It was a dreary night of November
Shelley created this negative image of Frankenstein in our minds, possibly, because she is intimating that excessive emotion is wrong. It is shown through his exclamations (“Oh! ) and talk of “breathless horror and disgust”. Her father Godwin believed it inappropriate too – perhaps she was coming into agreement with him as opposed to the philosopher Rousseau, who stated that humans should be ruled by emotion rather than reason. She did elope with Percy Shelley to her father’s antipathy however, which suggests an alteration of her views during this time.
Certainly, Victor is not portrayed as a hero.
He clearly perceives the human characteristics within the monster the better, and finds the unusually “shrivelled complexion” and “black lips” repulsive. He is discriminating against difference. The dream deals with the idea of death. It appears that this was an important concept for Shelley, as the paragraph is considerably longer than the others in the passage. It runs into the monster’s watching over Frankenstein, which suggests that the nightmare had morphed into reality.
The dream itself features the two most important women in Victor’s life: his mother and Elizabeth.
Women are natural life givers, and yet Victor attempted to change nature itself. In the nightmare, he becomes a death giver, as he inadvertently became as a result of the monster’s creation. Because of his marriage to Elizabeth, her lips indeed “became livid with the hue of death”, as she had therefore become a victim of the creation. Due to her death, his mother’s wish of their union never truly ensued. By escaping from the monster repeatedly, Frankenstein demonstrates that he does not live up to gender stereotypes. He does not attempt to attack the monster, as Felix does, but escapes like Safie.
Even through escape, he could not seek comfort though. Shelley shows his suffering through her words: “horror… hell… black and comfortless”. The verse from Coleridge’s Ancient Mariner sums up this terrible inability to escape. It implies that he has lost his family, as the road is “lonely” – because of his experiment he shut out the people he loves, and now that he needs them most, they cannot help him. He is panicking and stricken with paranoia, as he “turn’d round”, only to find that the monster is actually “close behind him”.
It is a possibility that guilt and regret are also following him, as well as the creature, as he must carry a dread of people’s reactions to him. He has this same dread later in the novel, when he assumes that if he creates the monster a partner, “future ages might curse [him] as their pest”. The verse allows Frankenstein to stand as the victim. The passage is geared towards Frankenstein’s standpoint and so it is possible that the reader will not realise his cruelty against the defenceless monster until he gives his interpretation of events.
This is possibly for Shelley to allow the reader to understand both motivations without bias. There is a great contrast in opinion of Frankenstein with hindsight of the monster’s narrative; through the subsequent reading we see the immorality of the creator’s use of derogatory terms for his ‘child’. WORD COUNT: 1010 cwk Show preview only The above preview is unformatted text This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Mary Shelley section.
These actions suggest that human nature can change as someone can be nice towards one thing and then they can be disgusted with that same thing at a different time. Victor gets very friendly with Henry Clerval in the time that they are in Ingolstadt. Henry nurses Victor back to health when he is ill. They came to be in the same college because Henry persuaded his father to let him come to Ingolstadt, but he said that it was hard to persuade as Henry’s father thought that all the skills that you need in your life are used and gained when you are a book keeper.
It is ironic that Henry sees knowledge as a good thing but Victor uses scientific knowledge and turns it into a tragedy, Frankenstein should of followed in ‘s footsteps as Victor’s creation turned out to kill Henry. The way that Victor treated his family, is completely different to the way that Henry treated Victor.
Victor dumped all of his family life behind him, and only spoke to them through short sharp letters, but Henry cared dearly for Victor and even spent useful time looking after Victor when he was seriously ill, Henry also puts his life on hold just to make him better.
I think that the readers of the novel will be ashamed of Victor for abandoning his family and his creation, but also for letting Henry put his life on hold just to make him better. This is a selfish act, and Victor should be more grateful towards Henry and his family. Henry is a very caring man and has a lot of time for people, especially Victor who just takes his skills for granted. Henry’s kindness is shown throughout, examples of this kindness are; ‘I did not before remark how very ill you appear; so thin and pale, you look as if you have been watching for many nights. ‘, and ‘I will not mention it, if it agitates you.
‘ These shows that Henry cares greatly for Victor and that he doesn’t want to upset Victor. This caring manner contrasts with that of Victor’s when he rejects the monster because of its looks. Victor’s selfish side is shown throughout the novel, a few examples are; ‘I had deprived myself of rest and health. I had desired it with and ardour that far exceeded moderation, but now that I have finished, the beauty of the dream vanished, and breathless horror and disgust filled my heart’, ‘infinite pains’, and ‘I felt the bitterness of disappointment. ‘ These show that again Victor’s selfish. He doesn’t care about anyone but himself.
Victor also uses the personal pronoun, ‘I’, this states that everything is about him, so this is also a selfish action. Victor keeps his creation a secret, he does not want to tell anyone as he is not yet sure of the outcome of the creature, but after the birth of the creation, he is ashamed of it, he believes that it is a product of hell and that the monster is beyond control and just decides to keep it to himself and lie to other people. This influences the readers’ attitude towards Victor in the rest of the novel because the readers may now believe that he can not tell the truth and that the narration of the story may be biased.
This relates to the theme of secrecy in the rest of the novel, for example; when he makes a companion for the monster, and also not telling anyone that he knew what killed someone of his family and friends. Mary Shelley suggests that lots of people do keep secrets and do not want to tell anyone. We keep secrets because it will ruin something special, the person is ashamed or embarrassed of it, the person can not confide in anyone, or they just do not want to tell anyone, as it may get someone in trouble.
