Date of Award


Publication Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name



English Language, Literature, and Creative Writing

First Advisor

Matheson, Suzanne


Frankenstein, Gothic, Hobbes, Leviathan, Politics, Shelley



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.


A political close-reading of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein as viewed in light of Thomas Hobbes' political and moral theory as he presented it in Leviathan. This thesis argues that Hobbesian contract theory has been neglected as an effective lens for political interpretations of gothic literature in general, and shows explicitly how Hobbesian thought features in Frankenstein. Hobbes' significance to arguments surrounding the French Revolution and human conflict in general is explored with a focus on the political theories of Edmund Burke, Thomas Paine, Mary Wollstonecraft and William Godwin, followed by an examination of the political significance of settings in Frankenstein. The study proceeds with an in-depth look at Hobbes' contributions to the political theory of Shelley's closest influences, and concludes with a Hobbesian reading of Frankenstein according to Leviathan.