Sympathy For The Monster In Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

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“Yet I seek not a fellow-feeling in my misery. No sympathy may I ever find” (Shelley 223). Feeling sympathy towards the misfortunes of others is a human characteristic, and felt not only towards other humans but those who are considered less than human as well. There are people with the capability to feel sympathy for even the most monstrous of beings that have been rejected by others due to their actions or appearance. In Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, the monster’s flashback, descriptive language, and the theme questioning what defines a human are used to make the reader feel sympathy for the monster.

In volume two of Frankenstein, Shelly uses a powerful flashback narrated by the monster to explain what his life was like after being created.
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In a sense, the monster can be compared to a gargantuan baby left to fend for himself, without any guidance from a parent or creator. The monster cares deeply for the cottagers he later stumbles upon, where the reader is given another glimpse of his overpowering need for affection, desire to be accepted, and pursuit of knowledge, “He raised her, and smiled with such kindness and affection that I felt a sensation of a peculiar and overpowering nature: they were a mixture of pain and pleasure… I withdrew from the window, unable to bear these emotions” (Shelley 111). As explained in an academic journal by Melissa Bissonette, showing the monster in an innocent and vulnerable state makes the reader want to help the him, to give him the affection he so desires, especially after seeing his capability to feel human emotions. The reader’s…show more content…
The very fact that the monster has no name is enough to evoke sympathy in a reader, but he is also called many foul names by his creator and the others who encounter him, “Its gigantic stature, and the deformity of its aspect, more hideous than belongs to humanity, instantly informed me that it was the wretch, the filthy daemon to whom I had given life” (Shelley 77). Anyone who witnessed a living creature being addressed in such a crude manner would feel sympathy for it. Shelley uses pathos to evoke emotion in the reader, making them consider the monster with sympathy and Victor Frankenstein with anger. Pathos is used to convince the reader of something using emotion, rather than logic or their prior knowledge of the characters (“Pathos”). This technique is used very effectively when the monster is shot after saving the drowning girl and the monster begins to change his views on humanity, “This was then the reward of my benevolence… I now writhed under the miserable pain of a wound which shattered the flesh and bone” (Shelley 143). The language used to describe the pain from the gunshot only increases the pity felt by the reader after seeing how the monster is quickly misjudged because of his appearance, making the reader question why the monster is treated this way, when in reality he has shown more humanity than the other characters in the

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