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Essay on Mary Shelley’s Legacy: Analysis of Frankenstein

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Creating a creature and then fully realizing the responsibilities is a hard task for anyone to do. Creatures aren’t human although they were created to feel the emotion and deserve any direct attention like everyone else. In Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Victor Frankenstein believes that his creation and its actions are a direct result of carelessness and lack of responsibility from himself as the creator. Throughout the novel, Shelley portrays Victor as a good person with good intentions but after his obsession with trying to create a creature, and committing with that act, he fell depressed. Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein concludes to themes such as Responsibility, which is touched upon throughout the entire novel. The novel itself is written on the aftermath of the repercussions of irresponsibility, neglect, and, reckless behavior. The monster was abandoned and was very isolated triggering its revenge for being created. The novel can be interpreted in many ways such as the ways of mythology and true parenting in human form. Mary Shelley and such sources depict the idea of a creature similar to Victor’s monster. Victor's concern not only created anger, but it also created a catastrophe in which he is to blame. Mary Shelley would not have written what she wrote if she did not intend for readers to understand the actions of the creator to his/her creation and to hold Victor fully responsible for the actions of his creation.

To start, Mary Shelley writes from the perspective of the monster's point of view comparing his creator to God. The monster reads Paradise Lost by John Milton, which is about Adam & Eve and the revenge of Satan because of the rejection he faced from the kingdom. The monster learned how to read and draw connections of himself to Adam and as a fallen angel, like Satan. In Chapter 15 of Frankenstein, the monster says “Accursed creator! Why did you form a monster so hideous that even YOU turned from me in disgust? God, in pity, made man beautiful and alluring, after his own image; but my form is a filthy type of yours, more horrid even from the very resemblance” (Shelley 131). This quote draws attention to how the monster felt. After being abandoned by his own creator, and his ‘God’, the monster feels a sense of Rejection from his own Paradise. This quote can be supported by the text, of John Milton’s Paradise Lost. Milton’s text in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein connects to the monster by realizing the presence of his abandonment by his creator and his plan for revenge. “Me miserable! Which way shall I flie? Infinite wrath and infinite despair? Which way I flie is hell; myself am hell; And in the lowest deep a lower deep; Still threatening to devour me, opens wide, To which the hell I suffer seems heaven” (Paradise Lost, Milton 57). This quote implies Satan's power, unlike the monster who is helpless. Such actions could cause disaster. Satan is the ‘fallen angel’ because of the rejection from his God. Likewise, the monster felt that same sense of rejection from Victor and wanted revenge by going after everyone Victor had been close to. As a result, Mary Shelley suggests that Victor was playing the role of God, and God is held responsible for the greatest power of the creation of mankind.

In addition, Mary Shelley writes a lot about emotional responsibility, which takes into account the monster's actions and the reasoning behind it. One of the reasons Victor Frankenstein is held fully accountable at its greatest extent is because if he had taken the time and listened to his own creation, and being God, then possibly the killings would’ve been prevented. For example, Victor’s own emotional reaction to his creature was out of fear and anxiety. Likewise, the monster experienced trauma as a result of abandonment. In the text, the monster states “I will revenge my injuries; if I cannot inspire love, I will cause fear, and chiefly towards you my archenemy, because my creator, do I swear inextinguishable hatred.” (Shelley 148) In this context, the quote illustrates a deeper meaning to revenge as part of human emotion, which is recognized by the monster by wanting to cause fear between his creator. This part of Frankenstein can be connected to the myth of Prometheus. Prometheus was looked down upon by Zeus for giving man qualities that were only to be held by Gods. Similarly, Prometheus went on rebellion for the same reason as human emotion. In Harriet Hustis Responsible Creativity and the ‘Modernity’ of Mary Shelley’s Prometheus, it states “Prometheus’s rebellion is overtly inspired by pity, an especially human emotion.” (Responsible Creativity and the ‘Modernity’ of Mary Shelley’s Prometheus, Hustis, 2) Altogether, both quotes signify the importance of human emotion when it comes to the creation of man. Shelley draws similar connections between the monster and Prometheus to show the cause and effect of emotional responsibility.

