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"How do the themes explored by Mary Shelley in 'Frankenstein' relate to a modern audience?"

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Introduction

Natalie Davidson 11ZA3 "How do the themes explored by Mary Shelley in 'Frankenstein' relate to a modern audience?" The beginning of civilisation brought the evidential classification of people as insiders and outsiders in any close society, due to the narrow stereotypical minds of the masses and often the simplistic facts of life. People are separated from the rest of the community as a result of perhaps their physical appearance or a difference in their personality. Stereotypical idols in today's society are greatly influential; we are quick to identify faults in others and use this excuse to ostracise them from the world and ourselves. Mary Shelley embodies this 'outsider' through the monster that Frankenstein creates. He is isolated and rejected by everyone, so we are made to empathise with him; human beings have a natural instinct to do this, so the text is universalised. Ironically, at times the monster is more humane than those who consider themselves human, those who consider themselves 'insiders', opposed to the monster- an outsider. This novel opens on a personal note, Shelley uses the device of letters as a hook to draw in the reader; an invasion of privacy universalises the thoughts on paper, like reading someone else's diary. This makes it easier for us to empathise to Captain Walton and subsequently Victor Frankenstein, who is very similar in many aspects to him. ...read more.

Middle

After the death of Victor's mother, the weather is automatically cold once more; the temperature fluctuating according to the fate of the characters. A modern audience can relate to this as we all react to the weather due to natural human instinct. Love is what Shelley bases her novel 'Frankenstein' on. Us, as human beings understand the need for a loving relationship in life, and Victor Frankenstein reminisces about his first memories; which were ones of unconditional love from his family, shown in this quote; "My mother's tender caresses, and my fathers smile of benevolent pleasure while regarding me, are my first recollections. I was their plaything and their idol." (Ch1, pg33, line37) On the other hand, the monster that Victor creates is starved of this love; denied the very thing his creator lusts, purely because of his appearance. He is rejected at first sight and denied unconditional love, as he stumbles blindly after Victor, who runs scared. It is perhaps this lack of nurturing that enables a creation with the potential to be overwhelmingly good, almost angelic, to also have the qualities of the utmost evil; a killer. The product turns against its maker as commonly happens, and Victor results in repulsing his own creation. Also in 'Frankenstein', there is a theme of forbidden love between Victor and Elizabeth, a relationship of incest. ...read more.

Conclusion

the monster are able to decide the fate of the characters, for example, when Justine is hung unfairly without trial after she is accused of murdering Willy, as she pleads guilty although innocent; "I did confess; but I confessed a lie." (Ch8, pg87, line7) We are also like God today, and can relate to Victor Frankenstein in that he tries to create a faultless being. The modern audience are acquainted with genetic engineering and as we are always making scientific advances, like at the time of publication, the fear of the unknown is still very relevant today. Just like Frankenstein, who attempts to eliminate something that isn't perfect, we today have the power to do this through abortion and also are able to 'perfect' a child before it is born, dismissing blemishes by choosing the colour of their eyes or skin. We are currently making mistakes in this area and will result in paying for this blasphemy and already are. The moral of the story is to accept life for what it is, if not we will create the ultimate evil, embodied by the monster. Mary Shelley's 'Frankenstein' can therefore relate as much to a modern audience as a contempary audience at the time of publication, due to specific devices and themes that are used by the author to prevent it becoming stagnated and topics that hold an area of interest for the viewers. ...read more.

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