Journal of Religion and Health

, Volume 45, Issue 3, pp 419–439 | Cite as

Why did Mary Shelley Write Frankenstein?

  • Anthony F. BadalamentiEmail author


Mary Shelley’s novel “Frankenstein; or, the Modern Prometheus” is presented here as her encoded image of unconscious emotions too painful for her waking personality to deal with. Her innovative image of man-made life is taken as emerging from the confrontation of her hopes for secure love with painful events in her life with Percy Shelley. This paper proposes that her novel served as a waking expression of unconscious feelings of hurt in reaction to Percy. The monster’s role is here decoded as her way to consciously process the idea that parts of her relation to Percy were so hurtful as to deform it into a miscreant. It is further proposed that the losses and frustrations of her earliest years inclined her to accept Percy’s violations in the hope of the secure love she longed for. The answer offered to this paper’s title accounts for why “Frankenstein” is taken to refer to the unnamed monster and not its creator.


Mary Shelley Frankenstein love motivation frame 


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Copyright information

© Blanton-Peale Institute 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.WestwoodUSA

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