Frankenstein Essay

1342 words - 6 pages

Compassion and empathy are often described as human-kind's greatest quality. Yet, many things can distract or overpower our compassion to allow room for things like cruelty, selfishness, and the need for vengeance. In Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, Victor Frankenstein has no compassion for his creation; however, his creation is born with large amounts of compassion, but Frankenstein ignores and abuses his monster. Victor’s lack of compassion towards the monster, makes the monster lose his own compassion in a need for vengeance to make his abuser feel the same pain he does.
The monster is the only character who has compassion even though compassion is never shown to him. Even before he knew had any role models to teach him, the monster shows that he is born with compassion by helping unknown others. His time watching the cottagers taught him what true kindness is. His benevolent actions of helping the cottagers without them knowing proves that he did not need to learn compassion from a creator. The monster is horrified to learn that his good nature does not show on his physical appearance, and he was “...unable to believe that it was indeed [the monster] who was reflected in the mirror; and when [he] became fully convinced that [he] was in reality the monster [he] was filled with the bitterest sensations of despondence and mortification.”(Shelley 417). He is kind to the blind cottager in hopes of getting the compassion back that he always craved; however when he is rejected by even his ‘cottage friends’ he realizes how unjust it is that “no entreaties cause [them] to turn a favorable eye upon thy creature, who implores thy goodness and compassion,” (Shelley 360). Though the monster, who is human-like, is born with compassion the humans he meets seem to not have enough sympathy to look past his ugly appearance. Society taught them that kind people are pretty while ugly things are evil and dangerous. Since the monster is never accepted by society he never is taught to be hostile or rude. He is compassionate and innocent until he realizes that his sadness is caused by Frankenstein’s lack of compassion, and that he must get revenge. As he is mistreated, the monster replaces his compassion with vengeance toward Victor. Vengeance corrupts the otherwise good and kind monster.
Victor’s lack of compassion toward his monster can be traced back to his childhood. His parents cared for him because he is their first and only child. Then when they adopt Elizabeth she was an automatic friend for him. He never had to try to be compassionate to get married or have friends because his parents and their money got love and friendship for him. At school he was indifferent to all the other children; his only ‘friend’ Henry just followed whatever he did. Henry was more of an admirer than a friend. While yellow is usually seen as a symbol for happiness and optimism Victor describes his monster with “dull yellow [eyes]... yellow skin... which formed a more horrid......

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