Madness In Lady Audley's Secret Gothic Fiction Essay

2276 words - 10 pages

Madness in Lady Audley’s Secret
The novel Lady Audley’s Secret sheds light on the activities that took place during the Victorian era where women were expected to undertake certain outlined activities as well as their male counterparts. Similarly, people who lived during the time were barred from engaging in certain activities as they were considered to be inconsistent with the expectations of the community as well as the nation at large. As a result, aspects such as divorce and insanity related attributes were unheard of in the communities. Nonetheless, writers such as Mary Elizabeth Braddon composed books to highlight the elements that existed in the communities during the time (Meadows 319). Despite the conserved nature of people during the period, devious activities existed. Lady Audley’s Secret pinpoints at the heinous deeds that existed in the Victorian era. Despite the perception of the women being weak and submissive as far as the societal norms are concerned, the book denotes diverse elements of the then-woman some of which correlate with the modern-day attributes of the feminine gender such as undertaking roles that ensure provision of food for the families (Knowles 34). Although the novel is dynamic given its setting and interesting to read, madness has taken central stage in the novel. As a result, the paper will shed light on the presentation of insanity in the story. It will highlight how madness has been employed in the novel’s plot and characterization.
The Victorian period was earmarked with adherence to rules and societal beliefs. As a result, majority of the authors such as Mary Elizabeth Braddon among others sought to highlight aspects that existed in the community that were contrary to the cultural expectations. For instance, the writers embraced aspects such as madness, deceit, murder-related activities and bigamy in their works to ensure their works were sensational. In Mary Elizabeth Braddon’s novel, Lady Audley’s Secret, insanity has served to portray some of the activities that took place in the society during the Victorian era (Richards 23). Braddon has incorporated the aspect of madness in her book by taking into consideration the element of gender with regards to the underscored theme. The subject of insanity is taken into account and made successful to a great extent by the female gender.
Braddon in her novel Lady Audley’s Secret has embraced the aspect of secrecy as an underlining subject (Matus 349). Braddon has utilized bigamy as a tool for illustrating the extent of insanity in her works. Having grown up in the Victorian era where divorce was considered a taboo, Braddon engaged in bigamy with John Maxwell who was a publisher at the time. Since Braddon had a husband and Maxwell had a wife at the time of their affair, she could not become his second wife since divorce was viewed as insanity in the Victorian community (Talairach-Vielmas 53). Therefore, her cohabiting act with Maxwell was viewed as immoral. Braddon’s...

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