Personality and state of mind Essay
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The use of knowledge in Victor’s character is magnified in the monster – they need to know more and have a thirst to succeed. In other ways, the two individuals are inversions of each other. Victor is described by Walton as being young and handsome; an intelligent man, with a good personality and state of mind. The monster, however, as explained in a quote above, has the physical appearance of being ugly, inhuman and beastly, certainly a quality common in an evil doppelnger.
Victor seems to be, from his narrative, arrogant, selfish and antisocial, whereas the monster is selfless with a want to be sociable. For this reason, it could be possible to presume Victor as the monster’s doppelgnger instead of the other way around. After all, Victor does not have the courage to acknowledge his mistakes, when the monster openly accuses himself and accepts that he has done wrong. “I am alone, and miserable; man will not associate with me; but one as deformed and horrible as myself would not deny herself to me. My companion must be of the same species, and have the same defects. This being you must create.”
“You must create a female for me, with whom I can live in the interchange of those sympathies necessary for my being. This you alone can do; and I demand it of you as a right which you must not refuse to concede.” “I returned home, and entering the house, presented myself to the family. My haggard and wild appearance awoke intense alarm … I had no right to claim their sympathies.” These three quotes from the monster and Victor’s narratives give more information concerning the two characters. Victor is surprised when he hears the monster is not an evil being, craving for the destruction of anything in his path, but a tender human.
The fact that the monster is miserable is Victor’s fault. He created the monster with his deformities without thinking of the consequences and he rejected him. Victor denies any tie with his creation, so saying that a mate of the same species would not deny herself to the monster could be tactical blackmail in order to persuade Victor to honour his request. Up until the conclusion of the story, Victor says nothing of his flaws, yet the first time the monster is able to speak; he acknowledges that he has faults, physically and mentally, as we all do. The parent/child relationship between them is reversed at this stage because the monster is ordering Victor to grant his request, although by asking this, he is being selfish, who is to say that his created companion will want to love him and be with him? This is a quality that is seen in Victor from the beginning.
The monster has ideas about what love is and what is should be, taken from the DeLaceys – even though they are in poverty, they love each other and are happy. In fact, loneliness is not necessarily implied when a person is alone, but loneliness can breed in large groups of people. The monster, even though he is demanding of Victor, is pleading for help and does not have the power to give himself what he thinks he needs to be happy. He has no one else to turn to. Shelley uses a number of double negatives, such as in the second quote above; “you must not refuse to concede”; which could stand for the monster and Victor. During the third quote, Victor is experiencing what it is like to be the monster. Because of his appearance, he does not deserve sympathy or any sort of compassion. Does this make Victor a more terrible person that the monster?
So far, I have only explored the reasons for Frankenstein being the monster. What I have written has no relevance what so ever to the 21st century, or does it? Victor, in a late piece of his narrative, refers twice to the consequences of his actions and how his scientific discoveries would affect the future. “A race of devils would be propagated upon the earth, who might make the very existence of the species of man a condition precarious and full of terror. Had I a right, for my own benefit, to inflict this curse upon further generations?”
This links very closely with designer babies. By this time, Victor has lost all previously earned sympathy for the monster and seems to have learned from his previous mistakes. “I shuddered to think that future ages might curse me as their pest, whose selfishness had not hesitated to buy its own piece at the price, perhaps, of the existence of the whole human race.” This is the first section of the novel in which Victor has taken some responsibility for his careless behaviour. This can also be contrasted with Victors hopes and dreams of fame as a young man venturing into the world of science. Frankenstein wanted to create something perfect – elite – something that could take over the world, which is linked to designer babies.
‘Designer babies’ is an issue that we are being faced with now in our society. Questions raised against the notion include: Is it moral? Are we playing God? Is if fair? How far are we prepared to go? What are the constraints of science? Where is the diversity of human spirit? Does it reflect fascism? However, there are also people who believe in the thought, promoting questions like: Why not move forward with technology? How do we know what will happen if we don’t find out? What is wrong with bringing happiness into people’s lives? Who are we to say stop? We have no answers to the questions being asked, but overall, there seems to be a negative opinion concerning the concept.
People argue that children born under these circumstances could be discriminated against. There is also unfairness involved, because such procedures cost money, although, it could allow couples to have a child when otherwise they may not have been able to. Unfortunately, this takes money away from other sectors of public and private healthcare, for example, cancer research. Cloning could bring the physicality of a person back to life, which is exactly what Victor did. The same kinds of questions are raised with cloning as with designer babies: Is it ethical? What is the reason for it? Is it natural? What is to stop an elite force being created?