Mary Shellys Frankenstein Essay
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Mary Shelly’s novel is structured in a way, which attempts to give authority to her views. Opening with an authors introduction, and supported with a preface with her famous husband. Mary Shelly’s novel starts with a series of letters claiming to know the ‘truth’ of Victor Frankenstein’s story. This family involvement, followed by professional distancing, reveals the strength of the author’s feelings on the responsibilities of family and scientists. For a century and a half, many readers of the Mary Shelly’s novel ‘Frankenstein’ have debated over which character could be associated with the expression ‘ Monster’.
Mary Shelly said in the preface the reason why she produced this nineteenth century novel was a ‘ghost story’ “oh! If I could only contrive one which would frighten my reader as I myself had been frightened that night”. She wanted her readers to feel the terror that she had dreamed one night. The readers of Mary Shelly’s novel ‘ Frankenstein’ might believe that the creature is the monster, however there are two potential monsters in the novel.
These two characters from the novel are the ‘Creature’ itself and the creator of the creature, Dr Victor Frankenstein. One candidate who might be believed to be the monster is Dr Victor Frankenstein.
At the age of seventeen Victor’s parents’ suggested that he should become a student at the university of Ingolstadt. Unfortunately Victor’s mother passed away while giving birth to his brother. The death of his mother shocked him and caused him to search for ways to extend life. After the death of his mother, Victor took his parents’ advice and went to university. “My departure for Ingolstadt which had been deferred by these events… it appeared to me sacrilege so soon to leave the repose, akin to death, of the house of mourning and to rush into the thick if life”.
This suggests he wasn’t sure if it was the respectable move to make, to leave his mourning family behind and go off to university. While at university Victor became fascinated in biology: “One of the phenomena, which had peculiarly attracted my attention was the structure of the human frame, and indeed any animal endued with life”. Victor was focused to stop death. He was grieving so much because he had lost someone so important and close to him: ” I thought that if I could bestow animation upon lifeless matter … renew life where death had apparently devoted the body to corruption”.
His fascination with extending life overtook his studying; he became so committed to finding a way, he had set himself a challenge and he was so sure to achieve that challenge. A time in the novel where we are shown that Victor is related as a monster is the time when he begins to dig up the dead and raid graveyards. “Who shall conceive the horrors of my secret toil as I dabbled among the unhallowed damps of the grave or tortured… I collected bones from charnel-houses… secrets of the human frame”. This is a sign of immoral, abnormal attitude and is offensive towards the bodies.
The definition of a monster is a misshapen animal or plant; person of wickedness; huge animal or thing. The part of the definition where it says a person of wickedness is what should be used to describe Victor Frankenstein. No normal person would dig up the dead and use body parts to make a creation. Another way, in which Victor could be considered as the monster is the way he treated the creature once he had brought it to life. Victor disowned the creature; he refused to acknowledge it and to accept that the creature was his own: ” For this I had deprived myself of rest ad health.
I had desired it with an ardour… at length lassitude succeeded to the tumult… endeavouring to seek a few moments of forgetfulness but it was in vain”. Victor had no intention of caring for the creature, it was as if he was afraid of his own creation. He discards the Creature immediately after its creation, calling it a ‘wretch’ and leaving it to fend for itself. This shows how irresponsible he is. It is also another example of him neglecting his family, since the Creature sees him as its father.
The creature approaches Victor like a baby would to its father: ” He held up the curtain of the bed; and his eyes, if eyes they may be called, were fixed on me… while a grin wrinkled his cheeks”. How could Victor abandon the creature, he had no sympathy towards it. The way in which the creature is described when it approaches Victor is just like the way a baby would approach its parents, maybe at this part of the novel, we readers are to feel sympathy for the creature and to consider Victor as the monster for the way he treated the creature, it was his own creation he should of cared for it and been its companion.
Victor should of treated the creature like his own child, possibly if he did show care for the creature and not show fear, maybe the creature wouldn’t have been so vile because he knew no different. The creature didn’t know how to treat or care for other people. So really it wasn’t the creatures fault for the deaths caused and for the way in which he treated people because overall he didn’t know any different and wasn’t taught by Victor how to treat others.