• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Frankenstein was written by Mary Shelley when she was only eighteen years old after a nightmare she had.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

English Literature: Frankenstein Essay James Hare 10SG 18/11/02 Word Count: 3,293 Introduction Frankenstein was written by Mary Shelley when she was only eighteen years old after a nightmare she had. It was first published on 1st January 1818 and was an instant success. Using the style of the 'Gothic Novel', Frankenstein was the first science-fiction book ever written. Almost two centuries later it has become not only a widely read classic, but also one of the most influential novels ever written. Frankenstein is a moral tale that deals with issues and ethics of medical and scientific advancement and how far humans should go in tampering with nature. The story raises questions as to who should have final power over life and human nature, God or humans. Shelley calls her book a 'Modern Prometheus', because there are many similarities in the plots. The Greek God, Prometheus, gave the human race fire, out of pity so they could eat, but also brought them danger, and was punished for it by Zeus. Prometheus was a hero to humans, but Dr. Victor Frankenstein is a villain because he did nothing to contribute to the world; he did everything for himself rather than using his knowledge for the good of others. Shelley does not express her views, but simply tells a story. The story explores the dire consequences of meddling in such serious matters. In a dramatic and shocking way she is more persuasive and challenging to people than if she had directly preached her views. Without directly telling people what they ought to think, she is powerfully able to make people question the morality of their actions in a day of rapid scientific advances. The 'Gothic Novel' was a very popular style of writing in the late eighteenth to mid-nineteenth century. Shelley used this style because she knew it would appeal to the masses. Its use of horror, violence and the supernatural was exciting, intriguing and macabre. ...read more.

Middle

Ultimately, Frankenstein implies that the being belongs in Hell. From this, the 'Monster' starts to believe he truly is a fiend and actually a 'fallen angel' but refuses to accept that it is his own fault and warns Frankenstein to take responsibility for his actions. One night the creature takes refuge in a small hovel adjacent to a cottage. In the morning, he discovers that he can see into the cottage through a crack in the wall. Observing his neighbours for an extended period of time, the monster notices that they often seem unhappy, though he is unsure why. He eventually realizes, however, that their despair results from their poverty, to which he has been contributing by surreptitiously stealing their food. Torn by his guilty conscience, he stops stealing their food and does what he can to reduce their hardship, gathering wood at night to leave at the door for their use. Vowing to learn their language he acquires a basic knowledge of the language, including the names of the young man and woman, Felix and Agatha. Unobserved and well protected from the elements, he grows increasingly affectionate toward his unwitting hosts. The monster's growing understanding of the social significance of family is connected to his sense of otherness and solitude. The cottagers' devotion to each other underscores Victor's total abandonment of the monster; ironically, observing their kindness actually causes the monster to suffer, as he realizes how truly alone, and how far from being the recipient of such kindness, he is. This lack of interaction with others, in addition to his namelessness, compounds the monster's woeful lack of social identity. Formerly a mysterious, grotesque, completely physical being, the monster gradually becomes a verbal, emotional, sensitive, almost human figure that communicates his past to his creator, Victor Frankenstein in eloquent and moving terms. But, far from seeing the monster's humanity beneath his grotesque appearance Victor just fears him more. ...read more.

Conclusion

In these modern times, we also have a responsibility to care for and sustain the environment, not to abuse the gift of nature. This is in contrast to the deforestation of Amazon Rainforests in Brazil, where millions of trees are cut down every day for the Western world's timber and paper needs. We are even more aware of the damage to our environment now because of the scientific 'progress' we have experienced since Shelley's day. Frankenstein refuses to take moral responsibility for his creation. Today, people emphasis their rights over their responsibilities. Perhaps even more than in Shelley's time, we need to encourage moral responsibility in our individualistic society, where most people seems to be looking out only for themselves. Another final issue raised by the novel is the issue of prejudice. An example of prejudice is anti-Semitism: prejudice towards Jewish people. Anti-Semitism was a tenet of Nazi Germany, and in the Holocaust 1933-45 about 6 million Jews died in concentration camps and in local extermination pogroms, such as the siege of the Warsaw ghetto. In Eastern Europe, as well as in Islamic nations, anti-Semitism still exists and is spread by neo-fascist groups. In spite of the globalisation of our world, through air travel, TV and the Internet, since Shelley's day, we still have many examples of prejudice and discrimination against those of different appearance, colour, race, intelligence, sex, age from ourselves. Throughout the novel, the 'monster' is rejected and exiled because of his appearance, when deep down he was an intelligent, thoughtful and emotional being. No one could see past his horrific appearance to reveal his personality and thoughts. To be a victim of prejudice is demeaning and makes the person feel worthless. Despite this, the Monster fights on, trying to befriend people until he finally gives up and decides that the best thing to do would be to die. This type of attitude and feeling is something that people should not have to deal with in such a multi-cultural world we live in, for we are all human beings. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Mary Shelley section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Mary Shelley essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Compare the two books Frankenstein and Jurassic Park and pay particular attention to the ...

    4 star(s)

    a quote to prove Frankenstein's love for science: "Curiosity, earnest research to learn the hidden laws of nature, gladness akin to rapture, as they were unfolded to me are among the earliest sensations I can remember." That quote gives the reader the impression that Frankenstein has been a scientist all his life even from an early age.

  2. Marked by a teacher

    The Novel Frankenstein is as relevant and as terrifying today as it was when ...

    4 star(s)

    Victor warns: 'You seek for knowledge as I once did... you are pursuing the same course...exposing yourself to the same dangers [perhaps] you can deduce an apt moral from my tale'. 1818 society might not have worried so much about his warning because this was only fiction at the time; however, today creating artificial life in laboratory is possible.

  1. What Is The Significance Of Mary Shelley Giving The Subtitle 'The Modern Prometheus' To ...

    and then ultimately to the reader. Frankenstein could also be an autobiography, with Mary Shelley being Frankenstein, as it bears many resemblances to her life. She like Frankenstein watched as many of her family and friends died around her including her children; 2 Clara's and William, who coincidently has the same name as Frankenstein's murdered younger brother.

  2. How does Mary Shelley present Frankenstein the monster and what do we find out ...

    Victor Frankenstein was a young ambitious scientist who wanted to be the first ever human to create life. He wanted to be become famous and be well known for his work as a scientist. Even though people and other scientists with high reputations told him that it was dangerous and also that it could never be accomplished.

  1. Who is the REAL monster in Frankenstein?

    Frankenstein also had a compassionate side. He said, 'I was moved,' (when The Creature told his story to his creator). He even felt enough pity to begin to make The Creatures companion. '...did I not as his maker, owe him all the portion of happiness that it was in my power to bestow?'

  2. 'Frankenstein Essay' - With reference to chapters 11-16, trace the development and change in ...

    nature of man such as the good and bad sides of human nature. This book teaches the monster the cruelty of man and that man is capable of inflicting pain on others, especially of those that are alien or different.

  1. What does Mary Shelley reveal about human relationships and society in Frankenstein?

    he is horrified and describes him as a 'daemoniacal corpse' and a 'daemon'. Frankenstein then runs away from the creature in horror. He has left the creature on its own not knowing what to do in life, as Frankenstein has not carried out his parental duty.

  2. The novel Frankenstein is written by Mary Shelley in 1818 it is still popular ...

    This quote shows us that the whole village was prejudiced towards the monster because of the way he looks. The villagers didn't even know him and the monster didn't do anything wrong. On top of that, in chapter10 Victor is prejudice towards his own monster as he abandons him because his creations did not turn out to be beautiful.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work