To understand what motivated Mary Wollstonecraft to write Frankenstein one needs to understand thoroughly her background and life story which led her to the literary works and successes. I will argue that Frankenstein was created as Mary’s view of her current life with her husband, where the monster would be his ex-wife and Mary would associate herself with Dr. Frankenstein. Later one will see that Mary’s life resembles the story.
Mary Wollstonecraft was born in London in 1797 on August 30 to the parents involved in the literary works. The mother of Mary, Wollstonecraft was the well-known author of a Vindication of the Rights of Women, a contemporary feminist masterpiece that would encourage females to think and act for themselves without relying much on men as it was customarily at that time (Casson, 206). Mary’s mother died when giving birth to Mary, leaving Mary up to her father, William Godwin to take care of her (Foster, 290). William Godwin was a member of a radical group of English thinkers who together with Thomas Paine and William Blake would push forward novel ideas (Koontz, 2002, 251). As a result of being brought up by her father, Mary would be exposed to cutting age, provocative and modern ideas of her time which in turn is said to have contributed to her connection with Lord Byron (Stoker, 349).
One also needs to remember that as a teenager Mary Wollstonecraft would meet Percy Bysshe Shelley, a young poet who had drastically impacted Mary’s thinking (Sustein, 25). At that time they developed the romantic connection with each other, and in 1814 they both would run for a quick tour of France, Germany, Austria, and Switzerland (Mellor, 43). Percy Shelley would run away from his wife while Mary would run away from her family (Coghill, 89). Still, their love story was not that bright and happy and soon would come to an end. Percy Shelley would continuously be combating the demand of his wife Harriet, while Mary would accept advances from another man (Vincent, 53).
Despite such distractions from Percy’s wife and Mary’s male friends the relationship of Mary and Percy would endure and get formalized under rather horrific circumstances: Harriet (Percy’s wife), who was pregnant with Percy’s child would commit a suicide by jumping off one of London’s bridges in November of 1816 and thus freed Percy for another marriage, this time with Mary (Spark, 312). Mary and Percy would get married only a few weeks after Harriet’s funeral (Bloom, 74).
The romantic union which was now formalized as a wedding would not only be unrealistic yet also literarily prolific(Gerson, 170). Percy would serve as an editor of Mary’s rough draft of Frankenstein and is also believed to had written the preface to the Frankenstein under her name (Seymor, 111).
The new book which got published in 1818 in London gained immediate recognition and popularity and was considered a bestseller. For Mary, Frankenstein book was probably one of the very few successes and bright spots in her life amid numerous tragedies (Koontz, 2003, 283). From 1815 to 1819 three out of four children of Percy and Mary would die in infancy. In 1822, her husband Percy would drown in Tuscany while swimming in the sea. Mary was left a widow and a mother with only one child. I will add here that Mary would then spend most of her time creating and revising the poetry written by her husband (Schor, 344). Mary would edit and publish his famous “Posthumous poems” in 1824 let alone his Poetical Works and Letters in 1839 (Morton, 172). Also, she would create her other pieces of literature which nonetheless were not as famous as Frankenstein. Among them: Valperga, The Last Man, the Fortunes of Perkin Warbeck, Lodore and Falkner (Schneider, 100).
As one can see the story, Frankenstein was written in the early years when Percy and Mary met and got together as a couple (Miller, 60). One can remember when reading the Frankenstein that the monster, in fact, loved his creator and followed him everywhere. In our case, the wife of Percy seems to be that monster who looked for and developed Percy till the rest of her life (Rozakis, 72). The fact that Percy’s wife would be making advances to Percy even after the separation was akin monster following Frankenstein and trying to ruin his happiness since he left the beast alone in the world without a couple (Grylls, 358).
Percy’s wife after the separation was also alone and also willing to interfere with Percy’s life, something that caused Percy to run away with Mary to France for the tour which they made (Meyer, 220). In our case, Mary was Dr. Frankenstein, while Percy’s wife was the monster which followed the coupled. Ironically, as it was written in Frankenstein book, where the beast took the life of Dr. Frankenstein’s bride, so would Percy also die in the water as his wife did.
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