Mary Shelley’s 80 Best Phrases and Thoughts

Mary Shelley's 80 Best Phrases and Thoughts

Maria Godwin, who took the name Shelley when she married, was a British storyteller and playwright born in 1797.

Known worldwide for being the author of the great novel Frankenstein, she also wrote other great works such as Mathilda or The Last Man (a novel that included a film called “I am a Legend”, starring the also famous actor Will Smith).

Mary Shelley is perhaps one of the most widely read British authors of all time and her novels have been able to captivate several generations of readers. The life of this novelist was also very interesting being full of travels, infidelities and tortuous situations.

Great quotes from Mary Shelley, author of ‘Frankenstein’

Surely you all know this author or have read some of her works, which is why we wanted to pay a small tribute to this pioneer of the nineteenth-century Gothic novel .

1. The fallen angel becomes an evil demon. However, even the enemy of God and man enjoyed the company of friends and fellows in his desolation. I, on the other hand, am completely alone.

In the novel Frankenstein, its protagonist is forced to live in complete solitude.

2. Who can conceive of the horrors of my undercover work, poking around in the damp darkness of the tombs or tormenting some living animal to try to animate the inert mud? Now my limbs tremble at the mere thought of it; then I was spurred on by an irresistible and almost frantic impulse.

As we can see from this quote Shelley is a master of Gothic writing and shadowy descriptions.

3. Nothing helps to quiet the mind like a firm purpose, a point at which the soul can fix its intellectual eyes.

When we are fully determined to perform a task, sooner or later, we will succeed in carrying it out.

4. We are bound by tenuous ties to prosperity or ruin.

Sometimes we can get the feeling that the destiny we will live is already fixed in advance.

5. He serenely seeks happiness and avoids ambition, even if it is apparently as harmless as that which pursues the path of science.

The search for happiness is something that many of us have in common and both Shelley and her characters were also looking for their own future.

6. How strange is the nature of knowledge! It clings to the mind like moss to rock.

Knowledge within its scope is something that all scientists want to achieve, doing everything in their power to do so.

7. The wolf was dressed in sheep’s clothing and the flock consented to the deception.

Sometimes we ourselves must do our part to be deceived, numerous scams and frauds of all kinds need the victim’s collaboration to work.

8. The contemplation of the greatness of nature always conferred nobility to my thoughts, making me forget the daily worries.

Nature is wonderful, and it can also allow us to achieve a certain peace of mind and spirit.

9. I swear I would have preferred to remain in ignorance forever. Rather than discover the ingratitude and depravity of a person so dear to me.

Ignorance can be a gift seen in the right way, it allows us to be happy in our own perception.

10. I do not want women to have more power than men, but to have more power over themselves.

This writer was a strong supporter of the feminist movement of the time and of women’s rights.

11. I have, however, a great need which I have not been able to satisfy up to now; and which I now feel to be a pitiful failure. I have no friend here.

Real friends are very scarce and difficult to find, we must not lose them under any circumstances.

12. I know that you seek knowledge and wisdom, as I once did; and I earnestly hope that the satisfaction of your desires will not turn out to be a snake that bites you, as has happened in my case.

The craving for knowledge can lead us to discover something that is counterproductive, as for example happened to Madame Curie who died because she received too much radiation during her experiments.

13. Why should I not continue on these untamed yet submissive waves?

Life can take us down paths we never would have imagined.

14. How is it possible to contemplate such a noble being destroyed by pain without experiencing deep sorrow?

Experiments with living beings can be very unpleasant; they are usually not suitable for sensitive stomachs.

15. I love life, even though it is only an accumulation of anguish, and I will defend it.

All of us without exception love life, even if it is often a great deal of misfortune.

16. Like Adam, I seemed to have no connection with other beings; but their state was very different from mine in other respects.

Frankenstein was in his own unique way and the first of his kind, a being created from nothing through science.

