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Mary Shelley's Frankenstein Essay

1291 words - 6 pages


Frankenstein by Mary Shelley is a very complex book riddled with underlying messages. From the characteristics of each individual to the main storyline Shelley depicts a world of opposites. Victor Frankenstein, a privileged young man, defies nature when his obsession with life and death has him attempting to bring someone/something to life. He succeeds and quickly goes from obsessed over its creation to disgust with its form. He then rejects his creation, which sets the stage for the terrifying events to come. This is the embodiment of a modern novel as it contains alienation, disillusionment, and a critique of science.
Both Frankenstein and the Creation are fraught with alienation, a sign of a modern novel. “Every night I was oppressed by a slow fever, and I became nervous to a most painful degree; the fall of a leaf startled me, and I shunned my fellow creatures as if I had been guilty of a crime” (Shelley 34). Frankenstein has become so obsessed with his work that he does nothing else. He locks himself in his lab and works all day and night and is now scared of the smallest noises, people, and normal interactions. He completely alienates himself from friends, family, and the world because of his obsession to finish the Creation. Opposite of this is the Creation, who unlike his creator, is alienated by everyone else. “Oh, that I had forever remained in my native wood, nor known nor felt beyond the sensations of hunger, thirst, and heat! Of what a strange nature is knowledge! It clings to the mind when it has once seized on it like a lichen on the rock. I wished sometimes to shake off all thought and feeling, but I learned that there was but one means to overcome the sensation of pain, and that was death--a state which I feared yet did not understand”(Shelley 86). The Creation is rejected by all of humanity and even by his own creator. This kind of total unwilling alienation completely justifies the creations feelings of hatred, self-loathing, and depression. This leads him to want to get back at his creator who made him this way and then rejected him. The Creation would be the most willing conformist if he were given the chance. Instead, created and not born and hideously grotesque, he is automatically shunned by everyone. This leaves him with no other choice than to be a nonconformist.
Shelley, ahead of her times in many ways, shows the motif of disillusionment in her character, the Creation. He teaches himself about the basics of survival in a dark forest and he soon ventures out. This is when he encounters humans and is attacked. From this he learns that he is scorned by humans but he still holds hope that someday he will be accepted. He attempts this by hiding away in a hovel next to a cottage, and observes them and secretly helps them. He finally gets the nerve to talk to one of the cottagers, a blind man, and unfortunately is misunderstood by the others and chased out. “I learned that the possessions...

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