analysis of Frankenstien

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Discuss the extent to which you feel sympathy towards the characters in relation to Frankenstein.

In Frankenstein we see many moral issues being raised throughout the novel with various realist and non-realist techniques being used.  We can see Sedgewick’s list of Gothic rules within the novel seeing these gothic techniques and realist techniques working together with each other, helping the reader feel sympathy for the characters and their situations.

Frankenstein is written in an embedded narrative with the story beginning in the epistolary style in Walton’s letters to his sister.  One effect of this narrative is that we get to ‘see’ Victor’s character before his telling of the story.  This narrative structure used makes it quite easy to forget exactly who is relating the story, which in turn helps to create sympathy for characters as the reader imagines that they are hearing the story directly from the person concerned.  This should also make the reader aware that the accuracy of each account is to be questioned due to it being told through someone else.

On opening, the novel conforms to the realist genre with character names, dates and recognisable places mentioned within the letters while also using the gothic technique of embedding the narrative.  The narrative is framed through Walton who refers to Victor as like ‘a brother’ whose ‘constant and deep grief fills [him] with sympathy and compassion’, (Frankenstein p. 15) guiding the reader to sympathise with Victor, described by Walton as ‘a noble creature’ who is ‘so attractive and amiable’.

There are many links between Victor and Walton and also between Victor and the Creature, creating a doubling effect, another gothic technique.  Victor and Walton have both lost their mothers, are alienated from family and friends and are both exploring the unknown all helping strengthen the bond between them.  Victor and the Creature are both passionate in their hatred and bitterness towards each other and the alienation they experience in their pursuit of each other.  We see them using similar language in their descriptions of not only each other but also themselves with ‘wretch’ being commonly used throughout the novel, suggesting the similarities in their situations.  Early on in the novel we see Victor referring to himself as a ‘creature’ (p. 19) rather than a ‘child’ linking him to the Creature.  This also serves to emphasise the contrast of Victor’s happy upbringing to his abandonment of the Creature. By the destruction of Victor’s family, the Creature in effect takes their place, making sure that Victor is now bonded to him although out of hate rather than love, making hunting the Creature down his only concern, intertwining them.  

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The embedding of the stories is important as it enables the reader to ‘hear’ the voice, thoughts and feelings of the Creature.  Without this, the reader would find it difficult to feel any sympathy toward the Creature.  The Creature, supposedly a savage ‘monster’ encounters society and is treated with savagery.  Whereas Victor sought to be alone, the Creature is seeking companionship and affection, which he hoped to find with the De Lacey’s being ‘struck by [their] gentle manners’ and ‘longed to join them’ (p. 87).  Seeing the treatment the Creature receives from society shows the importance of outer beauty.  He ...

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