People do keep secrets and usually lie, it may be small lies or it may be a serious lie. People tell lies to put the problem off for as long as they can until they crack, they do this because they think it is an easy option, but in the long run, it is the hardest option as it drags a lot out of your self esteem. The ending of the chapter is a contrast of the rest of the chapter, especially the beginning, the weather and the atmosphere created. In the begging of the chapter the weather is dull, and gloomy. This is shown throughout the opening paragraph.
The phrases ‘the rain pattered dismally against the pains,’ and ‘dreary’ suggest that the weather reflects on the dark atmosphere created by the near birth of the creature, it also suggests that something may happen may happen later on in the chapter. In the ending paragraph, the atmosphere created is completely different. The descriptions show that there is change as it is now light. This is a pleasurable sight for Victor as the weather was so uninviting earlier on in the chapter. The phrase ‘young buds were shooting forth from trees that shaded my window.
It was a divine spring,’ shows that the darkness has subsided to make way for the light. Also, there was a new beginning for the natural processes, growing of buds etc. There was a non artificial mood in the air as everything that was happening was completely natural, so this is a great contrast to everything that was happening in the first paragraph of the chapter. The word ‘divine’ is connected with heaven, so everything is moving on from Victor’s deed. It is also to do with God, so it is a contrast between the thought of hell earlier on in the chapter.
In the following chapter people may think that Victor tries to accept the monster and is not so selfish towards it and also the rest of his family, because the chapter ends with relief for Victor. The reader, at the end of the chapter, may be wondering where the monster has gone and what the monster is really doing. It may be that they think he has gone to commit another deadly murder. To conclude, this chapter is very vital. In it, there is always something going on. The chapter helps you to see how Victor really is and how he treats people in times of struggle.
When, the monster is created, we get the impression that Victor was excited, but then he was ashamed of the outcome. Furthermore, when the monster disappears he felt relieved even though it could still come back. At the time when the monster disappeared, it was like Victor started a whole new life, this showed that he was not really bothered about what would happen if the monster was let loosen the world. From this chapter, we find that when Victor gets engrossed in something, he forgets about the whole world around him and abandons people, like his family.
Victor is prone to abandoning things and people in this chapter. For example; he abandons the monster just because of the way it looks, and hurts its feelings, making it commit murders on people close to Victor to get its own back. We find that Victor is to blame for the actions of the monster, and that Victor is very selfish. This is shown when he uses the person pronoun ‘I’, which shows that he is completely aware of himself and that he does not care much for other people. The secrecy in the novel is constant. Victor is always keeping secrets from his loved ones, whether large or small.
The scientific ideas that Victor has are also important, as they bring together the whole story, as he knows man can create life with the correct theories and equipment. The theories that Victor has are going against God as it is an un-natural process, and that the creation will be forever criticized whether it is handsome or ugly. It also sums up how we treat each other in society today. I don not feel the same way as Victor did towards his creation. I think the actual monsters are Victor Frankenstein and M. Waldman these people both tried to create the creature, but Victor got further.
They both created an abominable creature. I think some of the concerns in the novel are relevant today because not many people abandon things like children and pets, but the lucky ones get looked after. People also get abused because of the way they look, I think that this is wrong and should be stopped. By Samantha Loader Page 1 Show preview only The above preview is unformatted text This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Mary Shelley section.
In chapter 5 Frankenstein abandons the creature he created and his actions have a big impact on the rest of the story. The monster is left on his own to deal with fear and loneliness. He also has to deal with the humanity, who judge him on his appearance and as a result do not welcome him. Shelley’s message to her readers could be that, we should all take responsibility for everything that we do. And that we should not judge things of they’re appearance.
When Frankenstein sees his friend Henry Clerval, he asks about his family and we can see that he is worried. The lines ”It gives me the greatest delight to see you; but tell me how you left my father, brothers, and Elizabeth” shows that Frankenstein cares about his family and that he is worried about them. The fact that he is worried is significant because later on in the novel his family is going to be in danger, which worries Frankenstein even more.
In chapter 5 we might feel sympathy for Frankenstein, when he shows confusion by saying:” How can I describe my emotions at this catastrophe, or how delineate the wretch whom with such infinite pains and care I had endeavoured to form?”. Shelley could have used this rhetorical question to make us feel sympathy for Frankenstein. The readers understand that Frankenstein is finding it hard to deal with emotions as he is experiencing the rhetorical question emphasizes his confusion.
Frankenstein has waited nearly two years for this moment, we know this because he says: ”I had worked hard for nearly two years, for the sole purpose of infusing life into an inanimate body.” Evidently he was very passionate about what he was doing and we partly feel sorry for him because he was unhappy with what he had done. However Shelley draws use also to feel sympathy for the monster, when he tells his story, further in the novel. We feel more sympathy towards the monster because, he was left all alone and it was actually Frankenstein’s fault. The monster didn’t do anything wrong, but Frankenstein judged him for the way he looked and left him.
One of the most important moments is when Frankenstein says:” I stepped fearfully in: the apartment was empty and my bedroom was also freed from its hideous guest. I could hardly believe that so great a good fortune could have befallen me, but when I became assured that my enemy had indeed fled, I clapped my hands for joy and ran down to Clerval.” Frankenstein announces the monster has left which he is overjoyed with; this is ironic because the monster has not gone for good! He will return and look for revenge. The monster is just like a child because if Frankenstein had brought him up and showed him love the monster might not have become a killer.
In chapter 5 Frankenstein’s obsession is shown very well. He does not think about anything but his work. We can see this when he says:” For this I had deprived myself of rest and health. I had desired it with an ardour that for exceeded moderation; but now that I had finished the beauty of the dream vanished, and breathless horror and disgust filled my heart.” Shelley uses strong words, to emphasize Frankenstein’s obsession. Shelley suggests that if you desire something so badly and it doesn’t work about to be the way you had expected it; this will be very hard for you to accept.
