Understanding The Concept of the Inventor and the Invention as Demonstrated in Mary Shelley’s Book, Frankenstein
Victor Frankenstein and his creature
Victor Frankenstein is the main character in the Novel ‘Frankenstein’. This Novel also referred to as ‘The Modern Prometheus’ was written by Mary Shelley and first printed in the year 1818. In the novel, Victor Frankenstein comes out as a scientist who has much interest in studying the chemical processes. In the novel, victor comes out as the son of Alphonse Frankenstein and Caroline Beaufort. He was born in Naples and brought up in Geneva. He is a brother to Ernest and William. Unfortunately, his parents died of a fever known as scarlet while Victor Frankenstein was at the age of 17. Victor Frankenstein is adopted by Elizabeth Lavenza whom he later falls in love and becomes his fiancée (Shelley& Hindle 2003).
Victor Frankenstein had an inborn interest in science and making discoveries. His great desire was to discover the elixir of life. However, Victor Frankenstein loses his great interest in science as a whole after seen the remains of a tree trunk which had been stricken by lightning in the compound of Ingolstadt University. His interest is turned to chemistry. Victor Frankenstein develops a goal of using chemical compounds to create a creature and bring it to life. Obsessed by the fondness, victor takes two years of study to bring together apparatus and chemical compounds on a mission to create something and give it life (Shelley& Hindle 2003).
Victor Frankenstein manages to combine chemicals and makes a creature, which he brings into life. However, the creator – Victor is horrified by the ugly creature he has created. The creature is so ugly and Victor flees. After been abandoned, the horrible creature gets on a mission to revenge and search for its creator – Victor. The vengeance leads to the death of Victor Frankenstein your brother William. After the death of William, the house help – Justine is blamed, but only Victor knows the cause of the death but has a strong fear that no one will believe his point of the story. He also fears that the story will provoke reactions and turn all the blames on him (Shelley, Casaletto & Brilliance Audio (Firm), 1993).
When the creation meets his creator – Victor Frankenstein, he begs him to create a female companion. However, Victor Frankenstein sees big trouble ahead if he brings another creature of such kind into being. He ultimately tries to destroy the creature, a mission which he fails. After the creature survives the staged death, it vows to revenge. The creature begins its revenge mission by killing Henry Clerval – Victor’s best friend. By failing to create a companion for him, the creature promises to do the same and destroy the marriage of Victor Frankenstein and Elizabeth Lavenza. “You have denied me my wedding night – I will be with you on yours!”, this is a common phrase that the creature keeps on emphasizing to Victor Frankenstein. The creature avenges on Victor Frankenstein by strangling Elizabeth Lavenza on her matrimonial bed on the eve of their marriage. Everything seems a disaster after the death of Victor Frankenstein father because of grief. Victor Frankenstein has nothing left to live for and dedicates the rest of his life in a mission to kill the creature (Shelley& Hindle 2003).
To Victor, his own creation has turned to be a demon in his life. He sets a journey to the Arctic, perusing to kill the creature. His second mission to kill the creature fails when Victor falls in ice and contracts pneumonia. Fortunately, he is rescued by a ship which is on a journey to the far North Pole. The life of Victor Frankenstein comes to an ultimate end when he narrates his story to the ship captain – Robert Walton. The creature receives the death news of his creator in grief and sorrow. The creature vows to burn itself alive and disappears to the Northern most extreme of the globe, never to be seen again (Shelley, Casaletto & Brilliance Audio (Firm), 1993).
The creature and his creator – Victor Frankenstein shares several things in common. They are the main characters in ‘The Modern Prometheus’ by Mary Shelly, and among some of their similarities include their nature to pay God. Victor Frankenstein has a Godly nature of creating and bringing forth life. By use of his scientific knowledge, Victor uses chemicals and apparatus to create the ‘monster’. This is a godly nature, since according to the history and human understanding, it is only God who has the ability to create and give life. Equally, the creature has the ability to take life. The monster takes the life of William; Victor Frankenstein brother. This is a revenge mission after Victor abandons the ugly creature. In later stages of the tale, the creature goes ahead to revenge by taking the life of Victor’s best friend; Henry Clerval. This is after Victor Frankenstein attempts to kill the creature when it requested him to create a companion of its kind (Shelley, Casaletto & Brilliance Audio (Firm), 1993).
The Godly nature is manifested differently in the two characters. Victor Frankenstein has the power to create but does not have the power to kill. Victor fails in his first mission to ultimately kill his own creature when it requested him to create for him a companion. After the death of his father, Victor Frankenstein follows the creature to the North Pole in a mission to kill it. However, his second mission fails again. On the other side, the creature possesses the power to kill. The monster successfully revenges by killing Victor’s brother – William and goes ahead to kill Victor’s best friend. Victor Frankenstein has the power to create but lacks the power to kill, whereas the creature does not have the power to create. The creature had to go back to Victor to beg him to create a companion of its kind. However, it has the power to kill (Shelley, Casaletto & Brilliance Audio (Firm), 1993).
Both Victor and the creature are intelligent. Victor Frankenstein is a scientist who possesses unique scientific knowledge. “After days and nights of incredible labor and fatigue, I succeeded in discovering the cause of generation and life; nay, more, I became myself capable of bestowing animation upon lifeless matter”, says Victor. The monster is also intelligent. It identifies those close to Victor and uses them for revenge. The creature identifies the family and the close friends of Victor as his weak point and uses them for revenge. The creature, which at last stages is declared as a demon can easily identify William, victor’s brother, his fiancée, and his close friend, whom he uses in his revenge mission. The creature’s intelligence is also evident in its ability to read. Frankenstein’s monster finds itself reading books like ‘Paradise lost’ (Shelley& Hindle 2003).
According to Shelley, Casaletto & Brilliance Audio (Firm) (1993), both the creature and Victor are capable of love and affection. The two have a great desire of family and companion. Victor, apart from his family and friends, he has a fiancée whom he loves so much. Elizabeth Lavenza is the love of Victor’s heart, and they have even planned to marry and set up a family together. On the other side, the creature also has feelings. After been abandoned by the creator, it goes ahead to look for him. The creature wants Victor to create for him a female companion, whom he can live together. This means that the creature is capable of love. The creature declares itself as unfortunate and deserted.it lacks relations and friends to love. The two are also unforgiving and would stop at nothing other than revenge. The whole tale is based on revenge between Victor Frankenstein and the Frankenstein’s monster.
Another similarity between Victor and the creature is the element of hatred. The creature has been isolated by human beings and develops great pain. The ‘monster’ takes out its anger and frustration on its creator – Victor and begins the revenge mission. Failure of Victor to create a companion builds more hatred, and the creature avenges by strangling Elizabeth, Victor’s fiancée on her matrimonial bed on the eve of their marriage. Victor develops hatred towards the creature, which at one point he declares it as a demon. This hatred engages Victor in a mission to kill the creature. Both Victor and the creature are driven to revenge against each other because of the hatred between them. Ironically, the creature is filled with sorrow when it receives the news of the death of its creator; Victor Frankenstein. At the end of the story, the two end up in a lonely world, all suffering from loneliness. The creature is the only of its kind, and has no companion since the beginning of its life. Victor Frankenstein on the other side remains lonely after the death of his relatives, his fiancée Elizabeth Lavenza, hence lives a similar life with that of the creature (Shelley& Hindle 2003).
