Melanney Giron

In Edmund Burke’s Relations on the Revolution in France, he believes that the beauty of equality and humanity work hand in hand to destroy nature. As he talks about the French Revolution, he refers to it as a “…liberal refinement in the intercourse of mankind,” (71). Burke’s interpretation of the revolution creates a sense of relation to Mary Shelly’s novel Frankenstein. In the novel, the second death committed by Frankenstein’s creature was Justine, a girl who, after her family died one after another, stayed with Victor’s family. Burke believes that nature cannot occur without order, alongside social institutions, especially when people are wrongfully accused. Burke wrote, “[The French Revolution] unhappily was left unfinished, in this great history-piece of the massacre of innocents,” (73).

In the novel, poor Justine was wrongfully accused of murdering young William, rather than to continue fighting the social institution of the justice system, she “…confessed a lie. [She] confessed, that [she] might obtain absolution; but now that falsehood lies heavier at [her] heart than all [her] other sins,” (83). In the eyes of Burke, Justine’s death was not only based off of a lie of her own making but he noted that, in humanity, women “…will save herself from the last disgrace, and that if she must fall, she will fall by no ignoble hand,” (75). The way I analyzed Burke’s ideas of chivalry and order was based on what he saw it as: women trotting behind the mistakes of a man. Based off of Burke’s understandings in his writing, both the French Revolution and the representation of Justine’s death in Shelley’s novel are products of the beauty of sentiment.