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Frankenstein by Mary Shelley: Character | Setting | Themes

Background information and resources for locating critical sources from books, articles and internet sources, instructional tips and links to more help.


This is a list of suggestions for term paper topics. 



  • Physical deformity
  • Ambition
  • Parental love and responsibility
  • Father/son relationship
  • Science and ethics
  • Revenge
  • Social responsibility
  • Good versus evil
  • Obsessive behavior
  • Horror and terror
  • Artificial life
  • Parental neglect
  • Child Abandonment
  • Existence of God
  • Predestination
  • Childhood
  • Alienation and loneliness
  • Nature vs. Nurture
  • Appearances and reality
  • Duty and responsibility
  • Justice vs. Injustice
  • Social isolation
  • Pride
  • Science fiction
  • Compare the novel to Mary Shelley's life
  • Compare characters in the story, e.g. the monster to Victor
  • Character analysis

Topics for Further Study

  • Compare and contrast Robert Walton's and Victor Frankenstein's personalities. You might draw parallels between their quest to conquer the unknown, their emotional ties to other individuals, or their loneliness.
  • Research some of the prominent issues in your society that Shelley addresses in her novel, such as genetic engineering, or the effects of abandonment on children whose fathers have disappeared from their lives. Make a comparison between the novel and your discoveries and discuss observations about how your society is coping with or addressing these sensitive issues.
  • Analyze the theme of justice in the novel. What does Justine's trial have to do with Victor's treatment of his creature or the creature's treatment of Victor's family and friends? How does the theme of revenge relate to issues of justice?
  • Research some of the characteristics of the Romantic movement, such as isolation, an emphasis on nature, or the notion that humans are inherently good, and argue how and why Shelley's novel is an embodiment of the English Romantic movement. Or, argue why her novel is not an embodiment of the English Romantic movement.

Keywords: Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft;  Frankenstein; science fiction; treatment of nature;  treatment of fear;  Romanticism;  treatment of monsters;  Biblical allusion;  Gothic novel;  relationship to science;  creation;  sources in classical myth 


Monster in adaptation of Frankenstein in 1910

Victor Frankenstein - the science student who creates the monster or demon

The Monster - Frankenstein's creation

Robert Walton - an explorer and captain of a ship on an expedition to the Arctic

Elizabeth Lavenza - Victor's fiance; adopted by Victor's parents. Elizabeth was raised as Victor's sister

Henry Clerval - friend of Victor

The DeLacey Family - the French family the monster observes from his hiding place

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