In Jeffrey Jerome Cohen’s Monster Culture (Seven Thesis), Cohen analyzes the psychology behind monsters and how, rather than being a monstrous beast for the protagonist of the story to play against, “the monster signifies something other than itself”. Cohen makes the claim that by analyzing monsters in mythology and stories, you can learn much about the culture that gave rise to them. In Thesis 1 of Monster Culture, Cohen proposes that “the monster’s body literally incorporates fear, desire, anxiety, and fantasy”, specifically the fear, desire and anxiety of the cultures that gave rise to it;; fFor example, vVampires, undead, represent a fear of death. Monsters are born of an intense fear, desire, or internal conflict, “at this metaphorical
As a movement preoccupied with self-expression, the Romantics held an inherent fascination with individualism and the faculty of imagination, perceiving both to be of the utmost importance and as such desired it to be conveyed in their art and literature. Such innovative ideals was the product of exceptional changes in society, as oppressive institutions and practices were contested, and art became a product of an individual’s emotional state and their imaginative capability. George Byron’s poem “Prometheus”, conveys these aspects, through its elevation of ordinary people and in exemplifying the Romantic attitude that art should always originate from the imagination. Similarly, Edgar Allan Poe’s short story is fascinated with these concepts, though it showcases their darker depths, as it depicts the emotional extremities of an individual and the ability for the imagination to become consuming. Hence, Byron and Poe explores notions of the self and the imagination in their respective texts due to the Romantic fixation of each of these ideals.
Although Mary Shelley's novel Frankenstein was published almost two hundred years ago, the novel remains relevant to many issues in today’s society. The novel develops several intertwined themes related to inner and outer beauty, appearances and judgment based on one’s looks which are used to make commentary on humanity and our society. The theme of beauty and perception of beauty is used throughout the novel as commentary on the ability of society to transform a person by both how they are perceived and how they are treated. Through the exploration of beauty and its conceptualization by the characters in the novel, Shelley explores the idea of social prejudice, one of mankind's most enduring and destructive flaws.
Initially, the most prevalent theme within Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is way the environment modifies one’s identity. In the story, society refers to Victor’s invention as a monster both physically and psychologically. Even though the creature’s physical characteristics are that of a monster, it is not until he is repeatedly rejected that he adopts the personality of one.
The author, Mary Shelley, was the daughter of radicals Mary Wollenscraft and William Goodwin. Mary never knew her mother because of her mother’s death four weeks after she was born. She grew up educating herself amongst her father’s circle of fellow writers. While educating herself she met her husband, fellow writer Percy Bysshe Shelley. In 1816 Mary and her husband went too Geneva, and met Lord Byron, the man whose ghost story challenge started the idea for the novel, Frankenstein. Frankenstein started as a ghost story of only a few pages, in 1818 and then died in 1851. While in Geneva Percy and Lord Byron became fascinated with electric shock, Percy had his professor demonstrate how electric shock works.
“What does love look like? It has the hands to help others.” Although Saint Augustine announces this statement of insight long before Mary Shelley’s writing of Frankenstein, he aptly illustrates a key motif within the novel. The storyline begins with Victor Frankenstein creating a hideous monster for the sake of self-achievement, and eventually spirals into a journey of vengeance and murders which the creature commits. Surprisingly, the fiend is inherently kindhearted until the base behavior of society torments his character. Within the Frankenstein piece, Shelley displays that while some crumble under the societal pressures for a positive reputation, others have the courage to break through these hateful expectations that culture induces.
Our generation has grown up in a world with developed technology. We couldn’t imagine a world without iPhone’s, computers, television, etc. Our oldest generation is concerned about our blinded trust in technology. These fears have always haunted mankind and we’ve communicated these fears through literature. In Mary Shelley’s novel, Frankenstein, she shows us through Victor that our trust in technology will ultimately destroy our morality.
