This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Nature And Nurture In Frankenstein And Rappaccini's Daughter

2549 words - 10 pages

Nature and Nurture in Frankenstein and Rappaccini's Daughter        


    One of the most popular disputes in the history of philosophy regards whether nurture of a human being plays a more important role in the formation of its character than the genetic heritage that it bears. As a natural result, the dispute echoes in many literary works, not always directly, but sometimes taking the form of a pretext or a motif in a larger context. Such examples are "Frankenstein" by Marry Shelley and "Rappaccini's Daughter", by Nathaniel Hawthorne. Their authors relate the evolution of at least two characters, the monster and Beatrice, throughout both writings, with the way those characters were nurtured. Both authors use innocence as a common starting point for the evolution of these characters.

 

The monster is the creation of Victor Frankenstein, a highly educated scientist. It is the result of a long time search for the miracle of life; the result of this search is not a human being, but merely a horrid-looking humanoid imitation of a man. The monster is not responsible for his hideous physical appearance; yet, he will have to face the consequences of his creator's lack of design capabilities. The reader is presented with the steps of the monster's modeling and creation. Victor Frankenstein devotes his entire attention and energy into this process, until the moment when the monster is brought to life. At this point, Victor recognizes the horrid looks of the newborn life form and in a moment of panic, abandons his creation. This is a turning point for both characters; the shock is too much for both to handle. The monster escapes and becomes a runaway child, seemingly helpless to communicate with other human beings due to the lack of any communication skills.

 

In opposition, Beatrice's childhood is rather blurry to the reader; the author does not provide any information about her early years. Certain rumors spread into town characterize her as a highly educated young woman. We find evidence in that sense from Doctor Baglioni, another character in the story: "Rappaccini is said to have instructed her deeply in his science, and that, young and beautiful as fame reports her, she is already qualified to fill a professor's chair"(Hawthorne 878). But the truth is that, as she confesses later in the story, she knows nothing about the science of botany that her father is involved in; actually, she is only familiar with the flower's "hues and perfumes"( Hawthorne 883). She practically knows as much as a child of small age would; her education also lacks any form of interaction experience with the society. Hawthorne presents her father, Doctor Rappaccini, as her only companion of life. Her reason for isolation is related to her father's overprotective attitude towards his only child. Rappaccini raises her in the neighborhood of poisonous flowers, making her immune to them, but also transforming her into a source of poison. Beatrice is aware...

Find Another Essay On Nature and Nurture in Frankenstein and Rappaccini's Daughter

Nature vs Nurture in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein

2025 words - 8 pages Philosophers and scientists alike have debated for centuries whether a person’s character is the result of nature or nurture. In the writings of Thomas Hobbes, it is expressed that humans are endowed with character from birth, and that they are innately evil in nature. John Locke’s response to this theory is that everyone is born with a tabula rasa, or blank slate, and then develops character after a series of formative experiences. The idea

Nature vs. Nurture in Mary Shelly's Frankenstein

1845 words - 7 pages Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is a comparison of Nature vs. Nurture. Some critics argue that the Being is a monster from birth, while others claim that it cannot be limited to such a narrow category. The argument lies in the education of the Being. He is not a born killer, but is created by the rejection of society. The Being is born an innocent creature with ability to appreciate the sublime, but after learning about human emotions, he is

Nature vs. Nurture in Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

1066 words - 5 pages Nature (our genes) and nurture (our environment) affect our individual differences in behavior and personality. In the novel Frankenstein, Mary Shelley addresses the conflict of nature vs. nurture. Victor Frankenstein creates a "child" whom he abandons upon birth. This brings up questions such as, was the creature genetically inclined to be evil, or did the hostility he encountered turn him evil? Are one's surroundings determined by who they

What makes a monster nature vs nurture in Mary Shelleys Frankenstein

840 words - 4 pages For nearly 2 centuries Mary Shelleys Frankenstein has been considered by many to be the ultimate human vs monster conflict. However what makes someone a “monster”? Appearance? Character traits? Since the creature was born as an outsider humans neglected him and he becomes malicious. In the beginning an overly ambitious victor creates an imperfect creature. Since he is neglected by his creator as he is born an outsider he faces societies shunning

Comparing Romanticism in Plymouth Plantation, Birthmark, and Rappaccini's Daughter

1125 words - 5 pages The Blithedale. and Hester from The Scarlet Letter" (Leone 77). In Hawthorne's " Rappaccini's Daughter," the flowers are used as symbols for Beatrice in three ways: exotic beauty, sterility, and the mixture of purity and evil. The elements of symbolism and imagery, exotic lands, and man verses nature, among others, are the elements of Romanticism. His story is also a good example of romantic idea of evil underlying the altering of nature

