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How does Mary Shelley manipulate the reader's sympathy for Frankenstein and the 'Monster'?

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Introduction

How does Mary Shelley manipulate the reader's sympathy for Frankenstein and the 'Monster'? Mary Shelley wrote 'Frankenstein' in 1818, when she was 18 she took up a dare; the challenge was, who could write the best supernatural story. Mary Shelley's novel was the only one to be completed and published. Mary Shelley uses different narrators to describe their parts of the story; both Frankenstein and the monster tell Walton, who writes this in his letters to his sister. This adds an interesting and varied perspective and by using different narrators Mary Shelley can make the reader feel sympathy for either Frankenstein or the 'Monster'. Mary Shelley opens her story with four letters written from Walton to his sister. This describes how Victor Frankenstein is brought aboard Walton's ship which is on its way to the North Pole. When Victor has recovered his health, he realises that Walton has the same burning ambition that he had, which lead to the deaths of all his loved ones. Victor decides to tell his story to Walton, even though he wanted the story to stay with him until he had died, in an attempt to persuade him to give up trying to achieve his goal by risking his crew's lives. ...read more.

Middle

The monster stayed by the animal shelter attached to the cottage where he observed the family. He stole food from the family not knowing it was wrong, but when he understands that the family feels pain and suffers because of his actions he decides to go into the forest, and eat berries and nuts instead. "I felt sensations of a peculiar and overpowering nature: unable to bear these emotions" the monster had to look away as he couldn't cope with these newly discovered emotions. The monster feels love for the family and calls them "perfect beings" and "beautiful". He doesn't want to be rejected by the family, so he hides in the "hovel" eventually loving the family as his own. The monster feels jealous and saddened because he has no family or friends- he hasn't even a name and dearly wants to be a part of their family. When Safie and Felix get married, the monster is aware of a different relationship between them than Felix and Agatha, he realises that he could never have that kind of a relationship, especially with Safie who he loves. He can feel the family's pain and so he tries to help them by chopping up wood which made them happy. ...read more.

Conclusion

In the cemetery, he swears that he will find and destroy the creature. As he stands by their graves, he hears a "fiendish laugh"; the monster had followed him to the graveyard. The monster tells Victor he is satisfied that Victor has decided to go on living. He understands that Victors suffering will continue. When Victor dies are sympathies are with him and not the monsters. After Frankenstein's death Walton discovers the monster in his cabin. Walton had promised Victor that he would kill the monster but instead was overwhelmed by "a mixture of curiosity and compassion". Walton seemed to pity the monster and so he listened to how the monster felt "he was soon borne away by the waves, and lost in the darkness and distance". Mary Shelley makes us feel sympathy for the monster before he disappears, through his speech about his everlasting suffering. In conclusion, Mary Shelley succeeds in manipulating the reader's sympathies towards both Frankenstein and the monster through the complex narration of the story. However I think that many people's sympathies are with Frankenstein; this is shown by many modern day films relating to the book about Frankenstein. The monster is shown in a bad way and his point of view and feelings are not put across, so we are made to think the creature is only bad. ...read more.

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