The Power of the Visual Image Can Blind You
Ones’ appearance is not the only determinant of knowing if the person is evil or good. As seen in Felix, and an old man in the forest, and other minor characters in Shelley’s Frankenstein are too quick to make a judgment of the person based on his or her appearance. Beauty does not indicate one is good while being ugly does not say that you are evil. In Frankenstein’s, the creature is the victim of the component of appearance because his ugly appearance leads people to loathe him and even see him as evil. However, Walton, Frankenstein’s friend, the only characters who does not judge him solely on his appearance, who has quested Walton to kill the creature, serves as a moral example to the reader since he gets to know his actual intentions through his use of words and his actions.
In Frankenstein all the characters except for the blind man and Walton judge the creature, Frankenstein’s creation, solely on his appearance and how he physically looks. He is viewed as a distorted creature or human that does not appear like the rest of the human race; therefore, he is hated and treated terribly due to his appearance. All the characters in Frankenstein seem to judge the Creature through his visual appearance. The first time the characters lay eyes on his distorted figure they only observe his physical feature and categorize him as evil, even his creator looks at him in a disgusted and horrified view, “I had desired it with an ardor that
Mary Shelley's novel, Frankenstein, sheds light on the importance of appearance through the tale of an unwanted creation that is never given a chance by society. Ironically, the supposed beast was initially much more compassionate and thoughtful than his creator, until his romantic and innocent view of the human race was diminished by the cruelty and injustice he unduly bore. Not only does the creature suffer the prejudice of an appearance-based society, but other situations and characters in the novel force the reader to reflect their own hasty judgment. The semi- gothic novel includes several instances of societal prejudice that include the isolation and outcast of Frankenstein's creation,
In the novel "Frankenstein" by Mary Shelley, the relationship of external appearance and internal feelings are directly related. The creature is created and he is innocent, though he is severely deformed. His nature is to be good and kind, but society only views his external appearance which is deformed. Human nature is to judge by external appearance. He is automatically detested and labeled as a monster because of his external appearance. He finally realized that no matter how well he speaks and how kind he is, people will never be able to see past his external deformities. Children are fearful of him, Adults think he is dangerous, and his own creator abandons him in disgust. The creature is
As soon as Frankenstein sees “the dull yellow eye of the creature open”, he is immediately horrified by it. (p. 38-39) “His yellow skin scarcely covered the work of muscles and arteries beneath”. His hair and teeth “formed a … 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, black lips”.
Walton is the other character who Anne Mellor shows us didn’t judge the monster based on his outward appearance. As Victor was dying, Walton was at his bedside and the monster came by. Walton didn’t see the monster as bad at first, but he was still so hideous to look at that Walton says he “shut his eyes involuntarily”. It is hard to imagine a creature so hideous that one could not look upon his face. Walton didn’t shun the creature because of his ugliness though and even “called on him to stay”. Victor’s dying request for Walton was to go on and try to kill the creature. Walton, however as Anne Mellor points out didn’t try to kill the
I believe that the novel Frankenstein questions several social conventions and norms of society, especially when it comes to our notions of humanity and monstrosity. What makes a monster? What makes a human? This leads to the question of whether we are really humans or monsters. Humanity tends to place a large emphasis on appearance and those who do not fit into this category of the “ideal or typical physical appearance” are unfortunately more likely to be looked upon unfavorably. While we say to not judge a book by its cover we, in fact, do so, on a regular basis. The media plays a major role in influencing our perspective in terms of the fine line between humanity and monstrosity. This has led to
However, when Frankenstein realizes that he has just looked at the body as individual parts, for example the “pearly teeth”, “blue eyes”, “lustrous black hair”, but he had not looked at the body as a whole. When he did, he realized he had created an abomination, “Beautiful-Great God! His Yellow skin barely covered the work of arteries and muscles beneath!” When Frankenstein comes to this realization, he flees, “now that I had finished, the beauty of the dream vanished, and breathless horror and disgust filled my heart”. Frankenstein regarded the creature as ugly, evil, inhuman, unflattering to the eye, and vulgar, like a monster.
