Mary Shelly(Godwin) was born in 1797 she was the daughter of Mary Wollstonecraft and William Godwin(a philosopher). She had a trouble life because her mother died only 10 days after her birth and 2 years later his father married Jane Clairmont
His intellectual stimulus were increased day by day because her house was every day visited by the most important exponents of English society, like the poet Percy Shelley who fell in love with Mary and they fled in France where they married.
In their new house on the lake Geneva, Mary Shelly had the inspiration of her most important Novel: Frankenstein or, from the intellectual critic, the modern Prometheus. She said that this story appeared hers in a dream or nightmare after the intellectual stimulation of the romantic poet George Gordon Byron.
In 1816 she began to write the work but it was published anonymously in 1818 because in that period women couldn’t write and publish novel. After same years Mary’s husband died in a storm and she come back in England in 1823 (she had only 26) where Shelley’s family didn’t recognize her and she spent his last part of life in poverty and died in 1851.
-Plot: The plot is very simple: Frankenstein is a Swiss scientist who want to create an human being utilizing of his study on electricity and chemistry joining parts of corpse. The result of his work isn’t this what he wanted: he create Monster, an ugly and revolting creature that born good but became cruel after the contact with the society. He became a sort of Murder and in the end kills his creator. The story doesn’t follow a chronological order of events. It is tolled by a series of letters written by Walton, a young explorer in a journey to the search of the North Pole, from his Sister Margaret Saville.
The poem is an epistolary novel. The structure of the story is very complex ,it start with the failed expedition of Walton. Frankenstein is presented during victor’s story who is himself presented during the Walton’s epistolary text(story is tell like a frames). So the novel has three Narrator with three different point of view.
-The theme of double:
the three most important character are all linked to the theme of double:
-dr Frankenstein is the double of Walton, they follow the same ambition and had the same wish to overcame the human limits (like Prometheus myth)= Victor want to create a human being (and was punish for this); Walton travel toward the unknown and want to reach a new place, the north pole (he stops)= same wish of loneliness and to be different.
-dr Frankenstein and his creature are complementary: both suffer for a sense of alienation and isolation, both start with the idea of being good but became obsessed by the hate and revenge.
-interest in forbidden knowledge;
-the usurpation of female role
Shelley was influenced during the composition of her Frankenstein by the new society of his time.
We must remember that during this period there was a Industrial Revolution which changed the social life of English people. Industrial revolution brought to a lot of innovation in every field from the science to the politic!
So science influenced her work, because during this period there were some experiments and new theories on the electricity and on the evolutionism. So Mary Shelley thought that the progress of the science could improve the life of the new society.
In literary field Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein was influenced by other author such as Rousseau, Coleridge or the myth of Prometheus. The creature in fact is similar to the noble selvage of Rousseau and he knew both the state of nature and the state of civilization. But when he understood the reality of the state of civilization he decided to became an outcast. Also Coleridge influenced his work in fact both Frankenstein and Rime of the ancient mariner told a story of a crime against the nature.
But the intellectual society considered Frankenstein in the Modern Prometheus. In fact the scientist, as Prometheus, made a crime against God’s will that is to create a human being becoming the creator.