The archetypal description of Victor Frankenstein Essay
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The archetypal description of Victor Frankenstein is much the same, although he is depicted as the Romantic hero, he is the true doppelganger of Walton and is described by him as “the brother of my heart” with an intimacy unequalled. Walton also throughout this opening stage portrays Victor with language flourishing with eloquence to be the noblest of creatures, both passionate and gentle. But this description is just an archetype deliberately inserted by Mary Shelley to provoke a judgement of Victor from the reader that portrays him as the conventional protagonist.
This device should emphasize the contrasting judgement later on in the novel, because he, like Walton, is part of the one-sided coin of narcissism and pomposity that they together make up and he, like Walton, is not deserved of our sympathy, pity or pathos. The monster, in contrast, deserves our sympathy because he is unfairly both reviled and violently attacked due to his physical appearance by all mankind that perceives him.
Often referred to as a “daemon” or “wretch” the monster is cowardly abandoned by Victor and forced to experience his ‘socialisation’ stage alone in a cold world that he soon realises will never accept him, “… I am an outcast in the world forever”. The monster represents a newly born child thrown into a world of adults, forced into orphanage by a neglecting ‘father’. He knows no discrimination, like a young child he does not distinguish between race, gender, age or appearance and, in his earlier life establishes strong ‘human’ qualities such as gratitude and love for the natural world that surrounds him.
The monster in its own way symbolizes a pure form of human being, untouched. He does not develop the shallowness that we as a society perceive as a normal reaction to something that appears so different to ourselves. This is the key factor that separates Walton and Frankenstein from the monster, which is why we must sympathise with the monster and not with his antagonists. They do react to difference and think of themselves as higher, god-like beings, doppelgangers of each other’s egotism.
Walton, who compares himself to “the names of Homer and Shakespeare”, isolates himself merely because he believes only a minority matches his intellect, because although he is lonely, “I have no friend”, he himself effectively chooses to be lonely. Whilst Frankenstein does not contemplate the follies of playing God because he, like Walton, can only visualise success for himself and does not contemplate the consequences of his monomania, “I seemed to have lost all soul for this one pursuit”.