Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1946/6121
The Education of a Monster. A Feminist Reading of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein
This B.A. Essay examines feminism in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1818) in relation to such literary works as A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792) by Mary Wollstonecraft and Paradise Lost (1667) by John Milton. The notion of feminism within the novel and the female identity of such characters as the monster, Elizabeth Lavenza, Justine Moritz and Safie De Lacey are explored. Furthermore the education of the monster, how he learns on his own, is linked with the lack of education for women in Mary Shelley’s society and how the monster is representing women in patriarchal society. In this essay the limits of women’s education is demonstrated and what their role was in a patriarchal society along with exploring Mary Shelley’s life and position as a female writer. By examining Frankenstein with this in mind, it seems that Shelley was trying to reveal the weak status of women in society. She incorporates the notion that women’s position within a patriarchal society is weak. She does this by making some of the women in Frankenstein submissive and weak in behavior. The monster appears to be in a parallel position with women in the late eighteenth century and early nineteenth century. What is different in his situation is that he rises up against patriarchal society by educating himself. He does this by taking care of himself after being abandoned by his maker, learning how to read and write, and by reading works like Paradise Lost which further explain to him the ways of humanity. Consequently, it can be seen that the monster embodies the qualities of a strong female that takes control of her own destiny.