There is a long history of exploring Frankenstein through a feminist lens. A historical examination that explores Mary Shelley’s life and the literature that influenced her writing is key to understanding the feminist elements of Frankenstein. Additionally, this paper will call upon Judith Butler’s concept of gender performativity to examine the ways in which Victor’s monster constructs his own gender identity based upon his creator’s own flawed masculinity. Victor’s gender expression is defined by the time period in which he was created and also by the masculine literature of the time. While masculine literature helped to define both the monster’s and Victor’s gender, there is also a feminist current found within the text. When further examined, this feminist current reveals itself to be Mary Wollstonecraft’s work, Shelley’s mother, which functions to assert the feminist voice in the novel. In this analysis, gender construction and the creature’s birth will be examined. This paper asserts that the creature’s violent and toxic concept of gender stems from his parting with the De Lacey family, his books, and mainly from his relationship with his creator. Moreover, his gender construction is reinforced by his choice of victims and even further by how Victor responds to these killings. Furthermore, when the creature attempts to recreate Victor’s life the results only end in tragedy as the monster is not able to be part of the Social Contract Theory. In the end, Victor and the monster demonstrate the pitfalls of first-generation Romanticism and the inflation of self.
"Frankenstein: A Feminist Interpretation of Gender Construction,"
Augsburg Honors Review: Vol. 11
, Article 1.
Available at: https://idun.augsburg.edu/honors_review/vol11/iss1/1