The Importance Of Humanity In Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

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In the novel Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, scientist Victor Frankenstein discovers the secret of life and avidly works to carry out his discovery by building his own creature. His feverish experimentation, though successful, results in a disappointment; after the Creature opens its eyes, Frankenstein’s revulsion causes him to abandon this mockery of his original imagination to society’s brutality. Though made of human parts, the Creature is unable to present himself so, initially lacking both the verbal communication skills and aesthetically uniform appearance of humanity. The Creature’s desires for companionship, emotional needs, and capacity for empathy are consistent with human beings, but his outward appearance is inherently unnatural.…show more content…
His failure to separate visible physicality from inner morality is a complication that the sense of sight confers upon reasoning. Shelley emphasizes how Elizabeth becomes a criterion of virtue; notably the descriptions of Elizabeth center around her exterior, rather than justify this model by her actions. Elizabeth’s “cloudless blue eyes” lack obstruction, suggesting that she has no ulterior motives or secretive nature (20). This transparency is non-threatening and promises clear skies free of the troubling storms/lightning that accompany the appearances of the Creature in the novel. Furthermore, her “clear” brow reflects her clear conscience/soul, and her “expressive face” does not resist translation by her companions (20). This exterior appearance is what elevates her to the ephemeral, with a “celestial stamp in all her features”, conferring purity and praise without her ever having to speak through her actions (20). The religious visual imagery used to describe her contrasts the antithetical Creature repressed by his demonic hideousness. This lack of foundation for character highlights society’s perverted belief that integrity manifests in the appearance, which the Creature, in all his unsightliness, falls victim
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