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How does Mary Shelley present the character of the monster so as to gain sympathy for him?

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Introduction

How does Mary Shelley present the character of the monster so as to gain sympathy for him? When Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus, in 1818 at the tender age of 18, it was often wondered how such a young girl could imagine such a horrific story. In fact, one could find that the idea of 'playing God' and manipulating the ideas behind life and death were very much real at the time, and even today. Many scientists were investigating the process of bringing a dead being back to life, or galvanism, and there were some, like Humphrey Davy, who believed that scientists had no limit as to what they could do, believing that they could become masters, even creators. Shelley's character, Frankenstein, shares these views and with great confidence he vowed, "more, far more, will I achieve... [I will] explore unknown powers, and unfold to the world the deepest mysteries of creation", thus he created his 'monster'. Frankenstein's ambitious, perhaps dangerous, dream of exploring 'unknown powers' by creating a human being and pouring "a torrent of light into our dark world" is incredibly similar to the story of Prometheus, almost certainly the reason behind Mary's subtitle to the novel. ...read more.

Middle

The extent of Victor's shame and hate of the creature is apparent when he even neglects to give him a name, instead preferring to refer to him as "wretch", "daemon", "demoniacal corpse", "fiend" or "monster". Indeed the creature had been created with various body parts of corpses and it certainly had a hideous exterior, but just how monstrous is he? Frankenstein had the intentions of creating the perfect being by selecting beautiful features from his flowing "lustrous black" hair to his "teeth of a pearly whiteness", however "these luxuriances only formed a more horrid contrast with his watery eyes". It is because of this horrid appearance that Frankenstein chooses to run when the creature appears at his bedside with one hand outstretched, while he "muttered some inarticulate sounds". Although Victor himself created the monster, he does not offer the life that every father should offer his son, instead opting to dismiss the creature from his life almost immediately, with no chance to prove himself. It is only in the middle section of the book from chapter 11 that we are able to hear the creature's own side of the story and his very own tale of what he had experienced in his life away from Victor. ...read more.

Conclusion

This shows the good intentions of the creature and that all he really wants is love and companionship, again proving that he is not the mindless, evil devil that Frankenstein makes him out to be. However the cottagers disappoint the creature and Mary Shelley creates sympathy here when they, too, fail to listen to the words of the creature without passing judgement upon him, instead choosing to attack. The creature then feels feelings of "rage and revenge" and all hope in humans is lost after he suffers from the rejection of his loved ones. He releases his anger onto the uninhabited cottage when he felt the need to "spread havoc and destruction around me, and then to have sat down and enjoyed the ruin". It is already becoming clear that the endless rejection after rejection from Frankenstein, the villagers and the de Laceys' is causing the creature to take shape into the monster that he is so often accused of being. He recognises this when he says "I am malicious because I am miserable... If I cannot inspire love, I will cause fear", and so he does. He declares an "everlasting war against the species, and, more than all, against him who had formed me", as he blames everything that is wrong in his life on Frankenstein. ?? ?? ?? ?? Salina Vuong ...read more.

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