When Frankenstein says:” He might have spoken, but I did not hear; one hand was stretched out, seemingly to detain me, but I escaped and rushed downstairs.” we see his cowardice. Frankenstein is scared that the monster will kill him and he tries to get away, after he has ‘escaped’ the monster, we can guess that he is proud of escaping the creature. In the lines:” I then paused, and a cold shivering came over me.
I threw the door forcibly open as children are accustomed to do when they expect a spectre to stand in waiting for them on the other side; but nothing appeared.” We see that Frankenstein compares himself with children; Shelley could have used this simile to emphasise the fact that Frankenstein is trying to get rid of his responsibilities. In chapter 5 we also see that Frankenstein is a very selfish man and that he only thinks about himself. We can see this selfishness in the relieve he shows when he finds out that the monster has left. Without thinking about where the monster might have gone, he says:” I could hardly believe that so great a good fortune could have befallen me”.
Shelley uses pathetic fallacy in her novel as the weather reflects the mood of Frankenstein. She starts the chapter with:” It was on a dreary night of November”, the weather emphasises Frankenstein’s disgust, fear and depression. He is also talking about a ”comfortless sky”, this could emphasise the fact that Frankenstein has no one to comfort him. At the end of chapter 5 Shelley uses pathetic fallacy again.
We can see that when Frankenstein says:” It was a divine spring, and the season contributed greatly to my convalescence”. Frankenstein feels like he started a new life, because it’s spring. We can guess that Shelley has used the season cycle to emphasise that, even though Frankenstein thinks he is being given another chance and he can start a new life in spring, the winter will come back and so will the monster.
Chapter 5 shows us the obsession that a lot of people could have to create life. Even thought we try so hard we would never be able to make something as beautiful as god can. Frankenstein says:” it became a thing such as even Dante could not have conceived.” This is ironic because god is the one who gives life. We can assume that Shelley used irony here to emphasise the hate and disgust Frankenstein has. The contrast between God and Dante, winter and spring emphasize the fact good and evil will be a contrast throughout the novel.
There is a lot of loneliness shown in Chapter 5, until Clerval comes. Frankenstein is very pleased with finally having someone around. We can see this when he says:” But I was in reality very ill, and surely nothing but the unbounded and unremitting attentions of my friend could have restored me to life.” In this chapter we have learned that in the nineteenth century people were very religious and even though they believed that you couldn’t play god, they were very interested in science, creating of life and things like that. We also know that this novel was very popular in the nineteenth century, because there was no entertainment such as televisions and theatres. This novel was also popular because people those days were interested in horrific images and unnatural ideas.
Social and historical context
How do Mary Shelley’s descriptions of the setting and her use of language in Chapter 5 create tension and excitement and represent the social and historical context of 19th Century England? Frankenstein is the best-selling and most famous piece of work by Mary Shelley. It was first published anonymously in London in 1818; however Shelley’s name is printed on the cover of the third edition released in 1831. The story is set in 1790’s Europe and begins with a series of letters exchanged between a man named Captain Robert Walton and his sister about Victor Frankenstein’s story shortly after meeting him in the North Pole.
Victor Frankenstein is from a Swiss family and is highly interested in science, how life is formed and how the body works. He becomes obsessed with creating the ‘perfect’ human being. He collects spare body parts from which he conceives his being. He brings it to life by an electrical current yielded from lightening bolts. After all his efforts, anyhow, Victor is extremely horrified when the ‘perfect being’ comes to life – it is a hideous monster.
Victor is so frightened that he runs away, but then bumps into one his old friends, Henry Clerval. Victor falls seriously ill from the conscious knowledge of the huge, ugly mistake he had created and from working on the project incessantly for so many years with little rest; however Henry is there to look after him. The monster also had ran away to seek acceptance from society but he is completely rejected, which causes his loneliness. As a result, the monster decides to scout revenge on his creator for making him so abominable.
On the monster’s return to Geneva, Switzerland, he kills Victor’s younger brother during his rage. As Victor hears of his sibling’s death, he returns to Geneva and runs into the monster. The monster demands that Victor must create a female companion. Victor is obviously sceptical due to the results of his first project but the monster blackmails Victor into doing this by threatening to kill Elizabeth – Victor’s childhood sweetheart. On agreeing, Frankenstein returns to England to begin the task but ceased when he realised that he is only digging a deeper hole for himself and the people close to him. He resolves that the only way around this is to kill the monster. When Victor learns that the monster had killed Henry, he was more determined than ever and he becomes aware that time is short and marries Elizabeth as soon as possible. Sadly, Elizabeth is also murdered by the monster on their wedding night.
While chasing the monster throughout Europe and the North Pole, strong-minded and in desperate hope of saving the world from the monster’s peril, Victor meets Captain Robert Walton whom he recites his traumatic story to. Tragically, shortly after, Frankenstein is killed by the monster. Robert Walton had promised Victor to eliminate the monster if ever the chance but the monster convinced him otherwise. The monster returns to the North Pole never to be seen again.
This novel would have really fascinated the Victorians. The story was written before the medical and technological evolutions in body alterations in science, so the mere concept of building a being from spare body parts was far beyond their understanding. It would also seem fantastic, but not improbable bringing the being to life by electricity from lightning bolts, as it had only just been discovered that lightning is static electricity. Victorians were also very interested in death and life after death and this is shown through all the murders that the monster commits and the use of spare body parts.
There are quite a few reasons why Shelley may have wanted to write a story about a man creating a new human being. One of the main themes in the novel is the conflict between science and religion and the results that can occur when you try to play God. What Shelley is trying to portray is that when you try and play God, things will turn out wrong – in Frankenstein this happens when Victor attempts to build God’s creation through the means of science. This relates to the fact that Shelley sadly had lost children, and how she must have wanted to bring them back to life which may have influenced the idea of creating a being.
