Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
A frightening account of man rejecting the responsibilities he has created sets the premise for Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. The story revolves around Victor Frankenstein, a scientist attempting the scientific impossible: creating a human being. While the story revolves around Victor and the creature, the story contains symbolism that deeply reflects Shelley’s beliefs and perspectives on society; for example there are no motherly figures in the story. Shelley’s mom died after childbirth. King George IV was a money guzzling spender and dabbled in far too much hedonism; becoming a repulsive sight, similar to the creature in terms of appearance. Frankenstein not only reflects the irresponsibility of man, but reveals insight on the life of the author-Mary Shelley.
The story is told through several people at different parts: Walton, Victor, the creature, and then back to Walton. Traversing through the frozen north, Walton comes across a freezing man who is Victor Frankenstein. Victor finds solidarity in Walton and shares his tale about the creature with him. Victor creates a man from body parts and firmly believes the results will be beautiful; he was mistaken. Disgusted with his creation, Victor casts his creation-his child, into the wilderness and he is left to carve his own destiny. The creature discovers several works of literature, important to Shelley: Goethe’s Sorrows of Young Werther and Milton’s Paradise Lost. From Paradise Lost the creature is informed of the story of Adam and Eve. He begins to yearn for a female after being rejected from society for being so repulsive. The creature craves a mate, but he really desires the love from his creator.
Victor’s creature is condemned when he attempts to interact with society, and eventually he proposes an ultimatum to Victor: Construct a female or everything you have ever loved will be destroyed. The creature was not inherently evil; the countless rejections from human interaction pushed him to the extreme. Tragedy follows suite in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, tragedy that could have been averted if man would only acknowledge his faults and own up to them.
Further readings within the book discuss how Frankenstein came into existence, which happened in Lord Byron’s villa. Byron wrote the beginning of the first vampire story, The Vampyre by John William Polidori.