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Discuss, with reference to Frankenstein and the monster. How does Shelley present the monster? How sympathetic is the reader towards it?

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Introduction

FRANKENSTEIN (The Modern Prometheus) COURSEWORK "Frankenstein" is a novel about what it means to be human. Discuss, with reference to Frankenstein and the monster. How does Shelley present the monster? How sympathetic is the reader towards it? Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley was born in 1797 in London and died in 1851 aged 54. Her mother was a feminist and died giving birth to her. She was then brought up by her father (the philosopher William Godwin) and her stepmother who despised her. Her stepsister was very depressed and later committed suicide and there was also a stepbrother and half-brother in the family. Mary would often get away from her surrounding and read by the side of her mother's tomb. Then in 1812 she met Percy Bysshe Shelley who was only twenty-one years old but was already married but was unhappy with it. The two fell in love and then got married. They then moved abroad to Italy and had four children but only one lived very long. But then in 1822, Shelley drowned aged just thirty. Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley wrote "Frankenstein" or "The Modern Prometheus" in 1818 when she was just 18 years old. She wrote "Frankenstein" as a response challenge to see who could come up with the most horrific story. The challenge was between her and her husband Percy. Mary and Percy where visiting Byron in Switzerland when they decided to set a challenge, to create a horror story. Mary won the challenge. It is astonishing that someone aged only 18 years old can write a book of this nature. When Shelley wrote this novel the world was discovering new things daily, so I think her writings where very relevant and justified to the time. ...read more.

Middle

This turns the monster from good to bad. He then seeks revenge on his creator and kills Victor's younger brother. After Victor destroys his work on the female monster meant to ease the monster's loneliness. In retaliation the monster murders Victor's best friend and then his new wife. While Victor feels complete hatred for his creation, the monster shows that he is not a purely evil being. The monster's expressive narration of events reveals his extraordinary sensitivity and compassion. He helps the Delacey's by harvesting all their crops just before winter so that they will have enough food to survive. He learns from the Delacey's about what it is to be human as they are a poor family but they survive through loving each other. He saves a girl from drowning but because of his outward appearance he is rewarded only with beatings and disgust. Trying to decide between vengefulness and compassion the monster ends up lonely and tormented by remorse. This shows that the monster is human as he is lonely and he is also feeling compassion towards Frankenstein who abandoned him. Even the death of his creator offers only bittersweet relief. It gives the monster joy because Victor has caused him so much suffering and sadness because Victor is the only person with who he has had any sort of relationship. Walton plays a role that parallels Victor's in many ways. Like Victor, Walton is an explorer, chasing after that "country of eternal light." Victor's influence on him is ironic as he tells Walton's men to stay on the path courageously, regardless of danger. "Frankenstein" has many key images that are repeated in the language throughout the novel. ...read more.

Conclusion

Although the monster is the true monster in the novel some would argue that Victor Frankenstein is the monster. The reader could argue that Victor himself is a kind of monster, as his ambition, secrecy and selfishness alienate him from human society. He looks ordinary on the outside, but he may be the true "monster" inside, as he is eventually consumed by an obsessive hatred of his creation. Considering "Frankenstein" is a novel written by the daughter of an important feminist, it has a lack of strong female characters. The novel has loads of women who suffer calmly and then are killed. Justine is executed for murder, despite being innocent. And also Victor aborts the creation of the female monster because he fears that he will be unable to control her actions once she is alive. Also Elizabeth waits, impatient but helpless for Victor to return to her. The monster eventually murders her. You could maybe consider Frankenstein as a woman. Would she have rejected her creation or taken responsibility? Most women think that their baby is cute and adorable even if they are ugly and horrible. I think that a woman version of Frankenstein would have taken responsibility of her actions. Overall I think that the reader feels very sympathetic towards the monster throughout the novel "Frankenstein". The reader feels very sympathetic towards the monster because his own father rejects him. He is then an outsider to society and has to learn for himself. Mary Shelley represents the monster very well to make the reader feel sorry for him. He is rejected because of the way he looks. I think that Frankenstein was written for a specific purpose to show that society in those days was wrong in the way they treated outsiders. But do we treat outsiders any different today? By Sam Freeman 11P 1 ...read more.

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