Chapter 5 is the point in the novel in which Victor finally gives life to the monster, yet realises how grotesque the creature is. This moment is pivotal because he recognises what a huge mistake he has made in creating the monster in the first place and has spent so much time on such a thing. Victor knows that the monster should be destroyed however, as soon as he has the opportunity to do so, Victor runs away. He then meets up with Henry Clerval and explains what has happened. After all the stress he has been through he falls seriously ill and Henry looks after him. Chapter 5 is an important chapter because it is the chapter where the creature is brought to life, a sort of climax to Victor’s hard work and interest. It is important that this part happens near the beginning of the novel so that all the disasters that are caused by the life of the monster can consume the reader afterwards. Shelley uses many devices to captivate her readers’ imagination. She really captures the dark, creepy theme by using gothic descriptions.
Frankenstein was written in 1816 by female novelist, Mary Shelley. She was only 18 at the time she had the idea for it. Her, her boyfriend Percy Shelley (whom she later married) and some of her friends were on holiday at the shore of lake Geneva in Switzerland, and at the time it was pouring down outside, so one of them decided that they should have a competition to see who could create the scariest horror story. Each person tried desperately to think of one, so much that they tried eating things that would give them nightmares.
Mary had the idea of a creature being brought to life, which then lead to the birth of Frankenstein. This book is often referred to as ‘the modern Prometheus’, named after a greek god who stole power from heaven to create life from lifeless materials.
When this book was first published, it was done so under an anonymous name because in those days women were not supposed to do things like Write horror stories and therefore would have been outcast.
Summary This story is based upon an English man called Robert Walton who is writing to his sister back in England. He is seeking to find the North Pole. In doing this, he finds a man called Victor Frankenstein floating on a piece of ice. Walton drags the man aboard and revives him. When Frankenstein is recovered he starts to tell his story. He begins to tell Walton about his father and how he came to life, and goes on to talk about his childhood. At this time everything seems fine as Frankenstein appears to have had a very happy time as a child with his family, but it is after this that things start to go wrong.
Frankenstein tells of how he goes to university to study natural philosophy, otherwise known as chemistry. It is from this that he goes on to make the discovery he so dearly goes to regret – the discovery of giving new life to dead material. He goes on to say that with this discovery he begins to build a new being. He not only begins to build it, he becomes obsessed with creating new life and even though he becomes ill he continues with it until it is done. He explains how excited he is with what he is doing and how he can’t wait to get it finished. However, when it does spring to life the last emotion Frankenstein feels is joy.
He is horrified by his creation, and runs out of his room. He returns later to find, to his extreme delight, the monster to be gone. Frankenstein soon forgets about it and decides to return to Geneva to visit his family who he has not seen for 5 years. He returns to discover some grave news. His younger brother, William, has been murdered and his adopted sister, Justine, has been accused of the crime. Frankenstein instantly knows who had really performed the act. He knew that it was the monster he created which had done this heinous deed. He knew, however, if he told the court that they would not believe him, so Justine was convicted and executed.
This filled Frankenstein with great bitterness and hatred towards the monster. He decides to go for a walk in the Alps to take his mind off things. It is here where he confronts the monster for the second time. When Frankenstein sees the monster his first instinct is to kill it, but the monster is a lot bigger than stronger than him. The monster then tells Frankenstein to listen to what he says and then judge him. This is where the monster tells his story. He says that he came into the world with no understanding of anything around him, like a fully-grown baby. After his confrontation with Frankenstein, he walked out into a park, where he found berries to eat and a stream to drink from. He then moved out into the countryside where he had numerous encounters with humans he’d rather forget about.
Whenever humans saw him, they either ran away or attacked the monster. This upset him, because he did not wish to harm them. Eventually, he found a small ‘hovel’ (small hut) on a farm. It was here he stayed for a long time. He learnt the names of the people who lived on the farm, and also their history, that they were sent out of France by the government because they were planning to free someone from prison. The monster slowly picked up their language of these people and also how to read from old books they threw out. He helped the family by cutting wood for them at night in the winter at night, and generally became quite attracted to the family. After a year and a bit, the monster decided he would confront the family.
This went well at first because firstly he met the old man. This was an advantage to the monster because the old man was blind and couldn’t judge him by his looks. However, when the rest of the family came home they were horrified by the monsters appearance and attacked him. The monster was very upset by this and ran out of the house. He ran out into the forest, and returned the following morning to discover the family rushing to leave the place from the monster. He was so angered by this that he trashed the farm, destroying everything and burning it all.
The monster then set his sights on returning to Geneva. He spent about half a year travelling but eventually got there. When he got there he discovered Frankenstein’s younger brother, William. The monster grabbed the boy, and he started shouting so he tried to silence him by choking him and ended up killing him. The monster found a pendant round the boy’s neck, and out it round a girl who was sleeping nearby, and then ran. It is here the monster concludes his story.
The archetypal description of Victor Frankenstein
The archetypal description of Victor Frankenstein is much the same, although he is depicted as the Romantic hero, he is the true doppelganger of Walton and is described by him as “the brother of my heart” with an intimacy unequalled. Walton also throughout this opening stage portrays Victor with language flourishing with eloquence to be the noblest of creatures, both passionate and gentle. But this description is just an archetype deliberately inserted by Mary Shelley to provoke a judgement of Victor from the reader that portrays him as the conventional protagonist.
This device should emphasize the contrasting judgement later on in the novel, because he, like Walton, is part of the one-sided coin of narcissism and pomposity that they together make up and he, like Walton, is not deserved of our sympathy, pity or pathos. The monster, in contrast, deserves our sympathy because he is unfairly both reviled and violently attacked due to his physical appearance by all mankind that perceives him.
