During the Tiger’s bride we are subject to Mulvey’s theory of the male gaze a lot more than previously in the Courtship of Mr Lyon. On page 63 the narrator quotes ‘yet a glance with so much superciliousness in it that it did not comfort me’. His gaze on her and the ‘superciliousness’ that she feels suggests he is objectifying her and that he feels superior.
The valet ‘fixing upon wide and suddenly melancholy eyes’ provokes imagery of persuasion and technique as if he has some power over her and some control with his gaze.
‘Where the eyes that watch you take no account of your existence’ emphasises her awareness of the female gaze, she acknowledges that it exists.
There are also commonly used phrases which suggest the recurring gothic theme of attraction and repulsion. ‘Artificial masterpiece of his face appals me’ – This extended oxymoron implies that she is attracted to his perfect mask yet the idea of it, or the mask itself repulses her.
The Beast seems less powerful and more innocent than she does. ‘ashamed of his own request’ implies that the Beast is shy and embarrassed. However in her following actions she seems more vicious and overpowering. ‘I let out a raucous guffaw...my heartless merth’. She takes no hesitation in shaming him, manipulating his guilt, ‘a sheet over my face to hide it’, ‘deposited in the public square, in front of the church’, ‘you should give me only the same amount of money that you would give to any other woman in such circumstances’. She makes it very clear how shameful what he is asking of her is, presenting the upper hand by laughing she then leads him in to an epitome of guilt, asking him to deposit her ‘in front of the church’ as if he was being judged, she uses his shame against him.
However she does seem to want to retain an element of dignity, by requesting she keeps her face covered. Perhaps out of fear of shame or perhaps she doesn’t have to look in to his eyes, or see the face that ‘appals’ her. From ‘the waist up’ she wants to be covered with a sheet. Her body remains but no personality is present. She is almost objectifying herself, suggesting that all men want is her body for their sexual appetite.
But she remains cruel like. ‘How pleased I was to see I struck The Beast to the heart!’ She is female and is seemingly holding all power over him. She paints this situation in formality, however simple, almost mocking the concept of it all.
She sees a mirror which holds the ability to create a window to the outside world, yet she cowers away ‘astonished fright’ - She dislikes it, it frightens her.
‘That he should want so little was the reason why I could not give it’ – the idea of virginity and it’s importance/lack of. It seems that in her opinion either her or the Beast does not value virginity and cleanliness.
There is confusion between money and magic. ‘If you have enough money anything is possible’.
There is again the useless paternal figure. Human carelessness seen within her father. ‘Abandoned me to the wild beasts with his human carelessness’.
She is seemingly very clever and knowledgable about the society she lives in and the expectations of men. She seems to reject this and resent it. “I was a young girl, a virgin, and therefore men denied me rationality just as they denied it to all those who were not exactly like themselves”. She does not seem to care much for men and their ideals.
She recognizes that women are objectified as men for a certain purpose. ‘My own state, how I had been bought and sold, passed from hand to hand. That clockwork girl who powdered my cheeks for me; had I not been allotted only the same kind of imitative life amongst men that the doll-maker had given her’. She compares herself to a robot, a creation carried out to complete tasks to which it was produced for – she compares herself to this illustrating her acknowledgement of her objectivity and female purpose.
The phrase ‘The lamb must learn to run with the tigers’, would have been very controversial at the time of reception. The male being the tiger and the lamb symbolic of women, the phrase suggesting that men and women should run aside each other as equals. That women need to ‘step up’ to the male position. Also emphasising the difference in power positions at the time and the representation of male dominance.
She feels that she is ‘at liberty for the first time’ in her life, when naked alongside the tiger. This could be because she feels exposed, in the sense that nothing is hidden. They are as honest as they both can be and are both naked, so both equals.
There is a undertone of role reversal as throughout she seems to hold more power over him. On one of the last pages of the story she remarks “He was far more frightened of me than I was of him” making the readers awareness of this role reversal heightened.
Then finally, she turns in to a Beast. Previously we saw the Mr Lyon turn human, as in traditional fairytales such as beauty and the beast, however end she becomes beast like – perhaps living up the lambs expectations to ‘run with the tigers’.