Kentucky Department of Education
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Frankenstein Socratic Seminar Questions
1. Who is the true villain of the novel? Is there even a true villain?
2. The monster says, “All men hate the wretched; how, then, must I be hated, whom am miserable beyond all living things!” Consider this quote as the condemning statement of mankind that it is, within the larger context of the novel. The juxtaposition of the monster with the rest of humanity provides a great contrast to humanity. What vision of mankind does Shelley want us to have as readers? Is it the fault of mankind that the monster has turned evil? Do we, as part of mankind, have a responsibility to the outcasts of society? Who are the outcasts?
3. We see two stark examples of moral failure in Victor Frankenstein and the monster. How do their ideas of right and wrong get in the way of being successful members of society?
4. What responsibility do you feel the creator bears for his creation and for the actions of his creation? Consider this question on many levels – God and man, God and angels (references seen to Milton’s Paradise Lost), man and his children, man and his inventions, etc.
5. Describe the Creature. What are his first impressions of the world? What comprises his early education? Describe his first encounters with society. How does he learn to read? To write? What books form an influence on him? To what characters in literature does he most relate? Why?
6. What is the Creature’s impression of the De Lacey family? What do they teach him? How does he in particular relate to Safie (a.k.a. “The lovely Arabian”)? What plan does he form regarding the De Laceys and what happens? What is the reaction? Thematic connection?
7. Explore the parent/child relationship between Frankenstein and the Creature. What does Victor, in effect, do to the Creature when he leaves him? What would be a comparable scenario to this? How does the Creature suffer as a result?
8. How does the Creature learn of his creation? What does he think of Frankenstein? Why? What does he want from Frankenstein?
9. How does the concept of revenge play a part in this novel? Be very specific. What people are involved? Why? What happens as a result?
10. Why is the Creature never given a Christian name? What does this suggest? What names is he called throughout the novel? Why? How does he perceive himself? (What was his reaction when he first saw his own reflection?) What role does physical appearance play in this novel? How crucial is society’s acceptance/rejection of the Creature? When he is rejected, how does he react?
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