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Essay on Psychoanalytical Criticism of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein

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Psychoanalytical criticism analyzes motivations, which are the compelling force behind life’s myriad of decisions. Mary Shelley inventively evaluates the incentives which are responsible for propelling the characters of Frankenstein into their fatal downfall; making Frankenstein a prime source for psychoanalytical study. Shelley’s novel follows the work of a promising chemist, Victor Frankenstein, who makes a remarkable discovery that has the potential to forever alter the scientific study and nature of human life. Ultimately, this science becomes liable for Victor’s tragic fate. Previous to Victor’s revolutionary breakthrough, he had begun a process of detaching himself from the rest of humankind; following the completion of his experiment, his sanity rapidly degenerated. Victor’s shocking creation was abandoned and denied acceptance by society, which led to a violent cry for attention, and a corrupt code of morality. All the death and destruction experienced by Victor could have been avoided had he never obtained the ability to restore life to the lifeless. The consequences of the scientists astonishing experiment were lethal. The isolation from those willing to support him, the rejection from society, and the knowledge of a hazardous scientific impossibility all account for Victor Frankenstein’s fatal misconception of reality, and his ultimate downfall.
Isolation from family, friends, and civilization significantly encouraged the characters of Frankenstein to loose touch with reality, and can be found culpable for Victor’s defeat. The nature of Victor’s secluded lifestyle originated within his childhood, and his overindulgence into the subject of natural philosophy. As a child, Victor spent much of his time reading because...


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...are responsible for Victor’s tragic downfall. If Mary Shelley’s characters, as a whole, were more accepting of those who are different or struggle with an abnormality, Frankenstein’s monster would not have been subjected to such tormenting desolation, which eventually drove the monster to violence. While reality can be subjective, society, as well as science in society, cannot escape certain universal principals. No matter how noble Victor’s initial intentions for his experiment, his obsessive and isolated nature prohibited the scientist from recognizing the cruelty of his experiment. The pursuit of scientific knowledge could be argued by some to be outside the boundaries society and reality. However, history has demonstrated scientific knowledge consistently has moral and physical implications in the real world.



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Shelley, Mary. Frankenstein.


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