The Influence Of Nature Vs. Nurture In Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

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Nature versus nurture is one of our society’s oldest philosophical debates. Famous intellectuals from John Locke to Renee Descartes have contested both sides of this debate for centuries. Some believe that personal development is determined by one’s DNA, while others deem that behavioral characteristics are the results of one’s overall environment and upbringing. In the novel, Frankenstein, Mary Shelley contributes to this debate by extensively exploring the notion that an individual’s character and actions are greatly influenced by their experiences within society. Shelley reasons that the monster’s character deficiencies are due to society’s inclination to judge individuals based on appearance and Victor’s shortcomings as a parent, rather than the monster itself being intrinsically evil. Victor’s lack of responsibility as a creator of life, and overall absence of foresight regarding his creation make him predominantly liable for the many heinous acts that the monster commits…show more content…
As opposed to tuning in to the misfortunes of the monster and tending to them Victor incessantly denounces the creature and hopes to remove its existence. As he nears his death, Victor claims that he, “(I) feel(s) justified in desiring the death of my (his) adversary…he ought to die.” (Shelley 161) Victor’s lack of sympathy for his creation is what dooms ultimately it. This becomes particularly evident when Walton, “call(s) on it (the monster) to stay. The creature paused, looking on me (Walton) with wonder.” (Shelley 163) In this scene, the monster validates that his only desire is to be wanted by someone, rather than to be shunned in fear. Although, Victor is not directly accountable for the deaths of his family, he is undoubtedly culpable for transforming a harmless creature that merely aspired to be loved, into a wicked
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