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With whom do you sympathise with more - Frankenstein or the Creature?

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Introduction

Who do you sympathise with more - Frankenstein or the Creature? As a cautionary tale warning of the dangers that can be cast into society by a presuming experimental science, Frankenstein is without equal 1. Written in 1818 with the three volumes compiled into one in 1831, Mary Shelley sets out in her story to "speak to the mysterious fears of our nature and awaken thrilling horror". Throughout the novel, the underlying themes of the ambitions of man, the importance of appearances and the battle between science and religion are woven seamlessly together into a timeless, mind-provoking classic. Both of the main characters, Frankenstein and his creature tell a chilling tale that speaks out to the hearts of the readers and forces our sympathies to blow one way and then the other. Can we find it in ourselves to understand the creature's need and lack of companionship, and forgive him for his heinous deeds? Or do we feel more for Frankenstein, the mere human who bears the full weight of responsibility on his shoulders? This question of who deserves our sympathy has been debated by scholars and students for over a century, but is there a definite answer? It is the intention of this essay to find out. At the start of the novel the readers are introduced to Captain Robert Walton, the medium through which we hear the story. Though not directly related to the essay title, one must appreciate the function of Walton in order to gain an understanding of some of the themes of the book such as man's great ambition, and his capacity to endure. ...read more.

Middle

This raises one of the important points in the novel - the importance of appearances, for his looks are all that he judged on, rather than his personality. The first and most obvious example of this is the creature's abandonment; "horror and disgust" filled Frankenstein's heart so he ran from his creation, without stopping to think about the consequences of his actions. Also, when the creature travels through the forest of Ingolstadt "The whole village was roused; some fled, and some attacked me, until, grievously bruised by stones and many other kinds of missile weapons, I escaped to the open country" The fact that the creature is unremittingly rejected merely because of his looks provokes great sympathy from the readers, as his treatment is grossly unjust and shows the true superficial nature of man. As the creature progresses through his story, he tugs at the hearts of the readers with the deeply moving narrative. We feel sympathy for him when we understand his longing for a companion, a friend. "Everywhere I see bliss, from which I alone am irrevocably excluded" This quote from the creature shows just how lonely he feels, as though he "alone" is excluded from society. The reader realises that the creature is destined to live in the shadow of man, never able to interact with anyone else in his life. The creature also makes the mistake of trusting man when he attempts to befriend the old DeLacey, but is harshly and unceremoniously thrown from the house, denied a companion once again. ...read more.

Conclusion

Both the characters have committed evil deeds as well - Frankenstein abandoned his 'son' and later, killed his new creation, thus unleashing the wrath of the creature upon his loved ones, and the creature became a murderer, killing and maiming the innocent in order to take revenge upon his 'father'. However, where our sympathy really lies ultimately depends on the characters' final acts in the book, which tell us who they really are deep down. Victor is constantly in denial of his actions, trying to minimise his own involvement in the horrific events, attempting to blame the creature and trying to persuade Walton to kill his 'son' when the moment comes. The creature on the other hand, confesses his sins, and is truly sorry for the harm and hurt he has caused. Because we know that the creature is a good person on the inside, we cannot blame him for regurgitating the anguish and suffering that man has caused him unto other people. Frankenstein, however, remains convinced that the fault is the creature's alone, and does not acknowledge the mistakes he made during his lifetime. In conclusion, the creature deserves the most sympathy from the reader because even though it committed unimaginable crimes, these were the result of its own vicious treatment, and not his personality. And though Frankenstein suffered the loss of his loved ones, it was his fault in the end for rejecting the creature, and he didn't seem to have learnt anything from the experience by the end of the novel either. "He was soon borne away by the waves, and lost in darkness and distance." ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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