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Mary Shelley's Frankenstein Essay

2691 words - 11 pages

Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

Frankenstein is back to the role of narrator. He is bewildered and perplexed. The creature desires a female as his right. The latter part of the tale has enraged Victor, and he refuses the request. The creature counters that he is malicious because of misery‹why respect man when man condemns him? He is content to destroy everything related to Victor until he curses the day he was born. Gladly would he relinquish his war against humanity if only one person loved him. Since none do, he has to find happiness elsewhere, and he is pleading that his creator make him happy with someone to share his misery. Frankenstein sees justice in his argument. The creature notes his change in countenance and promises that he would leave all humanity for the wilds of South America. The narrator does not believe this and refuses once again. The creature continues to plead and threaten. He is looking to become "linked to the chain of existence and events" from which he is now excluded. Victor is torn. He thinks about the creature's great strength, about how much more destruction he might cause. He therefore agrees to the task, to save the rest of humanity. The creature says he will watch his progress, and leaves him. He descends the mountain with a heavy heart, and returns to Geneva haggard. To save his family, Victor resolves to comply with the creature's wish.
Analysis:

The most important feature of this chapter is the manner in which Frankenstein is convinced to make another being. Throughout most of the conversation, the creature's tone is reasonable in the extreme. By aligning his maliciousness with misery, he is blaming Frankenstein for what he has become. Phrasing the accusation in this manner, however, is so not confrontational that it is more effective at evoking the sympathy of Victor and the reader. Often the creature refers to Frankenstein as "you, my creator." This doubled form of address not only reminds the narrator of the role he has in giving life to this creature; it is a complimentary title that begs for help. There is a definite Biblical tone to his speech‹his dialogue abounds with verbs such as "shall" that carry a confident, imperative feeling.

The creature then proceeds to ask a string of rhetorical questions about dealing with humans. These strengthen his arguments because he is emphasizing his state as the miserable, abused wretch. While he does threaten to destroy Frankenstein if his wishes are not fulfilled, the creature quickly recovers from this and begs help so that he will not hate his creator. This wish appears to be a very noble one. It would seem that the creature wants to banish all evil from his body, and a mate will allow him to do just that. The reasoning is definitely somewhat twisted, though. The reader might argue that another being like himself will serve to augment the hatred of the creature if he has someone with whom he can identify.
Chapter 18:

Weeks pass and Victor does not...

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