How does Shelley convey the concept of monstrosity?

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How does Shelley convey the concept of monstrosity?

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 Mary Shelley conveys the idea of monstrosity through the creature and Frankenstein. She does this emotionally, psychically and mentally. Monstrosity does not just mean a physical appearance it is also how you act behaviour wise. This is why Frankenstein and the creature come across as monstrous characters as they behave in an monstrous way; there actions also affect other people. Frankenstein shows he is monstrous by acting in a selfish manner throughout the novel. Whereas the creature has monstrous features but he also has a monstrous personality within him which is slowly unfolded as the novel progresses.  The idea of monstrosity also plays a huge part in Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. This is because like Frankenstein Dr Jekyll’s actions have an effect on other people.  In Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde, Jekyll was merely experimenting on potions in his private laboratory and decided to drink the potion whereas in Frankenstein wanted to experiment on humans to create a new race for his own gain. This idea is used by Shelley to explore how Frankenstein wants to create a new species of his own, that will worship him. This is the first clue we are given by Shelley to recognise that Frankenstein wants to be god-like, so by creating a new race he will be able to be god to them.   This led the characters in both novels to horrific consequences and drastic measures.

 The monsters appearance is one aspect that portrays monstrosity physically. ‘His limbs were in proportion, and I had selected his features as beautiful. Beautiful! – Great God! His yellow skin scarcely covered the work of muscles and arteries beneath; his hair was of a lustrous black, and flowing; his teeth of pearly whiteness; but these luxuriance’s only formed a more horrid contrast with his watery eyes, that seemed almost of the same colour as the dun-white sockets in which they were set, his shrivelled complexion and straight back lips.’ This description of the creature is very gruesome; it describes him as a wretch. Frankenstein is emphasizing on the idea that he has created a catastrophe. Victor’s initial expectation was to create a normal being that blended into society, but instead he created the opposite.  This is comparable with Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde as Enfield is asked to describe Hyde’s appearance to Utterson. ‘He is not easy to describe. There is something wrong with his appearance…’ he goes on to say ‘He must be deformed somewhere; he gives a strong feeling of deformity… he’s an extraordinary-looking man’.  This description of Hyde is similar to Frankenstein’s description of the creature as both emphasise on how deformed and ugly the creature is.

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Frankenstein’s actions are also very monstrous; as he knows Justine is innocent but still allows her to die. This monstrous action is portrayed in ‘Justine died; she rested; and I was alive. The blood flowed freely in my veins, but a weight of despair and remorse pressed on my heart, which nothing could remove’. This is selfish of Frankenstein, but through these words he expresses he is going through turmoil and feels sorry for himself. When Shelley starts the sentence with ‘Justine died’, it almost introduces the idea that Frankenstein is saying Justine’s death was inevitable, so he didn’t kill ...

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