However, the creature is different from Victor in a number of elements. Victor Frankenstein is a normal human being, born of a human nature with a father and mother. He also enjoys a strong bond in the society amongst his family and friends. Victor Frankenstein even has a fiancée by the name Elizabeth Lavenza, whom they have staged marriage together. On the side of the creature, it is made from scientific innovation, composed of chemical compounds and brought into being through a scientific skill. The creature is one and the only one under the sun, without a companion. At one point, the creature complaints of been isolated by the society. It is ugly and does not seem to take humankind. It lives in its “own world”, with none of its kind existing. It cannot socialize with human beings because it’s unique (Shelley, Casaletto & Brilliance Audio (Firm), 1993).
Victor Frankenstein has a woman who loves him. Instead, he alienates his woman – Elizabeth Lavenza and embarks on scientific innovations outside Geneva. At one point, Victor Frankenstein father and Elizabeth’s parents’ question him whether he still loves his fiancée or has sought the love of his heart elsewhere. On the side of the creature, it has no mate. The creature, however, desires nothing more than a companion. Elizabeth is a natural human being. The creature’s mate, whom he had requested Victor Frankenstein to create for him could have been another abomination against God. Elizabeth and Victor Frankenstein are in love. However, there is no basis whether the creature could for sure fall in love with the companion he was requesting Victor to create for him (Shelley, Casaletto & Brilliance Audio (Firm), 1993).
The story ends up in a sad death of Victor Frankenstein, after suffering from Pneumonia. This marks the end of this main character. However, the creature’s destiny is not clarified. The creature vows to burn itself to death and flees to the northernmost hemisphere of the earth. This creates suspense and leaves the audience in a dilemma whether the creature later died or it still exists up to date.
Feminist Literary Critics in Mary Shelley’s Novel “Frankenstein”
A very common criticism among feminist literary critics is that Mary Shelley’s novel, Frankenstein; or The Modern Prometheus, is an anti feminist text, in how all female characters in the novel exist solely to further the plot for the make characters. However, this reading ignores the underlying message of the novel, that the “naturalized” behaviours men and women learn under the patriarchy ultimately lead to a life of misery and destruction. It is through this reading of Frankenstein that we can see that Mary Shelley was not rejecting her mother’s feminist beliefs, but instead concealed them within a fictional novel, so as to bring them into the poplar culture of the time and make them accessible to all. The characters who engage in the “naturalized” behaviours of men and women enforced by the patriarchy lead themselves and their loved ones to a life of misery and death. Though the novel does not show the dramatic overthrowing of the patriarchy, it demonstrates how everyone’s participation within patriarchal norms leads to suffering, and how even slight rejections of the patriarchy lead to great happiness for some characters.
The novel takes place in the patriarchal society of eighteenth century Switzerland. The relevance of this lies in the separate gendered labours they must perform, which are entrenched in societal norms. This division of labour means men fill the intellectual and public spheres, like Victor Frankenstein’s becoming a scientist, and his father Alphonse’s being a government official. Women, on the other hand, fill the domestic sphere. Women have little agency, and are expected to silently look after their families, as Elizabeth and Justine do. The story being rooted in the patriarchy is what causes all the problems in the story, and the eventual destruction of the Frankenstein family.
Literature typically depicts men as thriving under the patriarchy, however in Shelley’s novel the men end up either miserable and alone, as is the case with Robert Walton, or dead, like the men of the Frankenstein family. These deaths of the Frankenstein family are all caused by Victor’s monster. Victor’s creation of the monster relates directly to his grief over the loss of his mother, Caroline Frankenstein. Victor states: “It is so long before the mind can persuade itself that she, whom we saw everyday … can be departed forever…” (72). Though he explicitly states that emotionally recovering from the loss of a loved one takes a great amount of time, he then contradicts himself, stating, “Grief is rather an indulgence than a necessity” (72), and that he must leave to attend university. He has been taught, since his childhood upbringing under the patriarchy, to value concrete “facts relative to the actual world” (66), like science, whereas the abstract and “aërial creations of the poets” (66), like feelings and emotions, was for the women in his life. Rather than learning to do his own emotional processing and labour, he is taught under the patriarchy to suppress his feelings, because they are unnecessary. This is what leads to his obsession with creating life, so that he may one day “renew life where death had apparently devoted the body of corruption” (81), and bring his mother back to life. This is an impossible task, and his lust for the glory of overcoming death results in the suffering and deaths of all his loved ones. This is one example of the ways in which patriarchal expectations of people in the eighteenth-century resulted in the misery and deaths of the characters in the novel Frankenstein.
The suffering Victor’s loved ones experienced is another example of the suffering experienced by people as a result of gendered patriarchal roles.The deaths of the women in the Frankenstein family directly relate to the roles they were socialized to perform under the patriarchy. From a young age the women of the novel are all taught that their primary purpose is to listen to them men in their lives, and care for their family to the point of complete self sacrifice, while their male counterparts go off exploring the world. This need to care for people is ingrained in the characters, and ultimately leads to each of their sufferings, as seen with the Frankenstein family’s servant, Justine. Justine, in her domestic, caregiving work as a servant to the Frankenstein’s, is trying to find William after he went missing one night. In her attempt to find the missing boy, she is framed for his murder. Though she is innocent of this crime, she confessed to the murder she was accused of. Her reasoning behind this self sacrifice is, “‘In an evil hour I subscribed to a lie, and now only I am truly miserable’” (102). She confessed to the murder of William, so that the rest of the world could feel satisfied that William’s death was brought to justice. In her eyes, as a woman and a servant to the Frankenstein family, the Frankensteins’ need for closure regarding the death of William outweighs her need to be recognized as innocent. She goes quietly, and with little complaint, as is expected of women under the patriarchy.
While most characters in the novel follow the gendered rules of the patriarchy without question, there is one character in the novel who goes against the patriarchal expectations put upon them, and experiences happiness as a result. This character is Safie, an Arabian who falls in love with Felix De Lacey, a french aristocrat who falls from grace after helping her father escape from a French prison.
Analysis of the Tragedy of Victor in the Novel Frankenstein
Written by Mary Shelley, Frankenstein is a story of a young scientist who creates a sapient creature in an unorthodox scientific experiment. Presented in Jill Lepore article in New Yorker, Mary Shelley created Frankenstein out of the death of her first child, “Dreamed that my little baby came to life again.” Frankenstein was a character based from wanting her first child to be reborn. Beneath the initial monster story, the use of archetypes, themes, and characterization help develop the character of Mr. Frankenstein.
Victor is a tragic hero because he is the main character in a tragedy and his flaw of sacrificing anything to gain knowledge eventually brings about his downfall. Do to the long months and months of trying to study his experimental creature before it came to life, Victor would write notes in his journal. “I seemed to have lost all soul or sensation but for this one pursuit.” Victor has an unbridled ego which helps him satisfy the urge to know and use his learning to create a new race of man. He isn’t fully aware of his consequences while creating a new race of humans. The archetype is shown because he overreached to seek knowledge that shouldn’t be known by any human being and when he receives such knowledge it ends up turning his life upside down.
