Tag Archive: injustice


In the Enquiry Concerning Political Justice, written by William Godwin, he demonstrates to the reader that the use of force or violence is no longer a good tool, instead, nonviolent protest is the best form of combating what is “wrong” to attain justice in order to eventually have happiness. This belief can be seen in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, this similar message can be seen manifested when the death of Justine happens. In this scene when Justine passes away it can be interpreted as the death of justice. This can be interpreted because it demonstrates how violence will not achieve any good for the rest of the people and will only bring harm.

There is a certain scene on page 83 of the novel in which Elizabeth asks “why do you kneel if you are innocent?”. The meaning of this quote is beyond what it describes, it shows how Justine is truly innocent and pure. All people believe in justice, however, Justine is experiencing injustice for being accused of a murder that she did not commit. Moreover, it can be seen that the blame for Williams death takes a toll on Justine because eventually, she starts believing that she is the monster. Similarities can be seen in this scene and the French revolution because it causes the reader to start understanding whether something is right or wrong. While people decide to fight and advocate for what they think is correct and Godwin himself demonstrates that violence is not the best option, rather peaceful revolution is the best way to handle certain situations. As demonstrated by Godwin’s beliefs about violence, the violence in this story comes from the actions committed by the creature and eventually leaves Victor in a state of sadness. In a way, the creature can mirror the people while Victor is the monarchy in comparison to the French revolution. Resorting to violence as the people did allows for violence to spring from these actions which eventually destroyed the sense of justice. Godwin’s position or belief can be seen through Justine’s death, the violence resulting from the accusations allowed for injustice to come about and become the destruction when attempting to reach a peaceful and happy conclusion.

By: Daniel Olmos

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In Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, Justine is the perfect representation of Godwin’s idea of what comes from a republican system and “the essence of beauty” according to Mary Wollstonecraft in A Vindication of the Rights of Men. In Wollstonecraft’s excerpt, It is explained that the “Supreme Being” is the one who “[gives] women beauty in the most supereminent degree, [seeming] to command them, by the powerful voice of Nature, not to cultivate the moral virtues that might chance to excite respect…” (p.47), suggesting that the “Supreme Being” is man, and in Justine’s case this deemed to be true. Due to Justine speaking up about her case and not allowing them to categorize her as a murderer, she was not considered honest or strong, but instead “little” and “weak” (p. 47), which is considered “the essence of beauty” (p.47). Justine was robbed of justice due to the fact that she did not follow what the “Supreme Being” commands, which ultimately is putting one’s fate in the hand of man with no argument, or else she will be left unrespected. However, this goes against what William Godwin was presenting in Enquiry Concerning Political Justice, for Godwin stated that “the great instrument of justice [is] reason” (p.790) because Justine gave her reasoning behind what happened in regards to Williams death and rather them take her reasoning and find the truth in it, they decided to make an example out of her. This is implied through Godwin’s statement that “the selfish are not governed solely by the sensual gratification or the love of gain, but that the desire of eminence and distinction…” (p.791), revealing that “The Man”, as some may call it, will make decisions based on their rank with the goal of sustaining authority as a man, leaving Justine at the bottom of the totem pole considering she was a woman with a voice. Godwin also explains how “we can be persuaded clearly and distinctly to approve will inevitably modify our conduct… and when their neighbors are impressed with a similar disdain, it will be impossible they should pursue the means of it with the same avidity as before” (p.791),revealing that all it takes is for the majority to question the truth for it to be wrong, and this is exemplified through Elizabeth’s doubt of Justine’s truth. It is clear that the justice system much rather Justine, as Mary Wollstonecraft describes it “systematically [neglect] morals to secure beauty” (p.47) and “confine truth, fortitude, and humanity with the rigid pale of manly morals” (p.47) than invest in, as Godwin describes it, “the improvement… in a knowledge of truth” (p.794), considering that the court and jury were already set on pointing the blame on a woman. And considering Godwin’s statement that “our knowledge will be very imperfect, so long as this great branch of universal justice fails to constitute a part of it [truth]” (p.794), what year would it have to be in order for Justine to actually receive justice?

Jaimee Watson

Alexuz Bejarano

In Frankenstein, Justine confesses to a crime she didn’t commit, not only could she not defend herself due to women having to voice around this era. In Mary Wollstonecraft’s A Vindication of the Rights of Men, she interprets the way women are viewed, nothing more than “beautiful”. She describes beauty as demeaning, her text represents how the world see women, their reason for existing is only because of their beauty. They lacked many strengths because they believed they had nothing other than beauty. “Never, they might repeat after you, was any man, much less a women, rendered amiable by the force of those exalted qualities, fortitude, justice, wisdom, and truth;” (p 47). Even if Justine was able to defend herself, she was only a servant which was in the lower class, she was in no place to have any “fortitude” or “justice”. She didn’t murder William, and knowing that she still confessed because she knew she didn’t have a voice and no one was going to believe her. In the novel Justine’s beauty got her nowhere, what Wollstonecraft is trying to show is that women shouldn’t be fixed on their beauty, there should be more to women than looks.

