Quite a different perspective on marriage and the role of women have female writers. It is worthy of mention that there were just few female writers who had managed to gain public recognition and popularity in the epoch and, what is more, there views were substantially influenced by stereotypes generated by male-dominated society.
One of the most popular and successful female writer in Britain was Ann Radcliffe who basically gained her popularity due to gothic novels written in a particular and original style depicting female characters from a different perspective than male writers traditionally did. Naturally, her attitude and representation of marriage also differed dramatically.
In fact, it should be said that Radcliffe’s works are characterized by the development of a new female characters who are already conscious of their social role, their rights and opportunities and who strive for their personal happiness regardless all the obstacles they face. Love remains one of the major themes of her works and marriage is viewed by the author as the natural consequences of love of a man and woman. Her characters, often seek for love and as they find it, their life changes dramatically for better. This is why it is possible to estimate that Ann Radcliffe as a female writer realizes the importance of marriage as an essential part of life of any woman and as a condition of happiness.
On the other hand, her female characters are not irresponsible, unreliable, deceitful creatures as many male writers viewed on women. In this respect, it is possible to refer to Milton’s Eve whose disobedience to rules led to punishment of her husband and all the mankind. At the same time, Radcliffes women are not totally dependent on men anymore. Instead, Radcliffe’s heroines in "The Mystery of Udolpho" and "The Italian" do not match traditional stereotypes and are really different female characters. For instance, unlike male perspective on females as wives, Radcliffe underlines that her heroine may be not less significant than men and they can possess the same qualities.
For instance, in "The Mystery of Udolpho", the heroine’s dying father warns her of the danger of extensively exercising her sensibility, the quality traditionally attributed to women: "above all my dear Emily… do not indulge in the pride of fine feeling, the romantic error of amiable minds… we become the victims of our feelings, unless we can in some degree command them "(Radcliffe 241). In actuality, this is a typically male view which the writer’s female characters challenge and they do not fear to be free and strive for their love and happiness overcoming social prejudices and mysterious obstacles. Moreover, Radcliffe emphasizes the importance of the freedom of choice, independent judgments, and personal position of females, independent from the influence of men.
Consequently, men and women can be equal in marriage and their should not be any subordination but, marriage, according to Radcliffe, should rather be viewed as a unity of two individuals that love each other. However, regardless its importance, the marriage is not actually the realization of female freedom and independence. In actuality, the author rather insists on the necessity of making a conscious choice in marriage but still Radcliffe’s social protests against inequality between males and females does not reach the marriage itself which is probably idealized by the author. In fact, her rebellious heroines "disappear into marriage and idyllic tranquility at the end reassuring readers and setting to rest the anxieties" (Wolf 305) aroused by her novels.