Mary Shelley's Frankenstein: The Monster And The Myth

1508 words - 6 pages

Frankenstein . . . His very name conjures up images of plundered graves, secret laboratories, electrical experiments, and reviving the dead. Both maker and monster were originally conceived in the imagination of Mary W. Shelley during the summer of 1816 in Switzerland. Along with her live-in lover at the time, Percy Shelley, Dr. John Polidori and Lord Byron, who were staying in neighboring households on the shores of Lake Geneva, the eighteen-year-old Shelley decided to try her hand at writing a ghost story. Urged by Percy Shelley to develop the result into a book-length work, Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus was published anonymously a year and a half later.This captivating story of Victor Frankenstein and his monstrous creation has been greatly admired and imitated over and over again. In fact, most adaptations of the work share two common themes with the original classic: The idea that people should not judge others solely on their physical appearance and the theory that experimenting with nature through the pursuit of knowledge, can have disastrous results, and is better left to evolution.In Shelley's novel, Frankenstein's creation was entirely innocent from the very beginning. As Asimov indicates: "Brought to life through Frankenstein's action, the Monster was cruelly abandoned entirely because of his peculiar appearance-which was not his fault" (6). Only one character in the story does not immediately interpret the creature as being evil. This would be Father De Lacey, who is blind. De Lacey is given the chance to listen to the creature without judging him, and replies: "I am blind, and cannot judge of your countenance, but there is something in your words which persuades me that you are sincere" (92). This chance of happiness for the monster is quickly dashed by his appearance, for once the old man's family sees him conversing with the creature, they automatically attack him, and the creature flees in physical and emotional pain.The fact that the creature emerges in a nonviolent state is a crucial detail. There seems to be nothing but happiness and shyness in his manner. Despite his hideous appearance, he is no more violent than a child. As Harding states: "The monster wants love, but finds himself unfairly repelled because he is hideous. His repulsed love turns to hate and destructiveness; and the longing for communion with his creator, denied because of the monster's wicked deeds, becomes a determination to harry him perpetually until both are annihilated" (238).The creature's poor reception into the world of humans is not surprising, but it is agonizing nonetheless. Frankenstein's creature does not demand the same disgust from the reader, but rather sympathy for his plight. If the creature had been treated more humanely, the entire tragedy could have been avoided. If Frankenstein had cared for his creation, no one would have been killed. Even if the townspeople could have trusted the monster, he might not have turned violent. But...

Find Another Essay On Mary Shelley's Frankenstein: The Monster and the Myth

The Label of Monster in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

3710 words - 15 pages The Label of Monster in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein The novel, Frankenstein, was written by Mary Shelley in 1817. The novel is of a gothic genre as it includes the themes of monsters, death and oppressive nature. Her father raised her, after her mother's death ten days after Mary was born. Her father, William Godwin, was a radical philosopher, who encouraged Mary to read a lot. Mary met a young, married poet when she

Society as the True Monster in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

1868 words - 7 pages companion, be it Victor or a new creation. And, in both cases, Victor is influenced by his initial reaction of disgust at the sight of his original creation. This reaction originates from a preconception, a fear caused by the human nature to prejudge based on past experience. This prejudice is indeed the source of the pain and torment in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. If a "monster" exists in the novel, it is this aspect of human nature. Works Cited Shelley, Mary. Frankenstein. Ed. J. Paul Hunter. New York: W. W. Norton & Co, 1996. Frankenstein; or the Modern Prometheus. Ed. Stuart Curran. U of Penn.

The Myth of Prometheus in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

1211 words - 5 pages The Myth of  Prometheus in Frankenstein   Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein as a modern day version of the legend of Prometheus. Prometheus created men out of clay and taught them the "arts of civilisation" (Webster's World Encyclopedia CD-ROM 1999). Zeus, the chief god of the Titans, wanted to destroy Prometheus' creation but Prometheus stole fire from heaven to help mankind. Zeus punished Prometheus by chaining him to a rock where an eagle

The Myth of Prometheus in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

3231 words - 13 pages the myth of Prometheus and Frankenstein can be made by examining the ways in which Mary Shelley uses lightning as the tool by which Victor Frankenstein animates the monster. For all of Mary Shelley’s scientific knowledge, she “is careful not to describe Victor Frankenstein’s ‘instruments of life’, but” Shelley makes it abundantly clear that Frankenstein “used the unleashed powers of ‘electricity and galvanism’” to breathe life into the

Consider how the monster is portrayed In Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and the Two film versions of Frankenstein

