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Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley.

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Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley is a complex novel that was written during the age of Romanticism. It contains many typical themes of a common Romantic novel such as dark laboratories, the moon, and a monster; however, Frankenstein is anything but a common novel. Many lessons are embedded into this novel, including how society acts towards the different. The monster fell victim to the system commonly used to characterize a person by only his or her outer appearance. Whether people like it or not, society always summarizes a person's characteristics by his or her physical appearance. Society has set an unbreakable code individuals must follow to be accepted. Those who don't follow the "standard" are hated by the crowd and banned for the reason of being different. When the monster ventured into a town"...[monster] had hardly placed [his] foot within the door ...children shrieked, and ...women fainted" (101). From that moment on he realized that people did not like his appearance and hated him because of it. If villagers didn't run away at the sight of him, then they might have even enjoyed his personality. The monster tried to accomplish this when he encountered the De Lacey family. The monster hoped to gain friendship from the old man and eventually his children. He knew that it could have been possible because the old man was blind, he could not see the monster's repulsive characteristics. ...read more.


This particularly is seen in his interactions with the DeLacy family. He secretly aided them in their daily chores, to the point that they referred to him as a "good spirit" (969). Even more importantly, he shared their emotions. The Creature states: The gentle manners and beauty of the cottagers greatly endeared them to me: when they were unhappy, I felt depressed; when they rejoiced, I sympathized in their joys (968). It is here that the Creature distinguishes himself as the opposite of a monster, for he exhibits sympathy and compassion. Unfortunately, this condition did not last; and essential to the issue at hand is the reason for his transformation from sympathetic creature to heartless monster. It is clear that the catalyst to this change began with rejection by his creator, and ended with horrific isolation resulting from a broken promise from Victor. This isolation, in turn, drove the Creature to a murderous rampage. He admits that "impotent envy and bitter indignation filled me with an insatiable thirst for vengeance" (1032). It was indeed this desire for revenge that led the Creature to his monstrous behavior. Virtually all readers would readily recognize the transformation of the Creature from benevolent being to murderous monster. However, what is not so easily observed is the change in Victor Frankenstein from noble scientist to hardened monster. At the beginning of the story, Victor is an ambitious scholar with lofty goals. ...read more.


Furthermore, because he was the one with the moral obligation, his responsibility was greater. Yet not even on his deathbed would he acknowledge wrongdoing. It is this remorseless, unsympathetic lack of regard for a dependent that makes Victor the greater monster. In conclusion, when "monster" is defined as refusing to sympathize with the pains of another, it is clear that there are two monsters present in Frankenstein. The Creature evolved from a kind-hearted being to one who sought vengeance upon his maker. Likewise, Victor transformed from a noble, ambitious scientist into a heartless person who lacked moral responsibility. Of the two, Victor is the man who fits the definition of monster most closely. Not only did he continue his unsympathetic attitude toward his creation until his death, but he also had the greater moral obligation, which makes his lack of compassion all the more loathsome. This paper began with a quote that could have easily been attributed to either character. It will now end with another quote which, while meant for the Creature, is more appropriate for the unsympathetic, self-justifying Victor: It is well that you come her to whine over the desolation that you have made. You throw a torch into a pile of buildings, and when they are consumed you sit among the ruins, and lament the fall (1032). Victor is the ultimate monster because he withholds compassion and sympathy from the being he formed and--in the process--denies his moral obligation, all the while refusing to point an accusing finger at himself. ...read more.

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