Often referred to as a “daemon” or “wretch” the monster is cowardly abandoned by Victor and forced to experience his ‘socialisation’ stage alone in a cold world that he soon realises will never accept him, “… I am an outcast in the world forever”. The monster represents a newly born child thrown into a world of adults, forced into orphanage by a neglecting ‘father’. He knows no discrimination, like a young child he does not distinguish between race, gender, age or appearance and, in his earlier life establishes strong ‘human’ qualities such as gratitude and love for the natural world that surrounds him.
The monster in its own way symbolizes a pure form of human being, untouched. He does not develop the shallowness that we as a society perceive as a normal reaction to something that appears so different to ourselves. This is the key factor that separates Walton and Frankenstein from the monster, which is why we must sympathise with the monster and not with his antagonists. They do react to difference and think of themselves as higher, god-like beings, doppelgangers of each other’s egotism.
Walton, who compares himself to “the names of Homer and Shakespeare”, isolates himself merely because he believes only a minority matches his intellect, because although he is lonely, “I have no friend”, he himself effectively chooses to be lonely. Whilst Frankenstein does not contemplate the follies of playing God because he, like Walton, can only visualise success for himself and does not contemplate the consequences of his monomania, “I seemed to have lost all soul for this one pursuit”.
Did I request thee, Maker, from my clay
‘Did I request thee, Maker, from my clay/ To mould thee man? Did I solicit thee/ From darkness to promote me? ‘ Adam’s words appear in 1818 edition of FR. What light do they cast on the Creature? Does Shelley present him as monster or victim? By using the above quote from ‘Paradise Lost’ (printed in the epigraph on the title page of ‘Frankenstein’) Shelley has shown that she does see some parallels with God’s creation of man and Frankenstein’s creation.
However through the novel Shelley expresses many opinions and criticisms of society which were influenced by her own family circumstances and her vast reading.
She makes constant reference to family and the concept of alienation and by examining how the creature is treated we can form a better view on whether he is a monster or a victim. Shelley quickly gets the reader involved in the story by enabling us to read the letters Walton writes to his sister.
This epistolary style gives a sense of realism to the whole story and thus prepares us to hear Frankenstein and the creature’s accounts later on through Walton’s journal, which forms a frame for their versions of the story.
Because we are hearing Frankenstein’s version through the eyes of Walton, a romantic character, who ‘bitterly feel(s) the want of a friend’ and quickly identifies Frankenstein as the sort of person who could satisfy this want, we may be hearing a biased version of the events. We also see the Creature’s version told to Frankenstein and then recorded in Walton’s journal. However, the eloquent rhetoric used by the creature give the impression that we are not reading an entirely prejudiced report of the creature’s account who may otherwise have appeared less articulate and more like a babbling monster.
However, first of all I will examine Frankenstein’s narrative where we can see that there is regular emphasis put on the benevolence of the characters. His father ‘passed his younger days perpetually occupied by the affairs of his country’ and his parents’ ‘benevolent dispositions often made them enter the cottages of the poor’. His mother is described as having a ‘soft and benevolent mind’ and his own early childhood memories are of his ‘mother’s soft caresses’ and his father’s ‘smile of benevolent pleasure’.
This emphasis on the importance of benevolence can be traced to Shelley’s father, William Godwin a radical thinker who believed that ‘universal benevolence’ would create a just and virtuous society and that a ‘true solitaire’ could not ‘be considered a moral being’. Shelley by dedicating her book to her father would seem to be showing that she believed and shared in some of his philosophy and this would appear to be the case here. Before we hear the creature’s story we see the use of both Romantic and Gothic imagery setting the scene.
Frankenstein is enjoying the beauty of nature when ‘a noble war in the sky’ takes place. This is a description of a storm which is taking place and Shelley frequently uses the weather and ‘sublime’ scenery before the entry of the creature or when something unpleasant is about to take place. If we then start to look at the creature’s narrative reported by Frankenstein to Walton (thus showing how Shelley has used a set of enclosing narratives – Walton’s narrative being the framing narrative with Frankenstein’s story enclosed in this and the creatures enclosed within that.
) we see that his story is totally the opposite to Frankenstein. When we do see the entry of the creature we see that his first memories are the opposite to Frankenstein’s, they are not of benevolence – he is rejected by his creator, followed by the repulsion and horror of the shepherd, followed by the villagers chasing him off and the DeLaceys and finally after saving the life of a young girl he is shot by a man. Accordingly, in his own words: ‘I was benevolent and good; misery made me a fiend’.
The idea of the unfallen state of innocence possessed before the creature’s corruption, brought about from his contact with society, is something Shelley had come into contact with from her reading of Rousseau’s books. The creature claims to have read ‘Paradise Lost’ (believing it to be factual) and other books such as Plutarch’s ‘Lives’ and through these and listening to the DeLacey’s he starts to build up a picture of the philosophy of society. He sees himself as the lowest of the low when he learns about the class system and when he sees his own reflection.
The latter he describes as ‘miserable deformity’. Consequently the ‘solitary and abhorred’ creature who believes himself to be ‘miserably alone’ compares himself to Adam. However he realises that Adam had not been alone and his creator had not turned from him in disgust and abandoned him. Because ‘no Eve soothed my sorrows nor shared my thoughts’ he sees that his only hope of happiness is to have a female version of himself created. Thus we see again parallels being drawn with the ‘Paradise Lost’ story.
