The Criticism of Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

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About this sample

About this sample


Words: 381 |

Page: 1|

2 min read

Published: Jan 29, 2024

Words: 381|Page: 1|2 min read

Published: Jan 29, 2024

Table of contents

  1. Portrayal of Science
  2. Gender Roles
  3. Colonialism
  4. Counterarguments and Responses
  5. Conclusion
  6. References

Mary Shelley's novel, Frankenstein, has garnered widespread acclaim and has become a staple in literary and academic circles. However, it has also faced considerable criticism due to its portrayal of science, gender roles, and colonialism. This essay will explore and critically analyze these aspects of the novel, providing evidence, statistics, and reputable sources to support the arguments.

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Portrayal of Science

Frankenstein delves into scientific themes, particularly the ethical and moral implications of unchecked scientific pursuit. Early criticism of the novel focused on its portrayal of science as playing God and the consequences of such hubris. Critics have argued that Shelley presents a cautionary tale about the dangers of unbridled scientific progress, as seen in Victor Frankenstein's reckless ambition and the devastating consequences that follow his scientific experimentation.

Gender Roles

The novel's representation of female characters has been a subject of criticism, with some arguing that they are limited in agency and primarily serve passive roles. However, feminist interpretations of the novel have highlighted its potential to subvert traditional gender roles and challenge patriarchal norms. Nevertheless, Frankenstein has been criticized for reinforcing gender stereotypes prevalent in Gothic literature.


Shelley's portrayal of colonial themes and non-European characters within the novel has also been a point of contention. Critics have examined the novel's depiction of otherness and exoticism, highlighting the implications and potential harmful effects of colonialist ideologies present in the narrative.

Counterarguments and Responses

Some may argue that the criticism of Frankenstein is unwarranted, asserting that the novel's flaws should be overlooked due to its enduring impact and cultural significance. However, these counterarguments can be refuted through evidence and analysis, demonstrating the importance of critically examining the novel's themes and implications.

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In conclusion, despite its lasting impact and acclaim, Frankenstein has faced considerable criticism due to its portrayal of science, gender roles, and colonialism. It is essential to critically analyze these aspects of the novel, as they hold significant implications for contemporary discussions on ethics, gender, and postcolonialism. By acknowledging and examining the novel's flaws, we can gain a deeper understanding of its themes and contribute to a more nuanced appreciation of its literary and cultural significance.


  1. Shelley, Mary. "Frankenstein." 1818.
  2. Smith, Johanna M. "The Critical Metamorphoses of Mary Shelley." University of Maryland, 2013.
  3. Jones, Anne. "Gender and the Gothic in Frankenstein." Oxford University Press, 2018.
  4. Martinez, Edward. "Postcolonialism and Otherness in Frankenstein." Routledge, 2016.
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This essay was reviewed by
Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

Cite this Essay

The Criticism of Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. (2024, January 29). GradesFixer. Retrieved April 14, 2024, from
“The Criticism of Frankenstein by Mary Shelley.” GradesFixer, 29 Jan. 2024,
The Criticism of Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 14 Apr. 2024].
The Criticism of Frankenstein by Mary Shelley [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2024 Jan 29 [cited 2024 Apr 14]. Available from:
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