 

In Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, we witnessed the unjust execution of Justine the servant of Victor’s family. Even though she didn’t kill William and both Victor and Elizabeth were sure of her innocence, she was still convicted of his murdered and was executed. Because of the way women were treated during that time period especially someone like her who was in the lower class, she knew her conviction was inevitable and that she didn’t stand a chance against the judges. She says, “Dear William! Dearest blessed child! I soon shall see you again in heaven, where we shall all be happy; and that consoles me, going as I am to suffer ignominy and death. Even though she knew she was innocent and that all they had was circumstantial evidence, she had no doubt she would be executed.

 

Mary Wollstonecraft believed that women should be equal to men and criticised the church and state. Through her viewpoint, she would see Justine’s death as unjust because the only reason everyone was quick to blame her for the murder was because she was a servant and although she had some education she didn’t pursue a profession. Wollstonecraft believed in morality over beauty and in this case, Justine was not judged by her deeds but rather her appearance as a poor servant. This was due to the fact that there was an issue with the entire system itself. The judges had no interest in whether she committed the crime or not they had already made a decision before even going to trial and knew that a servant was the perfect person to blame. “Elizabeth’s heartrending eloquence failed to move the judges from their settled conviction in the criminality of the saintly sufferer.” The judges had a set mentality of the guiltiness of Justine. They even forced her to confess through threats.

Esmeralda Nunez

The Injustice

In Reflections on The Revolution in France, Edmund Burke argues that the revolution destroyed the beauty of nature and he explains this when Marie Antoinette was about to be executed. For instance, Burke describes Antoinette’s execution as “I thought ten thousand swords must have leaped from their scabbards to avenge even a look that threatened her with insult. -But the age of chivalry is gone.” (76) In other words, Burke was trying to convey how beauty should have prevented the death of Antoinette since the beauty of a woman was all that justified the condemnations of one self, but that was no longer the case. In Mary Shelley’s novel Justine Moritz, was an innocent girl who was convicted of murdering William Frankenstein, when in fact she was wrongfully accused. Justine was described as beautiful and loving towards the family she cared for, but that didn’t save her from her death. Even though Victor Frankenstein knew about this social injustice that was about to occur he didn’t inform anyone that his own creation was the reason William Frankenstein died. Therefore, this goes back to Burke’s argument about how the age of chivalry is gone because Victor Frankenstein didn’t stand up for his actions and instead acted as a coward. Although Justine says “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.” (83) Justine lied because she knew deep down that even the townspeople wanted to execute her and wouldn’t believe a word she said. These people are a symbol of a revolution out to destroy beauty and innocent individuals.

 

-Guadalupe Andrade

Justice

Justine was an individual that never deserved to be executed. Justine, the girl that was being served within the care of Victor Frankenstein ever since she was a child. Now dead, throughout for most of the end transition of the novel, we can’t help but have this internal grudge for the early comeuppance of a character that was well-beloved by the Frankenstein’s only to have that shattered for a death that was never sure off who committed it in the first place. Justine is the stolid martyr who goes to her death with grace and dignity.  Naive to the fact that she was admitting such action through mere guilt and fear that for not complying she might up in hell. Like almost everyone in the novel, Justine is more of an authorial tool than a character in her own right. She’s a one-off anti-religious character; and she’s also there to remind us that, while God isn’t killing people she loves because of something she’s done, the monster is killing people Frankenstein loves. In other words, don’t blame God; blame yourself.

For such portion of the novel, we’ve come to the notion that Justice within society is lacked tremendously because of the stupidly willingness to accept her death, Justine is yet to portraited of anything else other than pure. Social justice is ultimately the concept of fair and justifiable relations between one individual and society. Edward Burke brings this her execution to light when outlining in his book, Reflections on the Revolution in France. Outstandingly, Burke analyses on how the French Revolution was the stepping stone for the murder of beauty within society. “To make us love our country, our country must be lovely,” [78]. Burke’s assumption brings to the plate that for a society to flourish as one, we must be united as the country we’re living in. The French Government had many imperfections and one of the main flaws was their mediocre way to cure political problems. Alongside with Frankenstein, for as beloved of a character William was, Justine was an equally important within the Frankenstein family as she more righteously deserves, for the years of being the servant of the family. If William’s death symbolizes the loss of innocence, Justine’s death marks the end of all that is noble and righteous.

