The Master And Slave Relationship In Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

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Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein tells the tale of an ambitious young scientist who devotes himself to the invention of a new species and the tragedy that follows. However, the novel extends far beyond what appears to a reader upon first glance. Shelley’s work explores the complex relationship between a master and his slave, and serves as a platform from which Shelley can voice her disapproval of the societal norms of her day. In Frankenstein, the master slave complex is established through the inception of the monster as the fruit of Victor’s labor. Initially, the monster is depicted not only inferior in power, but abnormal in appearance. On the other hand, Shelley depicts Victor, the creator, as superior in power, upbringing, and class. Throughout the novel, Shelley chronicles the monster’s rebellion as he gains power and revolts against his master. The novel culminates with the monster overthrowing Victor and asserting himself as the superior. In Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, the evolution of the master and slave relationship between Victor and his monster reveals a master’s delusion in believing that he can fully control and oppress another being.
In Georg Hegel’s most notable work, Phenomenology of Spirit, he hypothesizes that all relationships can be categorized into distinct dialects. He claims that in any relationship between two individuals “the one is independent, and its essential nature is to be for itself; the other is dependent, and its essence is life or existence
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