When two contrasting personalities are juxtaposed, it often results in the illumination of distinctive characteristics of the personalities, reflecting the theme of a literary work. In Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley, Victor Frankenstein and The Monster are an example of this. As a foil to Frankenstein, The Monster exhibits personality traits that greatly contrast those of Frankenstein.
The portrayed sensitivity in the monster contrasts the selfish behavior as Frankenstein; his harsh ways are highlighted by the compassionate ones of The Monster, and the rationality shown in the dialogue involving The Monster shows how irrational Frankenstein can be, all relating to the theme of the need for a balanced life. Throughout the novel, The Monster is characterized as a sensitive being; he wants to be loved and resents the fact that he was rejected by Frankenstein.
As he gains knowledge and begins to grow more intelligent, The Monster comes to the realization that Victor abandoned him, that he is unwanted. This frustrates him as he continually gets rejected by society. Although Victor seems to think very highly of himself, The Monster has a very low self-esteem, “I, the miserable and the abandoned, am an abortion, to be spurned at, and kicked, and trampled on” (pg #), which stems from his rejection by both Victor and society as a whole.
This character trait of The Monster makes the sort of selfishness of Victor, as it shows that, in his search for fame and glory, he was uncaring of the consequences. In creating The Monster, Victor’s intentions were not what they should have been; instead of trying to create life in order to make the world better, he was doing is for the sole purpose of becoming a God-like person.
His God-complex is apparent in other parts of the novel as well, when he meets The Monster in the mountains and they have a conversation about Victor’s want to destroy The Monster. As the conversation progresses, it is made clear that Victor is unwilling to deal with the consequences of his actions in a rational manner. The Monster, seemingly more intelligent at this point, acts as the “adult” in this situation, whereas Victor acts as a child with a very ego-centric view on the world.
University/College: University of Chicago
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 8 January 2017
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