Updated: Dec 11, 2020
'Frankenstein' warns about the dangers of over-ambition
Frankenstein is the story of a young scientist, Victor Frankenstein, who creates a living monster out of dead bodies. This results in the deaths of most of his friends and family, and eventually of Frankenstein himself.
It's regarded as one of the most influential novels in English literature, and it's often considered to be the first science fiction story.
Frankenstein has two strong messages:
Ambition has the power to be dangerous, particularly if it's selfishly or recklessly pursued, and it can lead to death and destruction.
Certain knowledge is forbidden - and mankind shouldn't meddle with it as the consequences could be terrible.
Mary Shelley had a literary background
Mary Shelley was the child of two famous writers - Mary Wollstonecraft, an early feminist, and William Goodwin, a controversial political writer. Many of her parents' friends were also writers.
Shelley married the 'Romantic' poet Percy Bysshe Shelley. They travelled through Europe together, and many of the locations they visited are mentioned in Frankenstein.
1797 - Born on 30th August, in London. Her mother dies just days later from complications.
1812-14 - Goes to stay in Scotland with friends. The beautiful scenery inspires her to begin writing.
1814 - Elopes to Switzerland with the married poet Percy Bysshe Shelley.
1815 - Gives birth to a child, who dies shortly after.
1816 - Writes a short story during a stay at Lake Geneva, which would later be adapted into 'Frankenstein'.
Marries Percy after his first wife drowns.
1818 - 'Frankenstein' is published.
1822 - Percy dies in a boating accident.
1831 - Revised edition of 'Frankenstein' published.
1851 - Dies, aged 53.