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We, as a society, often rely on others to tell us how to look or act. We desperately await the judgement of others upon our appearance and behavior, as well as our self-worth. Society’s perception of us affects how we see ourselves, but only if we allow them that power. You shouldn’t define yourself based on the judgement of your peers, but instead on what you believe in and on what you find meaningful. Chet Kurt William II allowed society to change how he saw himself.
Society viewed William II as an abomination, and knocked him down as often as they could. William II once thought he could be normal, loved even, but was betrayed once he made himself known. He became the terrible thing everyone said he was, not because he wanted to, but because the actions of others shaped his mind to believe that he must be what they say he is.
Appearance is an important factor in society’s perception of ones being.
The first thing you learn, when meeting a new person, is usually how they look. When William II encountered the cottagers for the first time, he made sure to only meet with the blind old man at first, so that he could make his case to the man without the man running away in terror. The old man’s blindness allowed the appearance part of meeting someone to be nonexistent, so William II took his chance. “Who can describe their horror and consternation on beholding me? Agatha fainted, and Safie, unable to attend to her friend, rushed out of the cottage.
” William II recalled the unkindness showed to him by the people he trusted the most, “Felix darted forward, with supernatural force, tore me from his father, to whose knees I clung: in a transport of fury, he dashed me to the ground and struck me violently with a stick.” (William II, page 121-122) The treatment that is bestowed upon William II by human beings begins to distort his mind set. Frankenstein’s first impression of William II is the very first show of discrimination towards the monster. “But now that I had finished, the beauty of the dream vanished, and breathless horror and disgust filled my heart. Unable to endure the aspect I had created, I rushed from the room.” (Frankenstein, page. 48) William II is seen as a disgusting being from the very beginning, not even his creator finds him anything other then a horrible creature. As William II tells Frankenstein his story, of how he learned to be ‘human’, his words effect Victor, but he is still unable to look past William II’s appearance. “His words had a strange effect upon me. I compassioned him and sometimes felt a wish to console him; but when I looked upon him, when I saw the filthy mass that moved and talked, my heart sickened and my feelings were altered to those of horror and hatred.” Victor sympathized with William II, yet he could not “stifle these sensations” of horror and hatred. (Frankenstein, page. 133) No matter how hard Victor tried to overcome his emotions, the appearance of the monster was simply too over whelming.
Society’s perception also depends on the behavior of people. Victor, for a short time, pitied William II after he told his tale, of how alone and isolated he had felt. “I was moved. I shuddered when I thought of the possible consequences of my consent, but I felt that there was some justice in his argument.” Victor began to see William II as a being that experienced emotions. “His tale, and the feelings he now expressed, proved him to be a creature of fine sensations; and did I not as his maker, owe him all the portion of happiness that it was in my power to bestow?” (Frankenstein, page. 132) William II’s behavior changed from the beginning of the story, he had been innocent at the start, not fueled by hate and anger as he was when he encountered Victor. Society’s mistreatment of William II led to him becoming a vengeful being. “This was then the reward of my benevolence! I had saved a human being from destruction, and as a recompense I now writhed under the miserable pain of a wound which shattered the flesh and bone. The feelings of kindness and gentleness, which I had entertained but a few moments before, gave place to the hellish rage and gnashing of teeth. Inflamed by pain, I vowed eternal hatred and vengeance to all mankind.” (William II, page. 127) William II was transformed by this discrimination, so much so that his intense hatred for his creator (because his creator is responsible for his anguish) led him to murder Victor’s brother, William. “Frankenstein! You belong then to my enemy – to him towards whom I have sworn eternal revenge; you shall be my first victim.” (William II, page. 129) After William II was continuously betrayed and hurt by humans, he became filled with hatred that made him angry with the world. Society set William II on the path to becoming a murderer.
Before society’s influence, William II saw him self as simply imperfect, but capable of change. “they were not entirely happy, the young man and his companion often went apart, and appeared to weep. I saw no cause for their unhappiness; but I was deeply affect by it. If such lovely creatures were miserable, it was less strange that I, an imperfect and solitary being, should be wretched.” (William II, page. 100) The monsters self worth was shaped by his observation of the cottagers, he started to see that, although he was different then the people he watched, he felt he should still be treated better then he was. The monster recounts how he compared himself with the cottagers, “my organs were indeed harsh, but supple; and although my voice was very unlike the soft music of their tones, yet I pronounced such words as I understand with tolerable ease. It was as the ass and the lap-dog; yet surely the gentle ass whose intentions were affectionate, although his manners were rude, deserved better treatment than blows and execration.” (William II, page. 104) William II learned all he could from the cottagers, and their pureness reflected on his own thoughts and self worth. William II also learned about humanity through books he found, he read about how people should be, and found himself to be different in more then one way. “ I often referred the several situations, as their similarity struck to me, to my own. Like Adam, I was apparently united by no link to any other being in existence” William II related to the holy being called Adam, but also saw how very different they were. “but his state was far different from mine in every other respect. He had cone forth from the hands of God a perfect creature, happy and prosperous, guarded by the especial care of his Creator; he was allowed to converse with and acquire knowledge from beings of a superior nature: but I was wretched, helpless, and alone.” (William II, page. 117)
William II has been greatly affected by society. As he neared the end of his life, society had warped him so much so that he became a murderer and everything society said he was. At first William II defied these standards and believed he could be more then simply a wretched being who would be hated by all, but as the story progressed, the people he encountered treated him with disgust. All that hatred broke William II’s innocent nature, and thus, he because a true monster. Society treated William II by his appearance, he was ugly, therefore he must be a monster. William II’s behavior was affected by society’s reaction to his appearance, he acted the way he did because of how others treated him. Society’s perception changed the monsters very mind set, his self worth depleted as society continuously knocked him down. Society only defines who we are when we allow it to have that power, if we didn’t let the views of our peers influence our thoughts, then we would not so easily abandon our beliefs. At the end of the day, all that matters is that you are true to yourself, that you are happy with who you are as a person. Don’t let the world dictate how you live your life, no matter how compelling others opinions of you can be, you should simply be yourself.
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