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Frankenstein says- "seek happiness in tranquillity and avoid ambition." Do you think this is Mary Shelley's message? If not, what is?

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Frankenstein says- "seek happiness in tranquillity and avoid ambition." Do you think this is Mary Shelley's message? If not, what is? 'Frankenstein' is a classic example of dark gothic horror. The novel has great depth and the multitudes of subtly hidden messages woven intricately into the storyline are confirmation of Mary Shelley's brilliance. She raises several important issues within the novel, ranging from the dangers of ambition and obsession, to the cruel way that society judges and condemns people that do not fit in. The morality of science is also discussed, a particularly sensitive topic in today's world of fast advancing technology and genetic engineering. She conveys these messages through the voices of the characters in the novel, however, Frankenstein is not the only narrator and his is not the only message. The novel opens with letters from Robert Walton to his sister. He aspires to reaching the North Pole, despite fears that this will endanger many lives, including his own. His ambition is very similar to Frankenstein's in that it appears to be uncontrollable and fraught with danger and interestingly, both of their obsessions start with a 'thirst for knowledge' and lead them to 'inuring my [their] body[ies] to hardship'. ...read more.


It is De Lacey's inability to judge the monster on his appearance that makes him able to accept him based on his words, which persuade the blind man that the monster is 'sincere.' Here, Shelley is criticising society for its prejudice against those who are different and it is apparent to the reader that ironically, it is only the blind man that can truly see the monster. On beholding the monster, 'Felix dashed me [the monster] to the ground,' and hits him. This shows him using violence to deal with something he does not understand and is therefore scared of. Another example of this is shown when Frankenstein and the monster meet as Victor resorts to basic, crude language and challenges the monster that he 'may trample you [the monster] to dust,' even though he knows he is physically inferior. Shelley highlights the human instinct to combat the unknown with violence and shows that it is harmful to society, as had the monster been accepted, he would not have turned to murder and revenge. Shelley also challenges Catholicism in the novel as Justine is forced to 'confess a lie,' after being threatened with eternal damnation in hell. ...read more.


During the formation of the monster, Frankenstein dreams of creating a new species that 'would bless me as their creator and source,' but later in the novel destroys his second creation to stop 'a race of devils...upon the earth.' This perverse image shows the reader that although we may have good intentions, human advances can be dangerous. However, Shelley obviously did not want scientific morality to be a key theme in the book as she only includes a small and understated description of the monsters 'dull yellow eye open' and his awakening. Shelley is a clever and evocative writer and uses the novel 'Frankenstein' to raise many issues and convey many messages to her readers. Some of these themes can be seen as controversial, and the way Shelley carefully weaves them into the gothic horror novel makes them more acceptable to the reader. Fundamentally, Shelley is not didactic in her approach but allows the reader to pass their own judgement on the situations and characters that she writes about. This makes her writing more effective as the reader is allowed to become involved in the story further and can empathise with those caught up in the complex web of events. ...read more.

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