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Maslow’s Hierarchy Of Needs In Frankenstein

1440 words - 6 pages

Abraham Maslow, an American psychologist, wanted to understand what motivates human behavior. Maslow developed his hierarchy of needs to explain how human actions are motivated in order to achieve certain needs. When basic needs are fulfilled, a person moves to more advanced needs, or levels, illustrated in his model. As Maslow discusses in his hierarchy of needs, human will not reach full development when the progression of levels is prevented. In Frankenstein, Mary Shelley reinforces the restrain of one’s full potential through the development of the creature who has been denied the need for belonging as he begins his path of destruction. When the monster is created, he begins at the first ...view middle of the document...

After the monster has fulfilled his physiological and safety needs, he notices the DeLacey family living in a cottage next to his shelter. The monster describes his feelings of “peculiar and overpowering nature: they were a mixture of pain and pleasure, such as [he] had never before experienced, either from hunger or cold, warmth of good; and [he] withdrew from the window unable to bear these emotions” (Shelley 91). The monster progresses to the next level of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs: the need for love and belongingness. After observing the DeLacey family, he decides to reveal himself to them. Maslow’s theory describes that once the basic needs are satisfied, there is the permission for “the emergence of other more social goals” (Maslow 375). The monster progresses to a “social goal” as he attempts to interact with the DeLacey family to satisfy his demand for love. When the monster enters the cottage, he is rejected by the DeLacey family and is driven out of their home. For the first time the monster experiences the denial of his need for love and his incapability to satisfy this need begins his path of destruction. Although the monster is angry, he “turned [his] fury towards inanimate objects” (Shelley 119). As the monster faces more rejection, his destruction towards himself and others becomes more extreme.
While the monster travels to Geneva he notices a drowning girl and rescues her. The father of the girl suspects that the monster attacked the girl and the father shoots him. The monster’s rage becomes worse than after his encounter with the DeLacey family and his “feelings of kindness and gentleness, which [he] had entertained but a few moments before gave place to hellish rage and gnashing teeth” (Shelley 121). As the monster is continually denied the need for love, even after his brave action, he becomes more furious and destructive. Maslow’s theory explains that as the need for love emerges a person “will hunger for affectionate relations with people in general, namely for a place in his group, and he will strive with great intensity to achieve this goal” (Maslow 381). As the monster continually realizes his need for love, the “great intensity” that Maslow describes is displayed through the monster’s growing destruction as more people withhold from him the access to reach complete development. The monster’s inability to achieve his full potential becomes greater as Victor Frankenstein, his creator, refuses to provide the monster with his need for love. As a result, the monster becomes more destructive when his progression of the levels is prevented.
After Victor Frankenstein brings the monster to life, he immediately abandons his creation. When the monster finds Frankenstein, Frankenstein curses the monster and exclaims, “begone, vile insect! Or rather, stay, that I may trample you to dust” (Shelley 83). The monster’s need for love is denied again by his own creator. This is damaging to the monster’s development, as he can only...

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