Essay, Research Paper: English Essay Or Term Paper: No Title
me?" (Shelly 165) - Frankenstein's Monster Upon reading Mary Shelley's
Frankenstein, it is all too easy to come to the conclusion that the creature Dr.
Victor Frankenstein creates is a "vile insect" (68) that should be
"overwhelm [ed] with... furious detestation and contempt" (68). But is
this really accurate? Is this "monster" truly the "wretched
devil" (68) Victor believes him to be? Or is he actually a "fallen
angel whom [Victor] drove from joy for no misdeed... [and that] misery made a
fiend" (69)? The case for the creature being a "hideous monster"
(102) is quite strong. He murders young William Frankenstein with his bare
hands; afterwards, he frames Justine Moritz for the crime because he "is
forever robbed of all that she could give [him, therefore] she shall atone"
(103). Victor's best friend, Henry Clerval, is murdered by the creature as well.
Finally, the monster fulfills his promise of being "'with [Victor] on [his]
wedding night'" (139) by killing Elizabeth, Victor's cousin and new bride.
It would seem that this beast truly is, in Victor's opinion, unequaled in
"deformity and wickedness" (122). However, after closer examination,
one finds that the creature, though he has committed heinous acts of violence,
is not entirely at fault. In fact, it would seem that the individual responsible
for the monster's actions is Dr. Victor Frankenstein himself. When Victor first
creates the creature, he is struck with "breathless horror and
disgust" (35) at its very appearance. Because of this, he abandons it, not
caring about its welfare or safety. This could be seen as somewhat analogous to
giving birth to a baby, then leaving it in the woods to fend for itself. After
being deserted by his creator, the creature becomes nothing more than a
"poor, helpless, miserable wretch" (71), living on a diet of berries
and acorns, and feeling Do 2 "frightened... [and] desolate" (71). He
learns the language and ways of man by observing a small family for a couple of
years, and yearns for their company so that they can be "sympathizing with
[his] feelings and cheering [his] gloom" (93). However, all his encounters
with humans end with the humans experiencing feelings of "horror and
consternation" (96) (due to his disfigured appearance) while his heart
sinks "with bitter sickness" (97) from these rejections. When he
approaches an old man eating breakfast, the old man flees in terror. When he
attempts to befriend the blind De Lacy, Felix darts forward and tears him
"with supernatural force... from his father" (97). And when he rescues
a young girl from drowning in a swiftly flowing river, he is not thanked with
kind words, but instead with bullets. Thus, the "reward of [his]
benevolence... [is] the miserable pain of a wound which shattered the flesh and
bone" (101). It comes as no surprise, then, when the creature comes to the
conclusion that "there was none among the myriads of men that existed who
would pity or assist [him]" (97), he declares "ever-lasting war
against the species, and, more than all, against him [Victor] who had formed
[him, the monster], and sent him forth to this insupportable misery" (97).
He murders William Frankenstein because he is a relative of Victor, and frames
Justine because he knows she will never be sympathetic towards him, since she is
a member of the human race (talk about being in the wrong place at the wrong
time). When the monster finally gets a chance to speak with his creator, he has
but one request: "a creature of another sex, but as hideous as [him]
self" (105). If Victor complies with this request, the creature will, for
once in his existence, "excite the sympathy of some living thing"
(105) and promises that no "other human being shall ever see [them]
again" (105). Victor agrees to this at first, but later decides that it
will be too risky to create another being which might be "ten thousand
times more malignant than her mate" (120). Upon coming to this conclusion,
Victor destroys the second creature, leaving the first, once again, alone to
"grovel in the intensity of [his] wretchedness" (123). At this point,
out of rage and desperation, the monster kills Henry Clerval, and later,
Elizabeth. Can the creature really be blamed for his behavior and actions? His
heart "was fashioned to be susceptible of love and sympathy" (164);
however, in all his years of Do 3 existence, he has seen nothing but violence
and hatred towards himself. It is no wonder, then, that "evil thenceforth
became [his] good" (164) and he had "no choice but to adapt [his]
nature to an element which [he] had willingly chosen" (164). Despite all
this, though, he still retains some shred of humanity. He comes clean at the
end, saying that "It is true that I am a wretch. I have murdered the lovely
and the helpless; I have strangled the innocent as they slept, and grasped to
death his throat who never injured me or any other living thing. I have devoted
my creator, the select specimen of all that is worthy of love and admiration
among men, to misery; I have pursued him even to that irremediable ruin."
(165) Frankenstein's monster is in no way perfect. However, it cannot be said
that he is in any way responsible for being the "vile insect" Victor
calls him. The creature fights to retain his humanity and gain understanding
from humans, but without any proper guidance or sympathy from his creator, he
has no chance to learn anything about the ways of the world except the ways of
violence and hatred. Is it any wonder, then, that he lashes out at a world that
cares nothing for him? How can someone be expected to be kind when all his or
her life has been filled with negativity and brutality? In this writer's humble
opinion, I honestly cannot say I would have reacted any other way. And I doubt
that anyone else could have, either.
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