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Year 11 GCSE English/English Literature Coursework To what extent is Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein a tale of struggle between good and evil? Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein was significantly influenced by the book she had recently read; Emile by Rousseau. In his book there was a quotation that seems highly relevant, it was. “A man abandoned to himself in the midst of other men from birth would be the most disfigured of all” I believe that this was the catalyst which led her to write Frankenstein. This quotation links back to my original question. That the monster was not born evil but when a human being is brought into the world
without family or friends but with just other men, one is going to become evil when is treated badly. Many people have different perceptions of the novel, that the battle between good and evil may be between Frankenstein as his creation or that the battle may be inside the two main characters. In the beginning we (the readers) believe that Victor Frankenstein is correct about his view of the monster being evil. He portrays him as a something evil he refers to him as a “devilish fiend”. However as the story progresses we soon find out that it is the other way round. We found this out by the effective use of
shifting narratives. I personally regard Victor being the evil one because of his malicious actions and intentions. He abandoned his child that is ironic because he had a very good up bringing. Some may say that he was brave, trying (and succeeding) to create life; but others would think that it was wrong of him to be acting as God. This theme continues throughout the book. “The spirits that guarded me had provided these moments, or rather hours, of happiness that I might retain strength to fulfill my pilgrimage. ” He regards his mission as a holy one. The book had an alternative title “The Modern Prometheus. ”
I believe that this title would be effective for the reason that Prometheus, as Frankenstein was determined to create life acting as God. The death of his mother was the only bad thing that had happened to him until he was seventeen. His mother died because she was trying to save her adopted daughter Elizabeth, this shows how loving the Frankenstein family was. Due to his mother dying for Elizabeth, he could of reacted in two ways, he could hate her for it or, he could think that he is lucky to have her alive. He chose the second option, he feels deeply compassionate for her. “I was unwilling to quit the sight of those
that remained to me; above all, I desired to see my sweet Elizabeth in some degree consoled. ” This shows that Victor is determined to look after her. Victor and his creature share the same trait of being determined. Victor is determined to look after Elizabeth and to create life whereas the monster is determined to learn. When the creature stays in the hovel of the De Lacey’s it is apparent to us that he is not evil. It is helping the family and does want no acknowledgment for his good deeds; I personally consider that this is very benevolent. The creature really wanted to have the ability of making
people laugh, cry, smile and sad. “This was indeed a godlike science, and I ardently desired to become acquainted with it,” This evidently proves that he desires to learn how to communicate. I think that the monster becomes ‘evil’ because he is heavily mistreated as he was left alone from birth or creation; this goes back to the quotation from Emile. Also when Frankenstein is put in the same position he starts to do evil things when his family dies. The monster cleverly kills his family in revenge and makes sure that Victor is left alone just so that he can see how isolated one feels when they have no one.
Reaching the climax of the novel the monster acted very harshly towards the solitary cottage, this is because he knows that he has lost everything so there is no need to be kind. Victor Frankenstein, I feel is very arrogant because he sees himself as a pilgrim fulfilling his mission. “Even if they were to leave Europe, and inhabit the deserts of the new world, yet one of the first results of those sympathies for which the demon thirsted would be children, and a race of devils would be propagated upon the earth… ” This is the reason why Frankenstein ripped up his secondary creation, the one that the monster requested for.
Victor does not see himself as a coward, he as well does not consider about the repercussions. Also he is very selfish, he only thinks about himself; “I shall be with you on your wedding-night. ” Victor immediately thinks that it is his life, which is endangered, but it was his recent bride’s life, which was captured. Throughout the book Mary Shelley uses the technique of pathetic fallacy very effectively. “It was a dreary night of November that I beheld the accomplishment… ” This is the opening sentence of Chapter five; it set the scene/mood for the whole Chapter. I think that it is in
November since it is notorious for having cold/murky weather. Another effective use is: “… the rain pattered dismally against the planes. ” The rain is mentioned just before the creature opens his eyes, if it was going to be a nice looking creature I think that the weather would be the complete opposite i. e. sunny, birds chirping etc. The instant Dr Frankenstein laid eyes on his creature he was in a state of disbelief/disgust. “I saw the dull yellow eye of the creature open… ” This was the first time that he saw the creature, the creature that he put so much time and effort into creating.
“His limbs were in proportion, and I had selected His features as beautiful. Beautiful! Great God! ” Now Frankenstein is going through a state of confusion. “His yellow skin scarcely covered the work of muscles… ” he describes his skin as yellow, which gives me the impression that he is murky and dingy. Mary Shelley uses very descriptive language, which is very effective it gives us (the readers) a clear concise idea of Victor’s views of the monster. In conclusion I feel that the monster was born good but because the atrocities of his creator it turned it into an evil creature, which proves that the statement is, true that “Nurture over nature,” decides what kind of upbringing somebody has.
As well I think that Victor is the evil one, he had a fantastic upbringing and parenting so we would have thought that he would share his good parenting on his “son”. He is so shallow that he immediately disregards it because of his exterior. Chris De Souza 11c Show preview only The above preview is unformatted text This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Mary Shelley section.