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How does Mary Shelley create sympathy for the monster whilst he attempts to persuade Frankenstein to create a companion for him?

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Introduction

How does Mary Shelley create sympathy for the monster whilst he attempts to persuade Frankenstein to create a companion for him? Mary Shelley uses various effective techniques and devices to create a feeling of sympathy for the monster, whilst he desperately attempts to persuade Frankenstein to create a controversial companion for him. These persuasive techniques include use of imagery, changes in narrative, as well as the arguments put forward by the monster during his lengthy plea. Frankenstein is one of the best known novels in the world, written by a young Mary Shelley, and inspired by, in particular, a harrowing dream she had experienced one night. Mary was an unconventional woman of her time, with an equally unconventional upbringing. Educated at home, Shelley was the daughter of William Godwin, a philosopher, journalist and radical thinker, and Mary Wollstonecraft, a famed feminist writer and educator. Having two respected but undoubtedly controversial parents most definitely influenced her opinions and works- this is especially evident in Frankenstein, in which both Victor and his creation are controversial and do not lead conventional lives. Sadly, Mary's mother died just ten days after her birth, leaving Mary lonely for a lot of her childhood, which she spent just in the company of her father and his scientific friends- this early death of her mother draws parallels with Frankenstein's own childhood, where his mother died from an illness whilst he was still young. This unconventional and lonesome youth obviously affected Mary's writing of Frankenstein in that the themes of loneliness and rejection are very apparent throughout the book; the creation of the character of Frankenstein can be seen as allegorical, and the fact that the monster feels "spurned and deserted" serves as one of the main arguments used to create sympathy for him. This is because the reader is implored to emphasis with the monster's plight. The story opens with the arctic explorer, Walton. ...read more.

Middle

The fact that Mary Shelley also emphasises the monster's feelings of loneliness and rejection during the chapters sixteen and seventeen also incites sympathy. The monster claims that there "...was none among the myriads of men that existed who would pity or assist [him]"- that no-one on earth would help or feel sympathy towards him. This automatically makes the reader feel pity for the monster, and incites a feeling of guilt in Victor, who feels responsible for the monster's feelings, as the creator. This feeling of responsibility pushes Frankenstein further towards consenting to creating a companion. Shelley also ensures that the monster creates a perfect peaceful vision of the future, if Victor would create the companion. The monster proclaims that "if you [Frankenstein] consent, neither you nor any other human being shall ever see us again...", persuading Frankenstein that if he makes the companion, everything will be perfect and there will be no more trouble or grief. The monster backs up his powerful prediction of the future by stating that Frankenstein could deny the request "only in the wantonness of power and cruelty..." effectively forcing Victor into agreeing with the monster, and making his creator appear selfish. However, Victor has no guarantee that his creation can be trusted, and voices that he is unsure that the monster "who longs for the love and sympathy of man" will be able to keep to his word, and effectively exile himself from the human world. Victor has no evidence that the monster is trustworthy. By reminding the reader of the monster's human qualities, and the fact that he is, essentially, the same as any other being on earth- sharing the same desires and needs as any other human- Mary Shelley creates sympathy for him. This is especially true in the way that the monster shows a basic need for the friendship, love and benevolence that he has been starved of thus far. ...read more.

Conclusion

She evidently wanted to convey this point in her work, and so wove the idea into the story of Frankenstein. On the other hand, there are several points displayed in chapters sixteen and seventeen that strongly disagree with the idea of a companion for the monster. The fact that the monster committed extremely violent murders, and is generally inclined towards violence, is a huge argument against a companion, as it poses the question does the monster really deserve a companion after he has committed such terrible deeds? The monster recounts how his "heart swelled with exultation and hellish triumph" after he had murdered William- these feelings of joy and gloating over another's death is certainly a reason not to sympathise with the monster. Victor expresses his own doubt when he says "Shall I create another like yourself, whose joint wickedness might desolate the world!" This means he feels that if he creates a companion, the two of them may continue to cause chaos and commit various other murders, together. To conclude, I believe that, despite the counter arguments, Mary Shelley successfully incites a strong sense of sympathy for the monster throughout the course of chapters sixteen and seventeen. The effective use of emotive language, and the inclusion of some very strong arguments for the monster's cause, such as the fact that he feels rejected and alone, wins over the reader's sympathy. I believe the biggest factor in creating a sense of sympathy for the monster is the fact that he has been "spurned and deserted" by everyone, including his own creator. This because a majority of people can empathise with this feeling of rejection, and so feel connected to the monster in a small way. However, all Shelley's techniques and arguments worked to achieve the pity I undoubtedly felt for the monster nearing the end of chapter seventeen. Later on in the book, however, Victor pays the price for ignoring his feelings of guilt and responsibility, as he eventually refuses to create the companion, and suffers the consequences... ...read more.

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