Aesthetics in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

  • Jerold J. Abrams Creighton University
Keywords: Frankenstein, aesthetics, sublime, Longinus, Santayana, Kant, Aristotle, Shelley, Paradise Lost, Milton


In Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein the brilliant scientist Viktor Frankenstein constructs and animates a gigantic and superhumanly powerful man. But upon animation, Frankenstein discovers he neglected beauty, and beholding his hideous creation flees in horror without even naming the man. Abandoned and alone the monster leaves society, yet secretly observing humanity learns language and philosophy and eventually discovers humanity’s self-understanding and his own self-understanding to be grounded in beauty rather than reason.