By Alex Luna

In William Godwin’s Enquiry Concerning Political Justice, he asserts readers to not use force or violence, rather nonviolent protest in order to bring about change in justice so we can attain happiness. In relation to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, we can see this message being preached through the death of Justine, Victors family’s servant. In this particular scene, Justine’s death signifies the death of justice itself, if people continue resorting to violence as the answer, through Victor and the creature.

From the beginning of the passage Elizabeth says “why do you kneel, if you are innocent?” (83). Here we can gain a sense of sympathy for Justine, and are reminded of her pureness, similar to how justice itself is viewed ideologically. Everyone wants justice, but here it is injustice that Justine is dealing with, by being framed for Williams death. Furthermore, we can see how justice can be torn down by violent acts such as Williams death.Justine says “I almost began to think that I was the monster that he said I was.”(83).  When relating this back to the french revolution, it’s interesting to see this parallel. When society revolted against the monarchy, depending on the perspective it could be seen as a good thing or bad. The fact that the lines become blurred for Justine is ironic because it reflects how justice itself can be skewed because of violence. While the people fighting for what they want, is a “good thing” the violence that resulted from it is probably not. Godwin himself did not advocate for violence, but a more peaceful revolution, where reason is used. In this story, all reason is lost. There is a creature on the loose, tormenting Victor and killing his family off, this is the result when reason is lost in revolution and the pursuit of happiness. Upon seeing the innocent dealing with injustice, Victor “I, the true murderer, felt the never dying worm alive in my bosom, which allowed of no hope or consolation” (84). Due to the violence stemmed from the creature, Victor is left with sadness. Thus, his creation and abandonment of the creature creates a chain reaction, leading to the creature to resort to violence to get what he wants, a companion. The creature clearly resembles the people, and Victor the monarchy. The novel teaches how justice can be destroyed when resorting to violence, when a more peaceful and reasonable approach would have prevented the pain and suffering. Essentially, Godwins point is echoed through Justine’s death, providing evidence for nonviolent protest as a means to achieve happiness.

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