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

How do the sympathies of the reader fluctuate between Victor and the monster throughout

Extracts from this document...


How do the sympathies of the reader fluctuate between Victor and the monster throughout "Frankenstein? "Frankenstein" a gothic horror, written by Mary Shelley in 1818, can be interpreted as a subtle autobiography; whose narrative reflects on the characters throughout the story. It was written at the time where the Romantic period replaced the age of reason, the time where dreams and ideas replaced logic and science. The two main characters in the story, Victor and the monster are used as metaphors for this. Shelley uses them to make social and personal comments about the time when the book was written. Shelly's mother died only nine days after her birth. At the beginning of the novel, Victor's mother dies and Safia also has no mother. Walton's diary is 9 months long being the time it takes to have a baby. Before she wrote the book she lost many children. Shelly had a lonely life, hardly spending any time with her father and losing her husband after a short marriage; Victor shows signs of being a bad parent when he abandons his creation. After Shelley eloped with her lover, Percy Shelley in 1814, they travelled the continent together; Walton travels all over the world and Safia travels far with her father. ...read more.


When the monster is hiding at the cottage he steals food: "but when I found that in doing this I inflicted pain on the cottagers, I abstained and satisfied myself with berries, nuts and roots...." As soon as he realises that he has upset them, he stops and even repays them by chopping their firewood. By these actions, the monster shows compassion. Although he is not human, he shows human qualities. However Victor fails to show compassion, he left his family when they were still grieving and abandoned the monster because of his appearance. After the monster kills William, he feels guilty: "I gazed on my victim, and my heart swelled with exultation and hellish triumph..." The use of words "hellish triumph" tells the reader that even though the monster achieved his goals of revenge, he knew what he had done was wrong and he felt terrible. Again, at this point in the novel is showing more human characteristics than Victor: guilt and remorse. Shelley has created the monster's character to be more human than Victor, perhaps identifying more with monster than Victor in relation to their characters. ...read more.


Victor may not deserve all of the terrible things that happen to him, however, this is Shelley's way of warning how foolish it is to investigate things that humans should leave alone. The reader's sympathies shift between Victor and his creature several times throughout the novel. The monster's character changes from being innocent to nasty after confrontations with various characters and especially after killing William After this reader's sympathies are no longer with the monster because he has stopped showing the characteristics, which he was before. Victor never did anything intentionally evil, but as a result of his life, he killed his family and brought misery to his life. At first the feelings of sympathy lie with Victor, but his isolation and tragedy were self-inflicted. By the end of the novel, Victor becomes increasingly like his creation; a monster. The creature, despite killing William, has learnt many human qualities, from longing for love and companionship to anger and hate. It is difficult to balance who is more human but by the end of the novel, the sympathies lie with both characters as both their lives ended in isolation and misery. Charlene Holloway 10 K 1 ...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. Compare three stories of suspense in three different styles of writing

    Here, Shelley communicates the idea that everyone should be loved no matter how they look. This could be related to many modern issues, for example, a mother abandoning her baby. The ending matched the theme of the story, e.g. death and bereavement, and was very detailed.

  2. In what way does Mary Shelley make the reader sympathise with Victor frankenstein's creation?

    They meet over Frankenstein's corpse. The creature comes to mourn his creator's death. When he sees the creature Walton remembers his pledge to kill the creature so he talks to it. After the creature tells Walton his story he pledges to go and commit suicide.

  1. "'Frankenstein' uses many characteristics of the Gothic genre to arouse the interest of the ...

    The key facets of the monster begin to work and the reader is made aware that this is not the birth of innocence but the creation of a monster and so, their interest is aroused. Victor's reaction is to flee.

  2. Examine the ways in which Mary Shelley engages the readers sympathies for the monster.

    Gothic Imagery is used as Frankenstein describes his creation, 'His yellow skin scarcely covered the work of muscles and arteries beneath; his hair was a lustrous black, and flowing; his teeth of pearly whiteness. His shrivelled complexion and straight black lips' It also creates a contrast between beauty and horror;

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