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The Human Need For Love In Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

1315 words - 5 pages

The Human Need for Love Exposed in Frankenstein

Written in 1817 by Mary Shelley, Frankenstein is a novel about the "modern Prometheus", the Roman Titian who stole fire from the gods and gave it to man. The story takes place in several European countries during the late 1700's. It is the recollection of Victor Frankenstein to a ship captain about his life. Victor is a student of science and medicine who discovers a way to reanimate dead flesh. In a desire to create the perfect race he constructs a man more powerful than any normal human, but the creation is so deformed and hideous that Victor shuns it. The creation then spends a year wandering searching for companionship, but everywhere he goes he is shunned and feared. Hating life the creature turns its misery on its creator, killing off Victors family.

Frankenstein chases the monster to the North Pole, in an attempt to kill it. Weakened by the cold and long chase, a dying Victor is taken aboard a ship, where he relates his tale to the captain and dies soon after. The next night the monster visits the ship and looks upon Victor's body, ashamed by all of the killing he has done the monster flees into the Arctic Ocean, never to be seen again. Frankenstein appears to be a novel about the evil ways of man, but it is truly about the human soul and how it needs friendship and love to survive.

This theme is apparent from the opening letters from the ship captain to his sister in which the captain writes, "I have but one want which I have never yet been able to satisfy ... I have no friend" (Shelley 7). The captain is about to embark on his life's dream of sailing to the North Pole; he has a good crew and a fine ship but still wants a friend to share the excitement with. It is this want that alone that weights down his heart, and this want is abated when they find Victor floating on an ice flow. This lack of friendship has made the captain suicidal, without a thought to his crew's lives. The captain takes a liking to Frankenstein as they both share many of the same interests; Victor even takes a liking to the captain enough to relate to him his terrible story. This friendship allows the captain to see clearly again and he decides to return to port and not further endanger his crew. Without this friendship he would have pushed on, trying to gain joy from victory.

It is Victor's story that truly exposes the true theme of the story, with him speaking of his days as a child and his first friendship with the girl his parents adopted. He lives a fine life, full of joy and happiness with friend plentiful. When he goes to college he is without friends, but soon befriends one of the professors and engaged in lengthy conversations with him. This isn't the same friendship as before, lacking the real love and companionship of his family, and he soon begins work on his creation. He so overwhelmed by the idea of creating a perfect person he is blinded from the deformity of the creature. When the...

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