Heros and Villans in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

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In the classic horror Frankenstein, Mary Shelley distorts the role of the antagonist and protagonist. By depicting her antagonizing character known simply as the creature or at times the monster as a lonesome unnatural being, reluctantly existing outside of society a sympathy is provoked and the murderous creation though frightening, becomes more of an underdog than a villain. In a similar fashion, Shelley's protagonist the mad scientist Victor Frankenstein, who's ambition to create life artificially is fulfilled only for his cruel and superficial behavior to gradually manifest displaying his neglect and distain for his child, becomes less of a hero and more of a villain. Although distorted, the opposing forces of antagonist and protagonist remain true throughout this tragic eighteenth century tale. Though Shelley’s literal monster is not a hero he is made so only when compared to her ruthlessly determined man of science, the monster’s villainous father, Victor Frankenstein.

Abandoned by his creator, Shelley’s creature is left to explore the world. In his endeavors he finds hostility. The creature’s quest for acceptance is rivaled only by his quest for knowledge, like his father. Trying to educate himself about the world, the creature happens upon a cottage. Within the cottage, two men discuss secular topics, which layer the creature’s understanding of this world. This newfound information is quickly implemented, and the creature becomes self-aware. Victor’s creation, now conscious of his differences begins to question philosophically; “[w]hen I look around, I saw and heard of none like me. Was I then a monster, a blot upon the earth, from which all men fled, and whom all men disowned?” (Shelley 119). This ability to ponder one...

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...s easily seen as a monster, however when juxtaposed to his creator, Victor becomes the true villain. Victor’s mask of humanity is flawed, and his ability to hold it so tightly is truly the horrific piece to this classic.

Works Cited

Reese, Diana. “A Troubled Legacy: Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein” and the Inheritance of Human Rights”. Representations No.96 (2006): 48-72. JSTOR. Print.

Richards, Evelleen. “(Un)Boxing the Monster”. Social Studies of Science Vol. 26, No.2 (1996): 323-356. JSTOR. Print.

Salotto, Eleanor. “”Frankenstein” and Dis(re)membered Identity”. The Journal of Narrative

Technique Vol. 24 No.3 (1994): 190-211. JSTOR. Print.

Shelley, Mary. Frankenstein. 1819. New York: Barnes & Noble Books, 2003. Print.

Sherwin, Paul. "Frankenstein: Creation as Catastrophe". Modern Language Association Vol. 96,

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