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Moreover, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein has been referred to as the “Modern Prometheus”, which is mythology. There is quite the same depiction as what Mary Shelley had written in comparison to Prometheus. Victor Frankenstein was very interested in his natural science and giving his creation a long life. Mary Shelley suggests the responsibilities of a creator an alike to that of a parent. Like a parent, Victor had to consider what he wanted for his monster and wanting what was best. Mary Shelley writes the novel to simulate a Parent-Child relationship between Victor Frankenstein and his monster. Whether this relationship is between good or evil, it does illustrate the relationship that Victor has with his monster. When said in the novel, “You belong to the enemy… you shall be my first victim” (Shelley 144), Victor understood the implications of abandoning his creature. Victor experienced his own emotional state as a result of his flawed creation. Considering the fact that Victor distanced himself from his monster, it shows to prove that the relationship between both himself and the monster was actually a revenge plot. The monster didn’t want to exist and not live its life as it was. Living in constant rejection and isolation, he went for anyone who has had a connection with Victor. As said in Frankenstein and the Miltonic Creation of Evil by David Soyka, he stated: “The monster turns to evil after being cast out from his family” (Frankenstein and the Miltonic Creation of Evil, Soyka 172). The monster sees his life in one way, and that is killing and revenge. The monster viewing himself as a lost cause subsequently changed how it viewed humans, like Victor and everyone around him. Mary Shelley suggests that the root of evil is more or less the responsibility of Victor for not being able to take care of his own creation. Setting up evil in the novel changes how mistakes are supposed to be viewed by the reader.

Furthermore, Mary Shelley depicts the creation of man as a mistake, as it connects to the hopes that Victor Frankenstein wanted. Victor said he wanted to do it for the human race but in fact, as it stood out, he wanted to play God. The task of creation is not simple and if you do something wrong, then all hell breaks loose. Victor Frankenstein created his monster to improve his perfect image of mankind. Mary Shelley takes on the task of trying to figure out through the plot of the novel to explain what the perfect image is. Taking on the task to create something perfect to improve mankind is one of the greatest responsibilities a man could ever take, and that is what Shelley suggested about Victor's creation of man through is power. In the novel, it states “Did I not as his maker owe him all the portion of happiness that it was in my power to bestow?” (Shelley 149) This illustrates the power of responsibility. Everything that Victor could’ve done, he did not. His lack of power to take the task of creation led to his failure to create the perfect image for mankind. Similarly, Prometheus had the same task of creating man. In Mythology by Edith Hamilton, it states “Prometheus then took over the task of creation and thought out a way to make mankind superior” (Mythology, Hamilton, 71) This draws the connection between the responsibility that Mary Shelley suggested of failure. Recognizing failure (something Victor didn’t fully recognize till later near the end of the novel) was taking responsibility for the destruction after something was created. Similarly, the bible says a lot about the image of God. It states, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God, created he him; male and female created he them.” (The King James Bible, Gen. 1:27) Describing the image of God acts as a reference point to Victor's image. With this in mind, Victor's actions prove he is fully responsible for creating his monster, and by such creation is fully responsible for the actions of his own monster.

To conclude, Mary Shelley suggests the responsibility of the creator to its creation is that much of parenting. She addresses very explicitly that the creator is liable for his/her’s creation actions. The preeminent events portrayed how Victor's inattentive actions from the start of the creature's life were a big factor in contributing to the actions of the monster. Mary Shelley writes about the creation of man, Adam & Eve, Prometheus, and others relating to that matter. Mary Shelley suggests that the responsibilities of the creator are much greater or equivalent to that of a parent, who subconsciously has to be liable for any actions its ‘child’ or creation does. With such power that Victor held, he chose to not use it wisely, which could have prevented the murders and catastrophes that his own creation caused. The creature wanted to be loved and accepted into a society in which he thought he was supposed to be accepted. Victor Frankenstein was playing God, which was a big mistake on his part and his actions and lack of responsibility are to blame for the mess he created.

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Essay on Mary Shelley’s Legacy: Analysis of Frankenstein. (2022, December 27). Edubirdie. Retrieved December 8, 2023, from
“Essay on Mary Shelley’s Legacy: Analysis of Frankenstein.” Edubirdie, 27 Dec. 2022,
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