Frankenstein – Socratic

“Do Victor and the monster differ in their view of women, and if so, how?

Socratic Discussion

To start off, women in the novel, Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, are proven over and over to appear as very passive and disposable. All women in the novel had little to no character development and were flat in all aspects of literature. They were all submissive extras that merely helped with the progression of the male-dominance that is present in Frankenstein. During the time the novel was written, women’s rights were considered as absurd as animal rights, and that is perfectly reflected in Mary Shelley’s novel.

The first example of a very prominent woman-submissive is Justine. Justine’s voice was seldom heard; she was constantly placed behind everyone else and she is ultimately framed for the murder of Victor’s brother, William – it is very important to note that Victor could’ve helped Justine and admit to his crime but decided against it. Agatha De Lacey’s feelings and emotions were also constantly disregarded. She proceeded to care for her brother and father despite her own sadness for their poverty. Safie was racially fetishized and was betrothed to Felix. They saw her as a beautiful woman and nothing more. Even though the monster learned the language because of her, he also saw her as merely a pretty thing, “countenance of angelic beauty.” Now the main example is Elizabeth. From the very beginning, she was brought to Victor by his mother, Caroline, who told him that Elizabeth for him. She is described by, “none could behold her without looking at her as a distinct species, as being heaven-sent, and bearing a celestial stamp in all her features,” and led to Victor thinking of her as, “the most fragile creature in the world.” Unfortunately, she also became a victim and was reduced to becoming an object for revenge, along with other female characters. She is depicted as a stereotypical woman of being beautiful and angelic, weak and submissive; therefore, representing the ideal womanhood with its promises of love and comfort.

Both Victor and the monster saw a woman as the ultimate companion. The difference between the two characters is that Victor was possessive over Elizabeth and it was more so of her existing for him and not for her to be a companion and a partner; even though companion-ship was present in their relationship. “I looked upon Elizabeth as mine – mine to protect, love and cherish. All praises bestowed on her I received as made to a possession of my own,” she is simply demeaned to becoming something of Victor’s for him to do whatever he pleases with her. By the end, Elizabeth was Victor’s constant that was able to alleviate his guilty conscience. Fortunately, Victor was proper in the way where he did not verbally or physically debase her.

The similarities between the two males are very prominent when the monster requested Victor to create a female companion for him. He compares himself to Adam and complains that God has created Eve for Adam, whereas his creator did not do that for him. The parallels here are very interesting; Eve was for Adam, the female monster was to be for the creature, Elizabeth is for Victor. “Like Adam, I was created apparently united by no link to any other being in existence.” “The creature mourns, “no Eve soothed my sorrows, nor shared my thoughts; I was alone.”” After agreeing to create the monster’s female, Victor eventually destroys her. It is also interesting to note that Victor chose to destroy the female monster and not the male. There is another contrast with this scene: both of the main characters destroyed the other’s love interest. Both, Victor and the monster have also chosen to ignore the consequences that might happen with their female companions; Victor had ignored the monster’s threat of him being with Victor on his wedding night and chose to think selfishly that the monster was out to get him, only. He disregarded the fact that the monster could end up killing Elizabeth and proceeded to get married to her soon after, which led to the consequence of Elizabeth being murdered. The fact that creating a female could create numerous negative outcomes also seemed to slip the monster’s mind. Creating another one of his species could not only have brought harm to society, but also to the female, which is proven in the film, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein directed by Kenneth Branagh. It is obvious that Frankenstein and his creation have many parallels and their views on women are very similar, as well.

The monster and Victor both say and wish that they are different from each other, but it is proven otherwise in many different scenarios. When it comes to women, their intentions are the same recipe but different outcomes.




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8 thoughts on “Frankenstein – Socratic

  1. Dear Christina;

    This piece was very thoughtful, and I enjoyed hearing what you had to say about the novel. At this point, I did not think I could hear anything more that could surprise me in regards to the story and its underlying themes, yet some of your arguments in here are very though-provoking. Your bit about Frankenstein and the monster both destroying each other’s love interests, as well as the bit about the monster being denied his Eve are apt points.

    To improve, I would just watch your sentence structure and grammar. There are some pieces that I could not understand, even after I read them over multiple times. Other than that, however, this was very well done, and I enjoyed hearing your thoughts.


