Her mother, Mary Wollstonecraft was one of the pioneer women feminist authors. Mr. William Godwin, Shelley’s father penned several political articles as well as advocated several ground-breaking ideas. Shelley was self-educated as well as by her father’s intellectual circle, learning from both her parents and their friends’ works several times and even alluding to them after composing Frankenstein. At only the age of 16,Mary eloped with Percy Shelley to Switzerland and married him in 1816.It was during that same year that Mary was challenged by Lord Byron to write a ghost story, and consequently she started writing Frankenstein in the Summer of 1816.Mary’s novel about monsters was on the basis of her own widespread “reading on French Revolution”(Strrenburg 143). In deed there were 2 revolutions that were continuing at this time; The Haitian Revolution and the French Revolution.
Nevertheless, French Revolution was the key historical occurrence during the 1790s whose main objective was establishment of a social order on the basis of justice and reason. This idealistic revolution had several supporters including Britain with Shelley’s parents being amongst the supporters.
Shelley’s father even wrote some work in support of the revolution, which ultimately would be suppressed after the declaration of war in 1793 against France by the British government. The sympathizers of French revolutionaries would later be prosecuted in the same year by British government(Smith 8). It therefore makes sense that Shelley would talk about the English revolution instead of the French revolution in order to evade suppression by her eliciting of compassion for an oppressed monster in her novel. On the other hand, 1790s saw the Haitian Revolution take place.
The Haitian independence revolution started as a revolt and the moment Napoleon’s army was defeated by the slaves in Haiti, forming the first ever Black republic (Reinhardt 246). Thus, ideally, the novel is set at this period, as oppressed slaves battled for their freedom from their oppressors. Logically, Shelley would naturally sympathize with these slaves since both of her parents were abolitionists. Shelley’s mother was a well-known feminist, with her writings frequently depicting women as slaves to men. In addition, Shelley’s mother also explicitly criticized slavery in her analysis of Olaudah Esquiano’s Interesting Narrative (Bugg 655). Clearly then as reflected in its historical context, oppression is a significant subject in the text.
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