Frankenstein by Mary Shelley is a gothic novel that tells the story of scientist, Victor Frankenstein, and his obsession with creating human life. This leads him to creating a gruesome monster made of body-parts stolen from grave yards, whom upon discovering his hideousness, the monster seeks revenge against his creator, causing Victor to regret the creation of his monster for the rest of his life. Shelley uses the literary elements of personification, imagery, and similes to give a vivid sense and visualization of Victor Frankenstein’s thoughts and feelings as well as to allow us to delve deeper into the monster’s actions and emotions.
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
“I shall relate events that impressed me feelings which, from what I was, have made me what I am” (Shelley 80). In the second volume Mary Shelley’s novel, Frankenstein, the monster’s story during his years of isolation shows the complexity of his character; this complexity makes him an enigma. In order to uncover the mysteries behind this enigma, we must analyze the factors that played a role in his development. Looking at the monster’s development, we can see parallels between the monster and feral children. Much like feral children, the monster was abandoned—during the early period of his life—and was placed under extreme circumstances, which he was forced to endure—having to fend for himself. Furthermore, because the monster was placed under extreme isolation—only having contact from a far with the De Lacey and being shunned by them when he chose to reveal himself—he was not able to connect with anyone much like how feral children were unable to connect with other people. With this in mind, it is evident that these factors during the monster’s development plays an important role in his acquisition of certain ideologies. Examining the cases of feral children will provide insights into the essence of human nature, identity, and the impact of experience on human learning (Illes and Murphy 1); these insights can then be implemented into the evaluation of the monster’s overall character. The factors that affected the development of the monster is the key to unlocking why the monster’s nature.
Victor Frankenstein’s tranquility came to an end from the accomplishment of creating a monster. Injustice led Frankenstein to keep guilt within himself and become a dreary person. The actions committed by his creature
The gothic fiction novel Frankenstein by Mary Shelley centralizes on humanity and the qualifications that make someone human. The content of the novel Frankenstein depicts a monster displaying human traits that his creator Victor does not possess: empathy, a need for companionship, and a will to learn and fit in.
The fictional horror novel of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is driven by the accentuation of humanity’s flaws. Even at the very mention of her work an archetypal monster fills one’s imagination, coupled with visions of a crazed scientist to boot. Opening her novel with Robert Walton, the conduit of the story, he also serves as a character to parallel the protagonist’s in many ways. As the ‘protagonist’ of the story, Victor Frankenstein, takes on the mantle of the deluded scientist, his nameless creation becomes the embodiment of a truly abandoned child – one left to fend for itself against the harsh reality posed by society. On the other hand, Walton also serves as a foil to Victor – he is not compulsive enough to risk what would be almost
As the book progresses, Frankenstein becomes more engrossed in the different aspects of science, and Shelley no longer uses natural scenes to describe what is happening around him, because of his disconnection with ‘appreciation of the unknown’. This aspect of his life is shown in this quote, “days and nights of incredible labor and fatigue... my cheek had grown pale with study, and my person had become emaciated with confinement... my limbs now tremble, and my eyes swim with the remembrance... I seemed to have lost all soul or sensation but for this one pursuit.” (Shelly 42, 43) Here, the effects of his continued pursuit of knowledge and neglect of well-being is shown evidently. Once Frankenstein creates the monster, his unquenchable thirst for knowledge is frightened into silence. He then presently returns to the outside world,
In Mary Shelley’s novel, Frankenstein, Frankenstein’s Monster experiences a sense of self-actualization after coming to terms with his “monster” identity. In chapter 13, after Frankenstein’s Monster learns about human history and social norms, he conducted a self-analysis of his current self. He stated, “I possessed no money, no friends, no kind of property. I was, besides, endued with a figure hideously deformed and loathsome”. Moreover, when he “looked around, he saw and heard of none like [himself]. Was I then a monster, a blot upon the earth, from which all men fled, and whom all men disowned” (138). Through the knowledge he acquired from spying in on the Felix family, he gained the understanding that his grotesque look doomed him to be marginalized within human society; therefore, his understanding of human history destined himself to be a monster. Although, this self-realization of a monster identity plays a huge role in the general plot and character development of Frankenstein’s Monster, it hints at a subtler interpretation of the nature of knowledge.