Using ‘eloquent and persuasive’ language Frankenstein is persuaded to create a second creature. Of course, he later decides against this and we see the creature once again facing a life ‘alone, miserably alone’ and it is in this state we see him once again causing death and destruction. Some readers see that the book is a rejection of the excess of romanticism, perhaps Shelley saw this excess in her husband Percy and felt the need to voice an objection. If a person becomes obsessed with the pursuit of knowledge then things can go wrong and this could be seen to be the case with Frankenstein.
Others believe that Frankenstein represents a man who sees himself in the place of God who does not need a woman to have a child and if this is the case once again we can see that Shelley has shown how things can go wrong and instead of ‘No father should claim the gratitude of his child as completely as I should deserve theirs’ we see a creature ‘alone, miserably alone’ who sees the only way forwards is the ‘annihilation of one of (them)’ Consequently, it is my opinion the creature was a victim and that this is the way that Shelley intended us to judge him.
She wished the readers to see that society has a responsibility for everyone. We should not judge people by their appearance and we should take responsibility for the less fortunate people in our society. She was writing at the time of the industrial revolution and when many new scientific theories were being advanced and perhaps saw the danger of what could happen if people failed to take responsibility for their actions and perhaps even believed that it would one day be possible to create beings and wanted to ensure that scientists would see that they had a responsibility for anything that they did create.
The creature had no loving family or friends and no one to guide him and therefore it is inevitable that he would turn into a monster – but a monster because of the way he had been treated and therefore a victim. Am I to be thought the only criminal, when all human kind sinned against me?
Frankenstein V Bladerunner
In what ways does a comparative study accentuate the distinctive contexts of Frankenstein and Blade Runner? The comparative study of texts, allows audiences to investigate the changing nature and interpretation of issues relating to humanity as they are interpreted in different contexts. Context allows audiences to relate to and understand the thoughts, decisions and actions of individuals within a text. Context provides the opportunity to develop and shape a new genre or interpret an existing genre in a new way.
The comparative study of context allows for audiences to compare the changing values of societies over time.
Literary techniques such as allusions, imagery and dialogue is used to shape context and can be used by composers to entertain, inform or persuade an audience or highlight and provide insight into interesting or noteworthy points. Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1831) and Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner (Directors Cut-1992) individually utilise literary techniques to establish the context of their text within its time.
The comparative study of these two texts highlights how texts are inevitably a product of their time however both texts present issues that explore the intricacies and complexities of all human experience.
Shelley and Scott utilise distinctive contexts to explore the nature of humanity and ultimately question what makes us human. Frankenstein and Blade Runner exist to highlight how context affects the perceptions of the audience in regards to how a text is received over time thus highlighting how a comparative study of texts can accentuate distinctive contexts.
The comparative study of texts depends on the context used to establish a relationship with the audience. Mary Shelley’s fiction novel Frankenstein (1831) is a hybrid product of 18th century Gothic-Romanticism. The text reflects recent challenges to the social order as a result of the English industrial revolution and the French revolution during the second half of the 18th century which highlighted the empowerment of the working class. Frankenstein is a work of epistolary prose fiction that is explored through multiple narrators such as the ‘monster’, Victor Frankenstein and Robert Walton.
Frankenstein exists as a didactic tale that explores the morality of trying to subvert god thus providing a lesson in patriarchal hubris highlighting the arrogance of scientific discovery without any consideration of the moral or ethical implications. Frankenstein consequently explores the nature of obsession in undermining parental and moral responsibility and evoking fear in the creation-fear of the world, fear of man. Subsequently the leading antagonist of Blade Runner, Roy Batty, further elucidates the arrogance of obsession as he explains his plight, stating, ‘Quite an experience to live in fear, isn’t it?
That’s what it is to be a slave”. Batty provides insight into the failure of creators to understand the emotional development of the creation which leads to its isolation and fear, causing the ensuing destruction of the ‘natural order’. Frankenstein utilises the characterisation of Victor, ‘I have described myself as always having been imbued with a fervent longing to penetrate the secrets of nature’ to explore the obsession for knowledge that formed part of Shelley’s context. The text therefore reflects the influences of recent scientific development such as Galvanism and evolutionary thought.
The comparative study of contrasting textual forms allows context to influence different interpretations of a text. Ridley Scott’s speculative science fiction film Blade Runner (1992) employs extensive mis-en-scene to subvert the audience’s sense of setting and history-a suspension of belief- enabling contextually dependant perceptions of the film. The films’ setting reflects its context as it echoes the concept of imperfect vision that conceptualises the short-sightedness inherent in the pursuit of perfection.
The film juxtaposes the seemingly inherent ethical pretexts of discovery with the scientific community that seeks to create a perfect race, thus Blade Runner’s scientific context becomes reminiscent of fascist Nazi Aryan ideology, IVF programs and the Human Genome project. Conversely Frankenstein utilises its sublime Swiss setting to increase the plausibility of the themes which allow them to resonate with audiences as they relate to the texts context.
Contrasting textual form is used to highlight how the context of each text enables their concurrent themes to resonate and remain relevant to 21st century audiences. Distinctive contexts are accentuated through similar theme content. Frankenstein and Blade Runner similarly indicate that efforts to ‘defy’ the natural order are responsible for the enduring sense of misery and alienation that sustains the overall melancholic tone of both texts.
Animal Imagery is used extensively within Blade Runner to reveal the primal nature of raw, native emotion of the ‘replicants’, a reflection of parental neglect which renders them incapable of understanding their emotions. Similarly Frankenstein juxtaposes the idyllic nature of childhood with the abandonment of parental responsibility to highlight the confusion behind the monsters ‘ugly’ exterior, therefore provide insight into creations’ place as the ultimate innocent of both texts.
