A Literary Analysis of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein

A Literary Analysis of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein

This paper examines the unique Frankenstein. It is partitioned into 2 parts. The very first part is a thematic analysis of the novel and the 2nd part is a discourse analysis of the novel. Particularly it looks for to address the following: what are the major themes of the novel; what are the discourses contained in and articulated by the novel?

Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus is a famous novel by Mary Shelley. It was finished on May 1817, when Mary was just nineteen years of age. It was made while she and her spouse Percey Bysshe Shelley were on their summer trip with Lord Byron in the Alps (“Frankenstein” ). With the very best writers in England, Mary offered her contribution to the literary classics, the famous Frankenstein book, which became popular in two genres: Science Fiction and scary (Milner, p. 149).

Thematic Analysis of Frankenstein

The novel Frankenstein is fixated four major styles: lack of knowledge versus knowledge, injustice in world, in a feminist viewpoint– equality of males and females, and murders discussed from the viewpoint of the killers. Amongst numerous other themes, these four, in my viewpoint, are the significant themes and therefore should be expounded.

The novel was composed in the early phase of the commercial revolution (“Analysis of Frankenstein”), that is, when science and innovation was at first advancing. From this facility I can state that the novel is an attempt to criticize the existing social condition, that is to state, the novel slams the development of science and the acquisition of knowledge.

Shelley’s use of the character Victor Frankenstein, the medical doctor who produced a being more remarkable to the present race of guys, explains my point. Although Victor is knowledgeable enough to produce life, he is still bounded by his imperfections. He created a killing beast rather– The Frankenstein Monster. This recommends that science could unwind the mysteries of nature, however understanding is still too hazardous for male to get. The novel recommends that understanding is dangerous like when Victor found the secret of life. knowledge is a monster.

Furthermore, the novel recommends that some knowledge needs to be concealed from males. Some knowledge do more evil than good, as the unique recommends. It states that ignorance is great. Understanding is wicked (“Remarks on Frankenstein”).

The other title for Frankenstein, The Modern Prometheus, is suggestive of the style of this novel. Prometheus is a mythological character who gave fire to guys to keep them warm (“Prometheus offered fire to Male”). But Zeus punished Prometheus for doing so. Prometheus received an everlasting penalty. In connection, the fire symbolizes knowledge.

In the misconception, understanding is prohibited to men similar to in the novel Frankenstein. The fire can warm, however it can likewise eliminate simply as knowledge can. The unique criticizes the scientist most especially, in their empirical quest for understanding.

The character of the Beast serves double function in the unique, as far my first and 2nd themes are worried. First, the character is a concrete expression of knowledge. It is the item of Victor’s research study and experimentation. And so, it symbolizes the fruit of knowledge. In the novel, the beast was portrayed as ‘unsightly, hated, and disgusting’ and a killer. What does it state about knowledge? It suggests that understanding is also awful, abhorred and revolting– a killer, too– a beast.

The second function of the Monster character in the unique points at the second theme of the novel– injustice on the planet. First circumstances is when Victor produced a lone monster, without a companion. It regreted saying that “… Even Satan had his companions, fellow devils, to admire and encourage him; however I am solitary and abhorred” (Shelley, p. 130). This points out that there is oppression devoted to the Monster. Second of all, Victor rejected the beast a buddy when the monster pleads for it. It pleads:

My vices are the kids of a forced solitude that I abhor, and my virtues will always occur when I live in communion with an equal. I shall feel the affections of a sensitive being, and end up being linked to a chain of existence and occasions, which I am now excluded. (Shelley, 147)

Instead of creating a girl monster, Victor ruined every little chance that the beast have of waiting for his girl companion by destroying the beast he will give life to.

Third, there is injustice worldwide when the beast experienced ostracism since of its look. It was drawn by villagers away and was required to live alone, and left out from humanity (“Frankenstein”).

The style on equality between sexes, in my opinion, appears in the novel when the Monster pleads Victor to develop a woman beast. There was no tip in the novel that the beast will control the lady beast because all it wanted was to have a buddy whom ‘it will feel affection to’ (p. 147). The book did not mean the superiority of men over women, as far as the character of the monster is worried.

Lastly, the most apparent style of the novel is murder. However in this case, there was no unfavorable discussion of criminal activity due to the fact that the murders were explained from the viewpoint of the murderers. The murderers were presented to have sensible factors for devoting the criminal offenses [this is unique] (my focus). Let us take for instance the first murder case– the murder of Victor’s bro.

Although the novel might have provided a ‘shallow’ reason why the monster killed Victor’s sibling, that is, victor’s bro recited a litany of epithets to the monster, it in some way described the reason behind the murder. The beast was too sensitive with its look that’s why it has over reacted to the epithets.

Another murder was dedicated when Victor destroyed the lady monster he was about to give life to. Victor is also a killer. His reason was that if he let the girl monster live, he will bring disaster to the world by ‘producing a race of devils’. Victor’s course of action was spent for by the monster’s killing of Victor’s fiancée– Elizabeth. It was the cost Victor needs to spend for his murderous act.

One good point about this book was that it has actually provided murder from the viewpoint of the killer. Shelley has actually produced characters with reasonable motives, that is, the characters were driven by rational factors for dedicating the crimes. This is something great about this novel.

