Frankenstein: Quotations and Critical Analysis by Theme

Sources:

Frankenstein, Mary Shelley

LitCharts.com

shmoop.com

J. E. Coltella

Contents:

  1. Family, Society and Isolation

  2. Ambition and Fallibility

  3. Romanticism and Nature

  4. Revenge

  5. Prejudice

  6. Lost Innocence
 

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OCR AS English Literature
Frankenstein - Quotes, Critics and Analysis by Theme
Sources:
Frankenstein, Mary Shelley
LitCharts.com
shmoop.com
J. E. Coltella
Contents:
1. Family, Society and Isolation
2. Ambition and Fallibility
3. Romanticism and Nature
4. Revenge
5. Prejudice
6. Lost Innocence

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Family, Society and Isolation
In its preface, Frankenstein claims to be a novel that gives a flattering depiction of "domestic
affection." That seems a strange claim in a novel full of murder, tragedy, and despair. But, in fact,
all that tragedy, murder, and despair occur because of a lack of connection to either family or
society. Put another way, the true evil in Frankenstein is not Victor or the monster, but isolation.…read more

Page 3

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Ambition and Fallibility
Through Victor and Walton, Frankenstein portrays human beings as deeply ambitious, and yet also
deeply flawed. Both Victor and Walton dream of transforming society and bringing glory to
themselves through their scientific achievements. Yet their ambitions also make them fallible.
Blinded by dreams of glory, they fail to consider the consequences of their actions.…read more

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Romanticism and Nature
Romantic writers portrayed nature as the greatest and most perfect force in the universe. They
used words like "sublime" (as Mary Shelley herself does in describing Mont Blanc in Frankenstein)
to convey the unfathomable power and flawlessness of the natural world. In contrast, Victor
describes people as "half made up." The implication is clear: human beings, weighed down by
petty concerns and countless flaws such as vanity and prejudice, pale in comparison to nature's
perfection.…read more

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Revenge
The monster begins its life with a warm, open heart. But after it is abandoned and mistreated first
by Victor and then by the De Lacey family, the monster turns to revenge. The monster's actions are
understandable: it has been hurt by the unfair rejection of a humanity that cannot see past its own
prejudices, and in turn wants to hurt those who hurt it. As the monster says when Felix attacks it
and flees with the rest of the De Lacey family, "...…read more

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Prejudice
Frankenstein explores one of mankind's most persistent and destructive flaws: prejudice. Nearly
every human character in the novel assumes that the monster must be dangerous based on its
outward appearance, when in truth the monster is (originally) warm and open-hearted. Again and
again the monster finds himself assaulted and rejected by entire villages and families despite his
attempts to convey his benevolent intentions. The violence and prejudice he encounters convinces
him of the "barbarity of man.…read more

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Lost Innocence
Frankenstein presents many examples of the corruption of youthful innocence. The most obvious
case of lost innocence involves Victor. A young man on the cusp of adulthood, Victor leaves for
university with high hopes and lofty ambitions. He aims to explore "unknown powers" and enlighten
all of humanity to the deepest "mysteries of creation," but his success and his pride brings an end
to his innocence.…read more

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