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In Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein, the three main protagonists are dominant and apathetic men; and the women are subordinate and are portrayed as nice and sympathetic. Throughout the novel the women are painted as non-psychotic and decent minded people. Mary Shelley’s mom died while giving birth to her and was a feminist throughout her life. Mary is carrying out this lense of seeing the world in Frankenstein. This novel is displaying how feminism is reflected in a fictional novel making the men in the book unsympathetic.
Mary Shelley tells the story Frankenstein through a feminist lens, depicting women as the only “decent-minded” people in the novel, and this reveals Mary Shelley’s beliefs and her view on how the rest of society perceives women. Mary Shelley also paints the male protagonist in a light of evil and crazy. These character are unsympathetic unlike the women.
The character Justine is a nice character that only makes the reader sympathize with her only to fall victim to Victor and the monster.
Mary Shelley plays a joke on how the rest of the world see’s woman and how they respect them. Justine’s primary purpose is to serve the house of Frankenstein. Her job lacks purpose and respect, and shows Mary Shelley’s sarcastic bent on how the world views working women. The author also shows us the attributes that society finds attractive in women, when she writes: “Justine has just returned to us, and I assure you I love her tenderly.
She is very clever and gentle, and extremely pretty; as I mentioned before, her main and her expression continually remind me of my dear aunt”(66). The quote focuses on Justine’s beauty and amenable character, and reflects Mary Shelley’s opinion about how women are valued in society. Justine is a religious and we see that she has a moral compass unlike any of the men that are in the novel. Mary Shelley sets up the woman so that they can be sympathized with leading the reader to think that most men are bad and that women should be held higher. The character of Victor Frankenstein is unreasonable and erratic, and reflects Mary Shelley’s feelings about men.
Men are sick and evil, and in Victor’s case, take drugs and create a monster that kills kids, women and men. Although Victor expresses remorse, he is not smart or strong enough to do anything about it: “I had desired it with an ardor that far exceeded moderation; but now that I had finished, the beauty of the dream vanished, and breathless horror and disgust filled my heart. Unable to endure the aspect of the being I had created”(57). He takes bodies from graveyards and steals. He has no moral compass. We see examples of this throughout the novel. “I also became a poet, and for one year lived in a Paradise of my own creation; I imagined that I also might obtain a niche in a temple where names of Homer and Shakespeare are consecrated”(letter 1, pg. 17). This quote is showing how Victor is looking for something that he can be good at. This isn’t a bad thing, but he goes strives to be famous and in this he creates something that will hurt him and everyone close to him. It shows how he is power hungry looking to be looked up to. Elizabeth is Victor’s wife and is portrayed in the story as a jovial women who is primarily concerned with making her h and just by making him happy and glad that he is alive leads to the death of her. Elizabeth is jovial women who is in love with life, and when falling for Victor believes that she will have a future filled with joy and excitement.
Little does she know that her husband creates this creature that he doesn’t want and deprives attention and care that is needed for any person. The monster is unsightly and can connect to no one. Additionally the monster builds up resentment and hate for Victor and thinks that he deserves to suffer just like the monster did. Elizabeth received all of the things that the monster wanted; attention, love, acknowledgement. A perfect victim for the monster to have. The monster gets to the point where he is done with the world, “ like the arch-fiend, bore a hell within me; and, finding myself sympathised with, wished to tear up the trees, spread havoc and destruction around me, and then to have sat down and enjoyed the ruin”(136). All the monster wanted was companionship and a feeling of community that is stripped from him from Victor and the rest of the world. One of the main necessities on Maslow’s Hierarchy is companionship and this is one of the few things that the monster wants or in a way feels that he deserves. He asks Victor to create a female monster so that he has the possibility of these feeling. Victor agrees originally feeling like this is something he should do. When in the making he starts to have doubts, his doubts of the girl monster not like the male monster sending the monster into more of a rage.
This brings out a good point of how men want to be able to control women and they are feeling that they can. Showing how the threat of man not being able to control outcomes and things. This relates to when GOD was so upset that Adam and Eve wouldn’t just follow the few rules he gave them. Also, when prometheus stole fire from “the gods” defying them and leading into an uproar. This lense we see Mary Shelley use illustrate the faint touches of feminism and also how she feels the world sees and values women. She tributes her moms feminism and writes the book with how she felt her mom saw the world. She shows how men in the book are power hungry and psycho. Also to the point of the women paying for the men’s mistakes.
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