You can’t have it both ways: Justice or Injustice?

In Mary Shelley’s novel, Frankenstein, Justine’s case is built upon the basis of justice. Justine, “a girl of merit [who] possessed qualities which promised to render her life,” (103) suffers during a just case and can only be saved if Victor speaks up and says what he knows.

Victor tells his family, “I know the murderer. Justine, poor, good Justice, is innocent,” (101) but is too afraid to mention anything in court because of the trouble of having to explain his monster and give evidence of his creation, “he was the murderer” (99). So instead, he “rushed out of the court in agony. The tortures of the accused did not equal [his] (106). Victor, worried, is torn between telling the truth and being questioned of his creation or letting Justine be free. It eats him alive feeling “the never-dying worm alive in [his] bosom, which allowed of no hope or consolation” (109). Having no hope for Justine parallels to the French Revolution just as there was no hope for justice.

Shelley uses this scenario to portray the criminal justice system during the French Revolution and the rights they had during that time period. A judge was the only one who had the power of making the ultimate decision, but in this case Victor carried the burden of justice and it was on his decision whether to speak up or not, that Justine would be saved. Unfortunately, Victor decides to be ungenerous and self-interested and does not speak up. Justine died and “the blood flowed freely in [Victor’s] veins, but a weight of despair and remorse pressed on [his] heart, which nothing could remove” (111). This leads to an injustice case that could have been proven innocent by the act of one individual.

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