Frankenstein is usually considered as rebellious in its religious stand. The generally held notion has been that the novel was intended as a satire of Genesis, scoffing at the usual faith in a caring Creator (Walling as cited by Ryan 1988). Leslie Tannenbaum (1977) first mooted a different idea, saying that the novel's mention of Paradise Lost was intended to highlight sarcastically Victor Frankenstein's "failures" as a maker, compared to Milton's more affectionate and dependable Holiness.
Tannenbaum's explanation was part of the re-reading of the novel during the 1970s, mainly by feminist and psychoanalysts, who discovered in it a restrained but firm protest against some values and thoughts of the author's father and those of her husband, the Romantic poet, Percy Bysshe Shelley. This new reading sees Victor Frankenstein as a blend of her father, her husband and the monster -- the novel's most sensitive character -- as a symbol of the author herself, the sufferer and the artifact of her father's liberal attitude. The novel thus wonders why, while a scientist like Frankenstein (or men like P.B Shelley or Godwin, the author's father), is otherwise a kind person while at the same time who ruins his close ones with his research on human life (Ryan 1988).
As religion and idealism tender completely opposing views of human character and fate, it remains ambiguous which aspect the novel's lampooning is mainly aimed at. The religious ambiguity is certainly just one feature of a larger model of hesitation that has been noticed in the novel. By creating a fiend, the advocate of religious orderliness that is diametrically opposite to her father's outlook, she establishes a peculiar duality through which she doubts idealistic orderliness without clearly asserting the Christian other. The point here is that the incompetent, perplexed Christian belief of the Monster -- the main sufferer and opponent of generous philosophy in Frankenstein -- is employed by Mary Shelley to doubt both Christianity and the idealistic philosophy (Ryan 1988).
Although Victor Frankenstein's own religious views are never clearly articulated, it is evident that he is not a Christian. M. Krempe's (professor of philosophy whom the narrator/protagonist Victor Frankenstein introduces in chapter 3 as " a little squat man, with a gruff voice and a repulsive countenance; the teacher, therefore, did not prepossess me in favour of his pursuits") teasing comment that Victor "believed in Cornelius Agrippa as firmly as in the gospel". This raises doubts whether Victor believes in the gospel in any way. Even though he mentions Elizabeth (an orphan young girl who married Victor and was killed during their honeymoon) and himself as children of god, he churns out the Christian tradition to find expression of cruelty with which he shouts at the monster. It is evident that Victor is not a believer even in any conventional way.
By contrast, his creature from the beginning shows a strong philosophical inquisitiveness. He forces himself to a painstaking inquest: "Who was I What was I Whence did I come What was my destination These questions continually recurred, but I was unable to solve them "(Chapter 15). The answer comes to him all of a sudden when he trips, inadvertently, on a text of Paradise Lost. He narrates the experience:
"One night I found on the ground a leathern portmanteau containing several articles of dress