Victorian literature is something that I can’t keep down. I read and re-read and then I look for a novel that I may have missed. Literature in Victorian Era has some enchanting characters and when it comes to women, well, Victorian Literature has given us some kick-ass female heroines that are source of major envy even in the present world.
- Elizabeth Bennet – It is only befitting to start the list with universally loved Lizzy Bennet. Though Jane Austen is on the periphery of Victorian age her writings are classified in the Victorian Literature. Elizabeth Bennet is one heroine who has given us major life goals, including finding a Mr. Darcy. She is fiery, passionate, well-read, speaks her mind and unlike her contemporary women thinks marrying for love should take precedence over marrying for financial security. She is different and she is charming. Oh! is there any quality that she lacks.
2. Emma Woodhouse – Another of Austen’s heroine, she is a beautiful woman, taking care of her father alone while also trying to set up her friends with eligible bachelors. She has flaws of her own but it makes her more adorable. She is not afraid to reject the idea of marriage and might just be happy to spend her life taking care of her father. She is kind and confident and yes, she can be jealous sometimes.
3. Estella – The mysterious heroine of Dickens’ Great Expectation, Estella is one captivating character. I remember how I spent many nights thinking about her and how she was different. Trained by Miss Havisham to break hearts, Estella is cold, distanced and easily crushes Pip’s heart. She reminds one of the courtly love traditions of Elizabethan literature. She is aloof and remains the unattainable lover for Pip. She is one major inspiration for women trying to cope with heartbreak.
4. Catherine Earnshaw – Catherine Earnshaw, the heroine of Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte, is another heroine in the vein of Estella except that she is more vindictive and headstrong than Estella. Catherine and Heathcliff’s love story remains unmatched. Catherine is not only stubborn, she is also cruel to the point of hurting people who love her. Her love for Heathcliff remains one that is passionate, impulsive and on the lines of cruelty and is found nowhere else in literature.
5. Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte’s heroine, who inspired the term ‘plain Jane’ remains one of the most loved female characters in literature. She has inspired generations of women to live their life on their own terms. Jane does not feel that she is less capable because she is not good looking in the traditional sense. She even does not hesitate to walk out of her ongoing wedding ceremony when she learns that her would-be husband lied to her. She makes her own decisions and sticks by them in all situations. Nothing in her life makes her weak and she emerges as a woman who has what she wants without any compromise.
6. Maggie Tulliver – Maggie Tulliver is the heroine of The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot. Maggie is a fiery and passionate woman since childhood. She loves her family and friends with every bit of her strength. She is torn between love and what she ought to do and after a moment of being carried away, she chooses what is right. She lives and dies for people she loves.