How Shelley And Fowles Present The Socially Excluded

944 words - 4 pages

How Shelley and Fowles Present the Socially Excluded

Men are numbered among beasts who renounce society, whereby they are
destitute of laws and the ordination of civility. Hence this ensures
that men, in creation are best, but when averse to justice and the
law, are the worst of all creatures.

(p.36 intro The Tempest by William Shakespeare, edited by Frank
Kermode 1961)

For the purpose of this essay, I shall focus my comparison on Victor
and Clegg and analyse the language they use. I will also explore the
form and structure used and give a personal response which will
include some commentary about the novels in terms of their
social/historical and literary contexts.

People's behaviour in social roles makes possible the life of a
society and its members.

Social roles are learned from culture, which defines how they should
be performed. They are not instinctive. However, people learn many
roles during childhood by observing their parents and other adults.
But on the other hand problems may result if the demands of one role
interfere with those of another. This situation is called role

Victor and Clegg are excluded by society primarily because they have
transgressed society's boundaries, that is to say, Victor plays God
and creates "a new species which would bless him as its creator" p.52
; his male monster is built from old body parts and strange chemicals
because he is determined to learn about "the secrets of heaven and
hell"p.37. Ironically, Victor creates a "hideous wretch" p.73 which is
"an outcast in the world forever" p.129. However, this "filthy daemon"
p.73 is initially gentle and has a kind, baby-like nature, just like
normal humans. Paradoxically, the monster is actually born into a
state of innocence and like most people, eventually becomes corrupted
by people and society.

Similarly, Clegg has excluded himself from within society, but at the
same time, he is part of society. We know he stalks then kidnaps
Miranda and eventually she dies, but Clegg's existence, unlike
Victor's, is cyclical and the whole process starts again when he
returns to Woolworths. Nevertheless, it is worth noting that Fowles
cleverly alludes to Shakespeare's The Tempest and uses Clegg as a
Caliban-type figure. An isolated figure who metaphorically is as gross
as Victor's monster, a monster who is "malicious because he is
miserable" p.141 He's miserable not just because he is a product of
modern society but because he is unable or incapable of properly
integrating in society or with Miranda and therefore excludes himself,
but like Victor, he does operate within society.

However, both novels are linked to the same gothic genre in the sense
that both texts focus on the "suffering of an individual" (p.78
Abrams, Literary Terms) that is, Miranda suffers because of Clegg's
actions and the monster suffers (due to his ugliness) as a creation of
Victor. Shelley's novel is sensationalised by the fact...

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