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Re-read Volume 1 Chapter 4 from 'It was a dreary night of November,…' to the end of the quotation from the Ancient Mariner. 'Examine the creation of the monster in detail, considering its significance in the novel as a whole.'

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Introduction

Re-read Volume 1 Chapter 4 from 'It was a dreary night of November,...' to the end of the quotation from the Ancient Mariner. 'Examine the creation of the monster in detail, considering its significance in the novel as a whole.' * Language, structure and imagery * Other relevant episodes in the novel Mary Shelley did not merely write a story based on concrete objects. She created a gothic classic, with Victor Frankenstein epitomising her own ideas on life. She certainly didn't lack opinions, which is unsurprising considering her background: her mother, Mary Wollstonecraft, was one of the first feminists; her father William Godwin was a leading English theorist. The passage in which Frankenstein creates his monster questions human emotion and morality, and signifies Victor's ill treatment of a being that is, effectively, his own child. Although the language within the passage captures the panic of Frankenstein, it seems weighed down with depressing words at the beginning. Shelley produces a disturbing air by using the semantic field of dankness. ...read more.

Middle

As the monster's eyes open to the world, Frankenstein's eyes open to harsh reality, and the readers' eyes should open to Frankenstein's prejudice and refusal of accepting his own 'son'. This addresses Shelley's idea that knowledge is dangerous, contrasting to the generally believed, "knowledge is power". Frankenstein has previously informed Walton that the man "who believes his native town to be the world" is "much happier"; this shows his deep regret of his earlier thirst for knowledge. He acts neither as a father nor as a creator ought, and indeed insults his own creator with blasphemy ("Great God!"). Shelley created this negative image of Frankenstein in our minds, possibly, because she is intimating that excessive emotion is wrong. It is shown through his exclamations ("Oh!) and talk of "breathless horror and disgust". Her father Godwin believed it inappropriate too - perhaps she was coming into agreement with him as opposed to the philosopher Rousseau, who stated that humans should be ruled by emotion rather than reason. ...read more.

Conclusion

He is panicking and stricken with paranoia, as he "turn'd round", only to find that the monster is actually "close behind him". It is a possibility that guilt and regret are also following him, as well as the creature, as he must carry a dread of people's reactions to him. He has this same dread later in the novel, when he assumes that if he creates the monster a partner, "future ages might curse [him] as their pest". The verse allows Frankenstein to stand as the victim. The passage is geared towards Frankenstein's standpoint and so it is possible that the reader will not realise his cruelty against the defenceless monster until he gives his interpretation of events. This is possibly for Shelley to allow the reader to understand both motivations without bias. There is a great contrast in opinion of Frankenstein with hindsight of the monster's narrative; through the subsequent reading we see the immorality of the creator's use of derogatory terms for his 'child'. WORD COUNT: 1010 cwk ...read more.

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