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Prejudice And Pride Illustrated In Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

1450 words - 6 pages

“Life and death appeared to me ideal bounds, which I should first breakthrough, and pour a torrent of light into our dark world. A new species would bless me as its creator and source, many happy and excellent natures would owe their being to me. No father could claim the gratitude of a child so completely as I should deserve theirs.” (Shelley 39).

No, there is no Mr. Darcy in this novel, but pride and prejudice are deeply woven into the thematic core of Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein: The Modern Prometheus” (Austen). This tormented narrative explores the destructive powers of these two isolating traits. Pride, an unreasonable and inordinate self-esteem and ego, and prejudice, a lack of empathy and negative bias against an individual, both prevent the human characters in “Frankenstein” from exercising objectivity and openness towards the monster. Pride by the monster’s creator, and prejudice by all who interact with the monster, lead to not so much a horror story, but a classic tale of tragedy and misfortune to rival the Greeks.

Victor Frankenstein, the monster’s creator, is the victim of his own pride. An ego unchecked is a dangerous thing. But in truth, it really just shows Victor’s humanity. He is privileged, educated, talented, loved, adored, but he is not perfect. His flaw is his own ego and pride. Without doubt, this is the result of a childhood where he was overindulged. Overindulged to the extent he was given a little girl “Elizabeth” as a “present”, whom he considered from childhood “mine only” (Shelley 21). Little wonder the twenty year old Victor would think he could create, control and command life. But Victor as with any indulged child did not take the time to learn much from his parents about parenting and fatherhood. He was very fortunate in his parentage, but he himself turned out to be a very poor “father” (Shelley 39). He ignores the advice of his own kind father and his professors, as he believes he knows better. In fact he is prejudiced against his professor by physical attributes, mirroring his forthcoming prejudice against his own creation, “Krempe was little squat man, with a gruff voice and repulsive countenance, the teacher therefore did not prepossess me in favor of his pursuits” (Shelley 31). He is not ready to listen to opposite view points, but will proudly proceed on convinced of his own certitude. Science without collaboration and discussion leads to poor science. While many of us will not have Victor’s talents, we do have experience of critique which shows, when a final solution is looked at from many angles and points of view, it can embarrassingly dissolve before our eyes into a weak first attempt.”Victor Frankenstein becomes intoxicated with the possibilities of modern science. He is so inflated and consumed with the knowledge of how to animate a human creature that he doesn't consider the morality or even the aesthetics.” (Patterson 1996). Victor’s pride drives him to neglect friends, family and health,...

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