THE DELINEATION OF FEMALE CHARISMATIC CHARACTERS BY VIRILE NOVELISTS IN SELECTED DRAMA WORKS
Austen is more successful in her delineation of women than of men in her novel Sense and Sensibility. She is not only concerned with the outward consciousness of the character, but also with a psychological portrayal of the woman’s character. One critic Louis Cazamian has given the view that Austin’s studies of women are more searching and more lifelike than those of men. In this novel, the title moves around two female characters Elinor and Marianne. Austen strikingly portrayed these two female protagonists among others. One by representing sense and another by representing sensibility. To some extent we can say that the portrayal of these two women was the chief concern of the novelist. Elinor who is a strong representative of sense which here means, self-command, mind guided, self-discipline and a capacity to control one’s emotions. For example, one such occasion occurs when Lucy Steele reveals to her the secret of her engagement to Edward. Elinor loves Edward too much and by hearing this news she can hardly keep standing. But able to keep her grief under her control, on the other hand, there is another female figure Marianne, who appears as an embodiment of sensibility which here means passionate, emotive and heart guided and disable to control one’s emotion. When Willoughby deceives Marianne she becomes disable to control herself. In this way, Austen has presented two contradictory female protagonists very strikingly.
Before delving into the depiction of female characters in literary works written by males it is important to look at their general portrayal, in order to understand the profile and the trajectory this study has taken. According to Stralton (1990:98) female characters have been figured in a variety of ways, some of which are gender stereotypes and gender inequality. She further says that female characters are portrayed as mothers who are confined within the home, but have the responsibility of taking care of their household and their husbands. The female‟s place is seen as the kitchen where they perform other kitchen chores. She also deposits that many male writers have encoded female characters as agents of moral corruption and contamination in their society. Stratton (1994) argues that female characters are often seen as goddesses who have lured men to their death. In other instances they are portrayed as suicidal and murderers in texts written by male writers.
Stralton (1990:111-126) sees the “Ghettoization” of female characters in male literary texts as a factor in the political disempowerment of females as well as making their “pot of culture.” Ogundipe-Leslie (1987:5) identifies the representation of female characters in literary work as “the figure of the “sweet mother”, the all-accepting creature of fecundity and self sacrifice”.