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Monster Or Tragic Hero Essay

1320 words - 6 pages

Literature is full of heroes and villains. Sometimes the main character of a play or story will exhibit traits of both. The tragic hero in literature is defined as “a literary character who makes an error of judgment or has a fatal flaw that combined with fate and external forces, brings on a tragedy” (tragic hero). William McCollom confirms this definition and adds that a tragic hero is a superhuman who suffers greatly because of his flaw (52). Also, his bad behavior is believable due to the fact that he is not all good or all evil. Lastly, the hero learns from his mistakes (McCollom 53). Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein” is an example of these classic literary works. Certainly her ...view middle of the document...

The creature communicates how he helped the DeLaceys by cutting wood for them each night. Felix, DeLacey’s son, is able to spend more time in the garden and fixing up the cottage because he does not have to retrieve firewood each day. After the DeLaceys run from the creature and he is traveling towards Geneva he saves a very young girl from drowning. Later, the creature wants to care for William, Frankenstein’s brother, so he will explain to everyone, that despite his outward appearance, the demon has a good heart. Nevertheless, in spite of all the good deeds the creature performs, he is still an outcast.
Next, consider all the negative experiences that the creature endures at the hands of mankind. Frankenstein abandons him at his birth. The old man runs away terrified of him. The town’s people attack him with rocks and weapons. He then lives in hiding in a storage room off of the DeLacey’s cottage. He watches them for some time and learns to be caring and kind. However, when he attempts to join their lives as a friend; the people he thinks of as his protectors reject him (Shelley 94). Next, he saves a girl from drowning in the river and her father thanks him by shooting him. He reveals that he has become a vengeful and angry being. The creature states that, “the mildness of my nature had fled, and all within me was turned to gall and bitterness” (Shelley 98). Each event angers him more and by the time he is rejected by William the creature is compelled to murder. He tells Frankenstein, “I gazed on my victim, and my heart swelled with exultation and hellish triumph: clapping my hands, I exclaimed, ‘I, too, can create desolation; my enemy is not impregnable” (Shelley 100). His vengeance further leads him to frame innocent, fragile, Justine. Ashley Lancaster reasons that the demon’s evil behavior is exactly what humans expected of him right from the beginning, based only on his appearance (Lancaster). At this point, the demon’s sole purpose is to exact revenge against Victor.
However, the creature then comes up with a plan that will solve the predicament for both characters. He meets with Frankenstein on the glacier and attempts to justify his violent behavior. The demon explains to Victor that it was not his intention at first to harm anyone. He defends himself through logical argument, as a hero would, while Frankenstein is ready to engage in physical confrontation. The demon has become eloquent and persuasive. He says to Victor, “I will not be tempted to set myself in opposition to thee. I am thy creature, and I will be even mild and docile to my natural lord and king” (Shelley 68). The creature is subtly reminding Frankenstein that he has responsibilities to his creation. He assures Victor that it is his loneliness that has turned him evil, exposing his...

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