On the back of the Dover Publications edition of Frankenstein the publisher states that the novel is “acclaimed as both the first modern horror novel and the first science-fiction novel”. Within the first few pages of the book it quickly becomes apparent that along with the themes of horror and science fiction, Frankenstein also includes motifs concerning the attributes of human nature, the evolution of technology, and the capacities of human intellect. However, another important concept that is essential to the story yet arguably less methodical than theoretical matters about science and technology is the theme of love. In fact, it can be argued that subject of love in Frankenstein is, upon further analysis, the most influential theme of the book.
This standpoint about the significance of love in Frankenstein can be asserted because all of the major characters are searching for love of some kind, including the familial, domestic, and brotherly. Specifically, this pursuit of love is exemplified by arguably the most notable character in the book, Frankenstein’s monster. Since the moment of his creation, the monster faces isolation, rejection, and condemnation from both his creator and from society. Because of this, and despite the incongruities that define his very nature, the monster yearns for a feeling and sentiment that is fundamentally and universally human: love. A passage that encapsulates this aspect of the book can be found in the tenth chapter when the monster confronts Victor Frankenstein. This includes the monster making allusions to the Bible, stating “Remember, that I am thy creature; I ought to be thy Adam; but I am rather the fallen angel, whom though drivest from joy for no misdeed” (Shelley 107). These statements made by the monster make reference to the fact that the notion of God’s love is the crux of Christianity. This is epitomized by John 3:16 which famously states, “For God so loved the world the He gave his only begotten Son”. Therefore, in this instance the monster is comparing Frankenstein, his creator, to Christian dogma’s version of God, which is based heavily on the concept of God loving his creations. Thus, this passage solidifies to the reader that the monster’s ultimate goal is to attain some kind of understanding and experience with love.
Additionally, the monster goes on to say “Believe me, Frankenstein: I was benevolent; my soul glowed with love and humanity: but am I not alone, miserably alone? You, my creator, abhor me; what hope can I gather from your fellow-creatures, who owe me nothing? They spurn and hate me” (Shelley 107). Upon reading this passage it is clear that the presence of human interaction, which in essence requires some type of love, is so significant to a person that it is the lack of it which truly makes Frankenstein’s monster a monster, and not the fact that he is the product of bizarre, inhumane science. Therefore, Shelley is putting forward the theory that the implementation of love is vital for the benevolence of people, and can only be found through human connections.
In conclusion, because of the monster’s biblical references and statements considering how the lack of love and acceptance in his life has doomed his existence, it can me interpreted that another aspect of the theory of love that the book thus far is trying to present is that love is the great equalizer among even the darkest aspects of the human consciousness, including the most monstrous as demonstrated by Frankenstein’s monster. Thus in the case of Shelley’s book it is the lack of love that the main characters feel which makes love such a prominent theme. Because of this it is important as readers to remember that it is the inclusion, or rather the exclusion, of love that brings depth to the novel. Without it the characters would be seen purely as stereotypical versions of themselves, making their choices as though everything is black or white. In short, the theme of love in Frankenstein allows for shades of gray without the plot, which is especially interesting when one considers that the novel is overcast with moroseness, and is, at its core, an example of horror fiction.
Shelley, Mary. Frankenstein. New York: Dover Publication, Inc, 2009. Print.