The Wretch In Frankenstein

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“It’s alive! It’s alive!” When people think of Frankenstein, they usually jump immediately to the scene of creation and think of two things: 1) a big green monster with bolts screwed into his head and 2) Dr. Frankenstein’s exaltation and genuine excitement over creating his perfect masterpiece. However, in Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein, the “infamous” scene of creation appears in only one paragraph and Frankenstein feels something more akin to anguish rather than joy. In this way, Mary Shelley exemplifies how creation is actually an act of suffering. In “Creation and the other,” David Attridge utilizes the term idioculture to describe the “embodiment in a single individual of widespread cultural norms and modes of behavior” (Attridge 21).…show more content…
It begins with how Frankenstein and the Wretch are interconnected. Throughout the novel, Shelley paints Frankenstein and his monster as doubles of each other. A concrete way of seeing the connection between Frankenstein and the wretch is their shared interest in creation. The wretch becomes interested in the production and creation of language. In fact, Frankenstein’s god complex appears in the wretch when the wretch refers to speech as “a godlike science, and I [the wretch] ardently desired to become acquainted with it” (Shelley #). In Attridge’s essay, he opines “I am in a way other to myself” (Attridge 25); therefore, it is possible to view the Wretch as the shadow of Frankenstein or the suffering inside of Frankenstein. Towards the end of the novel, Walton rebukes the Wretch for killing Frankenstein, which causes the Wretch to implore “Do you think that I was then dead to agony and remorse?” The Wretch isn’t “other” to the rest of humanity; he shares Frankenstein’s same feelings of regret for his…show more content…
In Frankenstein, Mary Shelley utilizes her protagonist’s agony over his “failed” creation––what Attridge would call the “act” of creation–– and the suffering he engenders in his creation through the rejection of it––what Attridge would call the “event” of creation––to illuminate how the creation derived from suffering arises not from the failure to create something beautiful, but from our recognition of our own ugliness, our own shadow, our own suffering in what we
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