This philosophical analysis focuses on the main character of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, the Monster, and how his crime of killing a young boy and framing an innocent bystander is explained through the arguments made by Mengzi concerning evil natures. This parallel will be made by showing the progression of the Monster from good to evil nature and how his motivation to ruin his creator’s life tainted his fundamental heart. I will first briefly address the action as portrayed in Frankenstein and then discuss how Mengzi’s ideas explain the change in the Monster’s nature.
The Evil Action Explained
The main plotline of Frankenstein involves the lives of two major characters, Victor Frankenstein and the Monster. Their relationship is a tumultuous one, mainly due to the fact that Frankenstein created the Monster out of a wish to be some sort of god and be able to play with the balance of life and death. Afterwards, he comes to deeply regret his action and abandons the Monster by throwing him out into the world without any education or guidance. Because of this, throughout the book, the Monster harbors resentment towards Frankenstein and dedicates his life to make Frankenstein’s a living hell. Out of the many horrible things that the Monster did to achieve this goal, the main evil action I will be focusing on is the murder of William, Frankenstein’s younger brother and the framing of his nanny for the murder.
After being continually rejected by not only his creator, but countless other humans based only on his gruesome appearance, the Monster decides to exact revenge on humankind and especially on Frankenstein for giving life to such a horrible creature as himself. Upon deciding this, the Monster decides to go to his hometown and look for Frankenstein, and along the way runs into William. Once learning that he is akin to his evil creator, the Monster in a fit of rage strangles the young boy to death. He takes a picture that had been in the boy’s possession and takes off to find refuge. He comes upon a barn, in which he finds a sleeping young woman inside named Justine who happened to be William’s nanny. The Monster is overcome by her beauty but knows that if she were to wake up, she would be disgusted by him as everyone else was so he decides to put the picture in her pocket. In the end, Justine is found guilty for the murder and is executed for the crime.
Mencian Explanation of Monster’s Actions
Mengzi’s view that all humans (or in this case, creatures) are born innately good does apply to this case, but somewhere along the way, the Monster lost that goodness inside of him. Frankenstein actually created the Monster to be a kind and loving creature and as a “newborn” would, he gained his knowledge through his environment and interactions with others....