Monstrosity in Mary Shelley's 'Frankenstein' Book Review by Shaad

Monstrosity in Mary Shelley's 'Frankenstein'
This paper discusses the topic of monstrosity in Mary Shelley's 'Frankenstein' and looks at the impending catastrophe inherent in modern science and technology.
# 113903 | 1,600 words | 7 sources | MLA | 2007 | BD
Published by on May 19, 2009 in Literature (English) , Sociology (General) , Philosophy (General)

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In this article, the writer notes that Mary Shelley's 'Frankenstein' is a highly prescient work that anticipates the nature of the new technology that was emerging in the wake of the industrial revolution. The nature of this new technology was to challenge the natural order, and this is symbolized through Victor Frankenstein mimicking the function of the Creator. The writer points out that Shelley wishes to convey the horror inherent in this act. The writer maintains that what is created is a monstrosity, and the consequence is doom, for both creator and creation. The novel is also the first example of science fiction, a genre that continues to examine the relationship between man and technology. This essay examines the novel intricately in the light of this theme. It follows the steps in which the naive view of science leads on the creation of monstrosity. It then examines why it is a monstrosity, and spells out the full consequences.

From the Paper:

"Mary Shelley's Frankenstein is clearly a cautionary tale that spells the moral and sociological implications of the philosophy of the Enlightenment. There is a tendency to limit the theme of the novel to science, and thereby to ignore the underlying philosophy. But the scientist is only encouraged, or discouraged, by the social and philosophical milieu in which he exists. In this sense the rise of modern science must be properly attributed to the philosophy of Enlightenment, that which believed in the infinite perfectibility of man through the strict practice of reason. If experimental philosophy is one expression of this philosophy, then philosophic individualism is another. This latter philosophy maintains that the human being is intrinsically free, and therefore his nature is ultimately good, which also implies that it is devoid of evil. Apparent evil only reflects the constraints of man as a social being."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Bowerbank, Sylvia. "The Social Order vs The Wretch: Mary Shelley's Contradictory-Mindedness in Frankenstein." ELH. Vol. 46, No. 3 (Autumn, 1979), pp. 418-431.
  • Cottom, Daniel. "Frankenstein and the Monster of Representation." SubStance. Vol. 9, No. 3, Issue 28 (1980), pp. 60-71.
  • Lederer, Susan E; Elizabeth Fee, Patricia Tuohy. Frankenstein: Penetrating the Secrets of Nature. Rutgers University Press, 2002.
  • Shelley, Mary. Frankenstein. New York: Collector's Library, 2004.
  • Milton, John. Paradise lost and other poems. Ed. Edward Le Comte. New York: Signet Classic, 2003.

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