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Victor's Superego In Frankenstein

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In her romantic novel, Mary Shelley introduces Victor Frankenstein, an ambitious and young natural philosopher, and calls into question the wisdom of creating a complex being with equally complex feelings. After two years of painstaking work, Frankenstein completes his creation, but is quickly repulsed by it and represses the idea of his imminent return. With the early abandonment of his creator, the creature is left on his own and develops his sense of morality and ethics— his superego—by observing an oblivious family. In Frankenstein, Shelley uses the De Lacey family to characterize the creature and mold his personality from one of compassion to one bent on revenge, leading to a schism between creation and creator. Initially, Shelley characterizes…show more content…
After bitterly describing his fateful encounter with the De Laceys, the creature recalls, “I was like a wild beast that had broken the toils, destroying the objects that obstructed me… I was like an arch-fiend, bore a hell within me; and, finding myself unsympathised with, wished to tear up the trees, spread havoc and destruction around me, and then have sat down and enjoyed the ruin” (Shelley 97). For the first time, Shelley portrays the creature as being capable of violence as his frustration manifests in a trail of destruction. Moreover, the creature expresses the morbid thought of enjoying the destruction, an exhibition of psychopathic behavior. The creature ends his account by describing the circumstances surrounding his journey to Geneva. “It was late in autumn when I quitted the district where I had so long resided… The nearer I approached to your habitation, the more deeply did I feel the spirit of revenge enkindled in my heart” (Shelley 100). Starting with the actions of the De Laceys, the creature now finds his problems to be external and that his creator is ultimately at fault. The relationship between the creature and his creator—Frankenstein—which had previously been apathetic at best is now fueled by hatred. With the inability to break away from ever-present external conflicts, the creature decides to confront the most prominent—his
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