Mary Shelley’s story “Frankenstein” is a romantic novel that utilizes an epistolary form. The letter is written by Captain Walton to Mrs. Saville, his sister, who lives in England. Walton is more of a fanatic just as the despicable Frankenstein, who attempts to capture back his own-created being. Frankenstein is rescued by Walton, and he regains his bodily strength, after which he narrates his account to Walton. Mary’s story has been reviewed by numerous authors who attempt to evaluate it in different ways. This paper evaluates critical analyses that have been set forth by these different authors.
Frankenstein is a story that was conceived with morality being at the centre of the whole account. The works of man are likely to be plausible and convincing from the first look, but may end up in a very disastrous manner that brings suffering and discomfort to him (Literary Circles, 1998). Frankenstein, though born and brought up in a family that is rarely interested in romantics, he develops an interest in chemistry and the make-up of the human frame. After the death of his mother, whom he bemoans for some time, he studies all animals that are endowed with the principle of life and finally manages to give life to lifeless material. The being he makes goes on killing people who are close and dear to Frankenstein making him regret his creation. He dies before containing the being or granting its wish which may cause more destruction. Indeed, this is none but a moral lesson that whatever is made by humans will always affect them because all the outcomes will only be felt among them. It is unfortunate for Frankenstein that he dies without capturing his creature, which he rejoiced after making. This critique however is much based on drawing excerpts from the book rather than other sources.
Hetherington (1997) on the other hand is also concerned with Mary’s Frankenstein. In her critical analysis, she argues that the story finds its meaning in allegory, a method that has been criticized and probably overlooked. She goes ahead to prove that, though allegory was disregarded during the enlightenment, it had permeated the society, and its effects are evident from the story. The story, thus, makes meaning from the world in which the author lived. The theological reader will possibly show that a scientist over-reaching God’s work is likely to be punished for presumption. Connected to over-reaching is creation mythology are also implied in the story such as God, Adam and Satan. Allegorically, these perceptions point to higher meaning that is not to be found directly in the test. From the numerous texts consulted by Hetherington, her argument of the allegorical claim makes the story have meaning.
From the first author’s review, Frankenstein’s story is claimed to be a moral story indicating how human actions can end up being self-destructive. Hetherington on the other does not believe that the novel is just a moral story. Instead, it is an account of the world around the author’s life that is expressed in the form of an allegory and can be interpreted in various ways.
In conclusion, Hetherington uses Creator and Created to comprehensively argue that the historical meaning of the text is allegorical. This is because from the different examples and texts she draws from indicate that the method was not just a medieval practice but one that imbued much later modern and romantic literature.
Literary Circles (1998). Belle Assemblée: Or, Court and Fashionable Magazine; Containing Interesting and Original Literature, and Records of the Beau-monde. Walton: Person. Retrieved from http://www.rc.umd.edu/reference/chronologies/mschronology/reviews/barev.html
Hetherington, N. (1997). Creator and created in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Keats-Shelley review. 11, 1-39.
Shelley, M. W. (1818). Frankenstein; or, the modern Prometheus.London: Lockington, Hughes Harding, Mavor & Jones.