Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein as a Tragedy Essay

September 29, 2020 by Essay Writer


Mary Shelley’s epic novel Frankenstein is one of the key texts in contemporary literature as it explores the possibilities of human scientific advances. The book is full of tragedy, and this may have resulted from the difficult life that the author lived in her childhood. The novel is dark and gripping, and it is an illustration of the depraved state of human beings. Frankenstein is a story full of tragedy.

The Tragedy of Victor Frankenstein

The novel begins in Geneva, Switzerland, with the youthful Victor Frankenstein, his adopted sister, as well as his mother and father. The life of Victor depicts the first tragedy in the novel. The tragedy of Victor is seen due to his loneliness and struggle with the world on his own.

His tragedy was a tragedy of fulfilling the wishes of his parents, even if he did not want to. Regarding him as a toy, his parents perceived that he “was in their hands to direct to misery or happiness” (Shelley, 34). Victor’s childhood was full of miseries, and this subconsciously made him desire to have somebody he could control as he wished. More so, his parents failed to instruct him on how to differentiate between what is right and wrong.

This failure led to the second tragedy in the novel: the creation of the monster. Victor had a keen interest in Natural Philosophy and Chemistry, and he went to school in the town of Ingolstadt in Bavaria, Germany, where he created the monster.

Despite his desire to have someone to control, he was unable to exercise authority on the monster because it was another living being who could make its own decisions. The monster was a ‘dream come true’ to him, but it brought more tragedy than he had anticipated. Because Victor did not think about the scientific consequences of his actions, this dramatically changes the mood of the novel as the new ‘being’ creates havoc throughout the story.

In the creation, he did not consider the previous warnings by various scientific experts that not paying attention to all the aspects of scientific discovery is detrimental. Once the monster knew how to read, write, and think critically, it brought tragedy to its creator as well as to other humans.

Another tragedy in the novel appertains to the difficulties that faced Victor and his family after the creation of the monster. Soon, his younger brother is brutally killed, and he is forced to go back home.

Upon reaching, he again comes face to face with the creature. The monster enters into a bitter argument with Victor and gives him a terrible request to create another ‘being’ to be his friend. Otherwise, it will not leave his family and mankind alone. The creature tells Victor that he will not relent until it gets rid of him and all his family members.


The tragedies in the novel took place in a chain reaction. Victor’s parents neglected to teach him morality, and he went ahead and created a being that caused chaos throughout the story. The monster was Victor’s puppet. On the other hand, Victor was his parents’ puppet. The lack of responsibility from both sides is what caused chaos in the story. Thus, the story of tragedy reveals that one evil generates another evil.

Works Cited

Shelley, Mary. Frankenstein. London: Lackington, Hughes, Harding, Mavor & Jones, 1818. Print.

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