Essay: Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

The Novel that has been read during this class was the one called Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. Upon first reading the novel we meet a captain named Robert Walton who is on a voyage through the North Pole. On this voyage he comes across a man named Victor Frankenstein, a man so weak that he was almost at the brink of death. Victor then goes on to explain the journey he has come on, to end his ‘monstrous’ creation. As the novel unravels, it becomes clear cut that the monster is at once more intelligent and more emotionally attached to things than that of Victor Frankenstein, his creator. This nameless being, the monster, shows true signs of being capable of love, hate, and to seek fear and pity from everyone. When the word ‘monster’ is heard, people usually come to a quick conclusion of someone that is evil and to be feared, with no human characteristics. But, in this case it is irrelevant to the mere fact that when being compared to that of Victor’s qualities, the monster outshines him.

To be human, one must be able to love. The monsters act of love is seen during the time that he spent alongside the cottagers. For instance, when the monster’s first encounters the cottagers, he takes advantage of them by using their food for himself. But as his stay prolongs, he begins watch them and begins to understand them and his heart changes, ‘I had been accustomed, during the night, to steal a part of their store for my own consumption; but when I found that in doing this I inflicted pain on the cottagers, I abstained”(114). With this act the monster demonstrates that deep inside he does have a kind, and carrying heart, as well as the fact that he is capable of feeling human emotions and a conscience. This act also symbolizes the good intentions he has and that he was able to think and process ahead of the consequences his actions would have created if he had continued on the path he had first started on. Unlike Victor, who did not think twice about the consequences that would occur even after he had created this monstrous creation in the first place. Another way to see that he is capable of love was seen with the cottagers, ‘I imagined that they would be disgusted, until, by my gentle demeanour and conciliating words, I should first win their favour and afterwards their love’ (118). The mere fact that the monster knew that his appearance was not welcoming nor pleasing, yet it was not an obstacle in stopping him from having a good heart, this can be an example of humanity in him as he shows perseverance in something he wants to do. He told himself that if they were able to see past his appearance, that they would be able to love and appreciate him. He tried to demonstrate it without causing any discomfort or fear in them. He cared about them and tried to show it as much as he could without causing any discomfort or fear in them. This love that the monster was trying to demonstrate was only seen at the beginning of the novel when he was in the process of understanding humans and what they were like. When the monster came into more contact with humans he noticed just how cruel they were and they he would never be accepted into their world and so that is when we see him change from good to bad.

As clear as the good side of him is seen there is also the side of hatred that begins to stir in him. Like any human, the monster is put down and demoralized causing him to begin to walk down the path of hatred and anger against those who reject him. In this case, after the cottagers had so intently chased the monster away, there was a flow of emotions that he had never felt in his life before, ‘despair had not yet taken possession of me; my feelings were those of rage and despair'(137). He was never used to this feeling, so controlling this was a challange to him because of the ups and downs he had faced throughout his growth. He shows that he does have the human characteristic to feel hate and when that feeling does overcome him it can be cruel and almost emotionless. When filled with hatred, there was no way of telling what he was capable of. Another occurrence of this was his reaction towards Frankenstein after the destruction of the second creation that was going to be his wife; ‘You can blast my other passions, but revenge remains- revenge, hence forth dearer than light or food.’ (173). The hatred that had been drawn onto Victor had changed into pure revenge and had also become stronger just as he stated when telling Victor ‘You are my creator but I am your master’ (172) He was able to take control of it and use it for an advantage to create a unique kind of power over Victor, demonstrating the cunning characteristic of being a human, to take advantage of all the opportunities that are presented in his path.

There were many situations that the monster had to endure both physically and mentally that made him be pitied. For example, during the monsters learning process, he began to question himself about the meaning of life, ‘Was I, then a monster, a blot upon the earth, from which all men fled and whom all men disowned’?(119). He began to believe that the things that were being said about him because he is confused of who he was and what his purpose in life was. Depression and loneliness has hit him and all he longed for was communication with someone who would be able to accept him as a friend. Another example of him being pitied is in the scene in which he begins to ask victor to create him a mate, ‘I swear’by the sun, and by the blue sky of heaven, and by the fire of love that burns my heart, that if you grant my prayer, while they exist you shall never behold me again.'(151). We see here yet another act of love, the monster wants so desperately to have a companion in his life to occupy his time and distract him from what everyone else thinks about him. He is longing to be accepted by someone, and that is clearly seen when he is capable of throwing everything aside to get revenge on Victor. Miserable deep down inside, one can’t but pity him. So many things have occurred in his life that have been out of reach that it gives of an illusion of unfairness towards him because of the simple fact that he had to go through it alone.

Although pity is felt for the monster, there is fear of him whenever someone crosses his path. He is someone to be feared, this is seen when he requests Victor to create him a companion and says as follows, ‘I will revenge my injuries; if I cannot inspire love, I will cause fear, and chiefly towards you my arch-enemy, because my creator, do I swear inextinguishable hatred.’ (148). The monster has learned all the bad qualities in a human such as trying to get what he wants by resorting to violence and implementing fear as a motive to get Victor to create his wife. He has become more fearful through the way he acts and demonstrates all his threats. What makes him be feared feared is the wait of not knowing what his next choice will be. Furthermore after Victor destroyed his soon-to-be wife, he goes on to say, ”I have the power; you believe yourself miserable, but I can make you so wretched that the light of day will be hateful to you.’ (172), he feeds off the realization that Victor fears him, giving utter control over this man. He has figured out that the only way people will pay attention to him is by making them scared of him. He takes this and uses it to get all the little needs that he has. The fact that he knows this makes him more fearful because he is not afraid to do it. Either way everyone who sees him is afraid.

The monster is more human than Victor in the end, and there are many places in the book that can demonstrate this as a truth. He in fact can love, can show hatred and can draw out pity and fear out of everyone when needed. His path of growth has abilitated him to grow into what he was, whether it came from learning from the cottagers, or being rejected by society, or communicating with Victor. He really was more human than him, which makes a lot of sense since he was taught everything that he knew, from the humans that he had encountered in his growth. Although he showed that he had pieces of humanity in him, everyone would still consider him a monster because of the monster he was on the outside. They say he was not human because he did not look human, but is that true?

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