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Academic Journal of Humanities & Social Sciences, 2023, 6(3); doi: 10.25236/AJHSS.2023.060302.

The Monster’s Tragic Self-actualization in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein


Siwen Meng

Corresponding Author:
Siwen Meng

School of Foreign Languages of Shanghai University, Shanghai, 200444, China 


Mary Shelley’s representative work Frankenstein is the first of modern science fiction in western literature. Frankenstein, the protagonist of the novel, abuses science and creates a manlike monster. The monster cannot engage himself in the human society and eventually goes to ruin. In light of American social psychologist Abraham Maslow's hierarchical theory of needs, this paper analyzes the five levels of needs that the monster is confronted with as he steps into human society. After mastering the basic survival skills to satisfy his physiological need and safety need, which can be categorized as deficit needs, the monster tries to meet belongingness and love need by observing human’s daily life, mastering human language, and establishing emotional connection with human beings. However, human’s indifference and abandonment deprives him of esteem and recognition, which leads to his devastating revenge against his creator-Frankenstein. This paper points out that the monster’s self-actualization without love and esteem is the root of his tragedy.


Frankenstein, Mary Shelley, monster, Abraham H. Maslow

Cite This Paper

Siwen Meng. The Monster’s Tragic Self-actualization in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Academic Journal of Humanities & Social Sciences (2023) Vol. 6, Issue 3: 8-12. https://doi.org/10.25236/AJHSS.2023.060302.


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