Frankenstein is a look at humanity and sticks to the theme of keeping information from family and dangerous knowledge. Victor did everything he could to keep his secret from his family, and it ended up ruining his life. If he had told at least one other person, they might have been able to help him or at least give him some advice on what to do with the monster. Victor found the knowledge of life; this theme still remains relevant to today. With Victor trying to make new creations using man, he is upsetting God which is why his life ended up being ruined. Informed in Forbidden Knowledge, Danny has stated that, “The first that man should not play God. Victor Frankenstein embarks on a quest to create life, which ends in tragedy.” Frankenstein was supposed to be visioned as another human being just with larger features, but instead he turned out to be a terrifying monster. As the monster fled the house, going out into society trying to fit in the picture, but humans weren’t being welcoming sending the creature; hatred, fear, and confusion.
Through other characters such as Walton, the author made Victor seem like a mad-scientist and like a man with a deep passion and curiosity of the sciences. Frankenstein tried to portray himself as a kind, benevolent creator who just made a simple mistake, he ended up sounding like a shallow, prideful man.
The use of archetypes shows the character description Victor is filling in the storyline. It also helps the reader understand how he should be viewed in the story. Using themes shows how the plot of the story will eventually play out once the characters are developed. Lastly the use of characterization shows how the person is viewed and the characteristics shown.
Motif Similarity in Frankenstein and How to Read Literature Like a Professor
Although Frankenstein and How to Read Literature like a Professor are written in two different time periods, they have many of the same motifs and archetypes. Frankenstein explores the creation of a monster but develops a character that is just as unstable. Fosters guide dissects many books of literature including Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, the guide helps make connections and encourage deeper reading and understanding. As the story transposes Fosters chapters can directly link to Frankenstein such as symbolism, geography, and prejudice. To begin the quest among Victor, the monster, and Walton there are five requirements along the said journey: “(a) a quester, (b) a place to go, (c) a stated reason to go there, (d) challenges and trials en route, and (e) a real reason to go there” (Thomas Foster 3). This is the beginning to comprehending the journey of a book and literature. Frankenstein begins the same way, as chapter one begins there are three characters that are going on different quests throughout the book.
Walton, Victor and the monster. “Natural philosophy is the genius that has regulated my fate; I desire, therefore, in this narration, to state those facts which led to my predilection for that science” (Mary Shelley 35) This is the beginning of Victor confessing his love for science that ultimately becomes the beginning of the quest of his creation that leads to nothing but his transitioning into a monster. In chapter seven Foster creates a scene of elaborate stories on religion and lost innocence. An example is “Araby”, “loss of innocence,” (Foster 49). This example relates directly back to William whom is killed by Victors monster. “The figure passed me quickly, and I lost it in my gloom. Nothing in human shape could have destroyed that fairchild” (Shelley 75). As well as the loss of innocence, symbolism strikes amongst Victor as he arrives to the place his brother died. “ I remained motionless. The thunder ceased,” (Shelley 75). The following symbolism relates to the “four horseman” (Foster 48). The symbolism of death arriving, as well as lightning to which brought the monster to life and became the demise of two innocent lives. In chapter nine of Frankenstein and chapter ten of (HTRLLAP) the connection of weather resonates with Victor as he mourns the loss of his brother, William.
Foster states that weather is never a coincidence it always symbolizes an idea, emotion or perhaps the next part of the ‘quest’. “The sound of the river raging among the rocks, and the dashing of the waterfalls around, (Shelley 92). Foster provides an biblical example of the weather representing peace, thus connecting with Victor whom finds his only escape to the mountain montanvert. “Thus not the tenderness of friendship, nor the beauty of earth, nor of the heaven, could redeem my soul from woe: (Shelley 91) Foster explains in chapter ten the symbolism of the rainbow in the bible, “God promised Noah with the rainbow never again to flood the whole earth. No writer in the West can employ a rainbow without being aware of its signifying aspect, its biblical function (Foster 79). Violence is prevalent in Victor’s monster, Victors intentions to create life only led to death and his demise. The biblical connection of the monster and Victor is the way that his creation views him. “This I relieve thee, my creator,” he said, and placed his hated hands before my eyes, which I flung from me with violence, “ this I take from thee a sight which you abhor” (Shelley 99). The monster claims that he has resulted to violence due to Victors abandonment. In chapter eleven of (HTRLLAP) Foster refers back to Toni Morrison’s Beloved, in the example the mother kills her children when she finds out they will become victims of slavery. “Violence is one of the most personal and even intimate acts between human beings, but it also can be cultural and societal in its implications.
Violence in Fosters example is made out of emotion, as well as the monster in Shelley’s book. In chapter twelve Foster begins to dissect symbolism and how identifying an example of symbolism can be easier rather than comprehending what it means. “We want it to mean some thing, one thing for all of us and for all time. That would be easy, convenient, manageable for us. But that handiness would result in a net loss: the novel would cease to be what it is, (Foster 99). The symbolism of nature in chapter eleven of Frankenstein is developed through fire, the coldness the monster tells Victor he experienced.
The coldness can relate to the abandonment he felt towards Victor, as well as the fire representing the true feelings and bestowing the emotions the monster felt alone in the woods without his creator. “In my joy I thrust my hand into the live embers , but quickly drew it out again with a cry of pain.” (Shelley 103) Chapter thirteen Foster goes into depth on how every book has a political piece to it. “ Nearly all writing is political on some level” (Foster 111). As the monster continues his story of being isolated and abandoned, he discusses the evils of humanity and the legal system. The monster describes disgust and remorse. “For a long time I could not conceive how one man could go forth to murder his fellow, or even why there were laws and governments; but when I heard details of vice and bloodshed, my wonder ceased, and I turned away with disgust and loathing (Shelley 118). Frankenstein hardly seems like the book to have political pieces but deep within the monsters prejudice he suffers from and the government Fosters statement stands. “The world contains many thing , and on the level of society, part of what it contains is the political reality of the time power structures, relations among classes, issues of justice and rights, interactions between the sexes and among various racial and ethnic constituencies” (Foster 115) “Literary geography is typically about humans inhabiting spaces, and at the same time the spaces that inhabit humans” (Foster 166) Victor makes a point to go North, as Victor moves farther away from society, his family and friends. The monster speaks of being abandoned, and as he grows to understand the world, and his love for nature, much like Victor you can feel his ultimate demise.
The monster is growing and thriving in nature, Victor tells of how he only solemnly feels at peace in nature but even that too is destroyed “I enjoyed the scene; and yet my enjoyment was embittered both by the memory of the past, and the anticipation of the future” (Shelley 159) The geography of where Victor flees to says a lot about who he is, and how he enjoyed it before and felt peace and comfort but now only feels it for a moment. The monster has a way of taking everything from Victor, including his sanity. In chapter twenty-one Foster addresses Mary Shelley’s book directly, although the monster physically was unappealing than Victor, the real monster was the creator himself. “But in the novel it’s the idea of the monster that is frightening, or perhaps it’s really the idea of the man, the scientist-sorcerer forging an unholy alliance with dark knowledge that scares us (Foster 199). The psychological downfall that the audience witnesses the longer the monster is alive is more concerning than the physical monster in itself. In chapter twenty-two Victor has basically become the monster. Victor’s state of mind is full of isolation, he confesses to his father of the murder he has committed, at this time the difference between Victor and his creation are not to be found. Although Victor looks human his mind and his heart have become one with the monster. “I am not mad,” I cried energetically; “the sun and the heavens, who have viewed my operations, can bear witness of my truth. I am the assassin of those most innocent victims; they died by my machinations. A thousand times would I have shed my own blood, drop by drop, to have saved their lives” (Shelley 184).
