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Frankenstein is a novel written by Mary Shelley in the late 17th century which depicts a story about a scientist in Geneva who becomes obsessed with creating life. In his journey he comes across some notes of a professor in which specific notions on creating a living creature are contained. With these notes and his wild imagination Frankenstein puts together parts of corpses and revolutionises science by successfully creating a living creature. However, all is not merry, as Frankenstein realises his creation is disparate to human beings but that he has transformed what was once a dead corpse into a wretched monster.
After abandoning his creation and later trying to kill it so as to cover up his unworthy work, Frankenstein effectively drives the monster out of his lab to fend for himself. At the end of Chapter 10 the reader is given Frankenstein’s view of his creation; he says ‘breathless horror and disgust filled my heart’ at this very point we begin to see Frankenstein’s dream to create life disappear and the reader is left feeling as horrified and disgusted as Frankenstein, towards the monster.
Frankenstein continues his horrid reaction by stating ‘a thing such as Dante could not have conceived’ this phrase puts to light the actual horror of the monster because Frankenstein states that even Dante, a fantasist of evil, was not able to come up with such a creation. In Chapters 11 to 16 of the novel we see the epic voyage through the eyes of the monster as Shelley adopts the persona of the monster. Shelly’s portrayal of the monster in this distinguished technique helps us to better understand what the monster thinks and how his emotions change as he becomes more conscious of himself and his surroundings.
Our feelings towards the monster change significantly and we begin to see a very different and unexpected side of him. The monster begins by telling us about his first memory of himself; he says that ‘a strange multiplicity of sensations seized me, and I saw, felt, heard and smelt at the same time’ this portrays the monster as a new born baby learning about the simple senses that all humans use. As the monster introduces us to his first day in the woods he says that ‘I felt tormented by hunger and thirst’ this illustrates the monster as a normal person who has to feed himself to live.
Also the monster tells us ‘feeling pain invade me on all sides, I sat down and wept’ here we are able to distinctively see that the monster is no more different than a small child as both cry when they seem to find no remedy for their pain. Also we are introduced to the feelings of the monster which come to play a very important role in his later life. As we become more learned about the monsters feelings and actions we are presented by the more intellectual and able side.
He begins by telling as that he is able to distinguish between insects and herbs and continues to show how rapidly he is able to learn by differentiating one herb from another. This shows the immense intellect of the monster and also makes the reader more attached since there becomes a similarity between the monster and humans. The monster tells us that he ‘began also to observe, with greater accuracy, the forms that surrounded me’ this shows that the monster is able to process his sight with major accuracy and is able to learn about his surroundings easily.
He continues to say ‘my mind received every day additional ideas’ now we are able to understand that the monster has the ability of thought and has an imagination, the one attribute that differentiates humans from all other creatures. As we continue we see that the monster is able to learn physically from its mistakes, ‘I thrust my hand into the live embers, but quickly drew it out again with a cry of pain’ this once again represents the human like intellect of the monster being able to assess mistakes so as not to repeat it again.
Furthermore, the monster inhabits the nature of cooking as he experiments with his newly found fire, he begins to see that the ‘berries were spoiled from this operation, and the nuts and roots much improved’. The actual mental intellectual ability of the monster is portrayed by Shelley as the monster inhabits in the cottage of the De Lacey’s. Here the monster is educated to the language of his fellow inhabitants who he reluctantly segregates himself due to being in doubt of acceptance from them.
The monster begins his quest to understand the language of his company by observing their sound and actions. He says ‘I found that these people possessed a method of communicating their experience and feelings to one another by articulate sounds. ‘ However we are also presented with the less able understanding of the monster as he struggles to understand the words connected with feeling such as ‘good’, ‘dearest’ and ‘unhappy’. This once again clearly exposes the monster with human like intelligence since it needs to be able to experience feelings to be able to understand it.
We are introduced to a new member of the family, an Arabian, who is unable to speak the language and thus is taught by her companions and at the same time the monster is able to educate himself as he eavesdrops between the holes in the walls separating his feeble habitation from the family’s cottage. The monster learns all his facts and details of humans and logic by listening to the various texts and conversations of the De Lacey family.
He says ‘I obtained a cursory knowledge of history… it gave me an insight to the different manners, governments and religions of the different nations of the earth’. Shelley portrays the monsters thoughts and feelings at this new acquired knowledge in a very intense way. The monster begins to question the very being that he is ‘what was I? … I was, besides, endued with a figure hideously deformed and loathsome’. Here we begin to see that the monster becomes evident of his deformity.
From the beginning of the monsters tale to the very end we are introduced to the lonely figure and outcast to society that the monster exists as. The first evidence of the social disregard comes from Frankenstein himself, after he realises that he has created nothing but a monster, he abandons his creation and kicks him out of the lab. From then on the monster is faced with negligence from every human who he unfortunately appears in front of. The monster is very adamant at questioning himself to the reality to his being.
He says ‘And what was I? Of my creation and creator I was absolutely ignorant’, here we begin to realise that the monster begins to get upset about his lonely being. This interrogation that the monster puts to him leads him to become upset and we see his emotions beginning to cloud his judgement. ‘Was I then a monster, a blot upon the earth, from which all man fled, and whom all men disowned? ‘ the monster is able to understand his position in the human society here, as he examines the actual creature that he is presented as to humans.