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Creature or monster? How does Shelley's presentation of the creature (and Frankenstein) create sympathy or horror at different stages of the novel?

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Introduction

Creature or monster? How does Shelley's presentation of the creature (and Frankenstein) create sympathy or horror at different stages of the novel? The classic novel 'Frankenstein' was published in 1818 and was written by Mary Shelley. When the book was written in the 18th Century there great supernatural beliefs which Shelley used to influence the mood, tone and characters of the story. Shelley had the idea to write about a monstrous creation that was gentle and tender hearted, but was physically ugly and inspired fear into those who met him. Shelley wrote the story to challenge society and question their views of morality. The stereotypical idea that a monster is a hideous, deformed creature that appears in horror films and nightmares is only thought of as the creature generally acts and behaves monstrously, doing harmful actions with no consideration or feelings. It is often only the behaviour of the creature that defines it as a monster rather than its physical appearance. The idea of a student of natural philosophy creating a living being would be as well received today as it was back in the 18th Century. In the 18th Century people feared God and believed that life and death was best left to a higher force to control. Shelley shows this in Frankenstein's realisation of his mistake, when he has finished assembling the creature out of dead criminals. ...read more.

Middle

I felt what the duties of a creator towards his creature were and that I ought to tender him happy before I complained of his wickedness." The creature explains his current situation to Frankenstein and tells him that he only wants to feel loved and wanted by someone who can understand his predicament and also be in the same situation as he is. He says to Frankenstein that the way to remedy the situation is to give him a companion that looks feels and acts exactly like him, as he states, "Our lives will not be happy but they will be harmless, and free from the misery I feel now. Oh! My creator make me happy; let me feel gratitude towards you for one benefit! Let me see that I excited the sympathy of some existing thing; do not deny me of my request!" The creature also makes the promise that if his requests are not met he will be with them on their wedding night as an unwanted and uninvited guest. Once again Frankenstein sets out to create another creature as a mate for the original creation. Consequently this time his conscience kicks in and he stops creating as he realises that the creatures could now quite possibly do twice the damage. In doing this he denies his responsibility to his creature, breaks a promise and in fact, when he overhears someone labelling him as a bad conscience, he ...read more.

Conclusion

If Frankenstein had of taken this advice then many of the problems that arise could've easily been avoided. Also in the novel is that character of Frankenstein's unnamed creation which is included to convey another form of loneliness to help understand the character further. The creature's loneliness causes him to perform horrible deeds because it too desires a companion. In order to obtain a companion the creature kills whoever it meets until it finds Victor, so that it can demand another creation. Although the creature seems to be a victim of its own ignorance, it does express human emotion and feels its troubles will be over when it finds a mate. Although the creature does things which are horrifying he is much less monstrous than Frankenstein- who is the ultimate monster. Victor acts with indifference to society and hatred towards his creation. While the creature cannot be to blame for the deaths of Frankenstein's family, as it was not taught right from wrong, it was Victor who brought it about through his monstrous treatment of the creature. It is actions that reveal if a person is truly a monster (rather than physical appearance) and Victor's selfishness and lack of compassion definitely place him as the true monster of the novel. Victor also withholds sympathy form the being he formed and in the process denies his moral obligation, all the while refusing to point an accusing finger at himself, making Victor more of a monster than the creature could ever be. ...read more.

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