Victor takes blame for the deaths of his family and friends, as victor loses his family the closer the monster gets to showing Victor the isolation the monster experienced when his creator abandons him. Victor is a death away from becoming the monster and completely living in isolation from all those he loves, including his own wife Elizabeth. CONCLUSION In conclusion, Frankenstein and How to Read Literature like a Professor are similar in many aspects but just as different. They share several of the same motifs such as symbolism, archetypes, prejudice and nature. Foster sprinkles in several books, he uses quite a bit of variety yet he uses Toni Morrison’s Beloved several times. The violence and prejudice relates back to Victor and his creation in several ways. In the same ways they are different where Frankenstein is a story of upset and adventure psychologically and physically.
Analysis Of The Use Of Allusions, Imagery, And Symbolism in “Frankenstein: The 1818 Text” By Mary Shelley
People everyday read books and then right after not remember what they had just read. To fix this, close reading must be applied. Close reading is the critical and thoughtful analysis that focuses on certain details and rhetorical choices the author makes. This is essential to fully understand the text and comprehend the form, craft, and meaning of pieces of literature. The book How To Read Literature Like A Professor by Thomas C. Foster hits on different techniques including symbols, themes, and contexts that represent close reading so each person can make his/her reading experience more enjoyable. Foster provides a broad overview of literature and what reading between the lines entails.
After reading this book, understanding Mary Shelley’s, Frankenstein: The 1818 Text was much easier to comprehend and pull apart the literary meanings that are woven into the text. Mary Shelley’s text includes allusions, imagery and symbolism that help to communicate the message of the story, which is that doing something you are not supposed to can come with a price. She uses many different methods and techniques to carry the plot along. Pulling apart a book with all of the different rhetorical devices and analysis it includes is necessary for discussion, which is also an important part of close reading.
One of the most important devices Shelley uses is allusions to relate back to the theme that ruining someone’s life also comes with a cost. An allusion is a figure of speech that is a reference to a well-known person, place, event or literary work. These connections to various works allow the reader to identify themes throughout the book, as well as gaining a better understanding of what is occurring in the text. The first story Mary Shelley alludes to in Frankenstein: The 1818 Text is the story of Prometheus. Prometheus is about a titan who is a respected and almost god-like figure. He created man through clay and water and taught them how to live. However, Prometheus also tricked Zeus into having him accept the humans’ low-quality sacrificial merchandise. In response to this, Zeus confiscated all fire from mankind. Prometheus, being a caring individual steals fire from Zeus to give to the humans. Zeus then sentences Prometheus to eternal misery and torment. Victor Frankenstein, one of the main characters in Mary Shelley’s novel closely resembles Prometheus because Frankenstein creates a new species and ends up suffering from it. Frankenstein tells the monster he created to “Begone! [he] will not hear [him]”. This is just as Zeus did to Prometheus. The monster then begins to murder everyone Victor Frankenstein cares for. Frankenstein’s original intention was to benefit from his scientific discovery to make a new species, but in the end, both Frankenstein and his monster were left very unhappy.
The allusion of the story of Prometheus in Frankenstein: The 1818 Text relates back to the theme that doing something you are not supposed to can come at a price because Prometheus and Victor Frankenstein both suffered from their choices. Since Frankenstein told his monster to go away from him, Frankenstein suffered since the monster killed all his loved ones. The monster then regretted him ruining Frankenstein’s life and wept when he was killed. Frankenstein was not supposed to create this monster and then abandon it. He paid the price which was ultimately death. Prometheus, on the other hand, was not supposed to trick Zeus and he also paid the price of eternal torture.
Another allusion Mary Shelley touches on is the Rime of the Ancient Mariner. This poem is about a mariner who disregards the laws of nature and slaughters an albatross and a bird. After this, the mariner and his men come across a ghostly figure who resembles death. This ghostly figure then kills all of the men and leaves a curse on the mariner. This similarly connects back to what happened to Victor Frankenstein because he created this monster and then told the monster to get away from him. He pretty much cursed himself since the monster got revenge and killed everyone Victor had somewhat of a close relationship with. The mariner and Frankenstein both represent that if you do something you are not supposed to, it can come at a price. Both tragedies could have been prevented. If Frankenstein did not exonerate the monster and took care of his creation, his loved ones would still be alive. The monster always left a “murderous mark” which “brought tears to Victor’s eyes”. Victor paid for the price of not caring for the monster he created since the monster wanted revenge and began killing Victor’s loved ones. Likewise, if the mariner did not kill those animals he was not supposed to kill, he would not have a curse on him. This allusion foreshadows the loss of Victor’s loved ones due to his own mistakes.
Similarly, Mary Shelley alludes to the poem Paradise Lost. This poem is a biblical story where God created Adam and Eve- the first people on earth. The two are very innocent. They both were supposed to stay away from this tree and not eat or take anything off of it, but Satan in the form of a snake comes to Eden and tempts her to eat from the tree. Both Adam and Eve end up eating from the tree and are banished from the garden. The title Paradise Lost illustrates this beautiful garden that they lived in is now all gone because of their actions. From here, the monster can be compared to Adam. The monster says to Victor that he “is thy creature: [he] ought to be Adam”. This illustrates how the monster began life innocent, but without the love and care from his creator turned into a horrible killer. These allusions help carry along the plot of the story so the reader can easily identify themes throughout it. The plot makes much more sense because of the story of Prometheus, Rime of the Ancient Mariner, and Paradise Lost.
In Frankenstein: The 1818 Text, Shelley uses imagery throughout to entice the reader and bring light to the message she is trying to portray. The author’s use of vivid and descriptive writing is a crucial technique that appeals to the human senses to deepen the reader’s understanding of the piece of literature. Victor feels true hatred for the monster when the monster begins to kill and describes it as “gloomy and black melancholy”. If Victor would have taken care of the monster he created, the tragedies of losing his loved ones would have been prevented. Victor would have never felt so sad and the monster would know what a caring relationship in the human world felt like. The use of imagery really helps the reader visualize Victor’s feelings. His emotions are described as “black melancholy”, the reader can illustrate in his/her mind this very dark sky that represents his mood. Victor even tells the reader the “fresh air and bright sun seldom failed to restore [him] to some degree of composure”. Victor is to blame for his unhappiness since he neglected his new creation. He then goes looking for the monster and describes him as the “devil”. Unfortunately for Victor, the monster “eluded his grasp”, meaning he got away from him. Victor uses such strong adjectives to relay the hatred he feels for him, but it is his own fault for what happened. Victor wants to catch him and destroy him, so no more horrible events happen to him. If he would have cared for the monster, the monster would have never wanted to get revenge and kill people. Victor’s negligence came at a price, which was ultimately his death from sorrow. Victor did not want to have a relationship with the monster because of how hideous he was. People should not be judged because of their looks. Everyone needs to be cared for and respected the same. Victor learned by the end of the book that his choice to not take care of the monster was a very poor one. The author’s use of imagery allows the reader to make a visual picture in their mind while collecting their thoughts on the message of the text.
