• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Frankenstein, 1818 Text by Mary Shelley. The monster may do the killing, but Victor is the true murderer.

Extracts from this document...


Frankenstein, 1818 Text by Mary Shelley. The monster may do the killing, but Victor is the true murderer. From a moral point of view, the truth of the above statement seems so convincing that it would be very difficult to make an argument against it. Victor Frankenstein's creation of the monster and subsequent rejection of him is questionable on both ethical and moral grounds so we feel that surely he is responsible for his creation's crimes - and it is the issue of responsibility that goes to the heart of the question of who is the 'true' murderer. However, over the course of the book, we see the monster evolve from a child-like creature without any understanding or language into one who becomes sensitive, eloquent, cruel and violent. Consequently it could be argued that with this change came moral awareness and therefore the true responsibility for the murders. By examining the events that lead to the deaths of William, Justine, Clerval and Elizabeth, this essay aims to establish who bears the 'true' responsibility for the murders rather than just whose hands committed the crime. The death of Frankenstein's younger brother William is perhaps the most appalling, as William is only a child, and the monster's excitement at what ...read more.


(p61). In failing to save Justine from execution, Shelley is drawing attention to Victor's failure to resolve the moral dilemma he is in, which conveniently protects him as well as the monster. Also, she is drawing attention to the corruption of the courts and the church in accepting a confession from Justine extracted under the threat of withholding her last rites. The murder of Clerval reveals how sophisticated the monster has become in psychological torture. Although William's murder happened after a chance meeting, Clerval's, and later Elizabeth's, is part of the monster's premeditated plan to revenge himself on Victor and he knows that the best way to destroy him is by attacking those he loves. Unlike the unplanned murder of William that left the monster feeling exhilarated and powerful, he describes the 'anguish' he felt and how his 'heart was poisoned with remorse ' (p.188) after Clerval's death. These painful recriminations show that the monster is capable of remorse and compassion as well as cunning, and yet condemn him all the more. This is not the picture of an ignorant or backward monster who could not help himself, but one of someone who could perhaps have chosen differently. ...read more.


The only logical answer is the morally questionable one of supreme arrogance and self-indulgence at the expense of all others: Society, family, and colleagues. Victor was totally repelled by the ugliness of the monster - and so was everyone else that set eyes on him, which resulted in his alienation and isolation. Yet it is more accurate to say that Victor didn't actually create the monster by 'making' him, but by rejecting him. Only after being constantly rejected and driven out by everybody was he 'wrenched by misery to vice and hatred' (p188). It was neglect and the basic need of companionship that he craved that drove him to being a monster. Shelley does show the monster developing awareness of right and wrong, but also of mankind's prejudice and intolerance of those who are different. She seems to be saying that being educated, from however noble a source, is not a substitute for being nurtured by a parent or society and that those who fail to give this nurture, like Victor, are the real monsters. In other words, Victor is the true murderer because he is the true monster. 1554 words. G.C.S.E English Coursework Courtney Bishop Page 1 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Mary Shelley section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Mary Shelley essays

  1. Compare The Treatment Of Outsiders In Frankenstein - Mary Shelley and The Outsiders - ...

    This means they speak very formally and posh to each other. An example of this would be "My dear Victor" cried he "What for gods sake is the matter" Nowadays we would just say "What's the matter Victor"? The setting of the book is mostly in Switzerland.

  2. In what way does Mary Shelley make the reader sympathise with Victor frankenstein's creation?

    The creature also explains the way he has been rejected saying "Am I to be thought the only criminal when all mankind has sinned against me?" The creature uses a rhetorical question to shift the blame from himself to the human race.

  1. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley - With reference to chapters 11-16, describe the development and ...

    the story of the creation as found in Genesis, written in blank verse. It is a parallel to the monster's creation and the story gives the monster motivation to desire the creation of a companion for himself. 'Paradise Lost' is the most important and influential of the books the monster finds.

  2. Who, in your opinion, is the real monster of Mary Shelleys Frankenstein. Is it ...

    He says that his guilt "hurried [him] away to a hell of intense tortures, such as no language can describe," this is certainly giving us the impression that he feels sorry for himself. He becomes angry at his creation: "I gnashed my teeth, my eyes became inflamed..."

  1. Mary Shelleyss Frankenstein (1818) - The characteristics of Victor Frankenstein.

    From all this we can tell, that the most important characteristics of Victor Frankenstein are, that he is very smart, dreams big, is very passionate and that all his feelings are powerful. His feelings change from complete and utter bliss with his creation, to complete and irriversible disgust, when he

  2. How does Mary Shelley create sympathy for the monster whilst he attempts to persuade ...

    the quest for the secret of creation, and the dangers of becoming obsessed with an idea, in her book. Victor proceeded to collect human body parts, before assembling them to create the monster. Once it was created, however, Victor shunned the monster, and it 'disappeared'.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work