In this commentary, I wanted to examine a little further the implications of a point brought up in the presentation on Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. They briefly suggested that Victor might occupy a space of idealised masculine freedom; given Victor's less than ideal fate and Mary Shelley's Feminism, such a masculine idealisation becomes highly problematic. Victor holds a privileged social position that allows him a financial and social freedom through which he can choose his occupations at will. In choosing Science, Victor's freedom to experiment holds potential benefit, both for him and for Others. However, I'd suggest that it's Victor's overdetermined sense of individualistic Self that results in a misuse of his freedom and the destruction of his social sphere. Victor's specific type of unfettered individualism results in the ultimate danger of individualism: he shakes off the shackles of social responsibility both literally, in his solitude, and metaphorically, in his failure to acknowledge the possibility that his actions might have some social impact. His ultimate and most dangerous freedom lies in that he is free to consider only his own ambition.
In creating the monster, Victor is, in both of these senses, outside the range of society. Quite literally, he moves away from his family (and his social background) to an unfamiliar space; he achieves an extra measure of freedom in his solitude in Ingolstadt. It is through this solitude that he is able to immerse himself in Science. Even as Victor leaves Geneva for Ingolstadt he believes himself "totally unfitted for the company of strangers" (38) but in Ingolstadt he becomes even more secluded, relating ...
... middle of paper ...
...108-110). Thus Lucifer's vow in favour of the forces of evil is based on a loss of hope, fear and -- most importantly -- remorse; Frankenstein's Monster does abandon both hope and fear but his remorse is intense. Paradoxically, it is the Monster who is torn by "the bitterest remorse" (170) while Victor refuses it. In the end, Victor's freedom to create in league with his believed freedom from social responsibility makes him not the 'ideal scientist' but a destructive force towards himself, his creation, and his society. Perhaps, as critics have suggested, it is Victor who is the real 'monster' in Mary Shelley's story.
Milton, John. "Paradise Lost." John Milton: The Major Works. Ed. Stephen Orgel and Jonathan Goldberg. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2003. 355-618.
Shelley, Mary. Frankenstein. Chatham: Wordsworth Classics, 1999.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Considering Mary Shelley's Frankenstein as an Attack on Masculine Romanticism I believe that Mary Shelley's Frankenstein is an attack on the masculine Romanticism, thus, meaning my agreement with Mellor's assessment. In Shelley's novel, the ambitious Romantic hero, Victor Frankenstein, challenges the laws of nature by trying to dominate the role of the females. He attempts to do so by creating artificial life, however, his attempt to tamper with the "ever-varied powers of nature", is then the cause for his "destruction".... [tags: Papers]
846 words (2.4 pages)
- India’s culture: India is one of the countries that this report will cover. Power distance is rather high in India this is evident when observing the rather extreme levels of inequality amongst individuals. It is also apparent in the work place, managers expect their team members to be obedient. Employees also count on being clearly directed when it comes to their tasks and what is expected out of them. Top down communication is employed and negative feedback rarely moves up the ladder. In this society there is no need for justification of an individuals position in the social hierarchy.... [tags: inequality, masculine society, individualists]
1438 words (4.1 pages)
- There was a time in history when people used science as an everyday issue; there was a time when it was almost legitimate to provide a practical explanation, and when people preferred to ignore the subliming side of nature; people called this time in history the Age of Enlightenment (otherwise known as, the Neoclassical Period). This generation was based on the growth of scientific scrutinizations overwhelming people minds and (in a way) erasing the traditional teachings. It was particularly well-educated individuals who relied upon logic to explain the world and its resources, enabling greater evidence and certitude, which, in return, allowed matters to be more convincing.... [tags: Frankenstein Essays]
2355 words (6.7 pages)