Frankenstein and Blade Runner establish the creations’ as the victims of both physical and emotional negligence who ultimately confront their creator to correct the flaw which isolates them from the world. Frankenstein and Blade Runner similarly utilise content to highlight the creations as the source of destruction to reveal the true nature of monstrosity, the senseless creators. The pursuit of knowledge at the expense of a moral framework is identified as the creators’ ultimate fatal flaw.
As the creations of both texts reflect upon and highlight their unnatural qualities, they reveal how their creators can no longer attain the sublime. Victor highlights his exile from the sublime as he recounts how his actions and subsequent inaction ‘deprives the soul both of hope and fear’ contributing to his demise. Frankenstein and Blade Runner similarly evoke a development of critical literacy and knowledge of genre at a macro level that enables distinctive contexts to gain prominence and influence the understanding or interpretation of their respective genres as a whole.
The contextualisation of Frankenstein and Blade Runner is used to provide insight into the reception of texts as it challenges the contemporary values of the audience. Frankenstein draws parallels with Greek mythology as it establishes Victor as a modern Prometheus while also addressing elements of Jewish mysticism as the ‘monster’ exhibits qualities similar to the golem of Prague. The text is also reminiscent of Godwin and Wollstonecraft, however, is inherently less optimistic about society’s realistically attainable level of perfection, both physically and economically.
In stark contrast, Blade Runner addresses perfection as achievable in a commercial sense ‘commerce is our goal here at Tyrell’ however as Deckard states ‘nobody is perfect’ he highlights the shortcomings of forgoing the moral obligations inherent in the pursuit of commerce which ultimately enable an evaluation of humanities moral boundaries. Blade Runner pays homage to the representation (particularly through film and television) of the 1950’s detective film-noir to reveal a rendition of post-modern expressionism.
The reflection of commerce as a postmodern cultural imperative establishes the relationship between socio-economic status and pastiche consumption. Consequently, humanity is ‘created’ and traded with this ‘transformation of everything into commodity’ (Byers, 1990) becoming a reflection of the context of Blade Runner following the collapse of the Soviet Union and the economic strength of the United States during the films production. In essence the distinctive context of Frankenstein and Blade Runner reflects the interpretation and perception of the genre, textual form and content over time.
The comparative study of these distinctive contrasting contexts allows audiences to reflect on the enduring power of parental and moral responsibility, deliberate action or inaction and the features that define humanity. The key reflections in which the audience understands how they are positioned by composers as a result of their context is especially important in allowing moral assessments throughout the text. Frankenstein and Blade Runner are two texts who successfully explore the nature in which humans interpret their humanity as a response to a contextualised stimulus.
Blade Runner ultimately reveals the establishment of emotional understanding as a definitive characteristic of being human, while incidentally Frankenstein explores the features of humanities collective consciousness which enable an individual to belong through emotional dependence. The comparative study of Frankenstein and Blade Runner allows audiences gain a further understanding into the way contexts are accentuated through assessments of conceptualised fiction which explore the themes and issues which forms the unique identity of humanity.
Frankenstein: Social Construct
Although written in the 19th century, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein has many themes that are still relevant today. Frankenstein, though it was sparked as a simple nightmare, is depicted as a social commentary. The rules of society remain the same, despite the two hundred year difference in time. The norms were being changed over time, yet they remained to those who decided to reject the social changes. Those people are rejected from society, and hold immense hatred because of the said rejection, and that hatred morphs their person.
As this happens in the novel, Frankenstein turns into the monster everyone claimed him to be. With rejection, bitterness is sure to ensue, especially as human nature makes humans very sociable creatures. Shelley makes other social remarks concerning human nature, religion vs. science, and creation that are still holding strong through the years and remain true today. As previously mentioned, the townspeople treated Adam (the name the Frankenstein monster gave himself) in such a way because he had resembled a nightmare-riddled monster, and thought they could treat him as such because his looks justified it.
He looked like a monster, therefore he did not have a soul. It is something classified as dogma or a social belief: people will accept as such without a second thought. As this is human nature, one will only act a certain way towards another from their personal appearance, in example: If the person looks weak, they will be treated as such. In another example, if a young man comes across feminine in the very least way, he is branded as a homosexual and is treated as such. People do not try to expand their minds and accept others, this being one of the major distinguishing and disgusting part of.
With a society that has a mixture of everything and anything, saying that something is not exactly “normal” is just a distortion, as not one person could truly know what “normal” would be like in a society. But not only is the monster in Frankenstein judged for his looks, he is also judged for coarse manner of speech and his generally unrefined character. He manages to dwell in extreme natural temperatures, and exists on a different diet. Being superior to the average human in every way except appearance, Adam is a super human.
On human standards, the Adam is not attractive or even acceptable, he is considered to be deformed and is outcasted. As is correct in the given time period, the monster is persecuted on how he looks and is constantly hunted down or harassed. Appearance is one of the fastest ways to see a societal difference, be it skin colour or hair colour. Social exclusions do not just limit themselves to being based on appearance only, though. Not only was human nature depicted in Frankenstein, but creation was as well. Victor is depicted as a god-like figure to Frankenstein, as the man is his creator and appreciates him as such.
Also, Frankenstein feels that he has been abandoned and turns resentful and ruthless. Victor, being his creator/parental figure and rejected him so readily, gave Adam the motives, the want to cause pain to people because he could. This is a comment on how some feel abandoned by their godlike figures or parents in one way or another. By being surrounded by a strong disapproving society, who believes that whatever God created should be marveled at in wonder and not poked, prodded, or measured in any way, It is believed that everything their God created is perfect in every way, regardless of mishap or disfiguration.
Judging by the definition of creation, and the fact that Frankenstein did not have the same creator as normal society, Frankenstein is different, and obviously then ostracised. But creation is not just limited to bringing a new life into the world, but something composers, artists and writers do as well. Creation is truly a burden to carry, or can be the thought that inspires one to pursue creation. It is almost like an illness that cannot be corrected or cured. Creation is a beautiful sickness, and yet a destructive one at the same time.
