The paper explores the treatment of major female characters in three versions of the narratives most famously known as Sir Walter Scott’s The Bride of Lammermoor: the original incident on which the novel was based, the novel itself, and the opera, Lucia di Lammermoor, composed by Gaetano Donizetti. Because of the popularity of Donizetti’s opera, a female character, Lucia, and Lucy in the novel version, is considered a central character in both narratives. However, the novel’s plot focuses on the male protagonist, Edgar Ravenswood, and his revenge story. In a novel with remarkably few female characters, it is striking that Lady Ashton; holds arguably, the most power in the narratives, contrasting starkly with Lucy’s relative feebleness. Through an examination of the respective narratives’ different though intersecting treatments of women’s desire, power, and madness, I argue that the opera’s Lucia gains a different kind of power through Lady Ashton’s madness.
Keywords: Madness, donizetti, the bride of lammermoor, walter scott, women’s power