17. I, like the arch-demon, bore a hell in my belly; and, finding no one to understand me, I wanted to uproot the trees, sow chaos and destruction around me, and then sit back and enjoy the ravages.

Who hasn’t ever felt anger? Knowing how to control our emotions is something basic that we all exercise since childhood.

18. Remorse nullified any hope. He was the author of irremediable evils, and lived in constant terror that the monster he had created would commit another new evil.

The creator of the so-called Monster of Frankenstein, felt guilty for the evil he had brought into the world.

19. If our instincts were limited to hunger, thirst and desire, we would be almost free. But we are moved by every wind that blows, every random word, every image that that same word evokes.

Our emotions can be very strong inside us and make us carry out actions of all kinds.

20. However, how many things we are about to discover if cowardice and laziness do not hinder our curiosity!

Curiosity is what has led human beings to develop great scientific advances of all kinds, but it can also be a positive or negative quality because they already say: curiosity killed the cat.

21. Whoever has not experienced the seduction that science exercises over a person will never understand its tyranny.

Science is a discipline that can absorb a great deal of a person, because quenching our thirst for knowledge can be a complicated thing to do.

22. But where were my friends and family? I had not had a father to take care of my childhood, nor a mother to bless me with her smiles and caresses; and if I had, all my past life was but darkness, an empty blind man who could distinguish nothing.

Our memories are a fundamental part of us, without them we cease to be the person we are.

23. To approach perfection, a man should always preserve the calm and tranquility of the spirit without ever allowing it to be disturbed by a passion or a momentary desire.

Keeping calm in difficult times is something that not all of us know how to do.

24. From the hands of God had come a perfect, prosperous, and happy creature, protected by the special care of his Creator; he had been permitted to converse with beings of a higher nature and to acquire from them his knowledge; I, on the other hand, was wretched, helpless, and alone.

In this writer’s novel, her famous creature felt poor and helpless in the world around her.

25. But we have an obligation to hide our pain so as not to increase that of those around us.

We must know when to show our emotions and when not to, so that we can relate much better in society.

26. Only from you could I expect help, although I was not aroused by any other feeling than hatred.

Sometimes we know that our only chance of victory lies with those we hate so much.

27. I, on the other hand, had a hell within me, and no one could ever tear it out.

Certain emotions, such as anger or rage, can consume us from within.

28. Be careful, for I am not afraid, and that makes me powerful.

Fear blocks and paralyzes us, if we don’t have it we can act much more precisely.

29. Why should I respect the one who despises me?

For society to maintain order, we must be able to respect each other, even if the other person is not to our liking.

30. Any normally gifted intelligence that is dedicated with interest to a certain area, undoubtedly comes to dominate it with a certain depth.

Even the so-called gifted are only prodigious within a particular area.

31. War is the game of the statesman, the joy of the priest, the mockery of the lawyer and the profession of the mercenary killer.

All human beings are made to carry out a certain task, it is up to us what that task is.

32. There is nothing more painful for the human spirit, after the excitement caused by the rapid succession of events, than that mortal calm of apathy and certainty that follows it, and deprives the soul of all hope and fear.

Mary Shelley’s narrative is undoubtedly very powerful, her words are extremely well chosen.

33. My friend, I see by your interest, and by the amazement and expectation reflected in your eyes, that you expect me to communicate to you the secret that I possess; but you cannot.

Secrets are something that we all honestly want to know; it is enough to insinuate the knowledge of one for the other person to show his or her own interest.

34. From the beginning of my memory, I had been as I was then in height and proportion. Until now, I had never seen a being that resembled me or sought any contact with me. What was I? The question came up again and again, only to be answered with groans.

Frankenstein’s monster had to learn who he was and how he should act in the world.

35. Insensitive, ruthless creator! You had endowed Me with perception and passions, and then you had thrown Me into the world to the contempt and horror of humanity. But only from you could I seek pity and reparation, and in you I decided to seek that justice that I vainly sought from any being with human form.

