Victor Frankenstein as the Monster in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

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What is a monster? The word "monster" causes one to imagine a hideous, deformed or nonhuman creature that appears in horror movies and novels and terrifies everyone in its path. More importantly, however, the creature described generally behaves monstrously, doing things which harm society and acting with little consideration for the feelings and safety of others. "Thus, it is the behavior which primarily defines a monster, rather than its physical appearance"(Levine 13).

Alhough Victor Frankenstein calls his creature a monster, and considers it disgusting and abhorrent, it is in fact Frankenstein who behaves monstrously. He claims to have created the creature for a noble purpose: to defeat death. However, it is clear that his motives
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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.

Frankenstein, on the other hand, has lived within society and is expected to have certain morals. Among these should include parental responsibility, an obligation to care for the being to whom he
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