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Frankenstein - From your reading of the novel, which character do you think is the real monster, and why?

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Introduction

Frankenstein From your reading of the novel, which character do you think is the real monster, and why? Mary Shelley was born in London on 30 August 1797, the only child of two notable intellects. Her father was the philosopher William Godwin, and her mother was a pioneering feminist, who had died only eight days after Mary's birth. When Shelley wrote the novel Frankenstein, she said that her desire was to 'curdle the blood, and quicken the beatings of the heart.' This indicates to the reader that the novel should be placed in the gothic genre. Typical gothic genres place emphasis on aspects on fear and terror, the presence of the supernatural and the use of highly stereotypical characters. Although Frankenstein is essentially a gothic novel, it also has significant connections with the Romantic Movement. This link was almost inevitable considering Shelley's background. Her father, Godwin, had a huge impact on English Romantic poetry, and another notable Romantic, Lord Byron, was a life-long friend of the family. Also her husband, Percy Shelley, was one of the key Romantic poets. There are specific themes in Frankenstein that show relevance to Romanticism. There is a concern with social reform, a preoccupation with the role of the poet and the workings of the imagination, and an interest in nature. The Romantic Movement is often associated with the French revolution, which was seen by Godwin, and other Romantics, as the beginnings of a new age and justice for all. It was a time of social unrest and political activity. Shelley's Frankenstein is certainly concerned with the corruption of social institutions. The creation of the man, also suggests that she has little faith in the innocence of the human race, much like other Romantics at this time. The novel was also written at a time of big changes in society and advances in science. Technological developments, which led to the Industrial revolution, had large impacts on people's lives. ...read more.

Middle

'Alas! I had turned loose into the world a depraved wretch, whose delight was in carnage and misery; had he not murdered my brother?' This quote can be perceived in two different ways. The reader may see it as Victor condemning the creature for killing his brother, and therefore portraying the creature as the monster. However it could be seen that Victor is condemning himself for creating the creature, and therefore showing himself to be the monster. Shelley has purposely left these two completely opposite choices in order to keep the readers decision on, who the real monster is, open. Later in the story, Victor witnesses Justine, his family's servant, being hung for the murder of William. Victor feels an enormous amount of guilt, as he feels he is responsible for making the creature that, in his opinion, killed William. In an attempt to drown his sorrows, Victor escapes to Chamounix valley. The beauty of the place entrances Victor and he begins to take his mind off the murder of William and the wrongful judgement of Justine. The creature has followed Victor to the valley. As the two characters confront each other, a storm begins. Due to the dreadful conditions, Victor is forced to confront the creature. Victor decides to attempt to kill the creature in a moment of pure anger, and vengeance. At this point, Victor is furious, and out of controls, he is portraying qualities that you would expect from a monster. On the other hand, the creature acts very peacefully. He is in complete control of the situation; this is due to his calm composure and his use of language. He is acting as the reader would expect Victor to act. This role reversal gives further implication that the creature is a double of Frankenstein. The creature reinforces this, by eloquently saying, 'Thou hast made me more powerful than thyself.' As the story progresses, the reader learns about the creature's experiences when he tells Victor of his travels. ...read more.

Conclusion

When Victor refers to the creature as 'my own spirit let loose from the grave... forced to destroy all that was dear to me' Victor provides a very clear expression of the notion that he and the creature are doubles, with the monster acting out Victor's own aggressions. The creature has a monstrous appearance, however he on the inside he is clearly humane. He doesn't start to become evil until he is rejected by society, and isolated from the world. His actions of violence are simply retaliations to his rejection. The fact that he is mistreated, stoned, rejected and shot by the humans actually portrays the human society to be monstrous. Walton, who is very similar to Victor, in his desire for knowledge, does have monstrous qualities. However, he is saved from falling into the trap of becoming a monster. He is saved because the influence of his crew, that provide him with a sense of realism. Also his meeting with Victor prevented him from becoming monstrous, as he was shown what he may have become. In my opinion Victor is the real monster in this novel. He creates nearly all the suffering and misery in the story. He creates the creature which suffers because of disfigurement; he makes his family suffer misery when he doesn't acknowledge their constant support and love for him and most of all, he makes himself suffer huge amounts through his own unplanned and unthought-of actions. Also, by usurping the role of God, he is performing the biggest sin: trying to play God. By creating life himself without a woman is against the rules of nature, this can easily be seen as a monstrous act. This could have only brought pain, misery and destruction for everyone, yet Victor was blind to these possibilities. Victor has all his loved ones taken away from him because of his own actions, simply because he failed to 'father' his own creation. Frankenstein had an overwhelming desire to be recognized as a medical genius. This desire to satisfy his own ego grew into something that made him a monster. ...read more.

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