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In His Critical Essay On Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein".

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Introduction

In His Critical Essay On Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein", Dr Siv Jansson argues that 'the balance of sympathy at the novel's conclusion lies firmly in favour of the Creature.' How far do you agree? In your answer you must refer to the ways in which "Frankenstein" is part of the Gothic tradition and how this affects the 'balance of sympathy'. This essay will explore where the balance of sympathy lies at the end of the gothic literary novel "Frankenstein" written by Mary Shelley. This essay will also refer to Dr Siv Jansson's essay, and other quotations, from both the text, and philosophers of the day. The novel "Frankenstein" has become a blueprint for any Gothic author. The novel itself contains many features of the Gothic, and these features most definitely sway the balance of sympathy throughout the novel. The dark, poetic imagery, and the multiple narrative structure also are factors in this. As this essay progresses, it will point out these factors, and determine their effect. The Creature shows tremendous amounts of compassion, sensitivity, articulacy and kindness. The reader can see these traits in Chapter 11 when the Creature begins his narrative. "Soon a gentle light stole over the heavens, and gave me a sensation of pleasure. I stared up, and beheld a radiant form rise from among the trees. ...read more.

Middle

By saying this, he is not repenting for his past actions. He is also saying he would wish luck for another to succeed. I think this is evidence of the novel being more in favour of the Creature. In Chapter 23, however we do feel for Frankenstein, as he discovers his newly-wedded wife, Elizabeth, strangled by the Creature, after refusing to make a female being. He describes her as being "thrown", "hanging" and "distorted". This emotive language, I believe, reflects his anger and hatred towards the Creature. These words are incredibly violent and destructive. The word "hanging", one may argue, is a flashback to Justine's execution. Both of Victor's female companions' lives have been dashed at the hands of the Creature. The word "hanging" is also another way of killing a being by applying pressure to the neck/throat. Although Elizabeth has been strangled, that descriptive word could be interpreted as Victor's 'execution' of her. If he had either made the female Creature, or stayed with her on their wedding night, Elizabeth might not have been killed. It is down to Frankenstein's overwhelming arrogance that she died. In Chapter 11, the Creature has his first encounter with the De Lacey family. He is "unable to bear the emotions" when he sees the elderly man with the little girl. ...read more.

Conclusion

He calls himself a "wretch", therefore he is not proud or pleased with his actions. This proves that the Creature does have a developed sense and understanding of right and wrong. When answering the set question, there are a number of determining factors that have to be taken into close consideration. Both Frankenstein and the Creature shared personality traits, for example determination, and the right they thought they had to play God with innocent lives. There are, however, extenuating circumstances that you need to consider before laying blame at the feet of either character. Frankenstein's narrative to Walton is in the past tense. His hatred for the Creature has manifested since the death of his wife, therefore he may have elaborated on his suffering somewhat. Also, the Creature may be false when he said he regretted murdering Elizabeth, William, and being responsible for the execution of Justine. However, in my opinion, I believe that the Creature was honest, and he was truly remorseful for his actions. He was prepared to burn himself so that his body would not be discovered, and that others like him would not be made. I support Dr Siv Jansson's conclusion that at the climax of the novel, the reader's sympathy goes out to the Creature more than it does to Frankenstein, however, I believe that some sympathy lies with Frankenstein too. Lily Milton 5th March 2004 - English Coursework 1,364 words 1 I ...read more.

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