The significant female characters within Frankenstein can be counted upon one hand: Elizabeth Lorenza, Justine, Caroline Beaufort, the female creature and Margaret Saville. Of these characters, only one is alive at the end of the novel and each character’s destruction is at the hand of a man. As suspected due to the time period, these characters have no power within society, forced into patriarchal roles of mothers and wives even as children in the case of Caroline and Elizabeth. At first glance, the roles of these women are presumed to be reflections of the society that Shelley lived in, but in deeper analysis another meaning can be found.

The chaos that erupts within “Frankenstein,” can be blamed completely upon the male characters. No woman has a say in any decision that takes place; the result of this, death! Was Shelley warning readers that a society without women in power is one of decay and hopelessness? Furthermore, the specific death of the female creature is immensely important. Her creation was entirely for the pleasure of the monster, she would become a wife and his prisoner. Shelley’s mother Wollstonecraft said, “I do not wish women to have power over men but over themselves.”  Victor destroys her in a brutal display of fear that she would refuse his monster as a husband. Was Shelley referencing women’s right to bodily autonomy in Victor’s fear? Is she making the point that to die may be a better life than falling prisoner to a man? Possibly Shelley has hidden her mother’s hope for society within her novel and in doing so, secretly given the most famous gothic novel feminist undertones.