Mary Shelley’s use of symbolism is also used to bring attention to her theme that doing something you are not supposed to can come at an expense. Light is used to symbolize the ugliness of the monster. It illustrates how different he looked compared to the human race. The monster’s first encounter with light is it “pressed upon [his] nerves”. The light of science is good until you get too close or pursue it too far like Victor did. He abandoned his creation because of how the monster looked. Victor knew he was not supposed to create this new species of life, but tried to anyway. That is why the monster wanted revenge because he was created and then neglected shortly after. Fire is also used as a symbol which can cause pain destruction and death, but it can also sustain life by providing heat and heating food. The monster realized the dual nature of fire when he says he “found, with pleasure, that fire gave light as well as heat”. The monster was so happy he had the fire to keep him company but realized it could be used for destruction when he would “thrust his hand into live embers, but quickly drew it out again with a cry of pain”. The monster wants to use the harmful power of fire to destroy himself since he feels too ugly and uncared for. He wants to eliminate any memory of him on earth. The fire symbol also relates back to the Prometheus myth, as he brought fire back to humans. Victor left the monster to feel so unwanted and alone. Victor knew he was not supposed to abandon the monster but did it anyway. By the end of the book, Victor regrets his decision to which leaves him with a “bitter sting of remorse”. The use of symbolism in this story creates meaning and more emotion to the plot.
Mary Shelley uses allusions, imagery, and symbolism effectively in her novel Frankenstein: The 1818 Text to relay the message that doing something you are not supposed to do can come with consequences. These three elements ensure the reader gets a close read of the plot and has a deeper understanding of the text. People do not always realize the repercussions that can occur as a result of their actions. An individual must learn to think before they act to ensure he/she is happy and content with their life.
The Issue Of False Judgments in Mary Shelley’s Book “Frankenstein”
When it comes to society, labeling and judging an individual based on their appearance causes them to feel socially isolated from the world, impacting their lives in a negative way. Society today holds many expectations that revolve around beauty and having excellent qualities as a human being. In Mary Shelley’s book, “Frankenstein”, the monster created by Victor Frankenstein is wrongly judged based on his “ugly” features and is labeled as a horrifying and violent creature that doesn’t belong in their village. Society rejects the monster in Frankenstein because no beauty is found within him which triggers the monster’s anger and loneliness. The monster turns to violence as the only way to get attention from society and his creator, making them understand that he is not this hideous threatening monster they portray him as, but a creature who is empathetic and loving. Even though the monster allows his anger and isolation to lead him into murdering the loved ones of his creator, society plays a great role in causing him to commit such evil acts through themes of abandonment, isolation, lost innocence, revenge, judgments, and the expectations of beauty in society.
The evilness of the monster is first created when Mary Shelley presents a gloomy frightful setting where a scientist, Victor Frankenstein, accomplishes his goal by bringing the dead back to life. When Victor encounters his creation, he is completely disgusted and disappointed with its “hideous” appearance. Terrified, Victor runs away from his creation, causing the monster to roam through the village all alone, not knowing who he is, and left to be shunned by society. Through all of the villages judgments, in chapter 15 the monster exclaims, “They are kind… the most excellent creatures in the world: but, unfortunately, they are prejudiced against me…a fatal prejudice clouds their eyes…they ought to see a feeling and kind friend, they behold a detestable monster”. When the monster starts to engage with people, he begins to see that he is not wanted in their village and is feared upon based on his appearance. The people of the village are blinded by the monster’s hideous features and do not see the good qualities that he holds. The monster’s broken relationship with his creator, Victor, and his disgust to society sets himself up for self-destruction and violent acts.
The self-destruction of the monster that leads him to violence and murder is caused by the abandonment from society and Victor Frankenstein. In the book, we see abandonment first in chapter 5 when Victor creates the monster that is viewed as ugly and hideous to him, and abandons his creation, only because of the monsters ugly features that he expected to be beautiful. Victor views his experiment as a failure and wants nothing to do with it as he states “the beauty of the dream vanished, and breathless horror and disgust filled my heart. Unable to endure the aspect of the being I had created, I rushed out of my room”. Failure to have beauty in his experiment causes him to abandon his creation in disgust and hopes it will all go away. When Victor chooses to leave his creation, he goes out of town to spend time with his friends and acts as if nothing happened. When he returns home, he sees no sign of his creation and cheerfully insists he is freed from this horror. While Victor is being nursed back into society by his close friend Clerval, the monster has been roaming the village for two months now. The monster begins to learn where he stands in society, labeled as an abandoned creature who is rejected from all humankind which triggers his anger and hate towards Victor Frankenstein.
Another theme presented in Frankenstein is the monster’s social isolation from society which triggers his anger, hatred, and evil intentions towards Victor. In chapter 6, Victor frees and isolates himself from his experiment and all his stress by traveling around Germany admiring nature, while his creation is still roaming and being isolated from relationships, society, and love as a human. In chapter 15, isolation from the world allows the monster to conclude, “I am an unfortunate and deserted creature…I have no relation or friend upon earth…people to whom I go have never seen me, and know little of me. I am full of fears…I am an outcast in the world forever”. The isolation the monster has been experiencing from society has clearly made him feel lonely and unwanted. The monster’s outcast of the world has made him very upset and angry, especially knowing that he is being judged by people who do not know him or the kindness that he holds. Society is making Victor’s creation feel like a monster since he looks like one, even though he doesn’t act like one. When an innocent human is isolated from society and depicted as a monster, anger and revenge is created, where the monster begins to seek revenge in murder to gain attention from Victor and those who despised him.
Victor Frankenstein’s abandonment of the monster he created and the monster’s isolation of the world has led to the next theme of revenge. In Chapter 9, both Victor and the monster isolate themselves in Belrive only to escape from the bad memories, but also to seek revenge against each other. The monster resorts to violence by murdering Victor’s loved ones as revenge for his abandonment and absence of love and care. Victor searches for the monster and wants revenger for the deaths of his loved ones. When Victor and monster come face to face with each other in chapter 10, the monster demands, “If you will comply with my conditions, I will leave them and you at peace; but if you refuse, I will glut the maw of death, until it be satiated with blood of your remaining friends”. The monster wants the love and companionship from Victor since he created him, but if he does not give the monster what he’s been wanting, then his loved ones will continue to be murdered. By resorting to murder, the monster wants to get the attention he’s been wanting from Victor and begins to understand his strengths to kill everything Victor loves in order to get what he wants. Revenge caused by Victor’s disgust and abandonment with his creation and society’s views of it, has pushed the monster to commit evil crimes as the only way to get what he wants.
Although the monster has portrayed himself as an innocent, kind, and empathetic creature but seeks revenge and resorts to murder, we begin to see a theme of lost innocence caused by society. The theme of lost innocence takes place when the monster admits that he turned to violence as revenge to Victor leaving him in a world full of hatred and disgust. Based on the monster’s experiences with society, in chapter 14 he describes, “Everywhere I see bliss, from which I alone am irrevocably excluded. I was benevolent and good; misery made me a end. Make me happy, and I shall again be virtuous”. The monster was once a kind and loving creature, but his exclusion from society has turned him evil and all that he wants now is for Victor to listen to his story and give him happiness. The monster wants Victor to see his view on how he wasn’t a terrifying monster at first, until Victor’s act of shame and abandonment caused him to commit terrible crimes.
