‘Now I Am a Man!’: Performing Sexual Violence in the National Theatre Production of Frankenstein

  • Courtney A. Hoffman
Part of the Studies in Global Science Fiction book series (SGSF)


The 2011 National Theatre stage adaptation of Frankenstein, written by Nick Dear and directed by Danny Boyle, highlights a construction of masculinity that relies on and normalises violence against women. Though Shelley’s narrating scientist only briefly mentions his interactions with his female creature and brushes over his fiancée’s death, on stage, Victor performs necrophilic acts to taunt his creation/counterpart. Later, he and the audience watch while the creature rapes and then murders Elizabeth in a brutal simulacrum of sexual climax. These scenes of violence against women, performed frankly, do not allow for the possibility of emotional recovery or resolution on the part of the audience but instead become a parody of desire and agency. They thus reinforce violent stereotypes as the basis of toxic masculinity.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Courtney A. Hoffman
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Literature, Media, and CommunicationGeorgia Institute of TechnologyAtlantaUSA

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