• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Which Character Did Mary Shelley Intend For The Reader to Have Most Sympathy On: Frankenstein or His Creation?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Which character did Mary Shelley intend the reader to have the most sympathy for: Frankenstein or his creation? The novel "Frankenstein" was written in 1818 by Mary Shelley; in places it adheres to, and in places effectively subverts the conventions of Gothic fiction. The said subversions create tension and a sense of defamiliarisation in a reader, this is effectual in creating a sense of unease but can be a little disconcerting all the same; much like the calm before the storm. I believe that when Mary Shelley wrote 'Frankenstein', she intended for the sympathy of the reader to be evoked in favour of the protagonist Victor Frankenstein in preference to his antagonistic creation; although this character is habitually referred to sympathetically. In the novel, Frankenstein loses his mother to scarlet fever at an early age which clearly devastates his character and instils in him a sense of unwavering defiance towards his ultimate goal of instilling life upon a deceased being. Whilst at university, he creates a creature from scavenged human body parts and manages to give life to it; he achieves this amazing feat without thinking much of the possible consequences of his actions. ...read more.

Middle

This is undoubtedly what sparks his enthusiasm for science but it does not do much to prepare him for his study of "natural philosophy" when he attends university at Inglestadt. When he first arrives at Inglestadt, he goes to visit one of his tutors, hoping to make a good first impression and appear eager and willing to learn, showing both his enthusiasm for the subject and respect for his future tutor. However he is met with a stout man with a "repulsive countenance" who informs Victor, upon hearing his list of previous reading, that "every instant that you have wasted on those books is utterly and entirely lost." This is a huge anticlimax for Victor and this immediately manipulates the sympathy of the reader in Victor's favour. This is important as the sympathy for Victor must be strong enough for the reader not to feel utterly repulsed by his later transgression. It will also provide Victor with deniability, as he has been mistreated by his tutor and possibly feels the need to prove that the research carried out by his first inspirers was not in vain. Victor has a very close relationship with his mother before her premature death; some interpreters may even go as far as to imply that he suffers from the Oedipus complex, and holds passionate feelings towards her. ...read more.

Conclusion

One technique used is dramatic setting, "the surface is very uneven, rising like the waves of a troubled sea." The words troubled sea carry connotations of formidable weather and a faint sense of woe. This sets the scene for a miserable and desperate confrontation between creator and creation, and I think the sympathy is at this point transferred to the creation, as he has had to cross the sea of ice without the help or comfort of any man-made aids, and probably with little sustenance of real nutritional value. Another technique used during Frankenstein's meeting with his creation is emotive language, for example "Devil, do you dare approach me?" This fierce greeting shows us just how anguished Frankenstein is but somehow renders his creation more worthy of the reader's sympathy; this is possibly because he doesn't really know that he has done anything wrong, he has just responded to the way people have treated him. In inference, I think that Mary Shelley intended for the sympathy of the reader to be evoked in favour of Frankenstein rather than his creation, but for the issue to be largely open-ended. I believe that when the novel was written, Frankenstein's creation would have been feared rather than disliked particularly; but in today's superficial society, it would be almost unanimously hated just for being different. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Mary Shelley section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Here's what a teacher thought of this essay

4 star(s)

This essay shows an articulate, well informed understanding of the novel and the context it was written in. With more frequent quotations, concise narration and more emphasis on our response to the creation, it would have achieved a top grade. ****

Marked by teacher Karen Reader 08/05/2012

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Mary Shelley essays

  1. The Morals of Frankenstein

    He got so caught up in his creation, that his ardour eventually cut him off from his family. The letters slowed down and then stopped, until a year or so later, he decides to come back to join his relations.

  2. Explore how Mary Shelley uses language to create a sense of horror and terror ...

    They relied upon the church for answers for nearly all the unknown and so when the church cannot explain something, a sense of horror is built in the 19th Century public. The modern reader would inquire and view the text and language differently from the average reader at the time,

  1. Compare and Contrast "Frankenstein" by Mary Shelley and "Flowers For Algernon" by Daniel Keyes, ...

    Initially the treatment seems to be a success as Charlie reaches new heights of intelligence and even is termed a "genius" however it soon becomes clear that the treatment was not long lasting and Charlie's mind begins to deteriorate as he implodes into his old self.

  2. In Frankenstein How Does The Use Of Three Narrators Affect The Reader's Response To ...

    "You have read this strange and terrific story, Margaret; and do you not feel your blood congeal with horror like that which even now curdles mine?" This very last section is the real dramatic climax, and the three characters are all brought together.

  1. Discuss the presentation of monsters in Mary Shelly's "Frankenstein"

    He is like Adam because he is created and does not have any family just like the monster. He becomes jealous of what status Adam had and what status he had. "I will watch with wilderness of a snake that I may sting with its venom."

  2. Compare the ways in which Macbeth and Frankenstein are presented as flawed heroes.

    Frankenstein thinks that by creating life he will "pour a torrent of light into our dark world" this God-like imagery enhanced by "A new species would bless me as its creator" shows Frankenstein's naivety and arrogance. However Frankenstein goes to "unhallowed damps of the grave" and "charnel-houses" in a "solitary chamber...

  1. 'Chapter 5 Frankenstein'How the reader is made to fear

    - Great God!" Now this quote isn't widely regarded as frightening as some other quotes, but this is a very chilling quote in my opinion.

  2. How does Mary Shelley use chapters 15 and 16 of Frankenstein to evoke the ...

    She does this as because the blind man cannot see the creature he has no problem with letting him into the cottage but as soon as the rest of the family return they beat him until he leaves.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work