Nature Vs. Nurture In Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

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Mary Shelley’s 1818 Frankenstein retroactively follows a young scientist who succeeds in creating life only to abandoned his creature, consequently begetting misery on all parties involved. Throughout the novel, the question arises if the monstrosity that surfaces in Frankenstein’s creature is a product of his natural condition or environmental factors. The debate between nature vs. nurture centers on the argument on whether it is nature, one’s natural predisposition, which generates attributes and personality, or nurture, the experiences of a person. In this essay I endeavor to establish that the argument of nature vs. nurture is both proven and disproven as the Creature’s inherent nature is overcome and embittered by the cruelties he suffers whereas Frankenstein’s picturesque upbringing does not prevent his flawed nature to generate suffering in the hopes of understanding what makes a monster and what makes a man.

From even before the creature’s animation, it would appear that his nature would have him destined for solitude, if not tragedy. Formed from an unorthodox assortment of pieces from the “dissecting-room and the slaughter-house” (Shelley 34), the creature is already an “other”. Despite an abhorrent appearance, when the creature first awakens he is the epitome of a “blank slate”, as he knows nothing, except through what he experiences. Having no understanding of Victor’s initial rejection of him, the Creature, reaches for Victor, just as a newborn searches for the
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