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How far does the presentation of the monster in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein lead you to feel sympathy for the character?

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Introduction

Friday 11th June 04 English literature coursework How far does the presentation of the monster in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein lead you to feel sympathy for the character? The novel Frankenstein by Mary Shelley was written in 1816 and published in 1818. During this time this time there was social revolution and major scientific changes throughout the world. In 1789 the French revolution took place. This is where the peasants revolted against the lords and the royal family; they stood for liberty, equality and fraternity. (Shelley was born into a revolutionary left wing family and then lived the life of one). The world was an unstable place and there was opportunity for change. In science: electricity was created foe the light bulb and changed the way people saw things; machines in factories created difficulties for workers; telephones which changed communication and the steam train was made which had defied what people thought impossible. All these things changed the way of life forever; science was being more and more important and involving the public not just the scientists. However, people did not like change especially things that are new and only just made. People were frightened and apprehensive of these scientific changes as they were destroying what god had created. Mary Shelley had written the story on the basis of a nightmare, but we can also say that she was scared about these scientific changes and had written Frankenstein to give the effect to the readers that we should leave science alone or we will get a creation or monster that will destroy us. ...read more.

Middle

These factors do make the reader feel sympathy towards the monster and feel that Frankenstein is mean and selfish. Shelley's linguistic skills illustrate an abandon child which most people would have lots of sympathy for. She uses things like imagery, language and complex sentence structures in this chapter as they can all incite sympathy or they can take it away from the reader; this means that she control how the reader is feeling towards the character at each point. Chapter ten differs from chapter five as its where Frankenstein and his creation meet by accident and have a conversation. The fact that the monster has possessed a human skill of speech makes us see it less of a monster and more of a person; sympathy is demanded for the monster. Frankenstein does not want to see him and decides that he will kill it but the monster won't fight with him and speaks reasonably and truthfully. "Have I not suffered enough, that you seek to increase my misery?" The monster is in desolation and depression which we feel sorry for and we want to know the reason for it as we start having human compassion for the creation as its becoming more like us. Quotations like this provoke sympathy from the reader to the monster. "These bleak skies I hail for they are kinder to me then your fellow being." We feel ashamed by the way humans are portrayed by the monster as cold and unkind; the reader instantly feels sympathy ...read more.

Conclusion

This means that we are not just giving sympathy that we would give to an animal in pain we are actually realising that he is one of us and has the same emotions and thinking as us. The reader then devotes a lot more sympathy to this character. By switching narration it provides us with a view of both the monster and Frankenstein. Also, it switches our emotional sympathy with one to the other; this furthers our understanding of the two. In conclusion I feel that Mary Shelley wanted us to see that the creation is not necessarily the monster but the creator, Victor Frankenstein. From the beginning the reader is shown that Frankenstein is spoilt and won't do what is right; he will only do what he wants and won't think of others neither the consequences. The monster on the other hand, we see as a child which has been deprived of a parents love and shunned where ever he goes. All the way though the novel the reader is told the monster is reaching for human compassion and will be good if his creator gives him a mate. Therefore Shelley wanted us to realise that we should sympathise with the creation and understand how although he looks like a monster he is the one who deserves it. She does this with linguistic skills: imagery, language and complex sentence structures in chapter five; conversation between the creation and the creator and imagery in chapter ten; narration by the monster, imagery and description in chapter eleven. ?? ?? ?? ?? Hannah Glass 10k1 Mr Boulter ...read more.

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