Society, including Victor, attacks and judges the monster because he doesn’t look the way they want or expect him to look like. Clearly, it isn’t the monster’s fault for the way he looks because besides his “hideous features”, he does not hold the evil characteristics of a monster, but the good characteristics as a kind human. Having life on earth, the monster is also evolving as everyone else, but when he receives hate as a unwanted creature from the people around him, his kindness is tested and his innocence is lost. In chapter 8, Justine also gives up her innocence by confessing a lie to a crime she did not commit and accepts that she is ready to be executed to leave behind a bitter world that she sees as not so innocent either. Society shouldn’t hold any account of being perfect and innocent when it is their fault that murders are happening and evil acts are being influenced by innocent people like the monster and Justine.
Society’s judgments are mainly based on looks and what good qualities we may inherent. As sad as it is, looks really do matter in our world where certain expectations must be met in order to be accepted by society. In Frankenstein’s case, the monster has no hope in being accepted by society because of his viscous looks. In the article “Frankenstein’s Impact: Lessons for the Modern World”, the author Francesca Baker explains how the relationship of Victor and the monster resembles the relationship of a parent and their child. Since Victor does the complete opposite of caring for his creation, he judges him instead, based on his creatures appearance just as everyone else does. Baker sets her next point that appearances do matter in society and how our society chooses to accept another. When it comes to the hideous features of the creature versus societies expectations, the article argues, “This link between the Creature’s ugliness and inner evil reflect an uncomfortable truth- people constantly judge one another based on appearance”. The way that the society in Frankenstein absorbs most of the hideous appearance of the creature, and not for who he truly is reveals the truth of how our society today still continues to constantly judge someone based on appearance.
Many judgments and shame of an individual can lead them to murder as an only way seek for attention or to be heard correctly. In the article, “Mary Shelley’s ‘Frankenstein’ is a Cautionary Tale on the Monstrosity of which Humans are Capable” Stephanie Allen introduces a poem called ‘The Tables Turned’ which reads, “Sweet is the lore, which nature brings, our meddling intellect, misshapes the beauteous forms of things, we murder to dissect”. Stephanie Allen analyzes the excerpt from the poem as an idea in how science has contributed to the violence against nature. Frankenstein and the monster both commit violence through science and bringing the dead back to life that turned into a hideous creation that society fears because it is ugly. Since the beautiness of life has been messed with, the monster created is left with disappointment and chooses to murder in order for others to understand his misery and what he really wants in life.
When an individual appears beautiful, societies automatic judgment is that they have good qualities, but when an individual appears ugly, they will automatically be judged as a person who has ugly characteristics. If an individual looks viscous, they will be thought of to act cruel and vicious also. In the journal, “It is the Cooperation, Stupid!” the author Somesh Gupta examines, “Research has shown that attractive people are judged as being more trustworthy as compared to not so attractive ones. Beautiful people are inherently at an advantageous position due to their attractive traits”. The more attractive you are, the more you are accepted by society and have advantages having love, care, shelter, and relations with others. In Frankenstein’s case, the monster has no advantages of receiving love and acceptance from everyone around him because he does not appear attractive as a normal human, only as a hideous creature. As soon as society encountered the monster in Frankenstein, he was feared upon and was not trusted in their village. Society depicted the monster as a viscous an destructive monster, making the monster himself believe it by committing the crimes the way a viscous monster would do.
When the monster encounters loneliness and isolation from the world, he became vulnerable and sensitive to others leading him to act in a negative way for his desperation for attention. In the article, “How Social Isolation is Killing Us” Dhruv Khullar argues, “loneliness can be contagious: when one person becomes lonely, he withdraws from his social circle and causes others to do the same”. Khullar’s point of loneliness being contagious relates to the monster in Frankenstein and how he seeks revenge in killing everyone Victor loves so that he turns to Victor as the only person that he can share love with instead of being lonely. In Khullar’s research, he also explains how loneliness can increase the mental and emotional consequences within an individual. In Frankenstein, the monsters loneliness leads him to the emotional consequences of murdering and filling in the image that society portrayed him as. Although the monster was once good, society’s isolation lead him to commit to murders in order for Victor to feel the monster’s pain and suffering in hopes he would understand why he is the way he is.
Despite the monster’s hideous appearance, societies rejection, and Victor’s abandonment, all the monster wanted was a companion; someone to love on his own. The monster figured that if he knew that he didn’t belong in society, love would be able to make everything feel better. In chapter 10, the monster tries to explain to Victor, “Thus I take from thee sight which you abhor. Still thou canst listen to me and grant me thy compassion. By the virtues that I once possessed, I demand this from you”. Being understood and wanted by someone who brought life to the dead for a reason is what the monster desired the most from his creator. He wants Victor to understand that he is not what he looks like, and wants compassion for all the misery Victor has put him through. The monster begs Victor, “Believe me, Frankenstein, I was benevolent; my soul glowed with love and humanity; but am i not alone, miserable alone? You, my creator, abhor me”. The hate and disgust that the monster feels from his creator has filled him with guilt of murder, but only did so to gain attention. There was no other way to make Victor see that he is as guilty as the monster by taking away a love and being left in a world all alone with nobody to love. Victor must take responsibility of the crimes that the monster committed since he brought him to life. Now, Victor must suffer through the pain and misery of having everything he loved, destroyed.
Society was the main reason to what made the monster turn to violence because of isolation, abandonment, social expectations, and false judgments. A poor innocent creature who only wished to exchange love and kindness with someone was wrongfully rejected by a society who provokes evil within others. In my opinion, I believe if Victor took responsibility and cared for the monster as his child and also society giving him a chance to show who he is, the monster would not have resorted to evil acts by murdering. I feel that society’s set image of the monster being viscous pushed him to believe he was that monster they portrayed him as and proved their point by making him suffer through their judgments. The overall message in Frankenstein is to not judge someone based on appearance because when an individual is socially isolated and left alone, negative consequences can occur that no one should ever have to suffer through.
Analysis Of Volume One Of The Novel Frankenstein
This novel ‘Frankenstein’ is written by Mary Shelley. She was an English novelist, dramatist, travelled writer and she was best known for her Gothic novel (an English genre of fiction characterized by an atmosphere of mystery and horror) ‘Frankenstein’. Story of ‘Frankenstein’ touches on issue of bioethics, morality and religion. This novel is about a person named as ‘Victor Frankenstein’. He has been raised in a gentle family by loving Parents. He has two younger Brothers named as Ernest and William and an adopted sister, Elizabeth.
Victor come to know about Death for the first time when his Beloved mother dies because of Scarlet Fever. This incident effects ‘Victor’ badly. Before the death of his mother he was a very lively person but after his mother’s death he become so lost that he become retarded. To restore his mental condition he decided to go to university to study science and philosophy at Ingolstadt. He set his Goal of creating life. He does not want anyone to be dead. He wants to eliminate the concept of death by renewing life. In other word, we can say that he was afraid of death.
So to achieve his goal, he burns the midnight oil. He does not care about his health and works day and night. Soon he accomplished his goal. The Monster awakens. He opens his eyes and breaths fast. From chamber he goes into his room in shock leaving the monster alone. Finally, he falls asleep. Dreams of death and horror fills his mind until he awakes. He saw the monster standing next to his bed. The monster was trying to approach him. Victor was deeply wrenched with fear. Sweat poured out from his face. He does not know what to do. Finally, he escapes from the monster and rushes from the house. He goes to his best friend named as Henry. He brings back Henry to his apartments but the monster was gone. Victor don’t know that what has become of the monster he only knows that he is gone. As spring arrives, Victor regains his health. During that year he take a walking tour with his friend Henry. It has been two years since the monster has been disappeared.
