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"Who is the Real Monster in Frankenstein, Victor or his Creation?"

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Introduction

"Who is the Real Monster in Frankenstein, Victor or his Creation?" Mary Shelley wrote the novel Frankenstein in the early part of the nineteenth century. The novel was written at a time when Mary Shelley and her husband Percy were staying at the home of Lord Byron on the shores of Lake Geneva. Mary Shelley was born in 1797, her mother died shortly after her birth. As a child the idea of republicanism was implanted into her by her father. Her mother had been an early women's rights campaigner and had written several books on the subject. Her father, on the other hand, was very interested in alchemy and Galvanism. Galvanism was the idea of running electric currents through a body to restore it to life, invented by Luigi Galvani. In Frankenstein we are told of a man who creates a life. This creation is perceived by society and his creator to be a monster. Mary Shelly's Frankenstein explores a wide variety of themes, and raises some serious ethical issues. One such issue that comes up time and time again is that of who the real monster is, but what is a monster? The word monster can be described as behaviour crossing the boundaries of acceptability or seeking knowledge which should remain a mystery. For example in the novel Victors curiosity to follow ambitions no matter what the consequence. ...read more.

Middle

He fails to recognise the possible problems that controlling nature past a certain extent can bring. Victors influence for pursuing these desires all lead back to his mothers death. His original reasons for creating life are noble and his driving force is the desire to help mankind conquer death and diseases. Victor can be seen as the modern Prometheus. He defies the gods by creating life himself. Instead of being the created, Victor takes God's place and becomes the creator. Just as Prometheus, Victor gets punished for his deeds. He is, however, punished by his creation whereas Prometheus was punished by the god who he stole from. The fact that two years pass without Victor visiting his family speaks poorly for his character. Though he knows his father and Elizabeth long to see him, he remains completely absorbed in his work. Frankenstein becomes progressively less human, more monstrous as he attempts to create a human being. He tortures living creatures, neglects his family, and haunts cemeteries and charnel houses. In volume one chapter five Shelley ventures deeper into the Gothic theme. Opening with an overriding sense of desolation, pathetic fallacy is a key literary technique used to set both the mood and the atmosphere. The first line "It was on a dreary night of November" gives a bleak, hopeless tone. Shelley links the depressing weather to Frankenstein's own despondent frame of mind. ...read more.

Conclusion

He worships them, and longs for their love and acceptance. The creature's essential humanity now becomes clear to the reader. He feels sympathy, affection, and desire; he has mastered language; and he is capable of self-analysis and reflection. The most important feature of this chapter is the way in which the creature convinces Frankenstein to comply with his request. Throughout the better part of their exchange, the creature's tone is reasonable in the extreme: in fact, his desire for a companion seems almost noble. In this way, he will divest himself of his longing for violence and revenge, and lead a blameless life. In the last chapter we discover that the creature did not relish his crimes, instead, they were abhorrent to him. He is wracked with guilt and self-hatred. The monster which has been said to carry hell within him chooses to die by fire; in this way can he completely destroy the body that was hated by so many. Frankenstein attempts to disregard the monster and his responsibilities to him as his creator. The monster punishes Frankenstein in the forms of murder, and disruption. The consequences of man's attempt to master life and death are obvious. The monster represents the unpredictable element to controlling human life. Frankenstein's actions throughout the novel are unjustified and unforgivable. Consequently I have come to the conclusion that Frankenstein was consumed by his blind ambition and need for glory. He was selfish, irresponsible and ignorant. Therefore Victor is the real monster in Mary Shelly's novel Frankenstein. ...read more.

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Here's what a teacher thought of this essay

4 star(s)

A good analysis that evaluates language, structure and form and considers how they are used to shape meaning.
Make sure that quotes are analysed at word level so consideration of the author's language choices and what they represent are considered in depth.

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Marked by teacher Laura Gater 29/05/2013

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