    1. Tony,
      Thank you for reading this post. The fact that a published author read and enjoyed my piece makes me very happy. I will definitely be looking over this piece and fixing any type of grammar and sentence structure problems as well as looking over parts that I assumed made sense.
      Thank you.

  2. Tina,

    First off, I would just like to say that I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to work with you on this Hamlet project, and I am excited to see how your writing abilities shown in this piece will appear for our current unit. You have an excellent brain for analysis; you had an incredibly wide field of evidence that you used to completely and totally prove your point, and then some. Some of us take one point and run away with it, but you remained grounded in the text, and it made your point incredibly concrete. Where some may have chosen a superficial analysis, essentially parroting back fragments from class, you delved into the text yourself and found misogyny beyond the obvious. However, that being said, with your description of how women are treated in the novel, I finished the piece wishing for a universal. These issues are so prevalent there is an entire school of criticism dedicated to them, and although it is not a requirement of the prompt, I feel that all the evidence you collected could have been used to make a wider point about the society Frankenstein came from. Another potential area for growth is sentence variety and diction. I appreciated your boundless fountain of evidence, but throwing in some fancy words can jazz up a piece and help it appeal to more than the Logos part of our brains.

    Thank you for tackling this prompt. As we’ve seen even in this class, this is a contentious topic, and I appreciate your willingness to start conversations like this.


    1. Maria,
      Thank you so much for taking time to read my work, it means a lot. You have never failed to inspire me and many other people in our class. I will look into reviewing this piece and adding more universal elements as well as incorporate some pathos.
      Thank you.

  3. Dear Tina,
    Your flow is amazing. I struggle so much to connect my ideas smoothly from one sentence to another, but you seem to do it so skillfully. I felt as if I was gliding through your paragraphs, barely noticing the transition point. This skill is incredibly important, and I am able to fully appreciate your writing, since your flow enhanced your ideas, rather than compromised them.

    I really enjoyed your argument. Women, in this novel were not given much of the spotlight, but they were essential to support the overpowering masculinity of the novel. Your analysis of Justine, Safie, and Elizabeth, in relation to the men in their life not only showed the discrimination they faced, but their role as a mere object of beauty.

    There is one thing that I think you missed. In the third paragraph, you said, “The difference between the two characters is that Victor was possessive over Elizabeth and it was more so of her existing for him and not for her to be a companion and a partner” but you followed only describing the way that Victor was, and forgot to take about the monster. If your intention was to only talk about Victor, then I think that you should change the sentence I quoted in order for it to make sense.

    The last lines were incredibly powerful. They did sum up what you stated earlier, but I feel that you could elaborate on “the different outcomes”. What were they? I know you mentioned them in previous paragraphs, but if you state it in your conclusion, the reader is reminded again of your argument.

    My main takeaway from your writing is your flow, and I look forward to learning more from reading your work in the future!

    1. Nazeefa,
      Thank you so, so much for reading my piece. I am glad that my flow is good since it is something that I’ve struggled in, for as long as I remember. I think I will re-word the quote you mentioned a bit since it was hard for me to include monster examples.
      Thank you for the insightful feedback.

  4. Dear Christina,

    I loved the topic that you decided to write about. The ideas of sexism or anti-feminism are very prevalent in the novel. I loved that you didn’t just talk about Elizabeth- that you also mentioned Justine and Agatha. This allowed your discussion to be more well-rounded, as you provided more evidence. Your writing is very clear and concise. You provided just the right amount of detail without being overbearing and without being vague. I LOVE how you had the idea of mentioning how both Frankenstein and the Monster kill each others’ lovers. This almost makes the women look like pawns in the game that the Monster and Frankenstein are playing with each other. Your insights are so thoughtful.

    One thing I would recommend is just that when you are talking about the difference between how Frankenstein and the Monster view women, add more details about how the Monster views women. I found that in that paragraph you kept it very Frankenstein focused.

    Other than that- I LOVED this and I can’t wait to read more of your writing.

    1. Petrina,
      I am glad that you enjoyed my work! I definitely agree that women were made out to be like pawns in Victor and the monster’s game. I will definitely try my best to research more on the monster’s view on women for it was kind of difficult for me to do in the first place.
      Thank you.

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