Literary Analysis Essay on Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Published: 2021-07-01 17:46:46
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University of California, Santa Barbara
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Research paper
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Frankenstein is a novel authored by Mary Shelley. Notably, Mary Shelley started writing her novel when she was barely 18 years old. However, when she was 20, she got a publisher to work with. Therefore, in 1818 the first edition of the novel was published. In the novel, Mary Shelley uses a scientist by the name Victor Frankenstein to show how he created a grotesque creature in an unconventional scientific experiment. Before Mary came up with her novel, her contemporaries including her husband Percy Shelley decided to enter into a competition to write a horror story. Additionally, Shelly and her friends considered other topics such as galvanism and occult themes. Markedly, the plot of Mary Shelleys story takes place in Geneva, Germany. She decided to use this location for her novel because it had a history of scientific experiments. Shellys story emerged from a dream she dreamt after days of thinking through what her story should capture. Therefore, in her dream, she envisioned how a scientist engaged in an experiment to create life. Notably, the experiment in the dream was successful. As a result, the experiment astonished the scientist therefore encouraging him to carry on with it (Shelley, Wollstonecraft and Raymonde de Gans.).

The characters in Mary Shelleys novel were derived from a dream. However, some sources have critiqued that Mary might have been inspired by other sources. Additionally, the name for Dr. Frankenstein is a German word meaning stone of the Franks. Notably, the plot of the novel is associated with several places in Germany including Burg Frankenstein in Darmstadt, Frankenstein Castle and Hesse. Moreover, in Bad Salzungen there is a castle called Frankenstein. Distinctively, Zabkowice Slaskie, located in Poland, is recorded as the site involving a scandal related to gravediggers. Sources suggest that Zabkowice Slaskie acted as the site that inspired Mary Shelley (Mary, et al). Furthermore, in 1814, Shelley and her husband visited an alchemist in Frankenstein. Arguably, the visit to the alchemist formed a source of inspiration for Marys horror story. Additionally, the alchemist had experimented on human bodies to derive the principles of human life. However, Mary actively suppressed this idea in order for her to maintain her claim of originality. However, A.J. Day argues that Mary was sported in the laboratory of the alchemist before she started writing her novel. Additionally, the journals of Mary Shelley document how she describes her trip to Frankenstein.

Furthermore, it is argued that Shelley drew great inspiration from Paradise Lost by John Miltom. As a result the characters in her book are viewed as being borrowed from John Miltons novel. Arguably, Paradise Lost quotes Shelley even has the monster himself read it. Arguably, Milton uses Victor to depict the creator God in the Paradise Lost. Consequently, Shelley uses the doctor to depict the creating power of God. Furthermore, the monster in Shelleys novel figuratively represents Satan; a character that also features in Paradise Lost. Notably, the monster mimics the words in John Miltons novel by saying that he empathizes with Satan's role in the story.


Shelly decided to use the story of the dream to write her novel. After the novel was published, Frankenstein was often referred to as the monster. Furthermore, the novel refers to the monster as "creature", "monster", "demon", "wretch," "abortion," and "it". Additionally, Victor Frankenstein is addressed as "the Adam of your labours". Furthermore, the author refers to the creature as someone who would have been your Adam, but is instead your fallen angel. Notably, this is a figure of speech depicting Victor Frankenstein as Lucifer who lost his place in Paradise. Further, this paper seeks to analyze why the monster in the novel is nameless. Furthermore, the paper seeks to explore whether the monster is symbolic.

Shelley points out that Dr. Frankenstein makes a discovery on the elementary principles of life. As a result, Frankenstein endeavors to develop a methodology through which he can permeate buoyancy into an inanimate mater. However, the procedure employed by Frankenstein is largely ambiguous because Mary does not get to be with Frankenstein in his laboratory. Furthermore, the process of constructing the creature takes approximately 24 month. Notably, the doctor uses raw materials supplied by "the dissecting room and the slaughter-house." However, the process the doctor uses to give life to the creature remains unspecified.

Markedly, after the experiment, the scientist declines to give his creature a name. As a result, the creature fails to have an identity. Furthermore, Frankenstein chooses to address it as wretch, demon and fiend. Besides, the scientist calls it "a vile insect, an abhorred monster"" and " a wretched devil". Furthermore, as Mary Shelly writes the novel she refers to it as Adam. Notably, Mary figurative equates the creature to the first man of the Bible (Adam). The figure of speech used here shows how the monster complains to its creator. The monster laments, Did I request thee, Maker, from my clay to mould me man? Did I solicit thee from darkness to promote me?

