Feminine Themes In Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

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Two major themes in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein are the suppression of feminine nature and the questioning of the romanticized quest for knowledge. These themes meet when Victor finishes his story and tells the sailors, “Oh! Be men or be more than men.” (Shelley 215), thereby encouraging the self-sacrifice of Walton for knowledge. But this was not his original purpose; before his tale, Victor rebukes Walton’s quest, “Unhappy man! Do you share my madness?” (Shelley 28). After everything he went through, Victor still thought that the quest for knowledge was worth the death of his entire family because male identity is tied to his romanticized quest, “Do not return to your families with the stigma of disgrace marked on your brows.” (215). We must ask, what shifts Victor’s purpose from a warning to a doubling down on his male hubris? In part, it is a refutation on his own feminine nature. His inability to except feminine qualities within himself causes him to fail at caring for his creation, to separate himself from the domestic life, and to view femininity as a…show more content…
For example, just before he finishes his work on the creature, Victor states that if your study “has a tendency to weaken your affections, and to destroy your taste for those simple pleasures… that study is certainly unlawful,” (Shelley 56). At this point in his narrative, he understands that there should be a healthy mix of the domestic and pursuit of knowledge, but he throws in a hypothetical that complicates what he knows to be healthy, “if no man allowed any pursuit whatsoever to interfere with the tranquility of his domestic affections” (56) then, he concludes, many evils of famous nations would not have happened. But his actions of abandoning his own health and the company of others to complete his work communicates a disconnect between what he knows and what he
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