Contents Index

human benevolence

Human benevolence, or natural goodness (the quality stressed in the revised language of the third edition), is an attribute believed in deeply by both Mary and Percy Bysshe Shelley. At the same time, it cannot simply be assumed as a given in Frankenstein, for it is severely tested by the chain of events driving this novel. Even people who are nominally benevolent (Victor is the obvious example), act with questionable ethics. And those who are most committed to the notion of a natural benevolence (Elizabeth, for instance) would be hard pressed to show any evidence for it.