The central idea surrounding Freud's notion of the super-ego is that guilt begins to become developed as a result of a violent, outward aggression that eventually turns inwards to punish a person from the inside. Frankenstein's problem with the monster, or in other words, the basis of his sense of guilt, begins with the aggressive, horrifying way in which he creates him. He works day and night, battling "incredible labor and fatigue"(38), to try and realize the "desire of the wisest men since the creation of the world"(37). Frankenstein thought he was doing a service by creating a new human. He says, "A new species would bless me as its creator and source; many happy and excellent natures would owe their being to me. I might in process of time renew life where death had apparently devoted the body...
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...nster and Freud's super-ego is that neither is a natural occurrence. Freud goes to great pain to explain that humans are not born with a sense of guilt, but that it must be learned instead. Frankenstein's creation was not a natural one either. He pushed the limits of science and morality and in short, tried too hard to advance in society. As Freud points out, "the price we pay for our advance in civilization is a loss of happiness through a heightening of the sense of guilt"(Freud 97).
Freud, Sigmund. Civilization and Its Discontents. New York:
Griffith, V. George, An Overview of Frankenstein, in Exploring Novels.
Shelley, Mary. Frankenstein Or, The Modern Prometheus. 1999. Forward James
Miller. Afterword Harold Bloom: New York: Signet Classic and by New
American Library, 1999.
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