Essays About Frankenstein: Top 5 Examples Plus Prompts

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is one of the greatest works of literature; if you are writing essays about Frankenstein, you can start by reading some essay examples. 

When we think of Frankenstein, we often picture a hulking monster. However, “Frankenstein” refers to one of two things: The novel Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, or Dr. Victor Frankenstein, the scientist who created the great beast. The monster is Frankenstein’s monster, not Frankenstein himself.

Dr. Frankenstein defies nature in the novel and creates sentient body-stitched body parts. Unfortunately, his creation turns on him, and the scientist eventually dies. The novel is a good reminder of our very nature as human beings and our place in the world. 

If you want to write a good essay about Frankenstein, read these essay examples and prompts for inspiration. 

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1. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley: Critical Essay by Andrew Eliot Binder

“Shelley immediately likens Frankenstein to his own creation through the word “wretched,” and, in doing so, present an irony. Frankenstein deserts his “wretched” creation, who then becomes hungry and harassed by society. But when the roles are reversed, and Frankenstein is described as “wretched,” he is given “soup,” shelter, and protection from being “tormented.”

Binder’s essay compares the characters of Walton and Frankenstein, showing the importance of human relationships. Despite their similar upbringing and personality, Walton craves companionship while Frankenstein isolates himself; the former survives while the latter perishes. Binder believes that Shelley intends to show the importance of being part of society, for we will not survive without it.  

2. Suspense in Frankenstein by Sophie Tyler

“The message of the novel is that scientists should have self-control in their work to avoid becoming obsessed, otherwise this will lead to their ‘destruction’ as was the case with Frankenstein. In the novel Captain Walton learned from Frankenstein and decided to put an end to his obsession of reaching the north..”

In her essay, Tyler discusses how Shelley creates suspense in Frankenstein through word choice, the symbolism of darkness, pacing, and short sentence structure. Put together, Shelley evokes a dark, foreboding tone, showing the scientist’s terror as the novel progresses and, consequently, the message that scientists must not overstep their bounds and have restraint in their work.

3. Dr. Frankenstein’s Three Big Mistakes by Charlotte Gordon

“Artificial intelligence isn’t likely to kill us all—but the more people work on the problem, the more the odds go down. Frankenstein’s creature did not have to be a blight on society. He devolved into a monster of revenge because he was abandoned by his creator.”

Gordon writes about the rise of artificial intelligence and its similarity to Shelley’s Frankenstein. He describes Dr. Frankenstein’s mistakes, unwillingness to share his research with others, neglecting his creation until it was too late to stop it, and poor design due to inadequate resources. A.I. researchers can learn from these mistakes to ensure that their creations do not prove detrimental to others’ lives, as in Frankenstein or society. 

4. Frankenstein is a Tragedy, Not a Romantic Novel by Jennifer N. Adams

“What Mary Shelley had written, was a tragedy. Both characters, Frankenstein and the monster suffered great tragedies in their life; Frankenstein suffered from the continuous loss of family and friends from his own mistake and the monster suffered a life of solitude and not having known love, kindness, or friendship.”

Adams poses a theory that Frankenstein is a tragic work of literature rather than a romantic novel. Frankenstein and the monster suffer greatly, and conflict is demonstrated against each other and in their heads. Their actions throughout the novel are a result of their tragedies. Adams does an excellent job of conveying her beliefs and presenting evidence to support her claim. 

5. Frankenstein & Gender Roles by Frederick Hopkins

“Jane Austen once wrote ‘hate to hear you talk about all women as if they were fine ladies instead of rational creatures. None of us want to be calm waters all our lives’. This helps to sum up the possible mention of the need for the emancipation for women throughout Shelley’s book. We are introduced to varying female roles throughout the book, from Elizabeth to Safie, the ‘gender roles’ have varied in empowering one character while leaving the other to be the representation of the ‘times’.”

Hopkins’s essay discusses how Frankenstein reflects Shelley’s views on gender roles. For example, the character Justine is a “passive, submissive” woman of the time; she meets an unfortunate end. Safie, on the other hand, is more independent and brings joy to everyone when she is present. These examples, among others, reflect Shelley’s desire for society to change its attitude towards women. 

Prompts on Essays about Frankenstein

1. Why Can Readers Empathize With The Monster? 

Essays about Frankenstein
Universal Pictures, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

A significant aspect of the story is the monster’s “humanity.” Readers can identify with his character and relationship with society. It is interesting to discuss why this could be the case. Delve into the question, “how do we relate to the monster?” Write about the different ways the monster appears more human and “worthy of empathy,” so to speak.

2. Is Franknstein “The Modern Prometheus”?

Interestingly, Frankenstein is suggested to be a modern version of the Greek god. Look into who Prometheus was in mythology and consider the similarities between him and Dr. Frankenstein. How is he a “modern Prometheus?” Use sources to support your findings, and create a compelling argumentative essay.

3. The True Monster Of The Story

On a surface level, Frankenstein’s creation is the “monster” in the novel. However, some argue that the true monster is Frankenstein, for tampering with the creation of organic life. So who is the monster to you? There is abundant evidence to support either character; for an engaging essay, get quotes from the novel and online sources. 

4. Lessons We Can Learn From Frankenstein

Behind Frankenstein lies a set of truths about humanity and some values and lessons we can learn from. What do the story and characters reveal about our inherent nature, and what lessons can we apply to our own lives? You can write about one or more, but be sure to explain them in detail.

5. Does Frankenstein Deserve Its Fame?

Frankenstein is regarded as one of the most famous works of literature, on par with Romeo and Juliet, Moby Dick, and other classics. Should it be considered “one of the greats?” Based on readings and research, decide on your response and defend your position.

6. The Influence of Frankenstein

Particularly in the world of horror, Frankenstein has had a tremendous impact. Your essay can discuss the novel’s lasting legacy and its effects on pop culture, the science-fiction and horror genres, and literature. In addition, you should include examples of works that exhibit noticeable influence from the novel and its characters. 

Check out our guide packed full of transition words for essays.

If you’re still stuck, check out our general resource of essay writing topics.

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