Analysis Of Mary Shelley 's ' Frankenstein ' Essay

Analysis Of Mary Shelley 's ' Frankenstein ' Essay

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Mary Wollstonecraft, mother of Mary Shelley and author of A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, held the firm belief that women were equal to men. As such, it is hard to imagine that the daughter of a prominent women’s right advocate would only portray passive and disposable women in her novel, Frankenstein. Despite this, the story only includes women such as Justine Moritz and Elizabeth Lavenza, “each of whom relies upon male intervention and agency to save them” (Cadwell). While it can be argued that these women were used to show the flaws of misogyny, on the surface they each provide nothing more than character development for the male leads or a means by which to further the plot.
Justine Moritz, a servant of the Frankenstein family, is the first female character to be used as nothing more than a plot device. Overall, Justine’s character is calm and tranquil, yet passive to a fault. During Victor’s stay in Ingolstadt, after the creation of his monster, he receives a letter from his father informing him of William’s death. Distraught, Victor returns to Geneva only to be met with the being responsible for such an atrocious act, his monster. However, unable to do anything, he meets with his family the following day and learns their servant has been accused due to incriminating evidence found in her possession. Despite the accusation, Justine remains acquiescent, stating, “God knows how entirely I am innocent. But I do not pretend that my protestations should acquit me; I rest my innocence on a plain and simple explanation of the facts…” (Shelley 69). As the conversation continues, Justine, referred to as the unhappy victim, also admits that she has no way to explain or dispel the evidence against her. With little struggle and n...


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... the end she becomes another static character reduced to a tool of revenge after being caught up in the male centered mayhem, much like the other women presented in this novel.
As stated by Literary Cavalcade, Wollstonecraft believed that “the key to success in life lay in a strong, loving parent-child relationship.” In her most well known novel, she wrote “a great proportion of the misery that wanders, in hideous forms, around the world, is allowed to rise from the negligence of parents” (Wollstonecraft 172). Her mother’s writing influenced Shelley’s views, ultimately leading to Frankenstein, a novel depicting the harmful effects of parental neglect. Although Shelley was able to express this in her novel, the feminist aspect of her mother’s beliefs falls short as the novel displays a motif of passive women who are ultimately objectified, used and easily discarded.

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