Mary Shelley is undoubtedly a heroine as she outlived and overcame many setbacks during her lifetime. Shelley became an author mostly due to the influence of her father’s acquaintances. She wrote Frankenstein in 1818, as a result of a dare from Lord Byron. The image of Dr. Frankenstein in some way resembles Mary Shelley, especially in their vulnerabilities and a multitude of hardships they faced. Mary Shelley wrote different novels that belonged to different genres, ranging from apocalyptic and political to horror and science fiction. She probably wrote them to depict and express her beliefs, values as well as the hardships she had faced during all her life.
Mary Shelley, born Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley on August 30, 1797, in London, is one of the most well-known and highly respected authors of all times. During her lifetime, she had written numerous works, including novels, essays, short stories and biographies. However, her single and the most famous work is a novel called Frankenstein.
As it is mentioned before, Mary Shelley can be definitely considered as a hero for a few reasons. First of all, she was a self-educated writer, well-acquainted with literature, and surrounded by the famous men like Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Percy Bysshe Shelley, who were a part of her father’s intellectual group of acquaintances and friends. Thus, this fact directly contributed to the publishing of her first poem, when she was only ten years old, and set on her path to becoming one of the world’s most celebrated authors. Second of all, Shelley managed to find love in spite of all the hardships she faced in her early life: the death of her mother, hatred and envy, inappropriate attitude of her step-mother, falling in love with a man who was already married, ostracism, constant debt, as well as the death of their prematurely born daughter. She got married to Percy Bysshe Shelley in 1816, against all odds. Third, Shelley was one of the biggest facilitators for the acceptance of all women as credible and legitimate contributors to literature. Women at the time were not given opportunities to become scholars or authors. But Mrs. Shelly was self-taught and she wrote a book Frankenstein, which became so popular and impressive. She in essence fought for women’s right to be treated as equally with men when it came to contributions to literature. Lastly, Shelley was able to follow her dream of becoming an author, and achieve high levels in the sphere of literature, in spite of the many horrid things she faced in her life that would probably be unbearable for most of other people. After the deaths of her son and daughter in 1818 and 1819 respectively, Shelley had a nervous breakdown. She also had a miscarriage in the year 1822, the same year when her husband Percy drowned and died. Despite all the tragedies in her life, the extraordinary character of Shelley made her become one of the most celebrated female authors and probably one the most celebrated writers of all times.
Mary Shelley became a writer at the tender age of 10 years, when she published her first poem. The novel Frankenstein was published in 1818, when Shelley was a relatively young 19-years-old girl. The idea to write such a novel was mostly influenced by her being a self-educated writer, and the fact that she was surrounded by the famous men like Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Charles Lamb and Percy Bysshe Shelley. She followed their ideals, and as a result, chose to become a writer. Shelley probably wanted to be seen in the same light as her father’s intellectual acquaintances, group of friends and political followers. Another probable reason that pushed Mary Shelley to become a writer was an attempt to keep the spirit of her mother alive by following her footsteps. She knew that she was responsible for her mother’s death; her mother had died eleven days after giving birth to Mary Shelley. The young girl felt guilty about it, so becoming a writer was probably her way to cope with the pain and try to ease the guilt. We can also say that Mary Shelley did this in order to make her mother happy and proud of her achievements.
Mary Shelley wrote the novel Frankenstein in the year 1818, when she was only 19 years old, which came about mostly because of a dare from Lord Byron to write a ghost story; she and her husband had visited Lord Byron in the summer of 1816. After that, Mary Shelley had a nightmare that would become a direct inspiration to write the story. Shelley said that in her dream she saw the following:
I saw the pale student of unhallowed arts kneeling beside the object, the thing that he had put together. I saw the hideous figure of a man who was stretched out, and then, through the working of some powerful engine, showed signs of life, and he stirred with an uneasy, half vital motion.
The “figure of a man” would eventually become Dr. Frankenstein’s monster.
Dr. Frankenstein is the character of the same name novel that resembles Mary Shelley because of a number of reasons. First of all, Dr. Frankenstein’s younger brother, called William, died. Dr. Frankenstein could not understand the main reason of his brother’s death and wondered whether he was the cause of it or Justine, his cousin. Likewise, Mary Shelley had a son named William, who also died. Both deaths were similar because of their mysteriousness. The second similarity is that both Frankenstein and Mary Shelley lost their mothers at the young age. The third similarity is that both Mary Shelley and Victor Frankenstein created things. Dr. Frankenstein created his monster as a representation of the life he desired to live, while Mary Shelley’s novel was an indirect representation of the life she had lived. The fourth similarity is that both Frankenstein and Mary Shelley felt responsible for the deaths of their loved ones. On one side, Frankenstein created his monster which then proceeded to kill his younger brother, William, and later on his wife, Elizabeth, on their wedding night. As a result, Frankenstein felt like he was the one responsible for both his wife and brother’s deaths. On the other side, Mary Shelley’s own birth was the cause of her mother’s death, and later on when her friend Fanny Imlay committed suicide, Shelley felt that had she not been so wrapped up in her own issues and affairs, she could have sensed Fanny’s despair and in some way helped her come over it.
Mary Shelley used a variety of genres and styles in writing of her fiction novels. Frankenstein was a gothic horror and science fiction novel; Valperga, published in 1823, was a historical novel, as well as Perkin Warbeck, which was published in 1830; The Last Man, published in 1826, was an apocalyptic novel; a drama about power and responsibility, Lodore, published in 1835, was her penultimate novel; and Falkner, which was published in 1837, was a political novel. One common theme in all Shelley’s works, despite their difference, is suffering. It should also be mentioned that all the heroines in Mary Shelley’s novels, with an exception of Falkner, were unhappy.