The Importance of Identity Possession in Frankenstein

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The idea of duality permeates the literary world. Certain contradictory commonplace themes exist throughout great works, creation versus destruction, light versus dark, love versus lust, to name a few, and this trend continues in Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. The pivotal pair in this text however, is monotony versus individuality. The opposing entities of this pairing greatly contrast against each other in Frankenstein, but individuality proves more dominant of the two in this book. According to Harriet Hustis in her essay “Responsible Creativity and the ‘Modernity’ of Mary Shelley’s Prometheus,” many themes circulate throughout the text, including responsible creativity, parental guidance, and compassion, but all are centered on individuality, especially in reference to inter-character relationships. The creature, upon which much controversy is based, is continuously searching for guidance and societal acceptance, thus implying that the heart of human consciousness and the human identity is compassion (Asquith). The candor of this statement however, is heavily reliant on the world views and values of the characters in question. Subsequently, these values and world views shape and define the individual’s identity, ultimately granting them a niche in society. The novel’s protagonist, Victor Frankenstein, emphasizes the importance of having an identity by exemplifying the dissatisfaction that accompanies contorted character-to-character relations. What makes his relationships particularly perverse however, is Victor himself as a person and family member. Often, male “participants in a moral conflict,” such as Victor, “may invoke ‘justice’ and insist on theoretical objectivity” to avoid taking responsibility for their actions, c... ... middle of paper ... ...900. 43.4 (2003): 845 t. Literature Resource Center. Web. 13 Nov. 2011. Kestner, Joseph. "Narcissism as Symptom and Structure: The Case of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein." Frankenstein. Ed. Fred Botting. London: Macmillan, 1995. 68-80. Rpt. in Nineteenth-Century Literature Criticism. Ed. Jessica Bomarito and Russel Whitaker. Vol. 170. Detroit: Gale, 2006. Literature Resource Center. Web. 9 Dec. 2011. Knoepflmacher, U.C. “Thoughts on the Aggression of Daughters.” The Endurance of Frankenstein. Eds. George Levine and U.C. Knoepflmacher. London, England: University of California Press, 1979. 88-119. Print. Shelley, Mary. Frankenstein. Barnes & Noble, 2003. Print. Stevick, Philip. "Frankenstein and Comedy." The Endurance of Frankenstein. Eds. George Levine and U.C. Knoepflmacher. London, England: University of California Press, 1979. 221-239. Print.

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