Mary Shelley's Frankenstein Themes

Themes in Frankenstein

Frontispiece to Frankenstein 1831

Mary Shelley deals with many important themes in Frankenstein, her famous gothic novel. Many of the themes are thought-provoking, stimulating careful consideration.

Major themes in Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

  1. birth and creation
    Frankenstein succeeds in creating a "human" life form very much as God does.
  2. alienation
    Victor chooses to be alienated because of his desire for knowledge.
  3. family
    Frankenstein presents the value of the domestic circle. It demonstrates that lack of connection to either family or society leads to murder, tragedy, and despair.
  4. dangerous Knowledge
    It is an insane pursuit of knowledge that proves to be dangerous. Victor's act of creation results in the destruction of everyone dear to him. Likewise, Walton finds himself dangerously trapped between sheets of ice
  5. ambition
    Frankenstein shows that human beings are deeply ambitious. Victor and Walton dream of transforming society and of bringing glory to themselves through their scientific achievements. However, their actions are deeply flawed and bring misfortune for all.
  6. revenge
    After it is abandoned and mistreated, the monster turns to revenge.
  7. nature
    In Frankenstein crises and suffering result when imperfect men disturb nature's perfection. In the end, Victor is destroyed for his evil attempt to manipulate the power of nature.

Related materials

More literary resources