Remarkably, over the years, the creature has been mistakenly referred to as "Frankenstein". Notably, an author in 1981 argued that the doctor was relentless to give the creature a name because he could not tell the outcome of what the creature was capable of (Sena). Furthermore, the creature remained nameless throughout the book because the creator intended to renounce it. Further, Frankenstein is rude to the creature denoting that he did not want to be associated with it in any way. Notably, if Frankenstein had named his creature, the monster could be referred to as his son. Furthermore, the doctor saw the creature as scary therefore he could not allow it to interact with any humans. Particularly, Frankenstein did not give his creature a name because he felt that it did not need one. Significantly, human beings are identified by names. Furthermore, the names are used in birth certificates, identification cards and other important documents. From the novel, whenever the doctor was not around the monster, it sneaked around so no one saw him.

Moreover, the minds of the readers are impacted by the knowledge that the monster has no name. Firstly, a nameless monster depicts it as a worthless and an insignificant creature. Secondly, a nameless creature denotes that it is not worthy of receiving any human affection. Furthermore, the monster was not able to show affection to human beings. As a result, it could not form any human relations whatsoever. Therefore, the reader cannot associate it with Dr. Frankenstein. Additionally, the reader visualizes the monster as a cold blooded animal. Subsequently, he or she cannot draw any relationship between the monster and its creator. Besides, human beings build on relationship because they have an innate desire to build social units. However, the Dr. does not intend to have any relationship with the monster. Furthermore, Victor did not want the society to relate positively with the monster. Further, the readers are inclined to see the monster as an underserving creature that should be eliminated. Additionally, the readers are cannot relate with the creature in any way because it lacks a name. Therefore, if the creature is killed they will not breach any command such as thou shall not kill. Consequently, the doctor was able to accomplish his intentions by not giving his creature a name.

Moreover, human beings exemplify intelligence though being able to identify their family and friends by name. However, a monster without a name cannot be viewed as intelligent. Therefore, the Dr. intended that the monster should not build any cognitive abilities to relate with human beings. Frankenstein believed that his creature was a result of an unexpected experimental work. Additionally, an unintelligent monster cannot develop understanding. Moreover, the creature cannot be able to express itself because it does not have human relationships to which it can express itself. Furthermore, a nameless creature depicts the purposes of its creator that are related to his unethical intentions of allowing it to live in loneliness. Notably, no person will be willing to attend to the social needs of the monster thereby the beast will be naturally alienated. Furthermore, because the monster cannot associate with human beings, it led to the realization that it is less human. Distinctively, if the monster could have a name, the doctor could have perceived it as true friend. However, because the doctor does not like his invention, he chooses to distance himself away from the beast in every possible way (Russ).

Furthermore, Shelley's novel sustains a feel of ambivalence about the monster. Notably, the novel explores the grief the monster goes through because of the grief sustained from his maker. However, the novel depicts the creator abandoning the monster on the ice. However, no critique is provided to explore the behavior of Frankenstein. Moreover, Marys novel is full of symbolism. Authors employ this literacy technique in order to pass a message to their audience. Notably, Mary Shelleys novel presents two symbolic figures to pass her message. The monster, fire and electricity in the novel are used by Mary to pass to the reader the essence of socialization in the society. Notably, Mary uses monster to represent the circumstances it goes through in the hands of its creator. Distinctively the actions of the doctor represent the human tragedy experienced in the society. Therefore, the moral of Marys story is to challenge the society to take responsibility of their actions. It can be noted that even though the creator tries to walk away from claiming responsibility of having created it, the readers can clearly see that the monster is Frankenstein. Additionally, Victor Frankenstein has the ego and ambition to create a creature without considering the consequences of his actions. From Frankenstein actions, he intended that the creature suffers the consequences of its existence. As a result, Dr. Frankenstein does not give it a name in order to cut it off from the society. Furthermore, he concocts the mind of the society so that it cannot receive the creature. Additionally, the consequences of the alienation are severe in that it leads the monster to experience loneliness. However, the story is a representation of the suffering the doctor has to go through because of his ignorance. Besides, the agony the monster goes through is a symbolic representation of the idiocy and brutality exemplified in the society. The life of the doctor exemplifies how he was unhappy. As a result, he opts to create a creature but later realizes that he cannot get joy from his creation. Therefore, the doctor places revenge on the monster by hurting it. Therefore, these actions depict the injustices experienced in the society (Riva, Michele and Perciaccante).

Furthermore, fire and electricity are used in the novel to act as a symbolic representation of the effects of scientific discoveries attained by human beings. Moreover, the fire and electricity represents the heights the society has been able to reach in its quest for more knowledge. Furthermore, these symbolic representations denote how knowledge acquisition acts as a tool to empower the society. Additionally, scientific discoveries have enabled the society to become a better place. Besides, fire and electricity represents the milestone the society has achieved through the discoveries it has come up with. Notably, the two symbols also represent the light of hope brought about by science that encourages the society to see the possibilities of a better life.


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