Mary Shelley and Her Views on God and the Human Condition through “Frankenstein”.


Chapter 13

I heard of the slothful Asiatics, of the stupendous genius and mental
activity of the Grecians, of the wars and wonderful virtue of the early
Romans–of their subsequent degenerating–of the decline of that mighty
empire, of chivalry, Christianity, and kings. I heard of the discovery
of the American hemisphere and wept with Safie over the hapless fate of
its original inhabitants.

“These wonderful narrations inspired me with strange feelings. Was
man, indeed, at once so powerful, so virtuous and magnificent, yet so
vicious and base? He appeared at one time a mere scion of the evil
principle and at another as all that can be conceived of noble and

Chapter 15

“…Paradise Lost excited different and far deeper emotions. I read
it, as I had read the other volumes which had fallen into my hands, as
a true history. It moved every feeling of wonder and awe that the
picture of an omnipotent God warring with his creatures was capable of
exciting. I often referred the several situations, as their similarity
struck me, to my own. Like Adam, I was apparently united by no link to
any other being in existence; but his state was far different from mine
in every other respect. He had come forth from the hands of God a
perfect creature, happy and prosperous, guarded by the especial care of
his Creator; he was allowed to converse with and acquire knowledge from
beings of a superior nature, but I was wretched, helpless, and alone.
Many times I considered Satan as the fitter emblem of my condition, for
often, like him, when I viewed the bliss of my protectors, the bitter
gall of envy rose within me.

‘Accursed creator!
Why did you form a monster so hideous that even YOU turned from me in
disgust? God, in pity, made man beautiful and alluring, after his own
image; but my form is a filthy type of yours, more horrid even from the
very resemblance. Satan had his companions, fellow devils, to admire
and encourage him, but I am solitary and abhorred.’

Chapter 24

“When younger,” said he, “I believed myself destined for some great
enterprise. … When I reflected on the work I had completed, no less
a one than the creation of a sensitive and rational animal, I could not
rank myself with the herd of common projectors. But this thought, which
supported me in the commencement of my career, now serves only to plunge
me lower in the dust. All my speculations and hopes are as nothing, and
like the archangel who aspired to omnipotence, I am chained in an eternal
hell. My imagination was vivid, yet my powers of analysis and application
were intense; by the union of these qualities I conceived the idea and
executed the creation of a man. Even now I cannot recollect without
passion my reveries while the work was incomplete. I trod heaven in my
thoughts, now exulting in my powers, now burning with the idea of their

Once I falsely hoped to meet with beings who, pardoning my
outward form, would love me for the excellent qualities which I was
capable of unfolding. I was nourished with high thoughts of honour and
devotion. But now crime has degraded me beneath the meanest animal. No
guilt, no mischief, no malignity, no misery, can be found comparable to
mine. When I run over the frightful catalogue of my sins, I cannot
believe that I am the same creature whose thoughts were once filled
with sublime and transcendent visions of the beauty and the majesty of
goodness. But it is even so; the fallen angel becomes a malignant
devil. Yet even that enemy of God and man had friends and associates
in his desolation; I am alone.

Source: Frankenstein: Chapters 13,15,24.


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