4474 words - 18 pages with Dr Frankenstein in the middle of the frozen ocean.Mary Shelley's original title for this novel was "Frankenstein or the Modern Prometheus" the reason for this was because according to a Greek myth, Prometheus was punished for stealing fire from the Gods. He was chained to a rock and every day an eagle plucked at his liver. He had stolen the fire for human betterment to make tools and warm hearts. In Mary Shelley's novel, the pretentious

Mary Shelley's Frankenstein - The Individual and Society

1989 words - 8 pages Frankenstein: The Individual and Society       The creature's ambiguous humanity has long puzzled readers of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. In this essay I will focus on how Frankenstein can be used to explore two philosophical topics, social contract theory, and gender roles, in light of ideas from Shelley's two philosophical parents, William Godwin, and Mary Wollstonecraft.   What Does it Mean to be Human? Individual and Society

The Themes of Good and Evil in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

1234 words - 5 pages How are the themes of good and evil explored in Chapters 16 and 17 of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein? Not only does the idea of ‘good vs. evil’ have relevance in today’s society, but some of the ideas behind the medical advances shown in ‘Frankenstein’ and the moral issues of creating new life in unnatural ways such as cloning, should we really be making life for scientific advances or should we be leaving to nature? During Chapters 16

The Historical Perspective in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

1031 words - 4 pages The Historical Perspective in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein Mary Shelley's Frankenstein is an early product of the modern Western world. Written during the Romantic movement of the early 19th century, the book provides insight into issues that are pertinent today. Similar to Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's Faust, Shelley's Frankenstein concerns individuals' aspirations and what results when those aspirations are attained irresponsibly. While

the gothic setting of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

650 words - 3 pages , she creates thesetting that sets the gloomy mood and causes as well as hinders actionscreating dramatic tension. The entire story is mysteriously set in thecold Artic which adds to the dark and foreboding atmosphere.Frankenstein pursues his monster there, fails to destroy him, and diesappropriately in the cold of the Artic that matches the cold of his heart.Likewise, Frankenstein's monster dies on his own terms, springing to hisice raft, "borne away by the waves and lost in darkness and distance"(Shelly 206).Works Cited1.2. Shelly, Mary. Frankenstein. Bantam Books. New York, New York.c1991

The Forbidden Fruit, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

728 words - 3 pages giving him life. In Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, The Creature symbolizes fallen innocence, his childlike naivete stripped away by the cold, uncaring world.The Creature was truly innocent after his creation. At first, he knew nothing but base urges and desires. He was confused buy his senses, unable to distinguish between them. He only took clothes to shelter him from the bitter cold, not because he was shameful. He did not even remember his

The Monster’s Birth in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

741 words - 3 pages In the Romantic novel Frankenstein by Mary Shelly, the selection in chapter five recounting the birth of Dr. Frankenstein’s monster plays a vital role in explaining the relationship between the doctor and his creation. Shelley’s use of literary contrast and Gothic diction eloquently set the scene of Frankenstein’s hard work and ambition coming to life, only to transform his way of thinking about the world forever with its first breath. In

Similar Essays

The Real Monster In Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

1930 words - 8 pages Frankenstein is a classic horror novel, but with a twist of many other genres. Written by Mary Shelley, it was a novel which mixed many exciting elements, such as horror, drama and romance. The story follows a young doctor named Victor Frankenstein, who has an obsession to reincarnate the dead, but his attempts at this fail horribly, and Victor finds himself in deep peril, as the monster stalks him throughout the world. I aim to

The Monster In Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

2189 words - 9 pages The Monster in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein The novel Frankenstein by Mary Shelley was written in 1816 and published in 1818. During this time this time there was social revolution and major scientific changes throughout the world. In 1789 the French revolution took place. This is where the peasants revolted against the lords and the royal family; they stood for liberty, equality and fraternity. (Shelley was born into

The True Monster In Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

1509 words - 6 pages murders that take place in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. True, the monster does know right from wrong, the difference is he was not brought up by his parents that way. How to live life is something that is learned and imprinted through experience and guidance. The monster was never fully given the chance to live because upon the day he arrived he was instantly rejected. Victor created the monster physically and emotionally within himself and

Victor Frankenstein As The Monster In Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

1903 words - 8 pages In the novel Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley, Victor Frankenstein is the true monster, not the creature himself. Victor Frankenstein grew up in Geneva. He had a strong interest in reading the works of the ancient and outdated alchemists, and was fascinated by science and the 'secret of life.' One day he decided that he wanted to study further, so Victor actually created a person of his own out of old body parts and strange chemicals. When the