In the novel Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, the knowledge of the existence of a creator has a paralyzing effect on the creature as he struggles to reconcile his own perception of himself with his maddening desire for divine approval and acceptance. It is impossible to ignore the author’s place in her text as Shelly, an avowed atheist, makes a comparison of human development through the contrary means of both religious and secular/humanistic relationships. In the end, through Frankenstein, Shelley concludes that moral and spiritual development can best be attained through the shedding of dogmatic belief structures, resulting in the elimination of God towards the attainment of self-realization.
Frankenstein’s creature is a testament to this theory as his education and growth follow several divergent paths throughout his short existence, resulting at the last in the freedom of the creature through the death of his creator. Strangely, although the secular theme is continued throughout the text, the religious references and biblical allusions cannot be ignored and are a complex addition to a text that would otherwise be viewed as a secular treatise on the dangerous nature of knowledge. Although it would be simple to pare the text down to such non-religious terms, it cannot be ignored that Frankenstein contains a great deal of biblical symbolism, particularly the theme of the outcast and the story of creation. One difference, though, makes the monster a sympathetic character,
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Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein” is a book with a deep message that touches to the very heart. This message implies that the reader will not see the story only from the perspective of the narrator but also reveal numerous hidden opinions and form a personal interpretation of the novel. One of its primary statements is that no one is born a monster and a “monster” is created throughout socialization, and the process of socialization starts from the contact with the “creator”. It is Victor Frankenstein that could not take the responsibility for his creature and was not able to take care of his “child”. Pride and vanity were the qualities that directed
In a world of continuous external forces and the impact the society has on human growth and development, we have to analyze Erik Erikson developmental theory as it relates to the “monster” in Frankenstein. Erikson suggests that social interaction and experiences play an important role that shape the development and growth of human beings through eight different stages. Throughout the book, the “monster” goes through each stage, which impacts his development as a living being.
Mary Shelley’s ability to create such multidimensional characters in Frankenstein proves that writing is a powerful tool that has the ability to provoke vastly different opinions amongst readers. Even though each individual reading the story is reading the exact same words, their interpretation of those words often leads to opposing views in regards to the fate of the characters. The creature, in particular, has been a popular topic of discussion when conducting a close read of the novel due to his arguable versatility as a victim and villain. The concept of the villain has evolved over the years, however its basis still rests upon the simple fact that as a character in the story, their actions are a result of malicious intentions
For as long as man has encompassed this world, the divisive enigma of humanity has prevailed. Seeping its way into each generation, while sparking heated conversations, it has become evident that there is much we do not know about what truly makes us human. Regardless of our genetic composition, philosophers often ponder the deeper meaning of humanity. We know that, biologically, recreating the genetic makeup of a human does not yield humanity, so what is the missing aspect? Humans -have the ability to contemplate their own existence in this world. Awareness of existence. This driving force enables us to analyze situations while placing ourselves within them. Our involuntary ability to understand the impact of our actions and the affect they have on others causes us to be inherently human. Our actions evoke strong emotions within us that allow us to learn through our experiences. We retain the resonated feelings of certain occurrences and apply them to others in order to deduce outcomes. Often this facet of mankind is taken for granted, yet we are reminded, through both literature and hypothetical scenarios, of its importance. Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley, constitutes as one of these profound reminders. Shelley develops a theoretical story in which the humanity of Frankenstein’s monster is questioned. Despite having the accurate organs and framework of a human, Shelley causes the reader to seek the missing aspect that is preventing the monster from being human. Likewise,
Easily one of the most notable themes in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, the role of nature versus nurture in developing children, recurs throughout the novel with the two main characters, Frankenstein and his creature, believing in opposite sides of this theme. Favoring nature, Frankenstein maintains that the creature was always evil from the moment of creation, regardless of the creature’s experiences. However, the creature, in his narrative to Frankenstein, argues that “[he] was benevolent and good; misery made [him] a fiend” (106). In adherence with John Locke’s concept of tabula rasa, the creature was born with a blank slate, and only through his experiences does he gain knowledge and personality. Struggling to persevere in the human world, Frankenstein’s creature merely wants humans to welcome him as one of them. The change of the creature from looking “upon crime as a distant evil” because “benevolence and generosity were ever present” in him to seeking revenge on Frankenstein results from a culmination of horrible experiences (103). While it may be hard to see the creature as a trustworthy narrator because of how he has acted and his ulterior motives, he does present physical evidence to support his tale. Facing rejection in different forms, he becomes truly evil, giving up hope of companionship as a result of his trials and lessons. From the moment of his creation, the creature encounters abandonment, violence, isolation, and rejection everywhere he turns.
