The real monster in the novel? Essay
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Most people would see the cost of the monster’s alienation as Victor’s fault because Victor was the first person to reject the monster. When Victor first sees the monster he says “cold dew covered my forehead, my teeth chattered, and every limb became convulsed” which makes the reader feel sympathetic towards the monster. The monster is Victor’s creation and fruit of his gruelling labour and he should love it for what it is like a mother would love her baby.
On the contrary, Mary Shelley uses the phrase “every limb became convulsed” to describe the disgust and hatred Victor felt towards what he had created.
Frankenstein is so horrified that he begins to shake uncontrollably. The monster’s rejection by Victor then drives him to seek revenge on him by taking away from him the ones who are most dear to him and this is where the reader sees the gruesome side of the monster. Firstly, he meets William, Victor’s younger brother and assumes that the innocent child is unprejudiced and won’t judge him by his appearance, but upon seeing the monster’s exterior, William becomes frightened and thinks that the monster will eat him.
This then causes the monster to kill William and because of the response the monster receives from society, he goes on to kill Justine, Henry Clerval and Elizabeth. However, the monster cannot be held responsible for all these murders, as society conditions him to behave badly. Every time, he tries to commit a good act, he is punished for his efforts and therefore chooses not to be good. When the monster tries to help the drowning girl, her father shoots him simply because of his appearance and when the monster assists the De Lacey’s by chopping firewood etc, they beat him and run away.
In this instance, society could be seen as the monster which the monster is also aware of as he says to Victor “You, my creator, abhor me; what hope can I gather from your fellow creatures, who owe me nothing” which suggests that he is aware of how shallow society is. In conclusion, I think that to an extent Victor is the real monster because his treatment of the monster causes the deaths of his loved ones and he also does devilish things such as examining dead body parts and trying to ‘play God’.
He also falls in love with his ‘sister’ and marries and this suggestion of incest is quite unsettling especially to a nineteenth century reader. Victor does not believe that he is in any way to blame for the deaths of his friends and even says “the tortures of the accused did not equal mine-“which suggests that he is very selfish and doesn’t care for others. Victor does not fully regret what he has done, even though he does advise Robert Walton not to become too over-ambitious. He does try to amend his mistakes for ‘the greater good’ but not for the monster.
When the monster asks Victor to create a female counterpart Victor agrees to do so, but then backs out on his promise and destroys the female form even though he owes it to the monster. Perhaps, this is why the monster then kills Elizabeth because this is what Victor has done to him, as is evident when the monster says “You accuse me of murder and yet you would, with a satisfied conscience, destroy your own creature”. In my opinion the monster is in many ways Victor’s alter ego. Mary Shelley wanted to show the world that there is good and evil in us all and the way we are nurtured can bring out either one or the other.
Further on in Victor’s life, there is a lack of a mother figure as there is in the monsters life from the very beginning and maybe this is what unleashes the monster within these characters. The monster is Victor’s evil sides and tends to act upon Victor’s aggressions. For example, the monster banishes from Victor’s life, the people whom Victor isolated from himself from in the first place. Additionally, there is a popular tendency to refer to the creature as Frankenstein because he is seen as Victor’s double.
Also, when Victor dies, the monster also kills himself after realising his mistakes, which suggests that one cannot live without the other, as they are in fact the same person. Nevertheless, society can also be seen as the actual monster in the novel as “human justice is repeatedly emphasised” (York Notes Advanced) throughout the story. Society is the reason why Victor and the monster become alienated and ultimately become the cause of several murders. The monster is also aware of how unjust society is and Mary Shelley seems to use him to criticise equality in society.
After the execution of Justine, Elizabeth says “men appear to be as monsters thirsting for each others blood” which emphasises Mary Shelley’s critique of society and her belief that it is more monstrous than Victor or the monster. ?? ?? ?? ?? Neha Solanki 10AL January 2008 English: – Frankenstein Coursework 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.