Quotes from Frankenstein (1818) by Mary Shelley

mary wollstonecraft shelley

Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (1797 – 1851) was a British author whose work crossed several genres (essays, biographies, short stories, and dramas). When she was 17-year-old Mary Godwin, she eloped from England to Italy with the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley. Her life was filled with drama, upheaval and loss, and though she wrote several significant novels and produced many essays, short stories, and plays, she’ll always be best remembered for the classic thriller, Frankenstein. Written when Shelley was just twenty years old, here are some memorable quotes from Frankenstein (1818).


“Life and death appeared to me ideal bounds, which I should first break through, and pour a torrent of light into our dark world.”


“It is hardly surprising that women concentrate on the way they look instead of what is in their minds since not much has been put in their minds to begin with.”


“Nothing contributes so much to tranquilize the mind as a steady purpose a point on which the soul may fix its intellectual eye.”


“Solitude was my only consolation — deep, dark, deathlike solitude.”


“Nothing is so painful to the human mind as a great and sudden change.”


Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley  on Amazon


“I shall commit my thoughts to paper, it is true; but that is a poor medium for the communication of feeling. I desire the company of a man who could sympathize with me, whose eyes would reply to mine.”


“My heart was fashioned to be susceptible of love and sympathy, and when wrenched by misery to vice and hatred, it did not endure the violence of the change without torture such as you cannot even imagine.”


“Life, although it may only be an accumulation of anguish, is dear to me, and I will defend it.”


“How dangerous is the acquirement of knowledge and how much happier that man is who believes his native town to be the world, than he who aspires to be greater than his nature will allow.”


“A human being in perfection ought always to preserve a calm and peaceful mind and never to allow passion or a transitory desire to disturb his tranquility. I do not think that the pursuit of knowledge is an exception to this rule. If the study to which you apply yourself has a tendency to weaken your affections and to destroy your taste for those simple pleasures in which no alloy can possibly mix, then that study is certainly unlawful, that is to say, not befitting the human mind.”


Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

See also: How Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley Came to Write Frankenstein (1818)


“Seek happiness in tranquility and avoid ambition even if it be only the apparently innocent one of distinguishing yourself in science and discoveries.”


“I have love in me the likes of which you can scarcely imagine and rage the likes of which you would not believe. If I cannot satisfy the one, I will indulge the other.”


“. . . the companions of our childhood always possess a certain power over our minds which hardly any later friend can obtain.”


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