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Frankenstein essay

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Frankenstein 'Frankenstein', Mary Shelley's gothic novel, was written not only to satisfy her immediate desire to impress Percy Shelley and Lord Byron- but also to issue a warning to the Victorian world about the dangers of playing God. In the company of such Romantics (and self-supposed superiors), she was determined to prove herself. She drew on many influences to construct her novel, most notably early family life, such as the death of her mother- who died of puerperal fever just 10 days after Mary's birth. Also a factor was the experiments of famous Italian scientist Luigi Galvani. About 40 years earlier he had animated a frog's leg using a metallic arc (a charge of electricity through two metals). These discoveries amazed the world and fascinated Mary. To a simple mind he was actually bringing something back from the dead, rather than merely inducing a contraction. Mary Shelley saw this all a different way; he was playing God. She resented the fact she lived in an age where people could do pretty much what they liked in the name of science. She wanted to show the world the perils of such frivolous activities. Another bizarre influence on Shelley's writing of 'The Modern Prometheus' is a waking dream she had. In it she saw "the pale student of unhallowed arts kneeling beside the thing he had put together". She started writing the next day. The novel took just a year to write (1819-20), and although only 500 copies were published at first, these were widely circulated and critically acclaimed. She decided to publish the book anonymously initially, which reflects the sexist state of Victorian affairs. The novel is rich in description and scientific imagination, and rather ironically considering her closest friends and writing style, very anti-romantic. Mary believed that the Romantics of her time were arrogant and foolish, although this did not stop her marrying one: Percy Shelley. ...read more.


We feel sorry for the monster because he is entirely alone, and everyone that looks at him is repelled. This is not his fault, and for the first time we begin to consider true sympathy on his behalf. He begins to show many enduring sides to himself, such as a, be it naive, appreciation of beauty. He is also oddly human- the height of this being his almost terror at his own voice and appearance. At this point we really begin to see what a bad start in life he has had. But still, we have to question whether such a terrible beginning can justify such a murderous end. Now we are undecided about the monster- how can something so seemingly innocent be corrupted enough to kill another? Although we know what he ultimately does, it is impossible to fathom at this point how he could get into that situation. There are very little signs to suggest he is bitter or twisted in any way and the only possible warning signs are seen by his increasing tendency to imitate other creatures. We suspect this may have been the cause of his madness- "Sometimes I tried to imitate the pleasant songs of the birds, but was unable" This shows how a lot of his behavior stems from the fact he has no role model- he is totally abandoned and is forced to imitate the things around him which he finds pleasing. He has no concept of speech, and finds it extremely hard to express himself. He even scares himself with his own voice- "Sometimes I wished to expel my sensations in my own mode, but the uncouth and inarticulate sounds which broke from me frightened me into silence again" He terrifies himself, and this quote shows that he eventually gave up on trying to express himself, a very basic instinct. His terrible voice and hideous appearance force the monster into hiding- away from the scornful humans that inhabit the village. ...read more.


He wants revenge. And in some ways, we support him. We have been made to feel sorry for him, to understand his pain, and now we can somewhat see his point. He travels towards Geneva, in search of his creator. On his way, he comes across a small child, and in one glance- all hatred is lost. He thinks this young child could not possibly be afraid of him, that he would maybe be his friend. He thinks this because the child is like him- innocent, na�ve and unassuming. But when the monster approaches him, he lets out a terrible cry- "You are an ogre let me go, or I will tell my papa... he is Frankenstein" The creature was wrong, the little boy was scared of him. William also told the monster the one thing he wished to know, that he was related to Victor, and his death would cause the creator pain. This was the final straw. He strangled poor prejudiced William. From here on we begin to lose sympathy for the monster. He will kill anyone in order to hurt his creator. He realises that mere death would be a release for Victor Frankenstein. He goes on to kill Cleval and Elizabeth. The death of innocents surprises us, and goes a long way to vanquish the sympathy we have built up for the monster. He sums up his opinions on the suffering he has caused by saying "I am wretched because I am miserable...tell me why should I pity man more than he pities me?" . Overall, this is the point Mary Shelley is trying to make. Why on earth should we expect sympathy from a creature we ourselves have shown none? Victor has created something, merely for his own satisfaction, and had not spared a seconds-thought for the consequences. Mary Shelley speaks out for conservatism, morality and religion. We feel sorry for the monster because we feel sorry for ourselves, and the book is just as relevant in today's society as it was then. Harry Quinn Schone ...read more.

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