Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is a deep text with many more elements to it that I had never considered, and would probably never consider before dissecting it in this class. One of those considerations is how the monster and his actions can be connected to the French Revolution.

In the context of writers such as Edmund Burke, William Godwin, and Mary Wollstonecraft, many seemingly minor passages of the novel – such as the execution of the former servant to the Frankenstein family, Justine – take on a whole new importance. If Justine’s death is supposed to represent the “death” of Justice in the French Revolution, then the creature must be representative of the thing that killed Justice: the revolution itself. From a Marxist perspective, Dr. Frankenstein can be interpreted as the wealthy elites, sculpting an amalgamation of men (the monster) like the proletariat, which he rejects and subsequently despises. In this same interpretation, it is easy to see that the creature could be symbolic of the Revolution itself; a monster regretfully created by the wealthy that leads to the destruction of Justice and the eventual downfall of the people that created it. Like the kings of France, Dr. Frankenstein had no intentions of creating a monster from his activity; it was an unintentional product of satisfying a thirst, power and wealth for the kings, but knowledge for Victor. The monster itself shares many traits with the revolutionaries, such as their combat against a being that left them in their current state, yet did nothing to alleviate them from it. Like the Revolution the monster’s intentions were good, but it soon escalates into violence once the initial goals aren’t immediately met, shown in the murders of Justine, Clerval, and Elizabeth.

By looking at the monster through a scope that incorporates both Marxist philosophy and historical context, a possible symbol for the creature emerges, a symbol of good intentions gone bad and of a Revolution that shook the world.

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