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In Frankenstein,how does Shelley inspire sympathy for the creature?

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Introduction

In Frankenstein, how does Shelley inspire sympathy for the creature? Mary Shelley was born in 1797. She had a difficult life with many family upsets', miscarriages and suffered personal depression; she died aged 53. Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein firstly as a short ghost story but it was published as a novel in 1816. Frankenstein is a Gothic novel and it deals with two genres, Gothicism and science fiction. Gothicism is part of the Romantic Movement that started in the late eighteenth century. The Romantic Movement is based on freedom of thought and expression and the belief of living in an age of new beginnings and high possibilities. Science fiction explores the marvels of discovery and achievement that may result from future developments in science and technology. Mary Shelley has obviously used the idea of new technology to create an original novel. Frankenstein is about a young man called Victor who has a thirst for knowledge and ambition. He discovers the secret of animating lifeless matter and, by assembling corpses, creates a monster that vows revenge on his creator after being rejected from society. This essay will be looking at how Shelley inspires sympathy for the monster. Sympathy is a feeling or an expression of pity or sorrow for the distress of another. Shelley creates sympathy for the monster by creating themes of alienation and prejudice towards him. She also adds subplots of the Delacy family and the monster's lack of childhood to create sympathy in Frankenstein. The theme of alienation is very prominent throughout Frankenstein. Alienation means estrangement, which is exactly what the monster was going through. In volume two, we are able to understand the monster's tale through his own eyes. This creates more sympathy and we feel his emotions because he is speaking in the first person. When the monster says, "I was a poor, helpless, miserable wretch... I sat down and cried" he creates more sympathy for himself because he knows his emotions but he doesn't know why he is "wretched, helpless and alone" so therefore he is alienated from the world and himself. ...read more.

Middle

The reader is made to sympathise for him because now the monster realises that he is an outcast in the world and will always be because of his nature and appearance. Even though he tries hard to change this, he cannot. Both the monster and Safie lack the knowledge of language but unlike Safie, the monster gets no help. This is not normal which proves that the monster is inhuman. This is upsetting because is causes the monster to get depressed and it makes the monster feel isolated. In the Delacy family, there are themes of family and social responsibility. All the family have strong relationships with each other and this contrasts with Victor and his relationship with the monster. The monster realises this and desperately "longed to join them." This creates sympathy because now he understands that humans are meant to be brought up by a loving family, but the monster has been deprived of relatives. Safie is a new character introduced into the novel and she is very similar to the monster because she is alone with no family and doesn't understand the language. However, Safie is 'beautiful' and is therefore accepted by everyone. The monster isn't accepted because of his outward appearance and everyone is prejudiced so will not give him a second chance. This creates sympathy because everyone has accepted the 'angelic' Safie but rejected the 'wretched' monster. Lastly, the monster puts all his hope and trust in the Delacy family to try and learn the basic skills of life. However, when they depart it thwarts the monster's plans. A main theme in Frankenstein is prejudice and it is very prominent throughout the book. Prejudice means to pre judge someone and unfortunately the monster is always pre judged negatively. The monster realises this himself and says to the audience, "they are always prejudiced against me." This shows me that he understands that he is not accepted into society but doesn't necessarily know why. ...read more.

Conclusion

Also, babies reach out to their parents and the people they love. In Frankenstein, the monster reaches out to Victor as if Victor is his father. The monster is showing that he trusts and loves Victor but when Victor escapes we empathise with the monster. The monster had the lack of both nature and nurture because he had no biological family and Victor left him at birth. The monster is unnatural and abnormal so he has to develop basic instincts without help so he has to use 'trial and error' to survive. This is upsetting because although the monster wasn't brought up at all he is still naturally friendly. The monster cannot be nurtured by another monster because he is the only monster so he has to learn from humans. He is desperate to understand life. The monster says, "you formed a monster so hideous that even you turned...in disgust." This shows that the monster understands that he has been unfairly treated and is so angry with his creator for giving him life when his creator knew that he would be deprived of knowledge, love and companionship. The monster asks Victor to "perform thy part which thou owest" but when Victor fails to keep his promise we sympathise for the monster even more. Shelley inspires sympathy for the monster because he is alienated and unwelcome. She makes the reader feel emotionally charged and involved with the monster's feelings by the depth of his expression of rejection. Shelley also uses the theme of prejudice against the monster. This is very powerful because it brings out the reader's own feelings on prejudice and helps the reader to identify with the monster. Shelley creates an unpleasant background for the monster because she deprives him of childhood and family support. This creates sympathy for the monster because the reader's own childhood experiences help empathise with him. I think that most sympathy is inspired when the monster starts to hate himself and realise that he will never be accepted: "a wretched outcast I was." Sarah Burke 10RC 3rd November 2004 I ...read more.

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