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

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Introduction

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.

Middle

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.

Conclusion

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.

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