One of the main themes in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein is the importance of appearance and acceptance in modern society. In today's society, and also in the society of Frankenstein, people judge one often solely on their looks. Social prejudice is often based on looks, whether it be the color of someone's skin, the clothes that a person wears, the facial features that one has and even the way one stands. People make snap judgments based on these and other considerations and they affect the way that they present themselves to one, and also the way that the treat the judged person. In Frankenstein the society of that time is much like our own today. It is an appearance
In addition to being rejected by his creator, Frankenstein’s monster is also treated very violently by humans, leaving him alone and feeling like he did something wrong, even though their reactions are based solely on his appearance. The monster does not want to be thought of as a monster at first, but as he comes to realize from human interactions, no matter what his actions are, people will always judge him by what he cannot control. The monster explains the first interaction he had ever had with
In Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley, Victor Frankenstein creates a creature, stronger and better than humans in every way except his looks. After Frankenstein abandons him, the Creature meets the De Lacey’s, a nice little family that indirectly teach him how to read and write. In truth, the Creature only becomes a monster after the hatred that Felix, one of the De Lacey’s, shows him. Before, he had done nothing wrong, but afterwards, all he did was fall down a slippery slope.
The monster was always judged on the way he looked which made him the outcast because he was not normal in the human’s eyes. By using this in depth character interplay, Shelley further expands upon the monster archetype and allows the reader to question who truly is the monster inside of Frankenstein.
In doing so, Frankenstein condemns the creature to loneliness and persecution. The creature's hatred and violent acts are not an inherent part of his character, as he explains, "I was benevolent and good; misery made me a fiend. Make me happy, and I shall again be virtuous" (81). If Frankenstein had raised and cared for him, the creature would have experienced compassion, and had someone to support him and be his advocate. Instead, the creature is left to learn about the world on his own, and develop a set of morals based on the way society treats him. Because he grows up outside of, and shunned by, society, he feels very little moral obligation towards other human beings. "...and tell me why should I pity man more than he pities me?" the creature asks Frankenstein. "Shall I respect man when he contemns [sic] me?" (122) The creature is not a monster in his own eyes; he is behaving rationally given the treatment he has received. If he were taught a better way to act, he would almost certainly behave in that way. The monster is not born a monster, his ugliness notwithstanding; he becomes one because society behaves monstrously towards him.
(Shelley). The fact that Frankenstein fled from his creation very shortly after it came to life, proves how he refused to accept his obligations and responsibilities after his creature was created. ?The [creature] is Frankenstein?s abandoned child? (Mellor Abandonment 357). It is unfair to bring something into the world, and then not teach it how to survive. Victor was intimidated by his hideous characteristics and felt threatened by the creature. He did not know his creation at all, so he had no right to judge him. This is an example of how various people and society place too much judgment on physical appearance. The creature had just come into the world for the first time, and the first thing he saw was his creator screaming for his life as a result of his appearance. This traumatized the creation, and caused him to seek revenge on Frankenstein. This novel shows how when people are prejudice against physical deformity or ugliness, it automatically characterizes that person as bad or monstrous (Halberstam 59). Victor was the one who gave him these characteristics; so in fact, he is to blame for the creature?s appearance being so monstrous.
“ I shuddered to think that future ages might curse me as their pest...” Here, Frankenstein has isolated himself to create another creature but he states that he is scared of what future generations may think of his work, for he is on the verge of creating a another specimen on Earth who is just as if not more abnormal and loathed than the first. In chapter 15, the creature visits a blind man and is accepted as a friend, but as soon as the blind man’s son sets eyes on the creature, he is seemingly judged as a monster and villain. This exemplifies how standards of appearance in society must be met in order to be accepted and in this case, the creature is far from appearing “ normal,” and is shunned by mankind. The two fall into misery and blame each other, causing much conflict and
This example of the significance of appearance in modern society is also echoed in Frankenstein. The parallel between the society in the novel and modern society is that of snap judgements based solely on appearances. In the novel, Victor Frankenstein is a perpetrator of such judgements. Victor “selected his features as beautiful.” Here it is seen Victor’s shallowness as he picked the most perfect body parts and beauteous features, all to be pieced together in great anticipation. However as one can see, the result is horrific and due to the hideousness of the wretch that he has created, he abandons him. This same shallowness of judgement due to appearance again surfaces when Victor accuses the creature of murdering William
Throughout Frankenstein, the monster is given a malevolent appearance. However, once the audience experiences his true pain there is a slight transition of emotion from hate toward the monster to pity for the monster. In the story, Frankenstein’s monster struggles with interaction among other human beings. He seeks comfort through the presence of a blind man. Although he is driven away, by the blind man’s children, because of his appearance.