Frankenstein by Mary Shelley Essay

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Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is widely hailed as literature’s greatest gothic novel, as well as its first science fiction work. Written by a young woman in answer to a challenge from a circle of male authors (which included her husband, Percy Bysshe Shelley), the tale is drawn from her personal experiences as well as from the writings of other authors. The monster in the story is a multifaceted symbol for humanity’s fears, representing unchecked technology and the un-mothered child, among other things. As a representative of these fears, the monster itself may be described as a doppleganger.

The word doppleganger is taken from the German dopplegänger, meaning “double goer.” It appears as a reflection …show more content…

She had nightmares about her children and was always fearful about pregnancy. (Mellor, 175) For approximately nine months, Frankenstein labored on the creation of his “child.” Finally on a “dreary night in November, he witnesses the ‘birth’”: “I saw the dull yellow eye of the creature open; it breathed hard, and a convulsive motion agitated its limbs.” Specific fears may be found reflected by the monster: What if my child is born deformed? Could I still love it or would I wish it were dead? What if I can’t love my child? Am I capable of raising a healthy, normal child? Will my child die? Could I wish my own child to die? Will my child kill me in childbirth? Mary is expressing her fears related to the death of her first child, her ability to nurture, and the fact that her mother died having her. In fact, Frankenstein is probably the first work of western literature to delve into the female anxieties of childbirth. After its exile, the creature is left with no parental figure to guide it and becomes violent, particularly toward its “family.” This reflects the belief that any child left without maternal guidance will become a primitive animal, committing acts of violence and outrage. (Desert Aine 1, 1-3)

Mary was influenced in her creation of Frankenstein very strongly by Ovid and Milton. Ovid’s influence supplied her with yet another doppleganger, this one resembling the

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