The character of Justine Mortiz plays a minor role in the Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, but a significant role in the character development of Frankenstein and the creature. Justine was unjustly murdered and convicted of a murder she did not commit. Using Mary Wollstonecraft’s A Vindication of the Rights of Men as a critical lens to interpret and analyze Justine’s death, I believe that it was wrong to punish and execute her.

Justine was first introduced in a letter from Elizabeth to Victor. In this letter, she was introduced as someone who was worth loving and that she was beautiful. “Justine has returned to us; and I assure you I love her tenderly. She is very clever and gentle, and extremely pretty; as I mentioned before, her mien and her expressions continually remind me of my dear aunt” (Shelley 65). Using the thoughts of Wollstonecraft, as well as my own, I believe that it is rather patronizing and demeaning to always think about a woman and her appearance. Wollstonecraft aims for women to know their worth, to be equal to men, but through the character of Justine, all of Wollstonecraft’s thoughts and ideas are nonexistent. Justine is only relevant in this novel due to Victor and the creature, a man’s world.

Wollstonecraft preached and fought for women’s right. She wished for women “… to [not] have power over men; but over themselves” (Wollsencraft). Justine’s character was everything Wollstonecraft was against and appeared weak and did not stand up for herself. After the letter Justine was introduced in, the next time she appears in the novel, she is convicted of the murder of William, Victor’s younger brother.  Justine not only takes the blame as she states “I did confess; but I confessed a lie. I confessed, that I might obtain absolution; but now that falsehood lies heavier at my heart than all my other sins” (Shelley 83). I find it unfortunate that she was falsely convicted and unfair. However, I do wish her character was stronger and did not need men or a man to make her relevant. The fate of Justine and her life was put in a MAN’S hand which is wrong and goes against the thoughts and beliefs of Wollstonecraft.

Rahma Kohin