Society in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and Thomas More's Utopia

Society in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and Thomas More's Utopia

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Society in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and Thomas More's Utopia

 

A primary problem with the society we live in today, is the need to be better.

The desire to have more, to be worth more, and through these inanimate objects

to be happy is what drive us all. As children we struggled to fit in by having

nicer clothes and more expensive shoes than the next kid. Although, in a

different from this is a sentiment echoed in Sir Thomas More's "Utopia." By

analyzing his work, I will shed some light on how this is very similar to a

theme proposed in Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein."

 

In Utopian society, we are shown that the way to fit in, to be cool is to be

exactly the same as those around you. Those citizens who had aspirations of

wealth and a better life, were treated the same as those who simply can not

afford to 'fit in' in our society. They were the shunned, the public outcasts.

These people had necessarily done anything wrong, they just were unhappy with

their way of life and had glimpsed something better. This mirrors the daemon in

Shelley's "Frankenstein." Although he was an extremely well educated person, who

aspired for nothing more than love and happiness, they would never be his to

have. The sole reason the monster was abhorred by all that knew of him was his

appearance. This singular feature was the reason he was beaten by Felix, and

nearly killed by the man whose daughter he had saved from river. His only curse

was ugliness, but was this his fault?

 

It was easy for the daemon to curse his creator, the man who had formed him the

way he was; in many ways I feel sympathy towards him. The sentences for being

different in Utopia might not be considered by some to be as severe, but in many

ways they were. For many crimes in their society you could be punished to a life

of slavery, but this is not unlike Shelley. The daemon, while not punished by a

court system, was punished by something much worse: himself.

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He was not formed

the way he was due to some terrible crime that took place in his life. No, his

creator had made him that way. Just for the simple fact that he was not like all

those around him, he condemned himself to a life of solitary imprisonment within

his soul.

 

The daemon had one shining chance to relieve himself from his own bonds, but it

was to no avail. Perhaps, the thing I will remember longest about "Utopia" is

their system of marriage. This was something that they glorified, in the way it

should be. It was a shining to testament to the love and devotion of two people.

This is what the monster dreamt about, this is what made him confront his

creator. His singular desire to have someone like him, someone that would take

the burden of being different off his shoulders and help him to support it.

However, his master in his rambling thoughts about the good of mankind decided

not to give the monster his one wish. Now, without a love that should have been

his to share, he was sent back to his solitary prison consumed with the flames

of rage and revenge.

 

By looking at the daemon in Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein" through More's

"Utopia" you can see the different layers of society and the need to be a part

of it that exist between them. The monster was lost from the beginning, 'born'

with a hideous face he locked himself in a prison built by himself. His sole

chance for escape, by gaining the love of another never took place. It is for

these reasons that we are shown what the desire to 'fit in' can do for a person.

So I leave you with one question: What are you really doing next time you mock

someone for being different? How can you feel sympathy for the monster, but

continue to torment someone in the same fashion as he was in your everyday life.

 
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