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Frankenstein, narrative techniques positioning the protagonists

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Introduction

Frankenstein: Prepared Essay By Ben Pike WORD COUNT: 1-Discuss how narrative techniques are used to position the reader to respond to the protagonists in Frankenstein. Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (1818-1831) or The Modern Prometheus uses the narrative techniques symbolism, characterisation, setting and language to develop key themes. The ideas of the endless pursuit of technology and knowledge and it's detriment to the pursuer, discrimination is due to humanity's fear of the unknown and strange, nurturing and relationships creates a human being rather than their birth and justice is unavoidable for the guilty, in turn sway the reader to sympathise towards and/or understand the protagonist's position. The narrative is structured as an epistolary, and therefore as the narrator changes so does the protagonist, during Victor Frankenstein's story he is the protagonist and likewise during the Creatures narration. In Frankenstein Shelley has explored issues of nurture versus nature, technology and knowledge, justice and discrimination to suggest both Enlightenment and Romantic values and attitudes. Narrators Victor and the Creature both use similar eloquent, Romantic language describing each other. Both describe themselves as the protagonist and encourage the reader to sympathise their suffering and in the process frown upon the other. ...read more.

Middle

Elizabeth's character is constructed to be selfless, loving, virtuous and beautiful. Elizabeth is murdered by the Creature on her "wedding night", only because it would increase Victor's grief and guilt, not because of her own actions. Elizabeth is another victim of the Creature, who himself is a product of technology and knowledge. Shelley is warning society of what will happen if science's promethean desires continue, selfless love, virtues and beauty will be replaced by a grotesque mix of stolen body parts and strange chemicals, created by a combination of science and almost dark and supernatural workings. The protagonist, the Creature, was created through Victor's tireless pursuit of unimaginable technology, and as a result is cursed with existence in where there is only isolation and pain. The notion that the justice is unavoidable for the guilty, is explored by Shelley through the setting, both temporal and physical. The setting of Switzerland is significant as it was renowned for its justice system, it was considered the fair and reliable, "If she is, as you believe, innocent, rely on the justice of our laws". ...read more.

Conclusion

The symbolism of the Creature himself, as a being who was denied nurture and love, and was left to nature, and as a direct result his benevolence turned to anger and hatred, "I was benevolent and good; misery made me a fiend". The Creature attempted to be benevolent, even after Victor had abandoned him, but after being discriminated against and after a lack of nurture, he became vengeful and a menace, "You, my creator, abhor me; what hope can I gather from your fellow-creatures, who owe me nothing? They spurn and hate me." The Creature or the protagonist reinforces Goodwin's benevolence philosophy and the idea of nature versus nurture. The reader is positioned to sympathise for the Creature and shift the blame for his wretchedness onto Victor and society. Mary Shelley's Frankenstein positions the reader to sympathise and pity, the varying protagonists, Victor Frankenstein and his creation the Creature. Through the use of narrative techniques, temporal and physical setting, characterisation of Elizabeth, symbolism of the Creature and the language of Victor and the Creature, ideas of nature versus nurture, discrimination, justice and the relentless pursuit of technology are explored. The protagonists both attempt to sway the reader to sympathise their situation, or simply understand it. ...read more.

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