In the novel, Frankenstein written by Mary Shelley, the protagonist, Victor Frankenstein has a desire for divine knowledge to the extent that he would disregard humanity. Mary builds Victor as a knowledge-hungry character that is driven to knowing the secret of life without thinking of the consequences. Frankenstein’s excursion for knowledge led to a life of desolation. When meeting Walton, he warns him, “‘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’” (Shelley 15). This quote suggests that Victor’s downfall started before the creation of the monster. Victor always had a strong desire to learn as a young boy. He was captivated with the sciences. Unfortunately, Frankenstein is
In “Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus”, the creature is categorized as a friend or a fiend towards his creator and other humans. The creature tends to be more of a fiend rather than a friend. The monster also interprets human-like characteristics. For example, when the creature and Frankenstein conversate, he tells Frankenstein he “began to distinguish my sensations from each other” and “felt light, and hunger, and thirst, and darkness; innumerable sounds rang in my ears” (Shelley 43). Compared to a human, he has the senses as a person does; he can hear, feel, taste, see and smell. Just like a person he can feel anger and hatred and as well as vengeance. To illustrate, the creature asks Frankenstein to do him a favor but Frankenstein refuses and the monster
1. Victor Frankenstein- Victor Frankenstein, referenced as “Frankenstein” throughout the novel, is the protagonist. His life story is the heart of the novel. Frankenstein grew up in Geneva where he was fascinated by the sciences and engrossed himself in the works of ancient alchemists. When Frankenstein goes to the university in Ingolstadt, he becomes fascinated with the “secret of life”. He then proceeds to build a gruesome monster and bring it to life. The monster ultimately sets out to ruin Frankenstein’s life, killing his best friend, brother, wife, and two other innocent people. This leaves Victor psychologically scarred and torn apart, but he is unable to tell anyone about the horrible monster he created. He becomes a loner, cutting himself entirely off from the world, and obsessed with making up for the damage the monster created. At the end of the novel, Victor is lifeless, run down, and obsessed with finding the monster. He has chased the monster up north and is rescued by a ship as he is near the brink of death. As he slowly dies on the ships, he recounts his life, overtaken by the monster.
Mary Shelley’s, Frankenstein, is enriched with a dense story line filled with motifs, idioms, and allusions that relate to reality and human life. Throughout the book, the common idea of a “monster” being created by man and is continuously emphasized in order to relate to readers on a personal level. How the “monster” thinks, feels, and acts towards society is a mirror image of how close Victor’s creation is able to show human like qualities. Perhaps the most interesting idea that Shelley introduces is how the Monster is created; by Victor Frankenstein showing parts of different humans together. Rather summarized, the monster was created by scientific methods based on the advancement of the technology. An interesting ideology rises from that book pertains to contemporary society, and has a startling correlation. Contemporary society is experiencing a technological boom, perhaps best illustrated by the growing development of artificial intelligence, but, as Shelley’s Frankenstein suggests, this progress will not have the desired effect that humans long for, but will instead create monsters.
As a stated fact, every person has a distinct personality of their own, yet for centuries, scientists and philosophers have debated for centuries whether this personality stems from the result of nature or nurture. Jean Jacques Rousseau argued that, from the time a person is born, the genes inherited from blood family determines the result of a person’s character, predetermining the personality of one before they enter the world. John Locke, on the other spectrum, debated that when an individual is born, they are given a blank slate and all knowledge and behaviors are gained from observing the exterior world. In Mary Shelley's novel, “Frankenstein,” Shelley takes a clear stance on the nature versus nurture quandary and clearly sides with how
In 1818 Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein, a novel that follows Victor Frankenstein, an ambitious man on his journey to defy the natural sciences. In Volume I of the novel, Victor discusses his childhood, mentioning how wonderful and amazing it was because of how his family sheltered him from the bad in the world. “The innocent and helpless creature bestowed on them by heaven, whom to bring up to good, and whose future lot it was in their hands to direct to happiness or misery, according as they fulfilled their duties towards me” (35). When Victor brings up his childhood, he suggests that parents play a strong in how their kids turn out, either "to happiness or misery" (35). In particular the main character was sheltered as a child to achieve this “happiness” leading to Victor never developing a coping mechanism to the evil in the world. Throughout the novel, Victor does not have a healthy method of dealing with the negative scenarios that life throws at him. He does not deal with his problems directly, rather he runs away from them literally and figuratively. As a child Victor was sheltered from loss and his surroundings, which restrained his character from establishing a true coping mechanism for dealing with his problems, he is left to manage these happenings using the only form of survival that he knows-running away.
Science and knowledge are two important factors in society around the 19th century. Mary Shelley supports the connection of these two key topics throughout her writing in the novel, Frankenstein. With her style, structure, and Romantic elements portrayed in the novel, she discusses that scientific progress/knowledge is dangerous and harmful as it places man above God and destroys his morals. This is done by examples of appeals to emotion, imagery, and figures of speech that convey her style and ultimately ends up as support of the previous statement.