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The Real Monster In Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein

1388 words - 6 pages

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein was first published in 1818, narrating the tales of Victor Frankenstein, an idiosyncratic scientist, his grotesque and “wretched” creation, and the disastrous events that befall. As the novel unfolds one question remains unanswered, who is the real monster? Many ponder if the “wretched” creation of Victor Frankenstein, who has murdered innocent people, is the real monster? Or is it Victor himself, for creating and than abandoning his creation? The answer is neither. When examining the text closely, the real monster becomes evident, the monster of prejudice. Prejudice is one of mankind's most unrelenting and destructive flaws. Prejudice is defined as the ...view middle of the document...

This prejudice causes Frankenstein to fear, abandon, and ultimately disown the creature. As Frankenstein flees from the sight of his creation, he continues to describe its physical appearance as a “demonical corpse” and “a thing even Dante could not have conceived” (Shelley, Page 36). After fleeing, Frankenstein is once again meets his creation in Volume II, again Frankenstein describes the creature through defamatory terms: "'Abhorred monster! fiend that thou art! the tortures of hell are too mild a vengeance for thy crimes. Wretched devil!" (Shelley, Page 68). When Frankenstein refers to his creature in such ways, the creation becomes belittled, inhuman, and undeserving of respect. Frankenstein has judged his creation, purely on physical appearance. Frankenstein is not the only character to use language to exemplify the prejudice against the creature. In fact nearly every human character in the novel considers the creature to be a monster based only on his physical appearance. Time after time the creature finds himself abused and rejected by humans despite his charitable intentions: “as I gazed on him an idea seized me… I could seize him an educate him as my companion and friend” (Shelley, Page 100). Although the creature’s intention was only that of friendship, the young boy is already prejudiced: “As soon as he beheld my form, he placed his hands before his eyes and uttered a shrill scream” (Shelley, Page 100).
The character development of the creature is indefinitely shaped by the prejudice he has faced. Because of prejudice, nearly every human character is scared of the creature, simply judging him on his grotesque appearance. The creature began his life as a newborn would, he learned by experience. A few short hours after its “birth”, Frankenstein assumes the creature means harm, so he neglects and abandons the creature because of his outward appearance. From “birth” the creature was feared and ran from, people who encountered him retreated; deceived by his appearance into thinking he intends to harm them. In reality the creature was born pure and kind-hearted with benevolent intentions. This is exemplified when the creature saves a young girl from drowning: “a young girl came running… laughing as she ran… she continued her course along the precipitous sides of the river, when suddenly her foot slipt; and she fell into the rapid stream. I rushed from my hiding place, and, with extreme labour from the force of the current, saved her” (Shelley, Page 99). The creature had shown his benevolent intention and kind-heart, when saving the girl but he was still met with prejudice, due to his physical appearance: “I was suddenly interrupted by the approach of a rustic… on seeing me, he darted towards me, he aimed a gun… and fired (Shelley, Page 99). The creature was also attacked by the townspeople and beaten by Felix, who he thought of as a friend. The violent prejudice the creature encounters leads him to kill his first victim, William...

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