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

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Introduction

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.

Middle

(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.

Conclusion

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.

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