Now, Victor was back to the life. He has forgotten about everything. As he returns from his tour, he received a letter from his Father. The letter contains a dreadful news about the murder of his younger brother ‘William’. He was deeply shocked on hearing this news. It reminds him the death of his mother. Although the word ‘death’ was really terrifying for him. He escapes from the concept of death but due to his fate he has to face his fear again and again. He begins his journey home deeply grieved over the murder of his younger brother. He decided to go to the site of murder and for this he must take a boat across a lake to do so. It is a stormy night, as he arrives on the bank he observes a large and horrifying figure in the flash of lightening. He remains shocked on what he sees. He saw that it is his creation, his monster who killed his younger brother. This all happens beyond his imagination. He wants to eliminate the concept of death because he has already lost his mother so that’s why he made a creation but Alas! He does not know that his own creation will become devastating for him.
So, after that Victor decided to remain silent in the fear for being called mad. When he reaches home, he finds a suspected person for the murder of his brother. It is the Beloved servant girl, Justin, who is accused. She is convicted. After seeing this all, Victor remains silent. He does not utter a single word. He can defend Justin by speaking the truth but he does not do so. He became selfish at this point because if he speaks the truth he will be accused instead of Justin which he does not want at any cost. The little innocent girl is hanged. Now, Victor is responsible for two deaths(His mother, younger brother) because of his monster.
How’s does Mary Shelley present scientific discovery in the opening chapters of Frankenstein
Shelley’s creation in Frankenstein has become synonymous with the dangers of taking scientific ambition too far and in this extract we see the first tangible example of her titular character’s terrifying obsession with transgressing the line between life and death. Writing in a time of rapid scientific discovery, Shelley highlights the ‘age of wonder’ and the concern that science has the ability to ‘unweave’ the rainbow as we see her Modern Prometheus angle in a Neo Faustian pact just for personal scientific passion. Crucially, this extract demonstrates the irresistibility of scientific passion against the trope of male hubris seen in Frankenstein’s wish to change the natural processes in favour of his own scientific intervention. Shelley explores the limits and inherent dangers of scientific discovery.
In the context of contemporary paranoia on the dangers of science, Shelley captures Frankenstein’s apparent obsession with transgressing the line between life and death as some sort of Neo Faustian pact. Frankenstein declares how he has such ” astonishing a power placed within my hands”. The possessive pronoun ‘my’ hints at the personal quest for power linking to the Neo Faustian reflected in the subtitle: The modern Prometheus. The adjective “astonishing” symbolises the Romantic’s sense of wonder at nature and science as well as reflecting the early 19th century’s sense of awe at the power of science. In stark rejection of the imposing figure of the solitary male genius, a figure popularised by the Romantics Wordsworth in his lionising poem, Shelley presents a case for what her husband deemed as “domestic affections” and what a modern feminist interpretation may call the puncturing of the male ego. Frankenstein declare that “no one can conceive” the feelings that bore him forward as he figuratively describes this ambition as “like a hurricane”.
The image of natural destruction captured in this evokes Frankenstein’s own self revising narrative that his work was out of his control reflecting his previous abdication of personal responsibility earlier in the novel when he personifies destiny as being “too potent. “Shelley is perhaps at her most perceptive when capturing the intensive and all consuming passion for the creative arts. Surrounded by writers and thinkers from a young age, Shelley’s own conception of Frankenstein the novel is often framed as some otherworldly mania. Here, her titular character epitomises the human desire to strive towards the next level of man made creation. Frankenstein starts his journey of going further in science than any one person has ever gone ; ” there is continual food for discovering and wonder”. By showing his effort to surpass everyone, he begins to alienate himself from all he loved. His quest to become more like god preventing him from being able to remain in a community of loving humans beings. Shelley’s epistolary form allows Frankenstein a reflective narrative, and although we can never be sure of its veracity we can interpret his repeated attempts to figuratively express his scientific desires as some sorts of fated destiny. Evoking undoubtedly the tale of the original Prometheus, Shelly transforms it for the contemporary reader.
Frankenstein’s ambition and his desire to create a living being has driven him to exceptional lengths and to a point where his mind is starting to fail him. The intensity of his feelings about what he is doing is shown in the use of strong, forceful verbs such as ‘clung’,’pursued’ and ‘urged’. He seems compelled by an outside force to carry out his terrible scheme even though it is also having physical effects as he neglects to look after himself “My cheek had grown pale” reiterating the retrospective dangers of his ambition.
The Essence Of Humanity
In Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, humanity is cast under the shadow of physical form rather than character. As such, one must deeply analyze the emotional and not the physical attributes of characters. For the most part, society exudes monstrous behavior that conflicts humanity. For instance, the monster secretly helped a family but when it approached them in person, they ran away in horror and disgust. The monster laments, “There was none from the myriads of men who would pity or assist me; and should I feel kindness towards my enemies? No” (Shelley 16). Here, society is depicted as monstrous because nobody bothered to offer help to a kind and loving personality just because it was embodied in carcasses. Therefore, this suggests that judging is part of human nature. People often conceive ideas about someone or something just by observing their external appearance. Furthermore, it indicates that the true monster was Frankenstein whereas the creature was a victim of society’s marginalization.
Apart from that, humans are depicted as monstrous because they alienate the innocent. When Frankenstein conceived the monster, he was deformed but equally innocent. Therefore, he deserved to be treated with a little compassion. “His jaws opened and he muttered some inarticulate sounds, while a grin wrinkled his cheeks. He might have spoken, but I did not hear, on hand was stretched out, seemingly to detain me, but I escaped and rushed downstairs. (Shelley 5)” Here, the creature was looking up to Frankenstein for guidance. In fact, he tried to restrain his master who unceremoniously walked out of him. However, Frankenstein refused to become a father figure to the creature. He does not take time to observe the creature and ascertain whether it was kind or intelligent. Instead he dismisses it merely by its grotesque look. Additionally, society conceives the same perception of the creature that was abandoned by its own creator.
Furthermore, the monstrous part of humans is depicted in their selfish acts. After the monster escaped from Frankenstein’s lab, he meets his master years later. He explains to Frankenstein the hardships he has met living in solitude. The monster laments, “Satan had his companions, fellow-devils, to admire and encourage him; but I am solitary and abhorred” (Shelley 15). Subsequently, he requests Frankenstein to create a partner for him. However, his creator dismisses the idea by stating, Begone! I do break my promise; never will I create another like yourself, equal in deformity and wickedness” (133). Notably, this is an act of selfishness because Frankenstein himself sought company from society, yet he did not bother to attend to the creature’s need for companionship. Later the creature decided that it would begin acting like a monster because that is how people treated it. Therefore, the selfish acts of humans portray them as monstrous and the creature as human.
On the other hand, the monster is portrayed as the human because of his kind intentions. Apart from that, the monster is sensitive and emotional. He observed the warmth that humans had and ‘longed to join them’. Furthermore, evidence of the monster’s desire to join the human society can be traced in his desire to learn their way of life. The monster learns to read and write with the hope of partaking in the human society one day. However, the more he learns the more he realizes how impossible his quest is. Because of this, he appeals to Frankenstein stating “You must create a female for me with whom I can live in the interchange of those sympathies necessary for my being (Shelley 17). ” In essence, this proves that the monster recognizes his emotional needs. Also, he is intelligent enough to observe and understand that he can never blend in society. The only way for him to battle solitude was if Frankenstein created him a partner.
