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How far is Frankenstein(TM)

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Introduction

How far is 'Frankenstein' about the question of exploration of evil? According to the Cambridge dictionary 'evil' is defined as "something that is very bad and harmful". Mary Shelley explores the concept of evil in 'Frankenstein' by suggesting that Victor rather than the creature should be deemed evil as he tries to play God. Shelley addresses the debate on whether the creature is evil or whether humanity is fundamentally evil for its prejudices and its belief that appearances are reflective of either goodness or evil. In the light of this comment the creature falls a pray to humanity as its detestable physiognomy is most closely associated with evil at the extreme end of the spectre. Eventually the creature is transformed into a 'monster' that humanity compelled it to be through its exclusion from human society given its abnormal and deformed physiognomy. Shelley also illuminates the idea that Viktor's lack of compassion and love towards the creature as well as his own narcissism and selfishness to the pursuit of knowledge is evil, which is juxtaposed by the creature's want of a companion that is within the reach of Viktor's powers. ...read more.

Middle

The creature's first instance of being judged by its physiognomy is when Felix "darted forward, and with supernatural force tore me from his father...he dashed me to the ground, and struck me violently with a stick". In effect, Shelley attempts to suggest that it is not the creature who is evil in its nature, which is accentuated by the creature's mercy towards Felix even though the creature could have torn Felix "to pieces", but rather the society who is misguided by the belief in appearances and superficiality that suggests that a person's appearance best describes its personality. Similarly, Charlotte Bronte explores the theme of charity being superficial as it was a means of making someone appear good in the Victorian Era. Shelley further consolidates her point through the character of De Lacy who judges the creature through its language as he believes that there's "something sincere" in the creature's voice. According to critic Peter Brooks, the creature is not evil as the creature is "impressed by the emotional effects of language...and Rousseau's argument suggests that language springs from passion...what language first reveals to the Monster is human love." ...read more.

Conclusion

Shelley employs a gothic element of nature by portraying the creature as a snake that can be harmless if it is undisturbed and can instantly poison when approached. Shelley thus suggests that since Frankenstein devoided nature, represented by the creature, of its basic liberties and in consequence the nature retaliates with an uncontrollable force by murdering Elizabeth. This in turn contributes to the idea that playing God has severe consequences. In conclusion, Shelley explores the question of evil in 'Frankenstein' through the figure of Victor and him playing God to suggest that it is evil to challenge God and such an action has ramifications on one's physical as well as mental state. Shelley provides an indictment into the society and its misguided norm of judging the creature by its appearance and finally accentuates that selfish pursuit of knowledge for one's own cause is evil in the sense that it had negative consequences on Frankenstein's social life as well as his spiritual and mental instability. ?? ?? ?? ?? 1 ...read more.

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