The novel Frankenstein by Mary Shelly was published in 1818. Her parent had undoubtedly influenced her ways of writing. Her father, William Godwin is famous with his piece “An Enquiry Concerning Political Justice while her mother, Mary Wollstonecraft wrote “A Vindication of the Rights of Woman” is two prominent radical writers who call for reform during French Revolution. Bringing both feminism and radical views from her parents, Shelley critiques women’s weak, docile and uneducated character. She also shows how women are often degraded and treated unjustly. The reason she brought the issues forward is to make women realize that they should improve their position and women should not conform to the dogma that they are always weak.
The construction of women characters in Shelley’s novel directly echoes her mother’s “A Vindication of Rights of Woman” about how women are treated and portray themselves. Wollstonecraft said “a profound conviction that the neglected education of my fellow-creatures is the grand source of the misery I deplore, and that women, in particular, are rendered weak and wretched by a variety of concurring causes, originating from one hasty conclusion”. She basically expresses her concern that lack of education in women makes them as a weak object. Thus, during Justine’s murder trial, Shelley shows that women have minimal power to change their fate if they are uneducated and from a lower social class. Not only she is convicted doing a crime she did not do, the religious institution harassed her until she “began to think that [she] was a monster he thinks [she] was”. Eventually, she was executed. This court scene is a perfect evidence for Shelley to comment on how within the society, women without knowledge will be treated unjustly. She wants justice and equality to given to women. Were Justine to be in higher class and have an education, she would know that she was framed and would have the ability to refute the evidence.
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