This very famous monster had a great enmity with his “father” or “creator”, as we can read in the book.

36. At times it seemed a mere offspring of the principle of evil; at other times, it seemed the most noble and divine thing imaginable. The Monster.

Even if we are not beautiful beings, our personal principles and morality will be what makes us human.

37. God, in his mercy, made man beautiful and attractive, in his own image; on the other hand, my figure was a filthy mixture, a parody of yours, even more frightening because of its resemblance.

The ugliness of this monster is what leads it to be considered as such, a metaphor for the world of superficiality in which we live.

38. Many times I considered Satan the symbol most in keeping with my condition.

Frankenstein’s creature sensed a certain harmony with Satan, because both are in some way misunderstood by society.

39. If the study to which you devote yourself tends to weaken your affections and to destroy those simple pleasures in which no alloy should intervene, then, that study is inevitably negative, that is to say, unworthy of the human mind.

We should not dedicate our life to work, we should work so that we can live comfortably.

40. I saw how beauty faded and was lost; how the corruption of death replaced the burning cheek; how the wonders of the eye and the brain were the heritage of the worm.

Death is a stage of life that will come to all of us in due course, and this writer felt a great fascination for it.

41. Invention, it must humbly be admitted, does not consist in creating from emptiness, but from chaos… it consists in the ability to grasp the possibilities of a subject and in the power to shape and give form to the ideas it suggests.

A person is not defined by his physical appearance, but by his ideas and thoughts.

42. She dressed modestly, but her attitude made her a model of grace.

Attitude is something very important in social relationships, it can make us look much more beautiful.

43. Life and death seem to me to be ideal limits.

Death feeds the circle by which life takes its course.

44. Any policy taken to the extreme must be the product of evil.

Extremisms are never positive, they lead man to perform the most despicable acts.

45. My dreams were more fantastic and magnificent than my writings.

What we idealize and the reality are two very different things, we should not obsess in carrying out our fantasies.

46. It is hard to believe that the destiny of a man is so low that it leads him to be born only to die.

Many of us need a purpose to be able to live with a certain tranquility, we cannot conceive that we were not born for something in particular.

47. Elegance is inferior to virtue.

Elegance is a quality by which we elevate our given virtues.

48. It is justice, not charity that the world is longing for.

Justice and revenge are two very different things that society often confuses.

49. The disgruntled gesture, the lost look, put on his face a mixture of cowardice and fear.

In someone else’s gesture we can come to understand many of their emotions.

50. I wandered about the island like a ghost, far from all that I loved, and saddened by this separation.

Loneliness is something that no person wants for himself, we men are made to live in society.

51. The dream in which I submerged myself recovered me; and upon awakening, I again felt as if I belonged to a race of human beings like myself.

We all need to rest when the time comes, it helps us sort out our ideas and priorities.

52. Learn from me, if not by my precepts, at least by my example, how dangerous the acquisition of knowledge is.

We must be careful what we wish for, for certain desires can also bring us some misfortunes.

53. I was good and loving; suffering has made me vile. Grant me happiness, and I shall be virtuous again.

Unpleasant situations can turn us into unpleasant beings, after all, every painful situation we live through causes a dent in us.

54. Men need so much to hold on to something that they are able to plant their hands on a poisoned spear.

We must not fall into false hopes, being pragmatic is something that can be difficult for us to interiorize but that in the long run will be much more beneficial.

55. The anguish of my feelings did not cease; there was no incident from which my anger and misery could not benefit.

It is we ourselves who shut ourselves up in our negative thoughts, in order to be truly happy we must think accordingly.

56. But thought brought power and knowledge and, clothed with them, the race of man assumed dignity and authority.

Thanks to the knowledge we possess, today’s civilization has achieved good living standards.

57. I will watch with the cunning of the serpent, and with its venom I will bite you. Deadly! You will regret the harm you have done to me.

