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More Horrible than the Monster: Social Antagonism and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein

Ghiasuddin Alizadeh

PhD candidate of English Literature, Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran, Iran.

Orcid: 0000-0002-4119-2251. Email: Ghiasuddin.alizadeh@gmail.com

  Volume 10, Number 2, 2018 I Full Text PDF

DOI: 10.21659/rupkatha.v10n2.19

Received January 15, 2017; Revised May 21, 2018; Accepted May 22, 2018; Published May 26, 2018.

Abstract

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein has often been considered as a political novel and an attempt to account for the dire consequences of the failure of the French Revolution. However, contrary to the common vogue for identifying Frankenstein’s monster with the negative dimensions of political and revolutionary movements, a careful reading of the novel reveals a deeper problem hidden behind the figure of the monster. This study is an attempt to read Frankenstein in the light of the politico-psychoanalytical ideas of Slavoj Žižek in an attempt to prove the fact that the monster is Mary Shelley’s fantasy construction in order to conceal the ontological antagonism which marks the socio-symbolic order. By drawing on Žižek’s concept of fantasy and its role in obfuscating the fundamental inconsistency of the Other, the research has tried to disentangle the world of the novel from the horrible presence of the monster, by bringing to light a more frightening horror against which the monster turns out to be a protective screen, namely, the horror of the Real.

Keywords: fantasy; French Revolution; the Real; the monster

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