The Themes of Frankenstein Mary Shelley discusses many important themes in her famous novel Frankenstein.
She presents these themes through the characters and their actions, and many of them represent occurrences from her own life. Many of the themes present issues and Shelley's thoughts on them. Three of the most important themes in the novel are birth and creation; alienation; and the family and the domestic affections. One theme discussed by Shelley in the novel is birth and creation. She does this through the main character, Victor Frankenstein, who succeeds in creating a 'human' life form. In doing this, Frankenstein has taken over the roles of women and God. Shelley discusses how Frankenstein has used his laboratory or 'workshop of filthy creation' (page 53) as a kind of 'womb' as he has worked on his creation. He also refers to his task as his labor, suggesting that he has literally given birth to his creation.
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“After so much time spent in painful labor” (Page 51) The passing of time from when Victor first began his creation and finished it is also significant: “Winter, spring, and summer passed away during my labors” (Page 54) The length of the three seasons is nine months, representing the time a natural human baby takes to be formed. This once again suggests that Frankenstein has found a way to take over the role of women. Through the theme of birth and creation, Shelley criticizes Victor not only for creating the new being, but also for abandoning it when it comes to life. Victor first wishes to create the being because he thinks: “A new species would bless me as its creator and source .
.. No father could claim the gratitude of his child so completely as I should deserve theirs.
” (Page 52-53) He seems to want to create a being which would be his child, as a child loves its parents unconditionally. He likes the idea of this until he realizes how ugly his creation is. ”but now that I had finished, the beauty of the dream vanished, and breathless horror and disgust filled my heart.
” (Page 56) After Victor realizes this, he abandons the monster and becomes ill, leaving it to fend for itself. He does not accept the monster, and therefore does not love, teach or nurture it. Shelley's main criticism is this lack of responsibility that Victor has for his 'child'. This shows that Shelley had high morals on parents caring for their offspring. Another theme discussed in Frankenstein is isolation.
Victor is one character who is isolated from others. This is due to his desire for knowledge, and the vast amount of time in which he spends in completing his scientific experiments. Victor chooses to be isolated, despite the fact that he insists many times that the only reason he is isolated from others is because of the monster.”I must absent myself from all I loved while thus employed.”(Page 147) The theme of isolation is also shown through.