Nature and Nurture, not Nature vs. Nurture

1974 words - 8 pages which both nature and nurture play roles, it would not be farfetched to suggest that both heredity and environment have influence in the development of human personality traits. There are those that would mistakenly argue that it is a matter of heredity which determines morality. Richard Rorty, philosopher and author of “Born to be Good,” introduces his audience to a Harvard scientist, Marc Hauser. Hauser, an evolutionary biologist and professor

Nature and Nurture

1005 words - 4 pages Nature and nurture is a concept that was coined in the modern sense by Francis Galton, an English Victorian polymath (a person of wide-ranging knowledge or learning). He spurred the debate with his book English Men of Science: Their Nature and Nurture (1874), which is regarded as “possibly the most original of all the great Victorians” (Trotter 113). The concept of nature and nurture refers to a binary view of how identical twins develop. One

Nature And Nurture Debabe

2146 words - 9 pages Richard Mulcaster, four centuries ago, wrote the words, "Nature makes the boy toward, nurture sees him forward" (qtd. in Harris 4). And so the great war began. But it wasn't all Mulcaster's fault. Shakespeare was said to have juxtaposed those words in his play The Tempest: "A devil, a born devil, on whose nature / Nurture can never stick". Three hundred years later, Charles Darwin's cousin Francis Galton coined the usage of the two together

Nature and Nurture in Language Acquisition

2799 words - 11 pages (Bates, 2003). This remarkable ability to acquire language is the basis for a central debate: how much of our ability to acquire, produce and understand language is innate (genetically programmed) and how much is acquired by learning? This essay will focus on the debate between nature and nurture and how research in the area of language produced evidence for both sides of the argument. The claim for an innate ability for language acquisition

Nature and Nurture

809 words - 4 pages conditioning (Watson & Watson, 1921). Regardless of their genes, the associations of the right stimuli can result in the development of a new behaviour in any individual. Classical conditioning emphasises the importance of learning from the environment and supports nurture over nature. However, limiting the source of learning to only environment is a reductionist explanation of behaviour. When complex behaviours are explained as a sum of smaller

Nature and Nurture in Personality and Behaviour Development

2278 words - 9 pages IntroductionSince the first attempt to study nature and nurture in the development of personality and behavioural traits over a century ago, the question that has divided developmental psychologist is whether nature or nurture has the greater bearing (Plomin, 2002). Those with the stance of genes having the predominant influence on development are the naturists, and those opposing them, the nurturists, argue that the surrounding environment

Similar Essays

Nature Vs. Nurture In Frankenstein Essay

956 words - 4 pages characters, Victor Frankenstein and the creature that he creates; both, characters were raised differently. The nature and the nurture of their upbringing can be a cause of why they are, the way they are. Victor and his creature are subject to very different nurturing styles. Shelley also incorporates the representations of light and fire. This representation is key to the nature vs. nurture discussion in the novel. Shelley addresses Victor’s

Perversion Of Nature. Comparing The Ideal Of Science And Nature At The Time Rappaccini's Daughter Was Written By Nathaniel Hawthorne

1472 words - 6 pages Giovanni also poisonous was not out of malice, but rather out of sympathy for Beatrice's loneliness.Hawthorne may have learned some of these elements from Shelley's Frankenstein, which was published only twenty years before "Rappaccini's Daughter." Dr, Frankenstein, not out of cruelty, merely zeal of science, created a being shunned by all and capable of immense devastation. Then tempted by mercy to create a mate for the monster, he grapples in the

Nature Vs. Nurture (Genesis And Mary Shelleys Frankenstein)

1835 words - 7 pages everyone is born evil and that through the right kind of nurture evil does not have to be present in ones life.The book of Genesis argues that everyone is bound to be evil from youth, but Mary Shelley argues the idea that not everyone is inherently evil with the story of Frankenstein. Through the lives of Victor, The Creation and Justine Moritz it is explicitly shown that evil comes from life experiences rather then naturally. Mary Shelley creates this theme of nature vs. nurture in order to show that being an evil person is not mandatory and we can escape evil by surrounding ourselves with good people and circumstances.

Nature Vs. Nurture In The Novel Frankenstein

2205 words - 9 pages . Reading the novel, the science of human behavior comes into question. In the novel Frankenstein, the author Mary Shelley uses the monster’s constant rejection from society to show that a person’s traits are effected more by his environment than by his nature. The idea of nature vs. nurture comes into play in the novel. The monster’s environment nurtured him into a malicious being from an originally good one. According to the International