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Consider the roles and the importance of Safie in the novel - 'Frankenstein', Mary Shelley

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Introduction

Consider the roles and the importance of Safie in the novel. Throughout the novel `Frankenstein', Mary Shelley introduces many characters that although are not either essential or principal to the main storyline, have important roles in highlighting certain issues and also in helping to set up the story to become more believable. In the novel, Safie is the daughter of an Arab and comes to live with the De Laceys, whom the creature calls his `protectors'. Aspects of Safie's life also highlight issues that Shelley feels strongly about. This essay shall consider the importance and the role of Mary Shelley's seemingly insignificant character Safie. When Safie first arrives at the De Lacey's, the creature witnesses an important change in Felix. `Felix seemed ravished with delight when he saw her, every trait of sorrow vanished from his face, and it instantly expressed a degree of ecstatic joy, of which I could hardly have believes it capable..." Ch.13 P.90 The emotions that the creature was witnessing were the emotions of love, and Safie and Felix are the first couple that the creature observes together. Perhaps it is from absorbing the intense emotions that Felix feels when Safie arrives, that the creature learns how to love, and that man and woman are meant to be together. Up until Safie arrives, the creature has only witnessed old De Lacey with his children; no mother figure or elderly female had been mentioned. ...read more.

Middle

`But where were my friends and relations? No father had watched my infant days, no mother had blessed me with smiles and caresses...' Ch.13 P.94 Therefore, Safie's role is once again deemed important in the education and awareness of the creature. The idea that Safie is a mysterious character from the east incorporates the idea of romanticism into the novel and reveals Mary Shelley's fascination with history and foreign societies. Safie adds colour and spice to the seemingly dull and ordinary De Lacey family who although captured the creature's attention would have soon lost the reader's interest having to cope with such ordinary people after reading wondrous tales of the supernatural. Safie's upbringing with her imprisoned mother teachers the creature of the role of women in different societies and also the importance of freedom. Safie escaped a world of very little opportunity for women into a world where she had a much broader field to work in and also freedom to take a rank in society and be individual. `The prospect of marrying a Christian, and remaining in a country where women were allowed to take a rank in society, was enchanting to her' Ch.14 P.96 This helped the creature to understand the importance of social rank, and to learn that his own situation was in fact so very hopeless because he did not fit in anywhere and could never have the freedom that even Safie had managed to acquire from a seemingly restricted situation. ...read more.

Conclusion

Without Safie's story to explain this aspect, the creature may never have been aware of his physical shortcomings. Forcing the creature to experience certain emotions is an important role of Safie in the novel, because Safie and her place in the De Lacey's lives allows Shelley to shape the personality of the creature. To conclude, Safie is only a key part of two chapters in the book, and yet her education is also the creature's education and so I deem she is very important. However, perhaps she could have been replaced and the book would have followed the same course. Her role in the book was to provide the means for the creature to learn about society and plant within him the ideology that would cause him to be aware that society valued him meaningless and hideous. Therefore, Safie is a key tool in the novel for Mary Shelley, and if Safie had not been included, there may have been areas of the novel that would have been hard to believe because the creature's education and ideas had to come from somewhere. Safie provided an unusual and interesting character to explain how the creature came to be intelligent, also she provides a contrast to the experience of being educated. While education was beneficial to Safie and allowed her to fit in and blossom within her new surroundings, the creature only learned ultimately that he was an outcast, and from this knowledge his life turned into a self-fulfilling prophecy of misery and rejection. ...read more.

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