About the Author
Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (1797-1851)
Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin was born to political philosopher William Godwin and feminist philosopher Mary Wollstonecraft, author of Vindication of the Rights of Women. Her mother died less than a month after she was born. Shelley was raised by her father, who remarried when she was four to a woman with whom Shelley did not get along. She met the poet Percy Shelley when she was sixteen and began seeing him romantically, secretly meeting him at her mother’s grave. She married Percy Shelley and they had four children, three of whom died. Mary Shelley conceived the idea for Frankenstein during a visit to Lord Byron, another poet of the Romantic era, in 1816. She published Frankenstein anonymously in 1818. Percy Shelley drowned in a boating accident in 1822, leaving Shelley a widow. She lived on a small allowance and wrote to support herself but struggled financially and her life was riddled by scandal. She became comfortable upon her son’s inheritance of his father’s estate, but she died only seven years later from a brain tumor at age fifty-four.
Frankenstein is a classic Gothic horror tale of a scientist obsessed with creating a sentient creature. Frankenstein deals with the themes of creation, obsession, ambition, revenge, alienation, and the problem of technology. It is a gripping tale of murder, tragedy, and despair that has captured the imagination of millions worldwide for the last hundred years.
Questions for reading Frankenstein
What do you think would be different about the story if the character of Victor Frankenstein had been the only one telling it?
Why does Frankenstein become obsessed with creating life?
Frankenstein and his monster begin with good intentions but reap malignant results. Why does this happen?
Why is Frankenstein’s monster resentful toward his creator?
What is the role of life balance and obsession in this story?
Did you feel sympathy for Victor Frankenstein? How about his creature?
How do technology, man’s limitations, and divine power factor in the themes of this book?