Strong Female Characters In Victorian Literature

While reading Great Expectations, Estella’s description stood out to me. In line 15 of chapter 22, she is described as being “brought up by Miss Havisham to wreak revenge on all the male sex.” Due to heartbreak from Compeyson leaving her, Miss Havisham lived a vengeful life. After adopting Estella, Miss Havisham decided to use her to get revenge on men and raised her to view men negatively. This passage instantly reminded me of Catherine from Wuthering Heights.

In Wuthering Heights, Catherine is described as being a strong woman who did not depend on men. Although her goal was not to wreak revenge on men, she wished to obtain a high role in society which would allow her to have power over men. Even from a young age, Catherine was described as being “the queen of the country-side; she had no peer; and she did turn out a haughty, headstrong creature!” (Wuthering Heights, Chapter 8) Many women who lived during the Victorian Era were described as being dainty and obedient to the men in their lives, but Catherine did not fit this description. Similarly to Miss Havisham and Estella, she was unwilling to live a timid life. This lifestyle led her to become a strong female character that many women from the Victorian Era looked up to.

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