The thrilling story of Frankenstein was written throughout 1817 and 1818 by Mary Shelley. The religious context of these years seems to have greatly influenced the author on many points. Indeed, the 18th and 19th centuries were characterized by a decrease in Christian beliefs and in the truthfulness of the bible. For example, people began to base their knowledge about life on scientific experiments instead of simply believing everything the Christian religion claimed. This new era of suspicion and discoveries was called the “Enlightenment” and dared people to doubt everything they took for granted. In fact, it insisted people to Sapere aude instead, which means “Dare to know’’, in the sense of one being open to new discoveries. Moreover, one of the main claims of the thinkers from this era was the separation of the Church from the state, because even if people still believed in God, they wanted to separate some spheres of their lives from religion.
Mary Shelley’s work reflects this religious context in terms of the scientific experiments made on the human body. Indeed, the fact that Victor Frankenstein could give life contradicted the supremacy of God as the creator of the universe. Moreover, the fact that the monster asks his creator to make him a feminine partner strangely resembles the story of Adam and Eve, but Frankenstein finally abandons the task, contradicting the religious story. Moreover, the author does not make many references to the importance of religion in the life of the characters, meaning that she was probably atheist or at least did not give a great importance to religion in her life.
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In this blog: Setting: Historical Context of Frankenstein