ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Mary Shelley's Inspiration for Frankenstein

Updated on January 2, 2015

About Mary Shelley

Mary Shelley was born Mary Godwin, in London on Aug. 30, 1797. Her mother passed away a few days after her birth. Her father was the philosopher and political journalist, William Godwin. She married poet Percy Bysshe Shelley in 1816. Mary was 19 when at Bellerive, near Geneva, in Switzerland, in the summer of 1816, she began writing what is often referred to as the first science fiction novel, Frankenstein. It was published in March, 1818.

Ghost Stories at Lord Byron's

The novel had its beginnings while Mary Shelley and her husband were visiting the poet, Lord Byron, in the summer of 1816. The weather had been unusually cool and stormy, forcing the group of poets to entertain themselves inside. Shelley wrote in her diary, "some volumes of ghost stories, translated from the German into French, fell into our hands".

Lord Byron challenged each of his guests to write a ghost story. So it was with stormy weather and haunting tales that Shelley conjured up the vision of what would become Frankenstein’s Monster. "When I placed my head upon my pillow, I did not sleep, nor could I be said to think... I saw – with shut eyes, but acute mental vision – I saw the pale student of unhallowed arts kneeling beside the thing he had put together. I saw the hideous phantasm of a man stretched out, and then, on the working of some powerful engine, show signs of life, and stir with an uneasy, half-vital motion. Frightful must it be; for supremely frightful would be the effect of any human endeavor to mock the stupendous Creator of the world."

Creating Victor Frankenstein

In Mary Shelley’s tale, Victor Frankenstein is a researcher from a wealthy family who is consumed by his desire to learn the secret of creating life. Mary, having just prior to writing the novel given birth prematurely to a child who died shortly afterward, may have found the premise of life and death, on which she based her story, from this experience.

The story proceeds with Frankenstein assembling a creature from parts of deadbodies and using lightning to bring it to life. The procedure described by which heassembling a creto bring it to life. The procedure described by which he accomplished this most likely arose from discussions on galvanism and electric shocks which took place during conversations at Lord Byron’s villa. Once Frankenstein had succeeded in bringing the creature to life, he found it an abomination and abandoned it. The creature pursues him, vowing to destroy everyone around Frankenstein if he doesn’t create a mate for him.

A Literary Masterpiece

In addition to Mary Shelley’s visions and discussions on tales of horror, she was also inspired by books she had read such as 'Paradise Lost' and 'The Rime of the Ancient Mariner'. Commentators have also noted the philosophical influence of her father William Godwin as well as her husband, Percy Shelley throughout components of the novel. Frankenstein was unique in that it was the first literary work to approach overcoming death from a scientific perspective. Upon the novel’s release, it was met with both acclaim and disparagement but it still endures today as a literary masterpiece.

The Life of Mary Shelley

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)