Even Frankenstein, the monster’s creator, is blind to the innocence of the being he animates. Upon reflection, he recounts, “breathless horror and disgust filled my heart… unable to endure the aspect of the being I created, I rushed out of the room” (35), yet this rationalization lacks material justification. Frankenstein, as the creator, is endowed with a responsibility for the being he escorts into the world, a basic social value accepted by all. Nevertheless, he alienates his monster from its first breath, claiming, “no mortal could support the horror of [its] countenance” (36). Shelley employs this ironic twist of social expectations in order to emphasize the ability of visual bias to distort the expression of morality. To abandon a child is perceived as immoral, but to abandon a monster, born into the world with neither hateful bias nor malicious intent is acceptable. He is innocent in every aspect of disposition, yet society greets
Frankenstein, a novel by Mary Shelley, tells the story of Victor Frankenstein’s pursuit of creation and the monster he unintentionally brought to life. Horrified with his own creation, Victor escaped his responsibilities, leaving him to fend for himself. The story follows the monster’s futile attempts to assimilate into humanity, his hatred finally leading him to killing his creator’s family one by one until Frankenstein committed himself to vengeance. The theme of humanity was prevalent throughout the novel as the monster’s existence blurred the line between what was “human” and “inhuman.” The question of whether nurture, or nature, mattered more to one’s identity was explored throughout the story. In Frankenstein, nurture rather than
Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, illustrates an interesting story focusing in on many different themes, but what most readers may miss, is the similarities between Victor Frankenstein and the creature he created. As the story develops, one may pick up on these similarities more and more. This is portrayed through their feelings of isolation, thirst for revenge, their bold attempt to play god, and also their hunger to obtain knowledge. These are all displayed through a series of both the actions and the words of Frankenstein and his creature.
In Mary Shelley´s Gothic novel, Frankenstein, the Monster once claimed, “The fallen angel becomes a malignant devil. Yet even that enemy of God and man had friends and associates in his desolation; I am alone.” Frankenstein, since the 1910 film adaptation, has known a series of several adaptations that changed drastically, not only the plot but one of the main characters, the Monster, from stealing its creator´s name to being portrayed as a cold villain. Though, in the original storyline, the biggest threat to society is the creator itself, the one pretending to play as God, Victor Frankenstein. This essay will discuss the nature of the main characters of the novel and conclude who is the “real monster” in the end.
Like most horror stories, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein has a wretched monster who terrorizes and kills his victims with ease. However, the story is not as simple as it seems. One increasingly popular view of the true nature of the creature is one of understanding. This sympathetic view is often strengthened by looking at the upbringing of the creature in the harsh world in which he matures much as a child would. With no friends or even a true father, the creature can be said to be a product of society and its negative views and constant rejections of him. Although this popular view serves to lessen the severity of his crimes in most people’s eyes, the fact remains that the creature is in fact a cold-hearted wretch whose vindictive nature
Throughout the novel Frankenstein written by Mary Shelley, the creature is subjected to countless acts of violence and rejection. For a monster to develop, one must have been formerly exploited either by an individual or their society. The creature is not only a physical product of science, but his atrocious behavior is also an explicit result of Victor’s actions toward him. The creature was not born a monster, but slowly morphed into one as he experiences violence and rejection from his society.
Mary Shelley's Frankenstein is very much a commentary on the Enlightenment and its failure to tame the human condition through reason. The human condition can be defined as the unique features which mold a human being. The creature is undoubtedly a victim of this predicament. He grapples with the meaning of life, the search for gratification, the sense of curiosity, the inevitability of isolation, and the awareness of the inescapability of death. These qualities and his ceaseless stalking of his master conjure up the metaphor that he is the shadow of the Enlightenment. Indeed, the Enlightenment is represented through Frankenstein whereas the creature is the embodiment of everything it shuns. These include nature, emotion, and savagery. The two characters are understood as counterparts and yet strikingly similar at the same time. The creature is considered a monster because of his grotesque appearance. Frankenstein on the other hand is a monster of another kind: his ambition, secrecy, and selfishness alienate him from human society. He is eventually consumed by an obsessive hatred of his creation. Both characters also commit primordial crimes. Although rationality pervades through Frankenstein's endeavours, it can be argued that he becomes less human the more he tries to be God. The secret of life lies beyond an accepted boundary from which none can return. By creating life Frankenstein ironically sets the stage for his own destruction as well as that of his family. The
In Mary Shelley’s novel, Frankenstein, the inter-textual connection to the bible is prominent throughout the whole novel. Shelley connected the monster to Adam, Satan, the story of Eve and Adam and the monster reading Paradise Lost. Seeing as the bible was a highly read and recommended text during the early 19th century, Shelley’s establishment of the references served to establish Frankenstein as a sort of allegory of moralist text. She begins her biblical allusions with the idea of creations, mistakes and sins.
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley often refers to the bible on a number of occasions. However, it is worth noting that many references used by Mary Shelley in Frankenstein can often be identified in Genesis. Much like Genesis, the story of Frankenstein is a viable creation story. The book of Genesis first explains the creation of man and woman, and also recounts the fall of humanity. Unlike Genesis, Frankenstein begins with the fall of humanity, leading into the creation of man. Although it would be simple to compare the novel to such non-religious terms, the religious symbolism cannot be ignored in Frankenstein. Many biblical references within Frankenstein refer to the creation story in the first book of Genesis.
Every time a movie is made that portrays any part of the book "Frankenstein" by Mary Shelley, it is more than likely about the monster and his character rather than the creator and his. But, in the book, the scientist, Dr. Frankenstein, was more prominent, especially in view of his personal angst and wars, than the monster. It is true that the monster is a central character, but the man Frankenstein is a much more interesting study. What happens to a person, Shelley seems to ask, when that individual plays God? Throughout the book there is religious symbolism, as one would expect from a book in which the main character creates a living person, where Frankenstein at once has compared himself to God and to Satan in the same breath. This paper examines the religious symbolism in "Frankenstein" as it relates to the doctor, his act of creating, and Frankenstein's personal thoughts regarding who he is.