Themes of Shelley's Frankenstein Essays

Themes of Shelley's Frankenstein Essays

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Mary Shelley discusses the themes of birth and creation, appearance and the necessity of companionship, love and acceptance in her novel Frankenstein. The themes that are explored in Frankenstein are relevant to today’s modern world. Shelley challenges readers by endorsing and confronting attitudes and values in her text through the events, circumstances and outcomes that take place in the novel, thus causing the reader to reflect upon their own lives and in turn the society around them.

Shelley raises in her text an issue that is on the forefront of discussion in the modern world, that of man taking the place of God and the role of woman in the creation of life. The modern world is currently grappling over the concerns of cloning, genetics and stem cell research, questioning the ethics and morality of man playing God. Shelley’s novel challenges readers to consider the consequences of this through the horrific outcomes resulting from such actions. Victors consuming passion and motivation to create life is “A new species would bless me as its creator and source; many happy and excellent natures would owe their being to me. No father could claim the gratitude of his child so completely as I should deserve theirs.” Pg47 Here Shelley challenges those seeking to pursue such actions to consider their motivations as the later discussion shows the terrible result of such pursuits. Shelley’s suggestion that Victor has attempted to usurp the role of woman as the bearer of life are also suggested as Victor likens his descriptions of creating the creature as to that of a woman’s pregnancy. “After so much time spent in painful labor” “winter, spring and summer passed away during my labors” This allusion to the seasons representing the duration of a woman’s pregnancy. One is lead to consider the contrast between Frankenstein’s description of his own childhood “My mother’s tender caresses and my father’s smile of benevolent pleasure while regarding me are my first recollections” , that of God and his creation Adam “He had come forth from the hands of God a perfect creature.” Pg. 135 and in contrast that of Frankenstein’s creature “I beheld the wretch- the miserable monster whom I had created.” Through presenting Frankenstein’s creation and the tragic outcome and comparing it with that perfect and beautiful creation of Adam and Frankenstein, Shelley challenges modern so...


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...athies necessary for my being.” pg 153
However, it can be seen that the creature is never successful in his attempts to have companions, love and be loved. Time and time again he is rather, rejected and alienated by man. The similarities are clear as due to Andy Williams and the creatures lack of companionship, guidance and love they are driven to convening such disastrous deeds. The values of society today of friendship, love and the negative attitude towards rejection and loneliness are evident, as one is lead to sympathise with the creature and Andy.

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is not ‘irrelevant and outdated’ rather it is evident that the issues of birth and creation, appearance and acceptance and the necessity of love, companionship and guidance are all relevant to today’s world. Through the creatures horrific and fatal outcome, Mary Shelley’s novel provides a challenge and perhaps even insight into the consequences and outcomes that could result if modern man attempts to play God and fails to provide love, guidance and companionship to those around them.


Reference
Shelley Mary, Frankenstein , Barnes and Noble books, Sandstone publishing, 2008
Time, March 19, 2007

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