Frankenstein’s creature initially shows no signs of ill will or malice when first encountering human beings (Shelley 72-73). On the contrary, through careful observation he is able to learn more about human society and personal relationships. He begins to admire the close connection between the people he observes and respects their virtue. This, however, makes him realise what he is missing. Observing the love and affection between others only increases the effect his own solitude has on him. He is aware of his otherness and knows that he is “shut out from intercourse” (84) with the people he holds so dear. It can be argued that this is the point where the creature’s humanity is the strongest throughout the course of story. He has a basic understanding of human societies, he speaks and reads their language, shows compassion and, most importantly, seeks their company and friendship. In his knowledge that social belonging is the missing component to his own happiness, he confronts the people he secretly observed only to, once again, be met with fear and anger (94-95). He comes to realise that he
This passage taken from Mary Shelley’s horror novel, Frankenstein, on page 66-67 describes the atmosphere and ponderings of Victor Frankenstein as he solitarily ascends to the summit of Montanvert. After feeling grievance and despair as he blames himself for the death of both his brother, William and his servant, Justine, Victor attempts to find solace in the majesty of nature to repair his emotional state. However, his descriptions of the environment are somewhat grim and bleak, contrasting the pleasant and peaceful mood that being in the natural world typically evokes. This scene causes him to question man’s desire for superiority against nature as it reflects upon himself. In this passage,
Frankenstein’s creature places himself in a submissive position when he begs his creator to have mercy on him and asking the creator to “create a female for [him] with whom [he] can live in the interchange of those sympathies necessary for [his] being.” The monster continues by reassuring the creator of his independent intelligence and power over the creature by telling Frankenstein, “This you alone can do”. Here, the creature assumes a role of submissiveness and reliance on Frankenstein. Frankenstein’s monster gains the sympathy of the reader who, despite condemning the murder of innocent people, commiserate with the lonely creature who is in search of an acquaintance, which he will likely never find. The monster also displays power and aggressiveness over Frankenstein; “You are my creator; but I am your master; obey!” The monster wants to desolate Victor’s heart, not by killing him directly,
Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein, is one of the most important and popular novels in the Romantic genre to this day. The novel was originally controversial because it touched on many fragile subjects such as the human anatomy and the development of science. The structure of Frankenstein begins as an epistolary, narrative story told by Robert Walton to his sister in England. Walton’s letters tell us that he is exploring, searching for what lies beyond the North Pole, and he eventually connects with Frankenstein. Shelley creates the protagonist, Dr. Victor Frankenstein, who has a fascination with life and death. Gensis states; “God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him.” Humans, therefore, were created as a likeness
In Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, a conflict as old as life itself emerges as the story progresses; parent versus posterity in a struggle for reconciliation.Victor Frankenstein and his creation become tied up in a constant battle as the creation seeks his origins, finding a horrifying truth; the creator had abandoned the creation. This central conflict derives from the creation of the creature, inability of Frankenstein to appreciate his creation, and the creation’s need for a parental figure. The conflict addresses themes of the book such as human desires for prestige, acceptance, and the intimacy of a relationship with one’s creator. Not only does Shelley capture the resentful conflict between a father and his “son”, but she derives this conflict from her own rebellious battle against her father.
Isolation and abandonment can cause many different reactions from people. In the words of William A. Sadler Jr., a sociology professor, “We often do not know how to cope. It can make us confused, distraught, depressed, frightened, and even outraged” (Sadler 105). In Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, several of these effects are presented in Victor Frankenstein and his creation. They both suffer from being isolated from their creator, society, and family units. They ways in which they are affected by this abandonment proves that isolation has grave effects on human interaction and social development.
Frankenstein is a characteristic Romantic and Gothic novel because it utilizes nature, mystery, and setting to convey tone and mood.