Social Inequality In Frankenstein

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The Other is configured in the two writers’ works as victims of power play, their unjust mistreatment subsequently exposing underlying social inequalities. Through adopting the Gothic medium characteristic of Romanticism, the texts induce within the reader emotions of terror and pity towards the marginalised, leaving a profound effect which impactfully conveys the intended social criticism. The monster in “Frankenstein”, being the marginalised Other, is perpetually subjected to brutal treatment by the human civilisation it comes into contact with. Crudely abused, the creature as the supposedly dangerous Other inadvertently “roused” (Shelley 371) the village and is violently pelted with stones. Though bearing no intention of causing harm, it…show more content…
The “Frankenstein” society only upholds and esteem those who are of “high and unsullied descent united with riches” (Shelley 386), these privileges commanding reverence and respect. Here, Shelley articulates a distinct class hierarchy prevalent within society, wherein disadvantaged figures like the creature, who does not possess sufficient wealth or honourable descend, will be condescendingly dismissed or even loathed upon. The creature who is perpetually the less powerful (given that it has neither family nor riches) will forever remain “a blot upon the earth” (Shelley 386), the stain as an analogy which reiterates its unwanted and undesirable position. Further accentuating such class inequalities is the juxtaposition of the monster’s status with that of Victor and his family. Termed a “savage inhabitant of some undiscovered island” (Shelley 280), the monster is alluded to be a wild and obscure figure whose acute lack of stable power and identity shapes it into a strange and terrifying Other dwelling within an incomprehensible realm, a manifestation “representing the dispossessed” (Vlasopolos 130). In contrast, Victor’s family, who originates from the aristocratic upper class, belongs within society and is highly-regarded. The superiority enjoyed by their status is exemplified from how they are already well-established as a family whose ancestors “had been for many years counsellors and syndics” (Shelley 289), their father gloriously securing much “honour and reputation” (Shelley 289) in numerous public domains. The creature who is part of the inferior class is comparatively neglected and remains the outcast, relegated to the isolated sphere of the Other. The collective contempt demonstrated towards the creature builds and affirms its distinct status as the Other, whose victimisation then works to expose class inequalities hidden behind the façade of
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