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Frankenstein - Themes

Uploaded by bron on Jun 29, 2001

Analyse the themes and the way they are presented in the novel


Mary Shelley discusses many important themes in her famous novel Frankenstein. She presents these themes through the characters and their actions, and many of them represent occurrences from her own life. Many of the themes present debateable issues, and Shelley’s thoughts on them. Three of the most important themes in the novel are birth and creation; alienation; and the family and the domestic affections.

One theme discussed by Shelley in the novel is birth and creation. She does this through the main character, Victor Frankenstein, who succeeds in creating a ‘human’ life form. In doing this, Frankenstein has taken over the roles of women and God. Shelley discusses how Frankenstein has used his laboratory or ‘workshop of filthy creation’ (page 53) as a kind of ‘womb’ as he has worked on his creation. He also refers to his task as his labour, suggesting that he has literally given birth to his creation.

After so much time spent in painful labour
(Page 51)

The passing of time from when Victor first began his creation and finished it is also significant.

Winter, spring, and summer passed away during my labours
(Page 54)

The length of the three seasons is nine months, representing the time a natural human baby takes to be formed in its mother’s womb. This once again suggests that Frankenstein has found a way to take over the role of women, and they become powerless, weak and flimsy. They no longer have a purpose in life, as Victor Frankenstein can now create new life forms – a process which women needed to be involved in previously. An example of women’s powerlessness in the novel is the condemnation of Justine for a crime she did not commit. Had she been a man, she would probably have been set free. Frankenstein succeeds in removing the only powers that women had, as well as stripping God from his role.

Through the theme of birth and creation, Shelley criticises Victor not only for creating the new being, but also for abandoning it when it comes to life. Victor first wishes to create the being because he thinks:

A new species would bless me as its creator and source … No father could claim the gratitude of his child so completely as I should deserve theirs.
(Page 52-53)

He seems to want to create a being which would be his child, as a child loves...

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Uploaded by:   bron

Date:   06/29/2001

Category:   Frankenstein

Length:   7 pages (1,685 words)

Views:   4573

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