– Stephen Muñoz

Image result for justine moritz death

Mary Wollstonecraft advocates for equality of women in “A Vindication of the Right of Woman” and asserts that in society for women to be seen as equal, society must “wish to render men more virtuous, we must endeavor to banish all enervating modifications of beauty from civil society” (Pg 48) Wollstonecraft is stating that men must eradicate this stereotype of women being gentle and weak. If this does not occur, situations such as “Justine Moritz” will occur. The character of  “Justine Moritz” in Mary Shelley‘s “Frankenstein” is a servant that lives with the Frankenstein family and is described as appreciative and lighthearted, this is heavily reflected by the action she takes right before dying. The novel includes, “Thus the poor sufferer tried to comfort others and herself. She indeed gained the resignation she desired.”(Pg 84) Usually when your life is in danger a human’s reaction is to try to save themselves, yet the text illuminates the complete opposite. Justine is seen comforting others instead of herself, the selfless action implies that she is conscious of others which is why she is giving strength. By this point Justine has given up completely—in a way that is different from the female stereotypes, she sacrifices herself for others because she understands what’s it’s like to be looked down upon—and submits to her accusers which costs her, her life. Gender inequality clearly is seen in the novel, the fact the the Monster choose “Justine” to blame is not by chance.  

Wollstonecraft sees social class as a barrier to reach equality for women. In the novel, we are given background to the character of Justine. Justine was provided with a higher education by the Frankensteins, however, what is said about her are things like, “Justine was the most grateful little creature in the world” (pg 84)  A “creature” has the connotation of an animal, which when describing a sentient human, is seen as a form of degradation. Even though she has an education, she is viewed as inferior compared to the wealthy. An education is supposed to make a person be held to a higher standard, yet her title of servant still defines her. Furthermore, the Frankenstein’s contradict themselves as they continue to mention that a servant in Geneva is different from England and France as they state that they are not mistreated, nor belittled rather they are seen as humans and a part of the family. The Frankenstein’s state “Justine, thus received in our family, learned her duties as a servant; a condition which, in our fortunate country, does not include the idea of ignorance, and a sacrifice of the dignity of human being” (pg 66), this means that even with a status of “servant,” Justine should be treated humanely, yet the complete opposite is seen. Justine is called a creature. The social class defines who you are regardless of education or geographic location. Wollstonecraft argues that if the class structure is not changed, those with wealth decide what class is and how gender is perceived. She is killed without a trail, she is told that she will be excommunicated from the Catholic Church which ultimately leads her to states that she committed the crime. 

Levit Martinez Arias

For many, the church has been and was corrupt during the time of Mary Wollstonecraft. The Churches also hadn’t been tolerated, especially to Mary Wollstonecraft. Mary Wollstonecraft was a strong feminist and mother of Mary Shelley who also disagreed with the church. She for her time was a strong feminist.  She, like many believed that women were just seen as an object of beauty not one of intelligence or anything for that matter. Some of her experiences seemed to be translated into the novel Frankenstein.

In the novel, Justine was charged with the murder of  little William, before she had even went into trial. She was like a scapegoat. And I believe it was due to her being a female.  Even though she had nothing to do with it, she pled guilty in order to keep her “conscious clean” and to not go to hell. She was threatened so much by the church, that it got to the point that she was scared for her after life.  Since the church in the novel was corrupt, she was executed. All these events in the novel, correlated with Wollstonecraft’s views of the church, and how classes were distinguished.  Her being a women also had a part to do with it in my opinion. The Church may have seen her as weak.

 

Rigo Garcia

Mary Wollstonecraft’s text highlights her intolerance for the church as well as the classifications of class and rank in society. In regards to women and their treatment, she is dissatisfied because they are valued more through the idea of beauty than through their intelligence or morals.  Her views are intertwined and seen in her daughter’s novel Frankenstein, specifically through the character Justine and her unjust death. In order to understand Justine’s situation we must remember that Victor’s creature is the one who framed her for his crime. This supports Wollstonecraft’s view that men can’t be trusted and only care about themselves since they are “men who have no titles to sacrifice,” (49) The creature loathed Justine because she was beautiful and normal, which overshadowed the fact that she was of low status. Where was chivalry when Justine could have been saved by Victor’s confession or when the creature was planning to escape the consequences if his own crime? It was nowhere because the men valued themselves more than an innocent woman. frankenstein08.jpg (560×777)

Justine reveals that she is threatened with “excommunication and hell fire in her last moments.” (83) by her confessor. Here we can see how Justine is being deeply influenced by the church, so much that she fears what will come after death more than being charged for a crime or the act of death itself. She has been made to believe her life is meaningless if she does not conform to the ways of the church, when in reality the church is nothing but a group of over religious men who do as they please. Being aware of her innocence is not enough to keep her safe. However, it’s easy to see that if she were a man, Victor for example, her guilt would have been immediately questioned if charged with murder. In contract to Justine, Victor was an intelligent, educated man…to most. As a woman with no outstanding education or valued status, it was easy to place the crime on Justine. In relation to Wollstonecraft’s views, now that Justine’s beauty was tainted she was of no use to the church or society, even though her good reputation from Elizabeth and little education should have been enough to save her from injustice in a fair society.

By Galilea Sanchez

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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