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In your view, how do you think that Mary Shelleywanted her readers to respond to the character of Frankenstein?

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Introduction

In your view, how do you think that Mary Shelley wanted her readers to respond to the character of Frankenstein? Justify your response by use of quotation and close reference to the text and relevant background information. Written by Mary Shelley in 1816, the book 'Frankenstein' - subtitled 'The Modern Prometheus' - was in many ways ahead of its time. When it was first published in 1818, Mary Shelley was using her husband's name. It was unheard of in those days, for a woman to write literature of this sort. Although the language throughout the book stays true to its era, many of the ideas and imagery portrayed through it were too chilling to be conceivable in those times. It may have been that because Mary's mother was the first feminist, Mary felt it was acceptable to 'rebel' against society with this terrifying book. It was apparently conceived by a nightmare, and written to win a competition with friends. However, it may have been the rebellious feminist traits in her blood that made her wish for it to be published. Mary Shelley seemed to be quite similar to Frankenstein in many ways. She was an avid reader from a young age, therefore quite smart and literate. Young Victor was evidently a bright person, as he went on to University, and developed into an extremely enthused scientist. Many things in Shelley's life seemed to be prefigurations to events which were to be later written in Frankenstein, as did, also, events in the novel seem to occur later to Shelley in life. ...read more.

Middle

He is such an ambitious person, at the beginning of the novel So much so; he is alienated from the rest of the world and reality. We feel sympathy for him, as we realize he is just following his aspirations, yet is being severely punished. He didn't want to create, only discover. He cannot tell anybody what has happened; he is isolated, all because of his terrible secret. He wanted to create the 'perfect' human, so he could control death. He didn't understand his mother's death, so now wants to overcome this, by creating a, perhaps immortal, being. It is evident from this he still suffers from his mother's death. This makes the reader feel sorry for him, as he is still in a state of mourning after all these years. His emotions for his passion take over him and he is soon scared of his own power. As his actions spiral out of control and the monster is set free, he starts to feel remorse. The death of William evidently strikes Frankenstein greatly, as it is now he realizes, he is responsible for the tragedy. He starts to feel guilt and remorse. Another key emotion we must feel, for the novel's emotive power to succeed, is empathy. These feelings are very similar to our sympathetic feelings. We often feel subconscious empathy for Frankenstein. This is highlighted for us when it becomes clear that in fact the overall narrator is Walton. He narrates all the way through. ...read more.

Conclusion

He first loses consciousness when the monster is first brought to life. It is then that he dreams of Elizabeth dying, and himself holding his mothers corpse in his arms; ' her features changed and I thought that I held the corpse of my dead mother in my arms;'. When creating the monster, Frankenstein lost contact with loved ones, seemingly denying his compassion for others. The monster seems to embody this. At every murder the monster makes, Frankenstein realizes his own culpability. He realizes he is responsible for the deaths, yet shows no compassion for anyone, by confesses he is the due cause. When Justine is accused he realizes he is to blame; 'I am the true murderer', yet still allows her to die. This is the neglecting side of Frankenstein, as, due to his suspected alter ego, the monster seems to have taken his compassionate nature. The monsters tumultuous life sharply contradicts the happy childhood of Frankenstein. It seems to be that although the monster may be deformed on the outside, its creator is deformed on the inside. In conclusion to this essay, I think the feelings Mary Shelley had us feel for the character Frankenstein, are quite contradictory. The fact that we may feel two conflicting emotions about one incident shows us the depth of Frankenstein's complex character. However, as Frankenstein dies at the end of the novel, our lasting feelings may take a change. It is human nature to feel sympathy at the death of somebody we have grown to feel we know. Readers certainly feel they are involved with Frankenstein, and so subsequently, take away from the book, the lasting feeling of sympathy towards him. ...read more.

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