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Mary Shelley was a significant personality in the history of literature, who managed to
impress through his originality and his unique manner of creation. Being a young writer, Mary
Shelley`s mind was so ingenious that succeeded to promote controversial questions regarding
technology`s power of creation. It is known that the literature was based not only on the poetic
view, but it was also influenced by the main events that played a significant role in the entire
society of the time. “Both Frankenstein’s creature and revolution engage in “temporary
bloodshed and injustice,” which readily invite a response of wholesale condemnation”.(Randel
Bloom’s Modern Critical Interpretations, Edited by Harold Bloom, United States of America ,

The French revolutionary political controversies that had unfolded through the
Napoleonic era, determined Mary Shelley to give birth to some special creations, including
Frankenstein, the impact of this event being obvious upon its content. “In their reading, the
Shelleys sought an intelligible explanation of how the progressive ideals of the French
Revolution had collapsed in despotism, both at home and abroad”. (Clemit Frankenstein
Cambridge Companion to Mary Shelly, Edited by Esther Shor, Cambridge University Press,
New York, 2003:30) Furthermore, the masterpiece of British writer Mary Shelley valorifies the
innovative literary style of the 19th century, emphasizing primarily the contrast between two
different forces: science and divine creation. The 19th century literature attempted to promote a
gradual detachment from the rigors imposed so far and a total freedom of expression with a
moral substratum.

2.Frankenstein- Gothic novel

The Gothic opera, Frankenstein, succeeds in shaping the image of an unusual world, a
world whose victims are ultimately the main characters, due to the imbalance created. As Anne

Mello has argued “Frankenstein is the most penetrating literary analysis of the psychology of
modern science, of the inherent risks in scientific research, and of the horrifying but predictable
consequences of the uncontrolled technological exploitation of the nature and the female.(Mellor
Cambridge Companion to Merry Shelly, Edited by Esther Shor, Cambridge University Press,
New York 2003:9). Regarding to this statement, the starting point of the whole dramatic situation
is represented by Victor Frankenstein`s incapability to assume the responsibility for his own
actions. Being in the posture of a creator, his vulnerable side comes to the surface, and he ends to
deny his own creation when he did not manage to control it. Instead of finding a proper solution
to stop all the misfortunes, Victor Frankenstein gets to the verge of despair because of the feeling
of guilt that is blaming his soul. This fact proves that what is born as a science result can lead to
negative consequences for society, while what is mastered by nature is balanced, and implicitly
closer to perfection. On the other side, the monster was not meant to be an evil creature, its
uncontrollable temperament appear just when it first experienced the feeling of rejection, fact
that suggest that society can change a good-natured being into an evil one.

3.Frankenstein & The Monster

Relation Between self and society
Moreover Frankenstein contains some of the romantic themes which are adapted to the
Gothic style of the time. One of theme employed is the “Rousseauvian confessional form, to
explore the contradictory relations between the self and society” (Clemit Frankeinstein
Cambridge Companion to Mary Shelly, Edited by Esther Shor, Cambridge University Press,
New York, 2003:31).The author emphasized some similarities between Victor Frankenstein and
the monster created by him, suggesting their symbolic connection. They both find a refuge in
nature when it comes to their depressing moods caused by the inner restlessness. Another
common aspect consists in the desire to increase their knowledge, trying desperately to become
the best version of themselves. They also manifested the prominent desire for revenge.
The poor creature, who lives alone in the world, tries to adapt among the ordinary people
succeeding by his own forces to survive and even to learn the language of humans.
Even if he behave nicely with other people, at first contact with them, he is not welcome
because of his unusual image.

But this kindness is overcome, by the monster`s huge pain ,after being repeatedly judged
by men and then the creature realizes that it will never be happy in this world, just like others.
“Mary Shelley builds on Godwin’s use of the pursuit motif to destabilize conventional moral
values: in Frankenstein, the abandoned creature returns to confront his “monstrous” father, and
the pair act out a drama of enticement and threat that leads to widespread social
destruction”(Clemit Frankeinstein Cambridge Companion to Mary Shelly, Edited by Esther
Shor, Cambridge University Press, New York, 2003:32). After the monster commits the first
murder, but without having the initial intention to do so, it meets by chance his creator. Being in
the need of companion because it deeply experienced the feeling of rejection and loneliness, the
monster begs Victor Frankenstein to create a woman as it would not be alone anymore in this
world full of people. This scene has a profound significance because it revealed a form of
knowledge in the sense of understanding the existential meaning. After countless attempts to
integrate among men, the monster understands his position in society and accepts his situation.
On the other side, Victor Frankenstein discovers that, what initially shows up to be an
unsuccessful experiment is in fact an actual living being with feelings and needs like any other
3. The monstrosity of Frankenstein
The monstrous aspect of Victor Frankenstein`s creation consists in a fear enhanced by the
unknown, that Mary Shelley attributes to technology itself. “As Franco Moretti so aptly states,
like Dracula, Frankenstein's creature is a "totalizing monster" ( Halberstram Skin Shows, Duke
University Press, United States of America, 1995:29). The monster is not rejected just for its
boundless ugliness and weird behavior, but for its provenience, something that is hard to be
understood in a world where the main force of creation is Divinity. This is one think that
destabilizes the natural order of life, because in Mary Shelly`s Frankenstein, the monster is
brought to life by unconventional methods. Therefore, it can be said that the monster is the
product of industrialization, a dangerous result of human`s knowledge, manifested through
technology, the monster is all social struggle caused by the destruction of peace. Even if
Frankenstein is considered to be the first Gothic novel, Mary Shelley does not want to amplify
the standard monstrous character of destruction, which is meant for intentional evil action.

