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Frankenstein's Monster as a Victim of Circumstance Essay



Victor Frankenstein has created a monster, a demon that antagonizes him throughout Mary Shelleys novel. Though the monster behaves viciously and kills several characters in the novel, he is not intentionally evil or vicious. He is simply a victim of circumstance. The monsters birth is quite unusual in that hes born into the world similar to a fully grown newborn and in spite of its size, the creatures mind is absent of knowledge about the world. Upon drawing first breathe; he is immediately rejected by Dr. Frankenstein because of his outer appearance. The creature is thrown into the world as an outcast and forced to face the cruelties of the life without the parental guidance of Victor. He only learns of good and evil through his experiences. Therefore, the monster cant be seen as bad because he learns bad behavior from the people he meets. His chance encounters with the townspeople only reinforce his feelings of loneliness and self-hatred for he knows hell never be accepted into society from the way he looks. The Frankenstein's monster is a warm-hearted, even compassionate creature because it is forced to be alone, and has a kind nature.

The monster is not without fault. He certainly kills young William, Elizabeth, and Clerval; people who are very important to Victor. These untimely deaths drive Dr. Frankenstein to the brink of insanity. He calls on the "spirits of the dead" and "wandering ministers" so that the "cursed and hellish monster drink deep of agony" and feel "the despair that now torments me" (200). The monster is also capable of wickedness when he burns down the DeLaceys' home and dances "with fury around the devoted cottage" (137) like an untamed brute. Finally, the creature certainly takes pleasure in the causing Victor pain: "your sufferings will satisfy my everlasting hatred" (203) he writes to Victor. These harsh words left behind as evidence by the creature causes one to almost side with Victor but Shelley prevents this by allowing the monster to present his version of the story. The creatures first-person narrative presents proof that he is not the abomination that his creator so claims him to be.

The creature invokes sympathy because he is completely isolated. Although, very intelligent and emotional, the creature has no one he can interact with. Alone from birth, Dr. Frankenstein runs away at first sight of him, his first memories are extremely painful. "I was a poor, helpless, miserable wretch; I knew, and could distinguish, nothing; but feeling pain invade me on all sides, I sat down and wept," he says (101). If the creature were human, it is very likely that he would have benefited from the "hearts of men" which old man De Lacey claims are capable of "brotherly love and charity" (133). Unfortunately, no matter where the creature travels, his misshapen features only produce fear and disgust. His first encounters with human beings are brutal: extremely famished and in search of food, the creature stumbles upon a village and finds himself "grievously bruised by stones and many other kinds of missile weapons" (105). Similarly, the De Lacey family, with whom the monster simply adores for their gentle manners and beauty assaults the creature when they discover him in their home. Oddly enough, the creature fails to retaliate against the DeLaceys for their actions. He does admit that he was tempted to tear Felix apart but was so hurt and bitter that he refrained from doing so. In truth, the monster is also repulsed by his outer appearance: when he glances at his reflection in a standing pool of water he is "filled with the bitterest sensations of despondence and mortification" (113). Disgusted at his reflection and rejected by humanity, the creature seeks out the one human being with whom he has a connection; Victor.

Sensing that no other human is willing to interact with him, the monster is forced to seek out the person who "endowed him with perceptions and passions, and then cast him abroad an object for the scorn and horror of mankind" (138). When they meet again, the creature does not want much from Victor. "I was benevolent and good; misery made me a fiend. Make me happy, and I shall again be virtuous, (98) he asks Victor. He even offers to be submissive to his natural creator if Victor would put an end to his suffering by creating him a female companion. For a brief moment, Victor sympathizes with the creature and admits that he is indeed moved by the monsters story. Maybe, if Victor had continued to feel this way, theFrankenstein monster wouldnt have continued to wreak havoc in Victors life; actually, the creature promises to disappear if Victor would agree to his terms. Yet, Victor reneges on the agreement, and the monster is denied what he considers a last chance at happiness. Victors refusal almost seems as if he faults the creature for yearning for companionship and not wanting to live a life of solitude. Still, the creature refuses to part from Frankenstein vowing that their connection only be broken by death.

Surprisingly, the monster refuses to kill Victor, even though he has every chance to do so. Rather than kill Victor he forces him to chase him by murdering Elizabeth. It seems that the creature would rather have Victor as an enemy than have no connection to him at all. The monster leads Victor on a cruel journey so that both creator and creature suffer together in isolation. As human beings, it is only quite natural to feel the need to interact with others; it is a part of our genetic makeup. Most of us need to feel wanted and this is exactly why the monster continued to follow Dr. Frankenstein. He yearns for attention whether it is good or bad. The creature, under the right circumstances, possibly could have been a helpful part of society.

Even though the creature is pursued by Victor, the monster does make an effort to connect with his creator. He leaves behind to further antagonize Victor and encourage him to continue pursuit. This dysfunctional father-son relationship finally ends when Victor dies aboard Walton's boat. However, the creature fails to rejoice at Victors death, instead he feels miserable and even more alone: I shall die, and what I now feel be no longer felt. Soon these burning miseries will be extinct (220).

Although the creature has a big heart, he is still rejected by human kind. Despite Victors accusations, the creature is not a "demoniacal corpse" from birth (56). In actuality, the monster appears very gentle. He experiences the sunlight in amazement and enjoys hearing birds sing. He also has an unquenchable thirst for knowledge. After realizing that the DeLaceys were able to speak words that produced feelings in others he eagerly desires to learn to speak the language. The creature gains an understanding on the concept of morality, and admits he "felt the greatest ardor for virtue rise within me, and abhorrence for vice," and ultimately comes to admire "peaceable lawgivers such as Numa, Solon, and Lycurgus, in preference to Romulus and Theseus" (128-129). Yet when the creature attempts to implement these concepts, he is constantly persecuted.

Although he seems to take pleasure in watching the DeLaceys benefit from his selfless acts of devotion, the monster is eventually rejected by the family. For example, the creature even saves a young girl from drowning: She continued her course along the precipitous sides of the river, when suddenly her foot slipped, 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 and dragged her to shore. She was senseless, and I endeavoured by every means in my power to restore animation (139-140). In spite of his selfless actions, the creature is only rewarded with violence. A gentleman who was with the young lady sees the creature and shoots him. This situation causes a critical change in the creatures personality. He had saved a human being from death, and as payment he is horribly wounded. In view of this, the creature's vow to enact revenge against humankind can be seen as understandable. However, even after he commits several atrocities, the monster somewhat understands that he has allowed his resentment of human beings to corrupt his soul. Even though "evil thenceforth became his good," (217) the creature has deep-rooted regrets. "When I run over the frightful catalogue of my sins, I cannot believe that I am the same creature whose thoughts were once filled with sublime and transcendent visions of the beauty and the majesty of goodness," he says (218).

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