Short Essay Shelleys Frankenstein

Paragraph on Mary Shelley’s description of the monster

At the beginning Shelley contrasts his beauty and his wretchedness. Mary Shelley’s description of the monster reduces the good things and increases the bad things which makes our first impression of the monster as being horrific Mary Shelley writes: ‘His teeth of a pearly whiteness’ which were of a ‘Horrid contrast with his watery eyes’ Mary Shelley is using Victor Frankenstein’s first impression of the monster was clearly horrific. You could tell from the first time Victor looked at the monstrous creation properly and he straight away knew the evil he had created.

One of the first words of Victor Frankenstein upon seeing the monster was ‘Beautiful, great god’ Frankenstein was infact being ironic as his creation was indeed not beautiful. He is completely despondent: ‘The beauty of my dreams vanished and breathless horror and disgust filled my heart’ Mary Shelley uses such words to make us feel that this is such a monster that is so horrid that it will turn the heart black with disgust even to look at it. Mary Shelley gives us an early indication that this monster is not going to be such a first-class monster but a wicked one.

This also agins shows us that she is very intelligent because of the way she uses the language. This quote explains everything about how Dr Frankenstein felt. Frankenstein also makes us think in negative ways towards the monster because he uses very effective and powerful words such as: “Demonical corpse”, “miserable monster” and “ugly wretch” This lets us know that he is regretting the creation and he comparing it with devils and demons. Victor Frankenstein is so scared of the monster that he leaves it and doesn’t look back.

This also shows Mary Shelley’s intelligence because she uses very effective words to describe the monster. Our impression of the monster changes later in the novel when Frankenstein the monster tells us his side of the story. Mary Shelly emphasizes the positive aspects of the monster at this stage. After the monster’s creator runs away from him. The monster goes out into the world. His first encounter with humans arn’t the best of encounters because at first sight of the monster they straight away judge the monsters by its looks and start beating him and throw missile weapons at him, for example:

“grievously bruised by stones and many other kinds of missile weapons” Mary Shelley is showing here that this monster didn’t obviously look like how human beings do, this also show the wretchedness of the monster, it is also giving a simple message which is ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’. We find out what the monster is really like when he goes and lives in a hovel near some cottagers. Mary Shelley writes about how he helped them at night when the cottagers were asleep. The creature speaks of how he:

‘Often took tools. The use of which I quickly discovered and brought home firing sufficient for the consumptions for several days’ This showed he had a caring side to him and when he saw that the cottagers were having trouble he went and helped secretly by cutting the wood for them and doing several other things. Mary Shelley also writes about how the monster learns to speak and learns new words by listening to the cottagers, particularly Felix who teaches his girlfriend Safie to speak English. The creature says:

‘I discovered the names that were given to some of the most familiar objects of discourse, I learned and applied the words. ‘ We start to feel sorry for the monster when he discovers that he is nothing like other people and that he is completely different to them in looks, height and strength. At this point we feel sorry for him because he talks about how his going to present himself to the cottagers. Frankenstein the monster says: ‘their grace, beauty and delicate complexions, but how was I terrified when I viewed myself in a transparent pool! ‘

The plot revolves around Victor Frankenstein, who is dissatisfied with the limits of traditional knowledge and buries himself in scientific studies to discover hidden secrets of life and death. He succeeds brilliantly, ultimately becoming, like God, able to create life, but he pays a great price for his ambition, separating himself from nature, his family, and his fiancee.

Even the moment of his greatest success proves to be ominous. When his new creation comes to life, Victor is unwilling to face up to his responsibilities. He turns his back, spurning the being who should be his child or brother. As a result, the creature begins a life of alienation that turns him into a monster.

Ironically, the monster is articulate and sympathetic as he tells his own sad story. Although he is born in a state of innocence, constant mistreatment by everyone with whom he comes in contact makes him extremely bitter and causes him to strike back in a murderous rage at his creator, who turned him loose in a loveless world. The monster’s revenge comes when he robs Victor of his loved ones.

From this point on, the monster and Victor are bound together, not as the brothers they should have been but as deadly enemies. The quest to create life is completely perverted as Victor chases the monster across the barren, icy wilderness of the North Pole, where both of them perish.

The novel is thus an effective critique of man’s penchant for irresponsible creativity, his willingness to make scientific and technological experiments that may seriously threaten rather than serve his most important need for love, friendship, and tranquillity. But Victor and the monster are not so much villains as they are typically ambiguous Romantic heroes: Victor fails miserably, but his quest is inspiring; and the monster, though a murderer, is also a victim, and an eloquent and sympathetic rebel against forces that violate his basic rights.


Bloom, Harold, ed. Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein.” New York: Chelsea House, 1987. Offers a wide variety of critical essays on the novel.

Gilbert, Sandra M., and Susan Gubar. The Madwoman in the Attic: The Woman Writer and the Nineteenth-Century Literary Imagination. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1979. An important early study that emphasizes Shelley’s response, as a woman writer, to John Milton.

Grylls, R. Glynn. Mary Shelley: A Biography. London: Oxford University Press, 1938. Includes extensive discussion of events surrounding the writing of Frankenstein.

Homans, Margaret. Bearing the Word: Language and Female Experience in Nineteenth-Century Women’s Writing. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1986. Discusses Frankenstein as a central feminine text in its century.

Levine, George, and U. C. Knoepflmacher, eds. The Endurance of Frankenstein: Essays on Mary Shelley’s Novel. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1979. Collection of essays focusing more on the endurance of the story of Frankenstein rather than the novel, most notably “The Stage and Film Children of Frankenstein: A Survey,” by Albert J. LaValley.

Mellor, Anne K. Mary Shelley: Her Life, Her Fiction, Her Monsters. New York: Routledge, 1988. Combines critical analysis of the novel with biographical material from Shelley’s life.

Poovey, Mary. The Proper Lady and the Woman Writer:Ideology as Style in the Works of Mary Wollstonecraft, Mary Shelley, and Jane Austen. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1984. Analyzes Shelley’s works in the context of the pressures experienced by women writers in the nineteenth century.

Shelley, Mary. Frankenstein. Edited by Johann Smith. Boston: St. Martin’s Press, 1992. This edition contains five essays exemplifying different approaches to the novel and a good bibliography.

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