- Frankenstein is a Romantic Horror novel written by Mary Shelley. Originally published in 1818, a revised version was also published in 1831. As a Romantic novel, Frankenstein is very emotional and addresses the connection between man and nature. This nightmarish tale was the result of a friendly challenge between Shelley, Percy Shelley, Lord Byron, and Claire Clairmont to see who could compose the most horrifying ghost story. Shelley won after conceiving the idea of Frankenstein after experiencing a dream.... [tags: Mary Shelley Frankenstein]
1033 words (3 pages)
- Frankenstein: Shelley Use of Mascuine and Feminine Roles Shelley began writing ‘Frankenstein’ in the company of what has been called ‘her male coterie’, including her lover Percy Shelley, Lord Byron and his physician John Polidori. It has been suggested that the influence of this group, and particularly that of Shelley and Byron, affected her portrayal of male characters in the novel. As Ann Campbell writes: ‘[The] characters and plot of Frankenstein reflect . . . Shelley’s conflicted feelings about the masculine circle which surrounded her.’ Certainly the male characters in ‘Frankenstein’ are more developed that those of the females.... [tags: Free Essay Writer]
2033 words (5.8 pages)
- Frankenstein as a Modern Cyborg. The creature ("demon") created by Victor Frankenstein in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, or, The Modern Prometheus occupies a space that is neither quite masculine nor quite feminine, although he is clearly both created as a male and desires to be in the masculine role. Judith Halberstam describes this in-between-ness as being one of the primary characteristics of the Gothic monster--being in a space that's not easily classified or categorized, and therefore being rendered unintelligible and monstrous.... [tags: Frankenstein essays]
1534 words (4.4 pages)
- The Victorian Women of Shelley's Frankenstein She is a daughter, a wife, and a mother who faithfully carries out her domestic duty in subservience and passivity. She's a willing sacrifice to her father, her husband, and her children. She's sentimental, meek, and docile in nature. She's also flawless in every physical aspect. She's her superior man's play-thing and possession--she's his to protect and cherish. She is a typical nineteenth-century Victorian woman of England. Such typical images of the Victorian women are clearly and accurately depicted in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein through one of the female characters, Elizabeth.... [tags: Frankenstein essays]
2324 words (6.6 pages)
- Life, Death, and Frankenstein Since I spent last weekend in Vancouver attending the funeral of a beloved aunt who died on Good Friday, you could say that I've been pondering a lot about death and dying lately. It didn't help either that I chose to bring my copy of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein with me to read on the plane rides there and back, seeing as this story deals with the creation of a new form of life and the deaths that result from it. Being in this rather morbid frame of mind, I decided for this commentary just to take a closer examination of life and death as contained within the kind of gothic narrative of this early science-fiction horror story.... [tags: Frankenstein Essays]
1385 words (4 pages)
- Once landing on shore, evening has fallen. Light is transitory, and the wind is rising violently. The narrator becomes exceedingly anxious, and resolves that either the creature or he will die tonight. Elizabeth observes his agitation and questions him; Victor gives her a vague answer, saying that the night is dreadful. Believing that he can spare Elizabeth a grisly combat scene, he bids her to retire before him, that he might gain knowledge of the creature's whereabouts. He walks up and down, waiting.... [tags: Elizabeth Frankestein]
400 words (1.1 pages)
- Freedom remains the sole basis for American society as we know it. Without freedom the great nation of America would have never been founded. To understand the true principles of freedom, one must understand the scope of the word. Philosophical freedom encompasses the ability to make choices without restraints, while political freedom is the state of being free rather than in physical confinement. Despite the importance of these ideas to our founding fathers, freedom has lost much of its importance in modern American society.... [tags: Society Politics Freedom Liberty, reform]
1307 words (3.7 pages)
- The Usage of Landscape in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein
- Imagination, Perception and the Experience of Nature in Literature
- Comparisons of Helen Maria Williams' A Tour in Switzerland and Lady Morgan's Italy
- Travels Through the Rhineland
- Understanding the the Romantic Imagination with Ramond, Wordsworth and Shelley
- Comparing and Contrasting the Sublime