In conclusion, the novel Frankenstein or The Modern Prometheus was centered on 4 significant themes: lack of knowledge is good and understanding is evil; oppression on the planet; equality of males and females; and murders as discussed from the perspective of the killers.

A Discourse Analysis of the novel

Discourse theory of Foucault can be applied to the Frankenstein Story. Foucault defines discourse as a method of thinking shared by a specific group of individuals at a particular location and time producing fact and power and controlling actions. It is a lived way of thinking deeply inculcated into individuals. People become the topics of discourses (Foucault, pp 21-30 ).

Applying the theory of discourse, let us analyze the discourses or ways of thinking which the story of Frankenstein articulate. What kinds of discourse are instilled into people by the novel Frankenstein?

Man as God and the Dawn of Scientific Transformation

The story exhibits guy as a God. The giving of a life to an inanimate things is an act just scheduled toa God. Yet in the story, guy produced life through Victor’s development. It recommends a period where science has triumphed. It suggests that science could be a god, in this respect. It suggests that Science can offer male the difficult– that male can be a god.

Just like in the literary text, the motion picture Shelley’s Frankenstein (dir. Branagh) explicates the dawn of scientific transformation. Below is an excerpt of the conversation in between Clerval and Victor:

Frankenstein: Sooner or later, the best way to cheat death will be to create life.

Clerval: Now, you’ve gone too far. There’s just one God, victor.

Frankenstein: No, leave God out of this. Listen, if you love somebody, they have a sick heart, would not you provide a healthy one?

Clerval: impossible.

Frankenstein: No it’s not impossible, we can do it, we’re steps away. And if we can do that, if we can replace one part of a person, we can change every part. If we can do that, we can design life. We can develop a being that will not grow old or sicken. One that will be stronger than us, better than us, one that will be more intelligent than us, more civilized.”

From the above, we can see that what was ‘difficult’ like an offering of a healthy heart, has ended up being a possibility in the modern times. Heart transplant is a typically practiced surgical treatment nowadays. And it was made possible by science. The Frankenstein unique provides this shift.

Even the creation of the beast signifies the triumph of Science. From this story of Frankenstein, we see that Science resembles a God. Science can provide life, too.

Imperfect Beings and Unjust World

It is said that we can never ever be best like God. Whatever we do, we are still insufficient and imperfect. It is only God who is perfect. This way of thinking is likewise exhibited by the story of Frankenstein.

Victor, a medical physician and the developer of the beast, abhorred his very creation. In his attempt to develop a being superior to human race, he had actually created a beast instead. This suggests that man, in his efforts, can not produce a being more exceptional to him. Victor has actually labored days and nights to produce a being, yet a beast, instead, breathed to life. Even the beast itself abhorred his condition.

Despiteful the day when I received life! I exclaimed in misery. “Accursed Developer! Why did you ever form a beast so hideous that even you turned from me in disgust? … Satan had his buddy, fellow devils, to appreciate and encourage him, but I am solitary and abhorred. (Shelley, p. 130)

Likewise, God produced guys in his own image and similarity, but then we are not like God who is ideal. More over, with imperfect beings came the imperfect and unjustified world.

Because of the monstrous appearance of the monster, the villagers attacked him. Everybody was revolted by mere seeing the monster. Because of this, the monster too ended up being malevolent to human beings. It experienced oppression from the world.

Keep in mind, that I am thy animal; I should be thy Adam; but I am rather the fallen angel whom thou drivest from pleasure for no misdeed. Every where I see happiness, from which I alone am irrevocably left out. I was benevolent and great; misery made me a fiend. Make me happy, and I will again be virtuous (Shelley, p. 100)

Another kind of oppression made on the beast is thru Victor’s damage of the woman monster. The beast had promised to live in peace and reside in wilderness with his wife, the woman beast. The monster stated: My vices are the kids of a forced privacy that I hate, and my virtues will necessarily arise when I reside in communion with an equal. I will feel the love of a sensitive being, and end up being linked to a chain of presence and events, from which I am now left out (Shelley, p. 147).

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It was injustice to give life to a being, and let it suffer without even a pal, a liked one, not even any person. In conclusion, the novel Frankenstein articulates the following discourses: man can be a God through Science; male is always imperfect; and the world is unjustified.


The horror sci-fi of Shelley entitled Frankenstein, as my arguments explained, is a critique of the existing social condition of Shelley’s time– that is– the beginning of industrial and scientific transformation.

The book is fixated the 4 significant styles, namely; lack of knowledge is great and knowledge is wicked; injustice worldwide; equality of men and women; and murders as described from the perspective of the murderers.

Frankenstein likewise articulates the following discourses or mindsets: that male can be a god through Science, which man is always imperfect just as the world is constantly imperfect. Certainly, the novel has shown us that understanding and science can bring turmoil to guy.

Works Cited

An Analysis of Frankenstein. No date released. May 17, 2007.

Foucault, Michel. Archeology of Understanding and the discourse on Language. Trans. Smith, Sheridan A.M. U.S.A.: Tavistock Publication Limited. 1972

Frankenstein. no date of publication. April 21, 2007.

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, dir. K. Branagh (Tristar, 1994, 118 mins)

Milner, Andrews. Literature, Culture and Society. London: UCL press, 1996

Prometheus provided Fire to Men. No date published. A Hand-out in Folklore Class. Remarks on Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus; A Novel. No date released. April 21, 2007.

Shelley, Mary. Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus. M.K. Joseph (ed) Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1980