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Frankenstein - Explain how the character of the monster develops throughout the novel. How does Shelley use features such as language and structure to create and destroy sympathy for it?

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Introduction

Explain how the character of the monster develops throughout the novel. How does Shelley use features such as language and structure to create and destroy sympathy for it? The novel I have been studying is Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. It is a story that makes the reader vary their feelings from pity to anger and disgust. The novel is about a scientist called Frankenstein who creates a monster using the limbs of corpses. He later learns that the moral issues behind creating the monster were unjust as it comes back to slowly destroy him and his life. It is told through the letters that R.Walton sends to his sister. Walton is sailor who is sailing to the North Pole and meets Frankenstein on his way and listens to his story. The book was written in 1817 when Shelley had run away from home and controversially eloped with the already married Percy Bysshe Shelley. In Frankenstein we see the monster being hated and abhorred by humans. Here we see humans having prejudice as everybody attacks him. He runs away because no one will give him a chance, similarly, Shelley left home because no one gave her a chance as even her own father never truly forgave her. From this we may conclude that Shelley wanted to put across the point of society having the lapse of prejudice, pre-judging people even if they mean well and are sincere. ...read more.

Middle

The reader feels sympathy for him because of the prejudice that he gets when he tries to interact with humans. When the monster narrates he tells us how he used to be moral and innocent. It is springtime and the buds of flowers are opening, the trees are growing their leaves, the birds are singing and the animals are out. This shows that there is a happy mood and that good is happening. He admires the flowers and the birds and says that it is "Happy, happy earth." From this we can see that he was virtuous and makes the reader begin to like the monster. As the monster's tale progresses we see him get closer to the isolated family in the woods and see him wishing that he could befriend them. By doing this Shelley makes the reader want the monster to succeed and be loved by the family. When the monster does confront the family hr first meets the father who is old and blind. He is not given the possibility to prejudge him by his appearance and so listens to the monster and understands his grief. This shows that if given the chance the monster can be a good person. The irony here is that although this man is blinded, it is the other humans that are blinded with prejudice whereas the old man can see further than just the appearance. ...read more.

Conclusion

Shelley has made Frankenstein an interesting novel by making the reader think. The reader thinks about prejudice and how people can prejudge. We see revenge in the novel as the monster takes his revenge on Frankenstein who then tries to take his revenge back on the monster. The reader can also see justice in the book. Frankenstein made the monster and but then shouldn't have ignored its needs after doing so. The reader also thinks about discovery and ambition and about not taking it too far. Both Frankenstein and Walton have ambitions but nearly destroy themselves by taking their discovery too far. Shelley also makes a point on human nature. People created the monsters inner ugliness by prejudging it and then moan about it when it turns evil. To conclude Shelley makes the reader have sympathy for the monster and then destroys it using different methods. She uses narration, settings, symbolism and the characters themselves to do so. She also structures the poem in such a way that the reader feels disgust and sympathy at various times. The monster is a successful literary character because he makes you change your mind on whether you like or loathe him. The reader loathes him for destroying Frankenstein's life but feels that Frankenstein destroyed the monster's life when he created it and so the reader feels empathy. Shelley uses themes such as justice, prejudice and revenge in the novel, which are still present today making Frankenstein a popular novel today as well as two hundred years ago. ...read more.

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