Revenge can be an emotion that consumes us inside and generates in us a great uneasiness.

58. Each of us writes a story, a ghost story.

We all live our own history and create in it the ghosts of the problems we encounter.

59. You think I care about my reputation?

Reputation is the idea that others have about us, it can be a great help to know how to keep it.

60. As long as someone I could love would be alive, I would always have reason to be afraid.

Losing someone we truly love is the hardest thing we can go through in life.

61. Love, which is only an episode in men’s lives, is the whole story in women’s lives.

Throughout human civilization, great love stories have always had a female figure as the protagonist.

62. I too can sow desolation; my enemy is not invulnerable.

We are all capable of causing discomfort in another person if we really set our mind to it.

63. How easily our feelings vary and how strangely we cling to life in moments of despair!

In the most difficult moments we all reorganize our thoughts and priorities.

64. We will not despair. We are not cowards or fatalists; we believe that God has put in our hands the means for our survival and we will make the most of them.

Believing in God is something that can help us face life with a higher success rate.

65. Instead of hating me, accept me and show me your kindness.

We must accept ourselves and know how to accept others as they are.

66. Mortal, you may hate, but be careful! You will spend your hours in terror and sorrow, and soon the blow will fall upon you that will rob you of your happiness forever.

Happiness is tremendously delicate, any change in our life can take it away from us.

67. I could hardly bear the accumulation of thoughts that were crowding into my mind.

Thoughts can be overwhelming on more than one occasion, meditation can help us to know how to control them.

68. What was the meaning of their crying? Did they express their tears?

We can cry for many different emotions, babies for example cry for almost any situation they find themselves in.

69. I’m evil because I’m not happy.

Unhappiness causes us great sorrow that can lead us to do evil in our lives.

70. I was mistaken in only one thing: all the misfortunes that I imagined and feared did not reach the hundredth part of the anguish that destiny had in store for me.

We all encounter problems throughout our lives, we must give them the importance they really have and not overdimension them.

71. This death will bring him despair, and a thousand other misfortunes will torment and destroy him.

The death of someone close to us can cause a great change in us, both for good and for evil.

72. I would like to trample you to the ground, if by doing so, with the abolition of your miserable existence, I could give back life to those whom you have so diabolically murdered!

Death is something that cannot be solved, revenge will not allow us to recover our deceased loved ones.

73. If such beautiful beings were unfortunate, it was not surprising that I, an imperfect and solitary creature, was also so.

This famous novel deals a lot with the theme of “ugliness” in people, society is unfortunately largely governed by established canons of beauty.

74. From the moment I was condemned, the confessor has insisted and threatened until he has almost convinced me that I am the monster they say I am.

We must not allow others to contaminate us with their own ideas, we must be consistent with our own thoughts and with the idea we have of ourselves.

75. I will take revenge for my sufferings; if I cannot inspire love, I will unleash fear.

When we are deeply unhappy, we may come to desire the evil of others in order to feel better about ourselves.

76. All judges prefer to sentence 10 innocent people before one guilty person escapes.

In the past justice was much more inaccurate than it is today, many innocent people were judged unfairly.

77. Modern scientists promise very little; they know that metals cannot be transmuted, and that the elixir of life is an illusion.

Alchemy was an ancient science that promised to give man the elixir of eternal youth or philosopher’s stone.

78. To feel love for another, will place Me in the gear of existence that others carry, and from which I am now excluded.

The monster of this novel was tirelessly pursuing its acceptance within society.

79. What could stop a determined heart and the firm will of a man?

If we set our minds firmly to it, we will be unstoppable and we will be able to carry out almost any task that is entrusted to us.

80. Satan had his companions, his demon followers, who admired and encouraged him; but I find myself alone and abhorred.

Even Satan himself was surrounded by other demons or henchmen, but Frankenstein’s monster was completely alone in his misfortune.

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