Essay on Frankanstien

“Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus,” penned by Mary Shelley in 1818, is more than just a Gothic novel; it’s a profound exploration of the human condition, scientific ethics, and the consequences of unchecked ambition. This essay seeks to delve deeply into the novel’s themes, characters, and narrative structure, offering insights for students engaging in essay writing competitions.

The Birth of “Frankenstein”

Mary Shelley conceived “Frankenstein” during the famous summer of 1816, while staying at Lake Geneva with Percy Bysshe Shelley, Lord Byron, and others. The novel emerged from a challenge to write a ghost story, but Shelley’s creation far surpassed mere ghostly tales, delving into the complexities of science and human nature.

Plot Overview

“Frankenstein” begins with letters from Captain Robert Walton to his sister, documenting his Arctic exploration. Here, he encounters Victor Frankenstein, who narrates his tragic tale. Victor, a young scientist, driven by a thirst for knowledge and glory, creates a sentient creature from corpses’ parts. However, he is horrified by his creation and abandons it. The Creature, left alone and misunderstood, becomes vengeful, leading to a chain of tragic events that culminate in mutual destruction.

The Characters

  1. Victor Frankenstein: Victor’s ambition to defy nature and play God reflects human hubris and the ethical dilemmas of scientific discovery.
  2. The Creature: Often mistakenly called “Frankenstein,” the Creature symbolizes the consequences of abandonment and societal rejection. His evolution from innocence to vengefulness poses questions about nature vs. nurture.
  3. Robert Walton: Walton’s narrative frames the story, with his own thirst for discovery mirroring Victor’s ambition, offering a cautionary parallel.

Core Themes

  1. The Pursuit of Knowledge: Victor’s quest for scientific knowledge and power raises questions about the moral responsibility that accompanies intellectual discovery.
  2. Creation and Responsibility: The novel explores the responsibilities of a creator towards their creation, paralleling parental responsibility.
  3. Nature vs. Nurture: The Creature’s development challenges the reader to consider the impact of environment and treatment on behavior.
  4. Isolation and Alienation: Both Victor and the Creature experience profound loneliness, highlighting the need for human connection and compassion.
  5. The Sublime: The novel frequently references the sublime in nature, emphasizing human insignificance against the vastness of the natural world.

Narrative Structure

Shelley employs a frame narrative, with Walton’s letters enclosing Victor’s narrative, which in turn encloses the Creature’s story. This structure creates a layered exploration of perspective and truth, forcing readers to question the reliability of each narrator.

Literary Analysis

  • Gothic and Romantic Elements: “Frankenstein” is a seminal Gothic novel, characterized by its dark, eerie settings and the romantic emphasis on emotion and individualism.
  • Symbolism: The Creature can be seen as a symbol of the outcast in society, of unchecked scientific advancement, or of a child abandoned by its parent.
  • Shelley’s Context: Understanding the context in which Shelley wrote – including the early 19th-century scientific advancements and her personal experiences – enriches the analysis of the novel’s themes.

Contemporary Relevance

“Frankenstein” remains relevant in its exploration of the ethical dilemmas faced by modern science, such as genetic engineering and artificial intelligence. It continues to prompt reflection on how humanity deals with the consequences of its own advancements.

Writing Tips for Students

  1. Thorough Analysis: Delve beyond the plot to analyze the novel’s themes, symbols, and character motivations.
  2. Comparative Views: Compare “Frankenstein” with other works of literature or contemporary scientific developments to provide a broader perspective.
  3. Personal Interpretation: Offer your interpretation of the novel’s meaning or its characters’ actions and justify these with evidence from the text.
  4. Critical Perspectives: Incorporate critical viewpoints from literary scholars to provide a multifaceted understanding of the novel.


“Frankenstein” is a timeless masterpiece that resonates with its exploration of ambition, ethical responsibility, and the need for compassion in the face of otherness. For students participating in essay writing competitions, Shelley’s novel offers a rich tapestry of themes and questions that remain as pertinent today as they were in the 19th century. It is a story that challenges us to ponder the limits of human endeavor and the moral obligations that accompany our actions.

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