Far From the Madding Crowd
Roles of women in the Victorian times were very limited compared to now. They were expected to be house wives, and never expected to have an opinion or point of view. They were never in control of anything and everything was decided by men. They were usually expected to take care of everything in the house including looking after children. They were very much expected to be women whose life revolved around the domestic sphere of the home and family. However, this role was challenged by Queen Victoria
In the novel ‘Far From the Madding Crowd’ you see Bathsheba and Fanny breaking the norms expected from women in Victorian times. Sometimes these norm-breaking actions would result in a sever consequence depending on how bad the norm-breaking was. However, sometimes these limits which exist were ignored, but no penalty was paid. In chapter 42 Bathsheba opens the coffin in which Fanny and her baby lay. Here you can see an example of a woman crossing the barrier of what was expected from her, but no penalty being paid. She is very insecure as weather to open the coffin or leave it closed. “If I could only look in upon you for one little minute I should know all” She finally does open the coffin and is slightly relieved that her tension and suspense has come to an end. “It was best to know the worst, and I know it now”. She is in a lot of pain, because she now knows that it was the women that Troy loved. She realises that it is his baby and is shocked when Troy says to her that he will never love her like he loved Fanny. Bathsheba also realises that Troy has slept with Fanny out of marriage, which was a very unacceptable action in Victorian times. She does not wish to pursue or debate with Troy about what he has done, because there are risks of other people finding out and this would bring shame to her self-image. The consequences of Troy’s actions would mean that people would look at them badly and want nothing to do with them. In a way, Fanny paid the price for a highly thought sinful act, and through death. Many Victorian readers would’ve been shocked at Bathsheba’s actions when she opens the coffin and also with Troy’s actions. Bathsheba is obviously troubled and disturbed; otherwise she would never have opened the coffin. You can see that she is showing her true emotions and in Victorian times women never showed their true emotions. Bathsheba’s actions for opening the coffin would not have been a very severe punishment but would be frowned upon by many Victorians.