Tag Archive: anarchy


By: Sandra Tzoc

In “Frankenstein”, Mary Shelley writes about the creaturescapegoat‘s gruesome actions one which includes the ploy that eventually leads to Justine’s execution. This is a very questionable scene because Victor is well aware that Justine is not behind the murder of William however, he does not voice the truth and in the end, Justine pays the consequences. This raises questions as to why Victor stayed quiet, perhaps the answer is: he felt guilty. Through Burke’s eyes it is possible for it to be that way. In his writing Reflections on the Revolution in France, Edmund Burke repels anything abstract, anything that is not in order. He condemned the French Revolution because he thought individuality was foolish and that the revolution would eventually translate into an anarchy. Burke states: “[prejudice] renders a man’s virtue his habit”, moreover that prejudice would act as a guide to every “man”. Burke was a man who preferred to believe in mainstream ideas even if they were prejudice because he thought that a person’s individual thoughts could not compare.

This is important to note as Burke believed in submissive women and found beauty in their obedience to the state and church. Burke valued class and order and the French Revolution dismantled this rank thus, destroying his perception of beauty. He would probably be proud of Victor and his silence because although Victor was foul for staying quiet, Justine would simply be an offering to the state, to Victor, to the men. Furthermore, she was a servant who was below Victor and Burke would probably care less about her execution given that she was lower class. The prejudice that Victor used against Justine could possibly be presented in the form of scapegoating. He projected all his feelings of guilt onto Justine and let her take the blame for what he had created. He could not possibly come forward to say the truth, that the creature was to blame, because then that would mean he himself was a culprit.

Rilee Hoch

William Godwin has a unique perspective in his criticism of the French Revolution.  He believes that if humanity would use our knowledge to properly communicate our thoughts and emotions, that justice would come naturally and a peaceful revolution would ensue. Then, that peaceful revolution would dissolve the unjust class system and result in an equal distribution of property. Justine’s death from this perspective then represents the rash actions of the French people who, rather than causing positive change with no violence, murder justice with their revolution. Justine in the passage literally represents justice, and her death the destruction of it. The Creature in this case represents the foolish French who rushed into to their revolution with action rather than sentiment which resulted in death, destruction and overall anarchy. The passage overall can be seen as a critique of Godwin’s ideology, but not in a way to disprove its idea but rather that it cannot work because the emotions of people do not allow for it.

Related image

If instead they had used reason and negotiations, the French and the Creature would have both received better results. Just like how the Creature places the blame for his crime on Justine without thinking it through and considering different approaches, the people take their anger out on the monarchy and throw all justice aside for death via guillotine. The Creature let his anger take over, just like the French, it  “stirred the fiend within me” (127), and yet for both parties there was no positive result. They both blame Justice or the lack thereof so they decide to make it pay recompense. Due to this many innocent lives are lost, including the life of Justine who is simply an innocent child. The Creature was never shown Justice so he decides make Justine pay saying “She shall suffer.. she shall atone” (127). It is ironic that he says he has learned this practice from Felix who had previously done an injustice to the Creature, so we see the pattern of abuse continue, which started when Felix also suffered injustice via Sofie’s father. If he had followed Godwin’s model however, he would have though more clearly and paid attention to the “the great instrument of justice, reason. We should communicate our sentiments… press them upon the attention of others” (Godwin 790). This idea of contemplating different approaches is clearly absent in the text. We can see that the cycle of pain will only stop when we choose to use truth over violence, and put our selfish emotions and desire to shed blood from anger aside. If they had not resorted to violent uproars and a bloody revolution, Justice would not have paid the price for other peoples mistakes and the outcome might have been a peaceful and happy ending. This however is not done, in the text or in history. Here we can see the commentary against Godwin’s ideology in actual practice, that we simply will not allow it to work, we cannot.

Different Agendas = Issues

Bianca Lopez Munoz

As we were introduced to Victor at the beginning of Frankenstein, we learn that he is Genevese and that his family is, “one of the most distinguished in that republic” and that his ancestors, “had been for many years counsellors and syndics” (39). Not only that but Victor also states that, “No human being could have passed a happier childhod than myself” (44). In other words, Victor grew up in a very well off home, was raised by kind parents, and members of his family have a history of being government officials. This character lived a pretty comfortable, undemanding, and privilaged life up until he created the creature. Victor’s background allows us to interpret his character as the representation of the bourgoisie, the well off middle class in society. In Montag’s essay, he reminds us that it was this bourgoisie middle class that “conjured up a monster that once unleased, could not be controlled” (471), the monster being the French and English Revolutions led by the bourgoisie but comprised mostly of the proletariat class. Similarly, Victor conjured up an uncontrollable ‘monster’ as well. But I don’t believe this interpretation stays consistent throughout the novel. Victor starts out as a sort of representation of the bourgoisie but after the his creation and towards the end of the novel he seems to become more part of the proletariat, the working class. As the burgoisie did, Victor becomes fearful of the monster he created. When the creature demands that Victor create a partner for him, Victor obliges out of fear. The creature’s demands are similar to that of the proletariat class, in that during the revolution, the people sought justice and fairness that according to Montag their “innumerable demands went far beyond what was rational or even ‘just’ (according to the norms of middle -class revolutionaries)” (471). In Victor’s eyes, creating yet another monster that could possible add on to his torment was not rational or just to him, but to the creature, having experienced such isolation, saw these requests as ‘just’. The creature also overthrows his ‘master’. After Victor destroys the second creation, the creature calls Victor a slave and tells him, “you are my creator, but I am your master;––obey!”(146). The creature becomes like the anarchists of the revolutions! 

For the most part, I agree with Warren Montag’s concluding statements in his essay, “The Workshop of Filthy Creation: A marxist Reading of Frankenstein”. Montag concludes that the creature is “not so much the sign of the proletariat as of its unrepresentability. Though in my eyes, the creature does represent the proletariat, not in that it is a ‘working class’ but that it’s an unatural mass created by some higher authority, made up of different individuals (literally) and that it itches for change and the overall betterment of its life. The creature tells Victor, “Yet I ask you not to spare me: listen to me, and then, if you can, and if you will, destroy the work of your hands” (94). This is the creature’s attempt to have his creator listen to him. The creation craves the attention and demands that his perspective and struggles be heard much like the proletariat to the bourgoisie. But according to Montag, the creature represents the unrepresentability of the proletariat. This mass of people, the working class, the peasants and the slaves all want their lives to be generally improved and they attempt this through the authority of a bourgoisie leader/figurehead. But that bourgoisie individual and the individuals of that same class have their own agenda to push that would still of course benefit them in some way, I personally doubt they would support a revolution that didn’t in some way give them more power or authority. Because of the different agendas and degree of change these two different classes demand, the unrepresentability of the politariat is that their voice/opinions may have to be approved and supported by bourgoisie authority which is the opposite of what they demand because I get the vibe that they know what they want and they want it now! For their demands to have to agree with anothers agenda seems counterproductive to the movement they are part of and the change they wanted to see.