Additionally, Victor’s monster exudes humanity through his emotional reactions. When he is born, his immediate thought is to explore the world. He states, “I started up and beheld a radiant form rise from among the trees. I gazed with a kind of wonder. It moved slowly, but it enlightened my path” (Shelley 85). If the creature was the true monster, the first idea he would have conceived is that of destruction. Apart from that, the creatures decision to kill Frankenstein’s wife and friend is a reaction to stigma from society. It shows that the creature is able of sustaining emotional injuries just like any ideal human being would. Therefore, the true monster in this story is not the creature; it is Frankenstein. The creature only became malicious after it was severely marginalized by society.
Humanity in Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein”
Power always comes at a price. For humanity to gain power, a large price has been paid. Many Wars, genocides, murders, and scandals, have been used as methods to obtain power. But with each of these methods, the price has always been high. Whether one pays the price today or tomorrow for power is unknown. Regardless, the price for power will always have its due. That is why scientific research may come off as miniscule when its presented as a tool for humanity to use for power. But like all methods used to obtain power, a price will always be paid. This use of scientific research to obtain power and the price one pays is portrayed in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Mary Shelley lived in a time of great innovation and scientific research. Maybe this work of literature Frankenstein, was used as warning to humanity in its hunger for power. This work of Mary’s was not only used to warn of humanity of its plight for power but also to show the consequence of pursuing power, and the struggle between humanity and nature, and the injustice women face.
In the pursuit of power, people can sometimes lose themselves in their pursuit of it until it ultimately consumes them. Victor Frankenstein portrays this well in Frankenstein. His thoughts are singled out on scientific technological advancement and discoveries. Victor goes as far to say “Besides, I had a contempt for the uses of modern natural philosophy. It was very different when the masters of the science sought immortality and power; such views, although futile, were grand; but now the scene was changed. The ambition of the inquirer seemed to limit itself to the annihilation of those visions on which my interest in science was chiefly founded. I was required to exchange chimeras of boundless grandeur for realities of little worth. “(3.12) Frankenstein doesn’t want to do find new plants or insects, he wants the secret to immortality. By doing this, Victor becomes blind to the consequences of pursuing such knowledge. The end result is the loss of control over his creation, and not only does he lose control of it but the creation ultimately leads to Victors demise. Victor portrays anyone who pursues power, in the end it might be the pursuer or everyone around that person who pays the price. Even one critic, Professor Naomi Hetherington’s writes, “Frankenstein ‘indicate that the story is a retelling of the account of the origin of evil in a world where the only creators that we can locate are human ones’.” (Keats-Shelley Review 11 (1997): 1-39.). Humanity proves time and time again, that most of the evil in the world is from itself. Especially because of humanity’s endless pursuit of power, where science always continues to push the boundaries. The novel Frankenstein continues to echo unto this day and age. A warning from the Arthur, for anyone who chooses to go down the same path as Victor.
Throughout the novel, there is this constant fight between science and nature, that is, the unnatural and the natural. Victor’s creation represents science, or the unnatural. Frankenstein’s creation of this monster throws nature into a state of imbalance, which causes the future destruction of Victor and his whole family. Also, as this is a frame story, Victor’s loss in the fight between nature and science is shown to be a warning for anyone who probes dangerously close to discovering nature’s secrets when Shelly writes, “It’s productions and features may be without example, as the phenomena of the heavenly bodies undoubtedly are in those undiscovered solitudes. What may not be expected in a country of eternal light? I may there discover the wondrous power which attracts the needle; and may regulate a thousand celestial observations, that require only this voyage to render their seeming eccentricities consistent forever” (16). “You seek for knowledge and wisdom, as I once did; and I ardently hope that the gratification of your wishes may not be a serpent to sting you, as mine has been”. This quote from the text is the perfect cautionary warning for readers, don’t go pursuing knowledge or power, the end result may be tragedy. Perhaps the best summarization is from.
In Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, the author characterizes each woman as passive, disposable and serving a utilitarian function. Female characters like Safie, Elizabeth, Justine, Margaret and Agatha provide nothing more but a channel of action for the male characters in the novel. Events and actions happen to them, usually for the sake of teaching a male character a lesson or sparking an emotion within him. Each of Shelley’s women serves a very specific purpose in Frankenstein.
First, Justine’s character is a very passive, seldom vocal character in the novel. She is tossed back and forth between her family and the Frankenstein’s, until she is ultimately framed for the murder of William Frankenstein. Justine defies the expectations of one wrongfully accused of manslaughter, remaining tranquil and peaceful. In her own words, she explains “God knows how entirely I am innocent. But I do not pretend that my protestations should acquit me; I rest my innocence on a plain and simple explanation of the facts…” (65). Not only do her speech and actions demonstrate passivity, but the simple act of being framed proves this to be the purpose behind her character: “But I have no power of explaining it…I am only left to conjecture concerning the probabilities by which it might have been placed in my pocket” (66). Thus, Justine becomes an inactive, docile victim of circumstance. The next female character encountered is the young cottager’s daughter Agatha, whom the monster studies. Agatha’s purpose, as a kind and gentle female, is to exhibit and embody all virtue and sensitivity. These are the first lessons learned by the monster; he has never seen such tenderness before now. Agatha most moves him in her interactions with her blind father, “Agatha listened with respect, her eyes sometimes filled with tears, which she endeavored to wipe away unperceived” (93. Perhaps the saddest moment in the novel is Frankenstein’s betrothed Elizabeth. Described as a submissive, gentle character from the beginning, Elizabeth has always been a soft spot for her fiancé.
Frankenstein views her as a possession: “I looked upon Elizabeth as mine – mine to protect, love and cherish. All praises bestowed on her I received as made to a possession of my own” (21). Frankenstein’s monster, well aware of this weakness and filled with the madness that results from parental neglect, murders Elizabeth in order to hurt his creator as deeply as possible. Even when her life is threatened, however, Frankenstein still holds the game of wits between himself and his monster above protecting Elizabeth. Instead of staying with her and guarding her on his wedding night, he patrols the premises, “She left me, and I continued some time walking up and down the passages of the house and inspecting every corner that might afford a retreat to my adversary…when suddenly I heard a shrill and dreadful scream” (173). Elizabeth has become another inert victim in this game of insanity and male-centered mayhem. She has been demeaned and reduced to a simple tool of revenge, along with the other female characters appearing in Frankenstein. Although the story does not show any power given to women, it shows the power of men who blindly pursue it and how it affects there counterparts. Women of the time, who are expected to sit at home, blindly supporting their significant other are still prone to the affects of men who blindly pursue power.
Humanity proves time and time again, that most of the evil in the world is from itself. Especially because of humanity’s endless pursuit of power, where science always continues to push the boundaries. The novel Frankenstein continues to echo unto this day and age. The a warning from the Arthur, for anyone who chooses to go down the same path as Victor. This work of Mary’s was not only used to warn of humanity of its plight for power but also to show the consequence of pursuing power, and the struggle between humanity and nature, and the injustice women face.