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Crimes Of Passion And Social Justice

1457 words - 6 pages

Marry Shelly’s romantic novel Frankenstein expounds the idea of evil as a downward spiraling corruption of character, which is naturally benevolent, caused by societal rejection and intolerance. Molière’s enlightened comedy Tartuffe expresses evil as a selfish and hedonistic pursuit of power fed by individual motives. These contrasting definitions of evil and their individual remedies allow us to explore the cultures behind their origins. The Enlightenment period focuses on individual evils that can be remedied by society as an authoritative figure, while the Romantic period focuses on a degradation of character that eventually becomes evil because of outside forces that can only be remedied by a humanistic society’s intervention.
Shelly elucidates human vulnerability towards becoming evil by exploring the relationship between Victor Frankenstein and his wretched creature. It is made clear from the very beginning that Victor set out to create this beast in order to obtain a level of recognition that is godlike “A new species would bless me as its creator and source” (Shelly 54). However, Shelly demonstrates a different connection other than a god to creation connection. Victor also willfully compares himself to the father of a child “No father could claim the gratitude of his child so completely as I should deserve theirs” (Shelly 54). It becomes somewhat ironic that the first action this father performs when he sees his child spring to life is run away from it. He abhors his creation based solely on his appearance; although, it is hard to believe that victor did not notice the creature’s appearance as he was stitching it together, limb-by-limb. The monster reminds Victor numerous times of his fatherly debt “ I am thy creature, and I will be even mild and docile to my natural lord and king if thou wilt also perform thy part, the which thou owest me” (Shelly 105). Victor has not fulfilled the societal expectation as a “natural lord”, effectively disowning his creation, and leaving the creature in a very vulnerable situation. The emphasis on abandonment and isolation right from the beginning of life shows that the monster was born an innocent victim of a circumstance. By establishing this connection and the effects the connection has on the creature, Shelly begins to create a sensation of indignation and empathy for the monster and even hatred towards the society that scorns him seemingly because of his appearance only.
The creature’s path towards evil is only hastened as several different people reject him on multiple occasions. The monster’s unfortunate position in the world, caused by victor and society, stresses Shelly’s idea that society is to blame for the moral degradation of character in people and essentially evil people. “ I was benevolent and good, misery made me a fiend” (Shelly 105). The rather extravagant tragedies that fall upon the creature explicate the idea that a human is not naturally evil. Shelly asserts that the only...

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