In her novel Frankenstein, Mary Shelley explores a wide range of themes concerning human nature through the thoughts and actions of two main characters and a host of others. Two themes are at the heart of the story, the most important being creation, but emphasis is also placed on alienation from society. These two themes are relevant even in today’s society as technology brings us ever closer to Frankenstein’s fictional achievement.
Victor’s creation is an obscene self-portrait, yet it makes “‘[him turn away] in disgust’” (Shelley 130). The Lord made humans after His beautiful image and Dr. Frankenstein attempts to do the same, except Victor’s mien is flawed (Shelley 130). Therefore, if Dr. Frankenstein is faulty, his creation has flaws, as it says when comparing his appearance to Victor’s: “‘[he] is a filthy [version of Dr. Frankenstein’s semblance]’” (Shelley 130). Consequently, this horrifying guise hampers Dr. Frankenstein’s willingness to parent. Hence, Victor’s deprivation of alacrity to care for his creature nourishes its isolation. Additionally, the monster’s apparent attributes differ from his emotions; the “scar[y]”, “unearthly,” and “ugl[y]” monster is “miserable,” “agon[izing],” “remorse[ful],” “bitter,” “loath[ful],” and “despair[ing],” in reality (Shelley 216-18). The creature’s look beclouds the lonesomeness he is languishing in. Furthermore, the creature attempts to assimilate as an outcast, yet is rejected on his appearance. Correspondingly, this rejection renders the creature meaningless, sending him into depression; the rejection sparks an existential crisis. In contrast to Dr. Frankenstein’s parenting, his parents treat his adopted sister, Elizabeth Lavenza, with “fond[ness] . . . passion and . . . reveren[ce]” (Shelley 31). Elizabeth’s “crown of distinction” causes this different parenting; Elizabeth’s “fair[ness]” “attracts . . . [Victor’s] mother” to cherish her forever (Shelley 30). When contrasting Elizabeth and the creature, the differences are appearance and parenting: bright Elizabeth is prized, while the terrifying creature is
Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, is a novel of interpersonal struggle between inborn traits versus the self determined willingness to work for success. The author demonstrates the contrasting personalities of Victor and the Creature specifically in regard to the nature they are born with in contrast to who they made of themselves. Innate aspects hinder personal growth for the Creature although he works hard to become a self-made man, whereas nurturing miens obstruct growth for the dignified Victor despite his fortunate nature. Shelley demonstrates sympathy with a Creature who tries to overcome his monstrous form more than a gentleman who abases him in order to convey that no matter how hard he tries to overcome his nature, personal choices can only take him so far. Through contrasting Victor’s and the Creature’s innate personas and willingness to achieve success, Shelley is allowing the reader to question whether or not a person is able to work past his genetic boundaries and inherent instincts to become whoever he wants to be, or, if he is stuck having the same success level of his parents due to his intrinsic nature. Both scenarios play a key role in the character’s lives; if Shelley had not embedded this “nature versus nurture” theme into the plotline, then the plot would have ceased to exist due to a lack of conflict on the Creature’s part.
Frankenstein’s childhood is bought to the reader’s attention in Chapter One when the narration switches from Walton’s letters to the Victor Frankenstein; and his childhood and background to Mary Shelley and Frankenstein is explored in the article ‘The Family, Freud and Frankenstein’ written by Brittany Wright in 2015.
It has been shown that the way one is raised as a child can have a large effect on them as an adult; this is supported by Frankenstein and his upbringing. When telling his tale Victor explains that, “no human being could have passed a happier childhood than myself” (Shelley 45). Victor’s childhood did not prepare him in any way for the world outside of the bubble in which he was raised. He lived with no conflict and led a spoiled, with no conflict, want, or need for anything. He had no troubles and no worries his parents cared for him, and he was waited on hand and foot by others, making him expect that the real world would be just as easy, and an illusion that was cruelly halted when he left the nest. Later victor narrates that within his childhood he was told by his father, “my dear Victor do not waste your time upon this” (Shelley 46). Victor’s parents claimed that they knew best for him and planned his life out for him, essentially from birth, making key basic decisions that lead to an extreme lack of decisiveness in his adulthood. Later Victor ‘miraculously’ changes his mind and begins focusing on his future and his studies he says “when I look back ...
We all have characteristics that come from our parents as well as from ourselves. In Frankenstein Victor was an example of how someone’s child ends up different from their parents. The monster in the novel showed how cruelty and abandonment can affect a person’s mentality. Shelley tries to show the readers that loneliness is the worst thing that could ever happen to someone. It is just as bad as death; loneliness is the worst kind of murder.
