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To what extent is Victor Frankenstein the real monster in the novel?

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To what extent is Victor Frankenstein the real monster in the novel? Mary Shelley's novel Frankenstein is known as one of the greatest pieces of gothic literature of all time. Mary Shelley wrote the novel at the young age of 19 and had the book published in 1818. She first came up with the idea of this story when telling ghost stories in Switzerland with a group of her friends. The story consists of a young student with a great passion for science who discovers the secret to creating life and constructs a monster, who after being rejected by society, seeks revenge on his creator. The novel Frankenstein is subtitled The Modern Prometheus because the novel's protagonist Victor Frankenstein's shared similarities with Prometheus from Greek mythology. Prometheus was a Titan who created mankind, much in the same way in which Victor created life. Prometheus stole fire from the heavens and let man take advantage of it. Zeus punished Prometheus for his sin by tying him to a rock where each day an eagle would come and consume his liver, only for his liver to grow back the following day. One of the main elements of this novel is its Gothic genre. However, Mary Shelley has taken a very unique and original approach to the typical Gothic tradition. ...read more.


It is evident from the start of the novel that appearance is an important theme in the story as many of the character's personalities and conditions revolve around the idea of appearance. Elizabeth's character reflects this theme strongly, as she along with the monster, is alienated due to her appearance. She is an incredibly attractive woman and is therefore "initially singled out for her beauty" (York Notes Advanced). The characters of the novel treat her as though she is of a different species and Victor sees her as "a pretty present" and something to play with rather than an actual human being. Due to her divine beauty Elizabeth is regarded as a spiritual and superior being, as she is described as having "celestial eyes" and a "saintly soul" which suggest that she is less of a real person and more of a heavenly angel. Mary Shelley wanted to show her reader how much one's appearance can affect society's opinion of them and therefore used Elizabeth to show how even the stunningly beautiful can be isolated because of their beauty. The main cause of both Victor and the monster's sufferings is alienation. However, the reasons for their isolation from the rest of the world differ. The source of monster's alienation is society as the monster longs for love and affection, "My heart yearned to be known and loved by these amiable creatures.". ...read more.


Further on in Victor's life, there is a lack of a mother figure as there is in the monsters life from the very beginning and maybe this is what unleashes the monster within these characters. The monster is Victor's evil sides and tends to act upon Victor's aggressions. For example, the monster banishes from Victor's life, the people whom Victor isolated from himself from in the first place. Additionally, there is a popular tendency to refer to the creature as Frankenstein because he is seen as Victor's double. Also, when Victor dies, the monster also kills himself after realising his mistakes, which suggests that one cannot live without the other, as they are in fact the same person. Nevertheless, society can also be seen as the actual monster in the novel as "human justice is repeatedly emphasised" (York Notes Advanced) throughout the story. Society is the reason why Victor and the monster become alienated and ultimately become the cause of several murders. The monster is also aware of how unjust society is and Mary Shelley seems to use him to criticise equality in society. After the execution of Justine, Elizabeth says "men appear to be as monsters thirsting for each others blood" which emphasises Mary Shelley's critique of society and her belief that it is more monstrous than Victor or the monster. ?? ?? ?? ?? Neha Solanki 10AL January 2008 English: - Frankenstein Coursework ...read more.

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