The Overactive Imagination in Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein
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In an influential event in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, a young servant, Justine, of the Frankenstein family is on trial for the death of the youngest son, William Frankenstein. She claims to not have murdered this young boy, for she cares for him greatly as if he is her own on the account of the cousin of the Frankenstein’s, Elizabeth. The Frankenstein family is attending Justine’s trial and Victor Frankenstein believes that Justine is innocent. Also, that it is the monster that he is creating who kills his youngest brother. Victor recounts as Justine enters the court room, “For all the kindness which her beauty might otherwise excited was obliterated in the minds of the spectators by the imagination of the enormity she was supposed to have committed” (54). Even though Justine is not guilty of this crime, the jury’s “imagination” is getting the better of them, instead of staying objective and looking at the facts and noticing Justine’s innocence. It can be seen in Justine’s appearance that she embodies innocence when it states “the kindness which her beauty might otherwise excited”, and before this trial it is seen by others as well. The jury is not using their “minds” to observe the evidence, which is the picture of the mother of the Frankenstein family, that is on Justine when is belongs to William. When Justine is giving her defense she states, “I rest my innocence on the plain and simple explanation of the facts which have been adduced against me” (55). Justine understands that her “innocence” will be known though “the plain and simple facts” that is not to be diluted by the “imagination”. Justine then realizes that the “simple facts” or the truth of her innocence will not overcome the jury’s already overactive “imagination” ...
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...res”. He explains that he is “wasting in impotent passions”, which is he is “wasting” away “imagining” and hoping for things that with not come true. His “imagination” led him astray and destroyed any sense of truth that he possibly could learn from. The monster continues on to explain, “I think on the heart in which the imagination of it was conceived, and long for the moment when these hands will meet my eyes, when that imagination will haunt my thoughts no more” (165). The monster’s “imagination” is becoming so much to handle that, he wishes to end his life so that his “thoughts” will not “haunt” him anymore. His overactive imagination is destroying reality of truth for him, and it is only with this “imagination” that is controlling him that he wishes to end it.
Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft. Frankenstein. New York: Dover Publications, 1994. Print.