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In what way does Mary Shelley make the reader sympathise with Victor frankenstein's creation?

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Introduction

In what way does Mary Shelley make the reader sympathise with Victor Frankenstein's creation? "Frankenstein or The Modern Prometheus" was published in 1818 and written by British author Mary Shelley. Classed as a Gothic novel Shelley wrote the story when she was only 19 and having a contest with her husband and two others to see who could write the scariest story. Mary's was the best of the four stories and the only one ever published. Born Mary Godwin her mother was one of the first feminists and her father was a political philosopher. When she was 16 she ran off with the already married Percy Byshee Shelley who encouraged her to write Frankenstein. Together they had three children, only one of whom out lived Shelley. Mary Shelley died at the age of 53. Gothic novels first appeared in the sixteenth century and were part of the Romanticism movement. Normally set in medieval times Gothic novels generally include the supernatural and uncover the darker side of human nature. The Gothic novel is now seen as the basis of many other genres like horror and science fiction. Frankenstein can also be perceived as one of the first science fiction books. The story is told in the form of a series of letters from the captain, Walton, of a ship bound for the north pole, to his sister. The captain encounters a strange man travelling across the Arctic in a dog drawn sleigh. The man is weak from cold so the captain takes him aboard. The strange man, who is actually Victor Frankenstein, one of the stories two protagonists, recounts his story to the captain. First he talks about his childhood in Geneva growing up with his cousin / adoptive sister Elizabeth Lavenza and friend Henry Cleveral. Then the story takes a grim turn as, after studying natural philosophy and chemistry, Frankenstein becomes obsessed with overcoming death and creating life. ...read more.

Middle

Victor created the creature but in a way totally removed from God or religion and the result his creation is totally unholy in the eyes of most people. In the story God loves Adam but shuns him for betraying him however Victor shunned his creation automatically and the creation did nothing wrong. In the story God continues to love Adam regardless of the betrayal however Victor despises his creation. The point the creature is trying to make is that you should love me but you shun me. He is also accusing Victor of playing God. There is also a hint at the request the creature makes later on which is to make him a mate or an Eve. Shelley demonstrates her protagonists feelings through their language. Shelley demonstrates Victor's sense of freedom and joy while he is walking through the mountains where he calls his surroundings "glorious", "sublime" and "magnificent". This is typical of the Romanticism movement which glorified nature. The movement was prominent at the time Shelley wrote the book and Shelley's husband was a prominent figure in the romanticism movement. Describing nature as "glorious" give the impression that nature is proud strong and victorious and gives it a positive atmosphere, "sublime" and "magnificent" make it seem like he was having a great time. This brief moment of happiness between the various catastrophes in his life makes us happy for Victor before he again is forced to confront his creation. However when Victor meets his creature his language changes and this makes us turn against him and pity his creation. Victor calls his creation a "devil" likening his creation to what some people would describe as the root of all evil. Is it any wonder his creation became evil? He also calls his creation "vile insect" which suggests that the monster is insignificant and that Victor could just crush him under his foot. ...read more.

Conclusion

In Walton in continuation Shelley uses language to give a clear view of Walton's impressions of the creature and to give an impression of the creatures feelings to its creation. Walton describes the creature's monstrous looks through the language he uses to describe it. He calls it "loathsome" suggesting deep hate and that he already hates it due to its looks just as Frankenstein did. "appalling" suggests something to horrible and wrong to look at that should be cleaned away and put out of sight. It could also be something to be ashamed of for instance the appalling living conditions in third world slums something that we have indirectly caused and should be ashamed of. However when he sees the monsters mornings he feels "compassion" this suggests he sees the monsters human side and feels pity for it and even wants to help it. The creature describes the creator he murdered as his "victim"- the creature now sees himself as a monster who killed his own creator and is clearly ashamed. The creature describes his creator as "generous and self- devoted" suggesting that he saw Frankenstein was a good man who worked hard but made a mistake with him. However "self devoted suggests he thought only of himself and not of his creation so the creation recognizes his flaws or it could be perceived that he sees the effort he put in to create him. Mary Shelley's Frankenstein is a classic Gothic novel that looks at the themes of society and its way of treating outsiders and nature verses nurture. It has given me as a reader a new perspective on how I judge people based on appearances and the way society functions as a whole. The book is still relevant in today's society as scientists research into cloning and genetic engineering and many ethical questions are raised. It is also relevant in today's celebrity culture obsessed with perfection. It is due to this and the quality and originality of Shelley's writing that the story is still relevant today. ...read more.

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