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The Role Of Morality In Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

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Morality is the distinction between right and wrong while ethics is the knowledge that guide one’s behavior. In the nineteenth century, social status, religion, and appearance were the main focuses of the time. In discussing these three things, one must question the moral and ethical ideals. In doing so, Mary Shelley implicates the idea of society affecting the nurturing of one’s nature in her gothic novel, Frankenstein. Victor Frankenstein is nurtured by his parents to interact with only pleasant and self-promoting individuals and possessions. His parents, Caroline and Alphonse, influence this through being of higher hierarchy which give Victor a sense of self- worth. Caroline Beaufort’s father was a merchant who was honorably known while Alphonse “relinquished public figures” (Shelley 18-19). Both have either inherited or worked for their money exposing Victor to an environment of social class structure. While on their trip to Italy and viewing the poor, it is proven that they are a family of higher superiority and look down on the lower classes. By visiting the poor, Victor’s parents indirectly teach him he is superior to others. Mary Shelley incorporates this to allude to the nineteenth century caste system that was indirectly used during that…show more content…
It is seen over and over throughout her novel: Victor’s parents taking him to Italy, his parents giving him Elizabeth as a gift, the books found in the library, hanging of Justine, creation and abandonment of a monster, the cottagers, the books the creature reads, and the death of Victor. By conveying this idea, Mary Shelley is accomplishing her goal of alluding to the nineteenth century society as a whole. During that time, society was based on hierarchy, representation, and religion which tugs on moral and ethical values as well. So, if society nurtures the nature of individuals; who is the real monster?
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