Victor's ambition in the field of science led him to the terrorizing secret of life which put him in an agonizing position of life and death. Victor's struggle throughout the book, to maintain his sanity and his health, is clearly highlighted by Shelley in various scenarios were Victor confronts the creature. This puts Victor as the true protagonist in the story because the audience can see what he wants and they become involved deeply in his character. Although it was ultimately Victor's fault for the savage destruction the creature brought towards Victor's life, he is the true protagonist in the story because it was not his intention to create such a horrific creature, he
As the class has read the famous novel of Mary Shelley, “Frankenstein”, much controversy has come up concerning both the monster and Victor Frankenstein, the main characters of the book. One point of controversy is whether or not Victor remains the “true parent” after his dissertation of his own creation. What parent would desert their own child, their own creation? With that being said, after the initial “conception” of the monster, it is this student’s perception that Victor does not remain the parent of the monster because of reasons such as: he abandons the monster immediately after creation (Pg. 44 of “Frankenstein” by Mary Shelley), he is absolutely disgusted with the appearance of the monster (Pg. 44 of “Frankenstein” by Mary Shelley)
Imagine ever feeling so alone, so frozen and never quite understanding the relation others have and you don’t? Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is more than the scientific dangers but the social attire of neglect and emotional/physical abuse that so many of this, and Shelley’s time, had to experience. In fact this topic is personal to me and my relationships to my late family. Society faces the same social issue of child neglect and rejection that also occurs in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and is prevalent to the fact that Frankenstein is alive today.
Mary Shelley's novel Frankenstein (1818) delves into the important role parent’s have on a child’s development, this is especially notable when we take a closer look at Victor Frankenstein’s relationship with his animated and conscious creation. Victor’s rejection of the monster at inception is what ultimately leads the creature down a path of isolation and despair.
The horror and tragedy of Mary Shelley’s gothic novel Frankenstein has made it one of the classics, read again and again. It shares the story of Victor Frankenstein who, seeking the end to human suffering and death, inadvertently causes his own demise when he creates the lonely being known to the readers only as “the creature”. Throughout the book, Victor struggles not only with the creature, but with himself as he fails to take parental responsibility for his own creation and it ultimately destroys him. Mary Shelley’s theme that is portrayed throughout the novel is that if no one takes responsibility for their actions, then there is no way for them to fix their mistakes and there are consequences.
“I now hasten to the more moving part of my story. I shall relate events that impressed me with feelings which, from what I was, have made me what I am” (Shelley 92). Frankenstein’s Creature presents these lines as it transitions from a being that merely observes its surroundings to something that gains knowledge from the occurrences around it. The Creature learns about humanity from “the perfect forms of [his] cottagers” (90). Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein offers compelling insights into the everlasting nature versus nurture argument. Her husband, Percy Bysshe Shelley wrote, “Treat a person ill, and he will become wicked.” Shelley believes that the nurture of someone, or something, in the Creature’s case, forms them into who they become and what actions they take. While this is true for Frankenstein’s Creature, the same cannot be said about Victor Frankenstein.
In My Monster/My Self, Johnson explores how parenthood is showcased as a significant determining factor in how a child may develop mentally in Frankenstein. Throughout the novel, Shelley’s writing bares a stark comparison between two types of parenting. On one hand, a supportive and nurturing form of parenting can cause the child who receives this affection to become an intelligent and well-rounded being. A different form of parenting that utilizes abuse and isolation can produce a severally problematic child, who pales in comparison to the nurtured child. Victor, as a child, was treated with affection by his parents and given a bounty of educational opportunities that allowed him to mingle with the brightest minds of society. As an adult, Victor was able to become a well-educated, desired, and successful member of the scientific community. However, Victor’s creation was horribly neglected by Victor due to his harsh appearance. As a result, the creation began to experience violent outbursts that often resulted in acts of murder. These two very different experiences strengthen Shelly’s theme of parenthood within Frankenstein. Shelly showcases Victor as the prime example of neglectful parenting, while displaying mother nature to a forgiving and loving entity. In the
At last, it is time to speak the truth about who is right and wrong. Mary Shelley gave us some information about Victor and the creature. It all started in university of Ingolstadt where Victor builds a creature with dead parts of a human body. After the creature is fabricated, Victor gets traumatized from his ugliness and exits the laboratory making the creature able to leave freely. In the Creature’s point of view, he describes Victor as the reason why he suffers because he is abandoned from his own creator and ends up isolated from the society due to his disturbing features. With all of the madness the creature went through, he got revenge on Victor by killing his relatives and close friend. This makes Victor as the main victim for causing
Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein provides a dramatic look at the effects of the industrial revolution on society. The changing interactions between the middle and working classes, as well as the changing familial roles, are explored within the novel. The treatment of children is affected by the revolution, as well as the changing familial roles. As the monster’s understanding of the world changes through the work, Shelley provides a commentary on the effects of industrial revolution on the lives of children in the family and child labor.