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The author explores the theme of playing God in a society which is constantly making "progress," or technological advancement. Science appears as a savior, or so people think. Science is the last refuge of modern people, who believe it to be the panacea (cure-all) for all evil, regardless of the evil it brings with it. Playing God in this novel leads to chaos and gruesome murders.
Another theme deals with Frankenstein's new, unnatural mode for "creating" life. This new mode of creation, involving neither God nor womankind, leads ultimately to destruction. There is no nurturing involved, and nature itself is bizarrely manipulated. Frankenstein has become even more relevant in the present time. Cloning procedures and other technological advancements have raised questions about the ethics of mankind's involvement in "creation."
Another minor theme is the human tendency to judge a person based on his/her appearance. It is true that the monster appears horrifying, but he is shown to be more "humane" than the other humans; indeed, he is at first more sensitive and tolerant. Unfortunately, no one tries to understand him or to accept him the way he is.
Finally, Shelley treats the theme of love, but in this novel, it is the absence of love that is most striking. The lack of love between the creator (Victor) and his creation (the monster) can lead only to misery and destruction.
The mood is quite somber throughout the novel, particularly with the entry of the monster. It does have some touching episodes of happy family life among the Frankensteins, as well as among the De Laceys. But these are not sufficient to counter the sense of horror and brutality that is aroused by the atrocities enacted by the monster.
The mood is almost cold towards the end of the novel, with Victor coming to terms with the deaths around him. But vengeance and rage still have a place in his heart, as in that of the monster.