The Monster of Morality: Mary Shelley

  • Franz J. Potter


On 17 June 1825, a small pamphlet simply titled ‘The Monster Made By Man’ was published in London by J. Mark and sold for twopence. Available in small and large circulating libraries, the short tale was embellished with a spirited cut illustrating the moment of animation of a monster in a cave laboratory. The illustration shows an assistant, Frantz, on one side of a creature, and scientist, Wallberg at the moment the creature first raises itself from the rude bed, opening and displaying its horrid eyes. Human remains are scattered in the foreground, a broken vessel lies in the centre at the creature’s feet representing the elixir of life, machinery and instruments set behind the assistant denote the impious actions of creation. Frantz is horror-struck, hands clasped, while Wallberg, arm outstretched, distances his self from his creation. The simple illustration underscores the narrative’s central theme: the punishment of presumption.


Human Remains Moral Courage Anonymous Author Break Vessel Literary Reputation 
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  1. 3.
    Nitchie, Elizabeth, Mary Shelley, Author of ‘Frankenstein’ (Westport, Conn., 1953), p. 221.Google Scholar
  2. 5.
    Forray, Steven Earl, Hideous Progenies: Dramatizations of Frankenstein from Mary Shelley to the Present (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1990), p. 5.Google Scholar

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© Franz J. Potter 2005

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  • Franz J. Potter

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