Frankenstein And Mary Shelley's In Defense Of Lost Causes

Better Essays
In his book In Defense of Lost Causes, Slavoj Zizek demonstrates a connection between Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein and the French Revolution. Zizek shows us that Frankenstein focuses on family drama to obfuscate its true historical nature. Zizek also acknowledges that there are many different interpretations of the monster created by Dr. Frankenstein. The monster can be interpreted as…. Through the definition of a monster that Zizek gives us, we can conclude that there is a monster in Hilary Mantel’s, A Place of Greater Safety.
Zizek claims that in Frankenstein, “history is eternalized as a family drama, larger socio-historical trends (from the ‘monstrosity’ of revolutionary terror to the impact of scientific and technological revolutions) are reflected/staged in a distorted manner as Victor Frankenstein’s troubles with his father, fiancé, and monstrous progeny” (74). Moreover, he believes it is easy to show that the true focus of the novel is “the ‘monstrosity’ of the French Revolution, its degeneration into terror and dictatorship” (75). He goes on to point out that Mary set his book in the same town where a secret society planned the revolution (Zizek 75), which is more evidence that the French Revolution is the novels true plot. Zizek claims that the novel “does not directly approach its true focus; instead, it tells the story as a depoliticized family drama or a family myth” and that “the characters of the novel re-enact earlier political polemics on the level of personal psychology” (76).
There are many interpretations that can be given of the monster in Frankenstein. Zizek poses the question, “what does the monster mean, what does it stand for?” (75). He then claims, “It can mean the monstrosity of social revolution, ...

... middle of paper ...

...s with his actions during the Reign of Terror, showing that he became a monster, or rebel, as a product “of oppression, misrule, and despotism under the ancien regime” (Zizek 78). This is according to the ideas of both Zizek and Mary Wollstonecraft.
Zizek sees a clear connection between the novel Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley and the French Revolution. He shows us that the monster is symbolic of the social revolution. However, he also offers many other interpretations of the monstrosity in the novel, such as parricide, sons rebelling against fathers, technological advancement and asexual reproduction. He also presents a clear definition of how rebels are monsters and are created by the failing regime. Through this definition we can conclude that Robespierre became the monster in A Place of Greater Safety, through the pressure of society and the ancien regime.
Get Access