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Society In Frankenstein Essay, Research Paper
Roles In Frankenstein
Society often puts labels on things such as good, bad, normal, or strange. People are expected to act in a certain manner depending on there status in society. For example in Frankenstein, you would expect the doctor as a scientist to act with precision and responsibility. From the monster you would expect brutality, irresponsibility and a lack of intelligence. The Doctor is expected to have a certain amount of respect for the scientific community and uphold its morals and ethics. The novel shows how a person or thing may not act according to how it’s supposed to.
The monster is wrongly treated on the assumption that he actually is a monster. He is scorned attacked and shunned due to his outward appearance. This is not justified by anything except his demeanor. He doesn’t commit any heinous actions towards the people he meets. People are also afraid of him because people are afraid of things they know nothing about. The character of Justine can be used to display societies affect on people. Society doesn’t kill her, but the ignorance of people does. Society can’t kill a person, but it can influence the actions of its people. She is held accountable for a murder she didn’t commit. Judgment is passed on her prematurely. I’ll admit there was evidence against Justine, and we have the advantage of knowing that she didn’t do it. Justine was not exactly a pillar of the community, so some reasonable evidence and the fact that human behavior tends to view people that are in the lower-class as being guilty of something, was all that was needed. The ideology of a being a monster is different the n looking hideous and revolting.
The characters of the Doctor and the monster act exactly opposite then would be expected of them. The label placed on how they are supposed to act ends up on the opposite side of the scale for both of them. Frankenstein exhibits monster characteristics, and the monster acts more human then most characters in the novel.
Dr. Frankenstein, the so labeled decent man, is actually irresponsible, stubborn and extreme in his actions throughout the novel. His irresponsibility shows through many times in his feelings toward his creation. While he was in the process of shaping his creation, Frankenstein is so caught up in his work and his yearning to be remembered for all time that he does not stop and think about what will happen after his being is brought into existence. He is so consumed by his work he does not sleep for days on end, eat meals or write to his family, like he used to. There is a line that shows, how he made himself an island separated from society. It goes “The summer months passed while I was thus engaged but my eyes were insensible to the charms of nature” (Shelley 56).
As soon as the monster is created you can see how his feelings towards it begin to change. The doctor says “I had worked hard for nearly two years but now that I had finished, the beauty of the dream vanished, the breathless horror and disgust had filled my heart”. The doctor has not realized what he has done; he is scared of his creation but doesn’t take responsibility for it. After his creation comes to life he refuses to accept his obligation as its creator. Its not as if he even took the time to get to “know” his creation he abandoned it from the get go. He does care for it, shelter it, provide it with food or love, nor teaches his creation. In fact he does the exact opposite of a responsible parent. As human he is expected to at least have compassion and it becomes apparent that he is selfish and has none. When he finally converses with his creation all he asks for is a companion. “You must create a female for me, with whom I can live with”; this is all the monster requests. Even after the monster kills William and Justine dies the doctor will not change his attitude towards the monster. Frankenstein refuses to accept the responsibility of providing a source of companionship for the creation since he does not allow for any connection between himself and the monster. He never thinks about the monsters quote “I’ll be with you on your wedding night”(Shelley 110). The doctor is not thinking clearly, he is not using a logical thinking process, expected of a human being and especially a scientist. He doesn’t even consider that the monster could be foreshadowing the death of his bride. Then after the monster had one this, the doctor is wrathful towards his creation for not killing him. It took the monster killing his wife, to get his attention. Frankenstein again displays his blind persistence when he tries to hunt and kill his creation. The monster leads his creation through all kinds of rough terrain, and then into the snow covered artic Frankenstein does not care that the monster is not vastly superior in physique compared to him, and that he will never be able to seize the monster unless the creation allows the doctor to catch him. The doctor should have lured the monster to him not hunt the monster. His thick skull does not let any of this affect his thirst for revenge. The doctor has opinions at different points in this novel that are the exact opposite of his opinions later in the story. At the beginning, Dr. Frankenstein lives for the monster. He cares only about finishing his creation. He forgets everything and everybody that was special to him. This concentration in making the monster live is in direct contrast to his later wish to kill the beast. He travels to all extents to hunt and destroy this monster, going through forests, mountains and glaciers, and depriving him of food, people and sleep. There is no gray area in his head. There is only black and white. The doctor is being completely and utterly illogical. He is portraying the characteristics associated with a monster. He is irrational, and its obvious this thought process is unclear. He may look human on the outside, but what’s’ going on inside of him certainly isn’t. It can even be said that his actions are ludicrous and border on mental instability.
The monster on the other hand has gotten the worse end of the deal. His appearance is monstrous, but he is more human then the doctor could ever hope to be. The creation, or as society has labeled a monster, is actually one of the only characters in this novel with a clear thought process. Its assumed he would be dumb, savage and brutal, however he is actually intelligent, kind and humane. At one point he saves a girl from drowning in the lake. He is repaid not with a thank you but with a bullet. This clearly shows how he is judged nit by his actions but by his appearances. If a human had rescued the girl, he wouldn’t have been shot. He helps the family immensely, but is he thanked, no he’s shunned. He isn’t given the respect he deserves due to his appearance. After, he is shot he says something, that I think proves his humanity. “For some weeks I lead a miserable life in the woods, endeavoring to the wound I had received my sufferings were augmented by the oppressive sense of injustice and ingratitude”. He is not only physically suffering, but also mentally suffering. He is contemplating gratitude and justice, two qualities present in humans. If he’s having human feelings and emotions then he is human. If it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, its a duck. The creation knows nothing when he comes into existence and in a very short amount of time can, walk, talk, read, write and think logically. Proof of his logical thinking is evident throughout the novel but especially in his plan to make Frankenstein feel his solitude and misery. The monster is unselfish; he risks his own life to save the drowning girl. He doesn’t have to help the family but he does, he exhibits volunteristic spirit. Granted, he murdered but the circumstances of that, were not that simple. He feels an obligation to the family in some way considering he is using their house as shelter. He even stops taking there food because he sees it causes them to suffer. Also, in the creations recount of his life, the reader sees the organized thought process of his mind. As, he “evolves”, he learns as if he was a human. He experiences a life cycle, he learns, he lives and he dies. He is opposite of the Doctor, the monster is rational, he has flashes of irrationality, but how can you blame something who was mistreated so much. His concern for human life in addition to his feelings for love towards the family is evidence of his kindheartedness. He did not even mean to kill the boy at first. If any character in this novel should be labeled a monster it is not this one.
This book clearly this shows that in fact looks can be deceiving. A monster exhibiting human qualities is not something you would expect to see. If any of the characters actually got to know, the monster, they’d see him for what he is. If anyone knew what the doctor did they would label him a monster? Its impossible for two beings to be as opposite as the Doctor and monster. The novel proves the adage “Don’t judge a book by its cover.
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