Evil Women in Harry Potter : Breaking Gender Expectations and Representations of Evil

University essay from Umeå universitet/Institutionen för språkstudier

Abstract: With a focus on gender expectations, this qualitative study analyses how Bellatrix Lestrange and Dolores Umbridge in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series represent evil. Through close reading the first and the final three books of the series using the feminist criticism perspective performativity, the aim of this study is to highlight how the evil women in the series are portrayed in comparison to both good characters of both sexes as well as evil men. The results show that while the evil women represent evil in the ways that they break their gender expectations, the good men also represent goodness in the way that they break their gender expectations. Thus, they are not evil because they deviate from these expectations, but because the gendered traits these women embody are connected to evil and, in turn, help make the reader perceive them as such.

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