Why did Mary Shelley write Frankenstein?

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kipling2448 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

"Frankenstein" was the end result of an informal contest or challenge among three close friends, Mary Shelley, her husband Percy Bysshe Shelley, and the noted poet Lord Byron.  The three would regale each other with tales during their time together near Lake Geneva.  They were particularly fond of scary stories.  It was during one of these sessions that Mary conjured up the seeds of what would become her classic novel "Frankenstein."  She had been encouraged by the others to expand upon her off-the-cuff tale, a challenge that she took to heart. 

While the story of Dr. Victor Frankenstein and his creation was borne of such whimsy, as Mary expanded the story it evolved into a serious morality tale about man's natural tendency to experiment and to occasionally play God.