She talks about an unsuccessful attempt to master a man, instead of creating a monster, in
the true sense of the word. That is one reason for her masterpiece is created in a fusion of
romantic and gothic aspects, because the accent is not entirely on the evil, but rather on the

There is a contrast between appearance and essence, because what has to make the
monster look beautiful is not visible, but it is hidden under this mask of a supposed monster. The
inner beauty looses at the expense of a seeming danger. Through this, the author brings a
correspondent to the real world, in which often the people tent to judge each other according to
what they see or hear, without having the patience to discover themselves in depth.

4. Woman`s passivity in Frankenstein

In Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, the author placed the woman's image in a secondary
plane, and this can be interpreted as a process of discrimination. “Only by imagining the
subjectivity of the female creature does Frankenstein intuit that the original creature is an image
of his own desires. For Frankenstein, this knowledge is very nearly fatal.”(Mellor Cambridge
Companion To Mary Shelley, Edited by Esther Shor, Cambridge University Press, New York,
2003:13) Each woman is characterized as passive, having an essential contribution in teaching a
male character a stringent lesson on his way to personal evolution. A significant example in that
sense might be Justine, a female character who carries on her shoulders the weight of a deed of
which she was unfairly accused. She was blamed of killing William, even if the monster was the
real murderer, and as a consequence she was sentenced to die. Her behavior was totally passive
because she did not try to investigate de case, proving the opposite. She failed to make an
attempt to prove her innocence and she was forced to accept her fate. Furthermore, the couple
formed by Felix and Agatha represented a real source of inspiration for the monster, because
they have become a model for him, helping indirectly the poor creature to understand the social
significance of family and not only. The female character, Agatha, expressed passiveness when
Felix confront the monster. She hesitated to stop the fight between them, nor did he try to talk
about what she had seen.

5. Human`s monstrosity
Moreover, in this novel is presented monstrosity as well as humanity, both of them being
exposed as different sides of society. “Moretti, as we noted, finds racial discrimination in
Frankenstein to be a way of transforming class into a natural and immutable category.”
(Halberstam Skin Shows, Duke University Press, United States of America, 1995:40). Through
this assumption, the social hierarchy is made according to origins, not according to moral values.
Even if Caroline adopts Justine, she remain a servant, no matter her behavior, because there is
nothing that can prove her nobility. This contradiction creates inevitable tension in terms of
social position and implicitly discrimination.


In what concern Mary Shelly manner of creation, Frankenstein “diverges in at least two
respects from the Gothic genre: firstly, her central protagonist is not a woman; second, she
eschews the simple assignment of villainy to a malicious (usually Catholic) male figure.”(Mellor
Cambridge companion to Mary Shelley, Edited by Esther Shor, Cambridge University Press,
New York, 2003:12). The great interest in highlighting male characters can be interpreted as a
Mary Shelley`s ironical reinterpretation of the classic romanticism, as literary genre. Instead of
presenting woman as a symbol of love, the author chooses to emphasize the emotional
relationships between men: between Frankenstein and the monster or Walton and Frankenstein,
fact that seems to be representative for the early 19th century. Around the idea of rejecting the
promotion of female sensuality, will be structured the entire work. Another valuable explanation
for this aspect would be that the author wants to describe through his masterpiece the reality
from the early nineteenth century. Women were treated like second class citizens, they had
limited rights and they were considered to be inferior to men. For example, Victor treats
Elisabeth as she is his property, he does not show love to her, he rather considered her to be a
kind of object. Elisabeth shows her docile nature, being once an orphan.
In any words, although male characters do not like loneliness, they choose to avoid
attachment to a woman and keep focusing on other ideals. This fact symbolizes a kind o fear.
“Perhaps the most striking example of this fear lies in Frankenstein’s brutal destruction of the
female creature, a potential sexual partner for the creature”(Mellor Cambridge Companion to
Mary Shelley, Edited by Esther Shor, Cambridge University Press, New York, 2003:13)

 Clemit Frankeinstein Cambridge Companion to Mary Shelley, Edited by Esther
Shor, Cambridge University Press, New York, 2003
 Halberstam Skin Shows, Duke University Press, United States of America, 1995
 Mellor Cambridge Companion to Mary Shelley, Edited by Esther Shor,
Cambridge University Press, New York, 2003
 Randel Bloom’s Modern Critical Interpretations, Edited by Harold Bloom, United
States of America, 2007