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In your view how do you think Mary Shelley wanted her readers to respond to the character of Frankenstein?

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Introduction

FRANKENSTEIN In your view how do you think Mary Shelley wanted her readers to respond to the character of Frankenstein? Justify your response by use of quotation and by close reference to the text and any relevant background information. Mary Shelley is an author who wrote the novel of Frankenstein. Mary Shelley herself in her life, experienced many deaths of close friends and family. When she was first born her mother died, furthermore Mary had a baby, who died 12 days later and her husband Percy Shelly drowned. Maybe it was these experiences, which led Mary Shelley to write such a novel of great horror published in 1818. Frankenstein itself is called 'the modern Prometheus'. Prometheus in Greek myth stole fire from Zeus and gives it to humanity but was then eternally punished by Zeus. In the Latin version Prometheus created man from clay and water. Victor Frankenstein is seen as a modern Prometheus as he rebels against nature by making an unnatural man because he would be of benefit to mankind and he is then punished by his creation. Frankenstein is an account of the life of Victor Frankenstein as related to him by the British sailor, Robert Walton, by whom he has been found on the ice floats of the Antarctic Ocean. Frankenstein, when first introduced, is weak and worn. 'Only one dog remained alive on entering the vessel Frankenstein faints'. Walton says he has never seen a man in such a 'wretched condition'. This description makes us evoke sympathy for Frankenstein. It shows something bad has happened in the past and it is this that makes the reader want to read on. Rubbing Frankenstein with Brandy, Walton manages to revive him and so they wrapped him up in blankets and put him near the fire. ...read more.

Middle

He would help his protectors daily by bringing firewood and uprooting the vegetables for them. His motives for doing this were the simple acts of kindness the people did for each other. It is at this point Mary Shelley turns the opinion of the reader. A question comes up in the readers mind, 'Who was the real monster?' A Scientist who saw fit to hack off limbs to explore a science long forgotten and to disturb the purities and rules of life and death or a simple being only wishing to join the social circle of his protectors but daring not to because of the reaction to his disfigured body. We have no choice at this point but to feel sorry for the monster and to despise Frankenstein. Taking a chance the monster seizes the opportunity to make friends with the head of the house an old blind man. Knowing that the man could not see, the monster thought this would get him accepted. Though the man could not see his disfiguring by feeling he came to the conclusion something bad had happened. When the other cottagers returned they began to hit the monster for fear that he might hurt the old man. Although with little effort the monster could have torn them from limb from limb, he chose not to. Instead he ran out. Later he returned to find it deserted. He set the cottage on fire. At first I found this a very evil act but on researching some background notes, I found a passage by a French Philosopher. Man's nature is harmless but men are made evil by society. Men become monsters by the way they are treated. ...read more.

Conclusion

'I had rather died than returned shamefully - my purpose unfulfilled.' His sailors do not want to carry on this expedition to the North Pole. We can say Frankenstein and Walton are similar because they both have the same fatal flaws. Frankenstein expected his creation to fail, as probably Walton did not expect himself to last this long in these conditions. Frankenstein loses control of his creation, as Walton is losing control of his sailors. Frankenstein wasted his life leaving family and friends behind, as is Walton. They both are too absorbed in their ambitions to realise the consequences. Most of all they both want to see it through to the end. This is a simple Gothic theme, which emphasizes fear and terror, the presence of the supernatural, the placement of events within a distant time and an unfamiliar and mysterious setting. It is with this theme Mary Shelley hoped to curdle the blood, and quicken the beatings of the heart. The language although complicated at times, enhances the feeling of involvement in the novel. This novel seemed to foresee a path in futuristic science. At the time people would be shocked, as they would not know if this could come true and in 1802 a scientist found electricity present in human limbs. This is probably what kept the tale of Frankenstein alive. We are given the impression that Frankenstein was a guilty party and victim at the same time. Through the story we feel sorry for him, we emphasize with him then we come to despise him because of his actions but Mary Shelley makes Frankenstein come across as a tragic hero who found himself caught between the grips of discovery and fate and in all, we begin to understand the feelings and the whole tale of Frankenstein. ...read more.

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