patience to divorce, but would obey, if it was his pleasure, in endeavouring to persuade Isabelle to give him her hand.” This shows how weak women are portrayed as they do not have their own stand but even support polygamy at the expense of her own marriage.
Moreover, women are also often depicted as vulnerable and lost. This is due to the oppression of man whereby the women always try to escape from their clutches but fail to do so. For example in “The Castle Of Otranto”, Isabelle tries to escape from Manfred and in “The Mysteries Of Udolpho”, Emily tries to escape from Count Morano. This effect is achieve through the isolation of female characters where often their family members and friends are no where near them and they are always in a vast setting such as a huge castle where it is easy for them to lost their way.
Furthermore, the women are also depicted as imaginative thus emphasizing on their stupidity such as in “The Mysteries Of Udolpho”, where Emily imagines the worst possible scenario upon seeing the picture covered with the black veil. Thus the stupidity is on her when she creates terr...