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Frankenstein : Who Is The Real Monster?

1363 words - 5 pages

Locke once debated on whether men were born evil or were made evil by the situations that developed around them. This has become a universally debated question, one that does not have a correct answer. In her novel Frankenstein Mary Shelley addresses this issue through her portrayal of the monster. The monster was not born an evil entity, but rather, the situations he faced and how he dealt with them bred it within him. The monster is described like a child, innocent, eager to please and to learn. For instance, after the monster is first brought to life, Frankenstein describes it as a "miserable monster" with disgusting features and a terrifying face (43). Yet although the monster is hideously ugly and ghastly to look at, its smile betrays its motives. He is like an innocent child, reaching out to the first benevolent face it sees, stretching his hands out to be either held or pampered, but not fearing rejection. Frankenstein understands the role he must play as creator of this monster due to his own experiences as a child. He relates his own role to that of his parents, who were ordained to bring him "up to good, whose future lot it was in their hands to direct to happiness or misery, according as they fulfilled their duties towards me" (19). Victor understands that he has certain duties to his monster, and that it is in his power to bestow to him happiness or misery. Yet he shirks this responsibility, leaving the monster to develop his own sense of right and wrong due to how he responds to the world around him. The monster develops his own moral code from the situations that he experiences and the people he meets. It is not from birth, but from his interactions with the world that molds him into the true monster he will eventually become. After quitting his maker's house he ventures into the world, trying to understand all that he is thinking and feeling. His senses are strong and almost overwhelming, he is discovering the good and bad of hearing, touching, feeling and smelling. After having bad experiences with the people he meets along the way, he retires to the forest, cold, scared and miserably alone. He desperately needs some sort of being to relate to, someone he can interact with. This is when he meets the De Laceys. The De Laceys seem like a nice, wholesome family. Although they have experienced much misfortune due to some unfortunate interaction with the law, they still are able to maintain a suitable family life, each member being ordained a specific task, while taking care of each other. The monster looks at them as "superior beings" and that "nothing could exceed the love and respect" within their household (91). The De Laceys become his surrogate family, and he finds himself endeavoring to perform good deeds for them, designating himself as the one to provide for these deserving people. The monster does not have any delusions as to how these people would respond to him should he reveal himself. He...

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