Morality and Responsibility - Moral Development in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

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Moral Development in Shelley's Frankenstein Mary Shelley's Frankenstein is a commentary on the natural disposition of man. By personifying her vision of a natural everyman character in the form of Victor Frankenstein's creation, The Creature, Shelley explores the natural state as well as the moral development of man, and develops conclusions regarding both. But before Shelley could create her commentary on man's natural dispositions, she was in need of a character to represent her "natural everyman." The character she needed had to possess the same qualities as that of a man in his most natural state. The most common character to represent man in his most natural state is that of a newborn. A newborn is, of course, a new human…show more content…
This viewpoint has merit since, as Shelley's preface alludes to, the process of writing the novel was initiated in response to a pact made amongst friends to write a tale of the strange and supernatural. Frankenstein was not necessarily meant to be a philosophical novel. However, although this is a good viewpoint to bring up, one can see that the consequences are irrelevant; the same themes are still prevalent throughout Shelley's work, regardless of the means in which they were created. Shelley could have easily made Victor provide his creation with a fluent knowledge of the arts, histories, and sciences, giving his creature a superior intellect. But, this was not the case; Victor's creation had no memories or previous recollections of anything whatsoever, making him a candidate for an "everyman." Shelley realized this, and exploited the idea to the fullest. And since it can now be seen that Shelley almost certainly intended Victor Frankenstein's creation to be her representation of the natural everyman, the implications of this can be discussed along with Shelley's thoughts on the matter. So, each action by Victor's creature can be taken as an act that Shelley's vision of a natural man would take, and the focus of
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