Analytical Essay on Marry Shellys Frankenstein

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Analytical Essay on Marry Shellys Frankenstein and Science, Animal Sympathy, and Anna Barbauld’s “The Mouse’s Petition”


            Cruelty and darkness are two major themes in contemporary society. They have also been effectively covered in literary texts authored as early as the nineteenth century. Marry Shellys Frankenstein and Science, Animal Sympathy, and Anna Barbauld’s “The Mouse’s Petition” effectively illustrate this theme. The former illustrates the world’s cruelty to individuals despite their efforts to do good. For this reason, people turn from good to evil to comfort themselves. On the other hand, the poem highlights animals’ cruelty in the eighteenth century as scientists used them for experiments. Thus, both texts seek to enlighten readers on the importance of kindness.


            Mary Shelly effectively depicts the theme of cruelty in her work, Frankenstein and Science, Animal Sympathy. The novel effectively paints the extent of cruelty by humanity. This is majorly shown from Frankenstein’s cruelty towards other creatures and his body. For instance, he makes a creature, and instead of caring for and feeding it, he deserts it and expects it to strive for survival. This is an act of cruelty because humankind has the sole obligation of taking care of other creatures in the environment and conserving the world. The reunion between himself and the creature does not significantly improve because his cruel actions continue. This behavior towards the creature makes it exhibit aggression towards Victor. For this reason, both the creature and Victor display their frustration, pain, and anger until their point of death.

From the novel, it can be seen that Victor is the monster’s creator, working tirelessly to ensure that he completes his work. His cruelty towards himself is exhibited by how he strains his body to ensure he completes creating the monster as planned. As he asserts, “He states: “My cheeks have grown pale with study, and my person had become emaciated with confinement” (33). This shows that even though he suffers in completing his project, he does not intend to stop until such a point that he is satisfied with the outcome of his project. Despite the amount of work he puts towards achieving his target, he is scared by what he creates. This is evident from his decision to run with “breathless horror and disgust” (35). From this statement, it can be argued that Victor does not realize the full potential of the creature he is making until he finishes his project. His creation turns cruel towards him.

The act of cruelty can also be seen from the interaction between Frankenstein and the creature. As the latter approaches the former for a dialogue, he can be heard yelling and shouting, which is a sign that he is not ready for such an engagement. This argument is evident from the statement, “Begone! I will not hear you” (69). It can be argued that Frankenstein’s previous experiences account for the hatred and anger that he exhibits towards this creature.

Anna Barbauld also highlights the theme of cruelty in the poem The Mouse’s Petition. The voice in the poem depicts the point of view of a mouse that finds itself trapped in one of Barbauld’s friend’s houses. The friend is known as Joseph Priestly. He previously placed the mouse in a cage in his laboratory, anticipating a scientific experiment, which he intends to perform later. For this reason, Barbauld writes this poem as a plea to Priestly to have mercy on the mouse. She slips the poem below his door close to the cage so Priestly can see it before starting his experiment. The poem starts by besieging Priestley to listen to the mouse’s prayer, as seen in the following excerpt:

“O hear a pensive prisoner’s prayer,

For liberty that sighs;

And never let thine heart be shut

Against the wretch’s cries!

For here forlorn and sad I sit,

Within the wiry grate;

And tremble at the approaching morn,

Which brings impending fate.” (“Mouse’s petition,” n.d.)

This poem reflects the level of cruelty exhibited towards animals in the eighteenth century. It is a rallying call for members of society to respect animal rights. These creatures were used for experiments to test medications before administering them to human beings back then. Therefore, the poem asks scientists to adopt alternative testing approaches.


            The battle between the forces of evil and good is a predominant theme in Mary Shelly’s novel. For this reason, the reader is confused regarding which side to follow and the different characters representing the two forces. One major merit of this novel is that it emphasizes the point that it may not be possible to classify an individual as entirely good or evil. The human experience arises from the possession of both positive and negative characteristics. Shelly employs light and darkness to show the transitions in the characters’ lives from positivity to negativity.

The first example showing the theme of darkness in Shelly’s novel is Victor’s love and affection for his home and family, especially Elizabeth. His life later changes drastically as he realizes the huge mistake he makes by creating the monster. Upon realizing the dangers he put himself in by creating the monster, his life’s outlook takes a dark tone. For this reason, he takes a trek and finds peace and solace in the powerful and bleak mountains. This argument is evident from the statement, “While the rain poured from the dark sky and added to the melancholy impression I received from the objects around me. My heart, which was before sorrowful, now soared with something like joy” (67). From the statement, it can be argued that Victor now finds himself content and happy with darkness, contrary to being excited with his previous life in Geneva’s sunny bliss.

Darkness is also a dominant theme in the poem A Mouse’s Plea. By confining the mouse to a cage, Priestly deprives it of the opportunity to lead its daily life and fend for itself. It literary stays in the dark the whole night, not knowing what awaits it the following day. The situation in which the mouse finds itself can be interpreted to mean the tribulations that humankind faces. They are normally shackled by dark forces in life, which impede their success. For this reason, they need salvation and freedom to enable them to complete their daily activities as normal.


Marry Shellys Frankenstein and Science, Animal Sympathy, and Anna Barbauld’s “The Mouse’s Petition” seeks to enlighten readers on the importance of kindness. The text highlights the cruelty that the world serves on individuals and animals. People end up suffering despite engaging in good deeds. On the other hand, animals were cruelly killed n the past as they served as samples in experiments. Positive alternatives should be adopted to improve the respect for animals’ rights.


The mouse’s petition. (n.d.). Digital.library server at Penn Libraries.

Shelley, M. (2013). Frankenstein. Penguin.