English IV Honors
8 December 2016
Women’s Themes in Frankenstein
Mary Shelley, the author of Frankenstein, had been raised by strong women’s rights advocates, which makes her characterization of the women in her story a wildly controversial discussion topic even all these years later. Mary Shelley’s philosopher father paid for her high education, and her mother wrote several works about equality for women. She lived a substantially progressive lifestyle, considering the time period in which she lived. This has raised many questions regarding the weak female characters in her story, due to her own very contrasting beliefs.
The female characters in Frankenstein serve as symbols of gentleness and comfort to the males…show more content… Upon the death of her mother, the Frankenstein family adopted Justine Moritz as the housekeeper of their home. The narrative describes her as "the most grateful little creature in the world"; as well as "very clever and gentle, and extremely pretty" (6.7-8). Her character does not ever really develop beyond that. Like all the females in the story, the story describes her as a mild and gentle girl who enjoys serving the household, much fitting the idea of a perfect woman j. Unfortunately, she falls victim to the Creature’s rampage against Frankenstein when he wrongly frames her for the murder of William. Even when being fatally accused of a crime she did not commit, she testifies in a very passive manner; “God knows how entirely I am innocent. But I do not pretend that my protestations should acquit me; I rest my innocence on a plain and simple explanation of the facts…” (65). Eventually, a Catholic priest convinces her to confess to the murder, threatening damnation to Hell if she refuses. She has no way to fight for her innocence, especially since no man stood up for her, rendering her powerless. They eventually execute Justine.
The execution of Justine demonstrated a double standard in the story. Elizabeth testified for her innocence, but was unable to stop the execution. Later on, when convicted for the murder of his best friend, they acquitted Victor of the crime, even