This sickness is the same sickness that had created breathtaking symphonies by Bach and Beethoven, and also was the same sickness that lead Anne Sexton and Kurt Cobain to their early deaths. This sickness is born again as the monster; he is also infected by it. Victor worked madly to complete his creation, the monster, only to realize what he wanted did not turn out as he planned it. He tortured the monster and the monster fled, where the monster could do the same to others as his creator did to him. It is the same concept of a parent teaching their offspring, or of a God passing down beliefs to his followers.
In Frankenstein, Victor had lost his faith. With that loss of faith in religion, he pursued the science aspect, and was then despised and then rejected for it. With the large variety religion has, Victor chose to abandon them all and push for the more probable aspect of things. He pursued to push nature to its limit in a way that is frowned upon by most religious followers, although science deems that to be okay. Religion and science have always been up against one another, both sides determined to prove that they are correct.
Religion has many branches, with Christianity being one very significant aspect. Christians tell the world that God is the one who had created the earth and everything that lives there, although Science tells us that it was the Big Bang which created the earth. This is a huge battle between science and religion. Christians also say that God created man and from that the population today was created. However, science will argue that it is evolution that sparked the creation of man, and that everything was once something simpler before, and it grew smarter and stronger and became what it is today.
Both religion and science disagree with one another. While religion is based on of faith and has no proof aside of text and interpretation, science is based on proof of theories solely. Although the two have differences that are never going to be resolved within the next century, they can manage to cooperate with each others’ difficulties. But there are also major instances where a resolution would not be exactly what is needed. Science has proven that there is, in fact, a gene that homosexuals have that make them homosexual, and are indeed born with it.
Religion, Christianity in particular, believe that it is a disease and can simply be forgiven once the said “victim” has pleaded for forgiveness and can be “cured”. Religion seeks justification and science seeks answers. With religion’s ideology and need for uniform social understanding, people will blindly act without seeking to understand the whole situation. With pure “seeking of truth” people will not stop to wonder if it is a good or bad situation, and if it is something that needs to be sought out. People who are purely scientific will ignore what is not present in the evidence, no matter how obvious it may appear.
They will ignore things that they cannot observe to be “true”. People who base their lives on what they “know” or have been told do not seek to understand precisely why is it how it is, and potentially stray from their path of righteousness, despite being faced with evidence that discredits their belief. The perfect compromise between the two based on the evidence is that one must both follow their own heart, their own intuition and what one has been taught, yet one also must seek new truths and be willing to adapt.
Frankenstein is a novel holds a plethora of themes of human nature; the moral and immoral, creation, and religion versus science. These three major themes then are still major to today, and are constantly being used as examples in modern society and psychological affairs. This is why Frankenstein is such a timeless piece and can always relate to the current times. As a classic, is distinguishes a certain period in time where these things were relevant, and sent a shock throughout society, something that we now appreciate and use when teaching.
Creation is a valued as a sickness that plagues a man’s mind with either beauty or destruction, the same sickness that had plagued Victor’s mind while creating Adam. Human nature pushed Adam to harm others and fear for his own life countless times. Religion versus science is a never ending battle between the two, even to this day. The classic novel, Frankenstein, has many themes that are absolutely timeless and still relevant today, which is what makes it so valuable, and allows others to learn from it and understand the social psychology behind the story and how it still applies to the times now.
Frankenstein Movie Review
Frankenstein Mary Shelly wrote a novel which was published in 1818, but her name as the author didn’t appear until 1823. The first ‘Frankenstein’ movie was created in 1931. The movie was based on Mary Shelly’s novel, but some things were changed to make the movie more eye-catching to the viewers. Characters were added and taken out, the tone of the movie is different from the novel, and the way the women were treated is different. Many things could be compared but these are a few of the main topics.
In the novel the main characters were Frankenstein’s monster, Victor Frankenstein, Elizabeth Lavenza, Robert Walton, Alphonse Frankenstein, Henry Clerval, William Frankenstein, Justine Moritz, Caroline Beaufort, Beaufort, Peasants, and M. Waldman. The novel had many main characters. The 1931 movie had a few different main characters. Fritz, Victor Mortiz, Little Maria, Bridesmaid #2, Waldman’s secretary, Screaming Maid, Bridesmaid, Medical Student, Little Girl #1, Ludwig, Villager #3, Herr Vogel, Little Girl #2, Villager #2, Mourner, Maid, Gravedigger, Mourner #2, Hans, Villager, Mourner at Gravesite.
If you compare the novel and the movie you can see that the movie had triple the amount of characters. With the movie the director needed more characters so they could keep the attention of the viewers. The tone of the novel is largely bleak and despairing. In the beginning it starts with optimism from the perspective of Captain Walton who is excited and hopeful about his Arctic voyage. The mood quickly darkens with the appearance of Victor, who is in a dangerous condition, and who makes it clear at the start of his story that ‘nothing can alter my destiny.’ The ending of the novel is tragic.
This framing cast a dark shadow over the potentially positive account of Victor’s happy childhood and intellectual pursuits. The conclusion of the novel contributes most strongly to the tone of futility. By the time he has finished recounting his story, Victor is hopeless and waiting only to die. The movie is more of a horror movie than an adaption of Mary Shelley novel. The first noticeable difference is the monster’s lack of speech in the movie. In the novel the monster teaches itself how to read and write. In the movie the monster only grunts and growls. Appearance of the monster is the second difference. In the novel the monster has long, black hair, white teeth, and is tall and muscular. In the movie the monster has short, black hair, a flat head, and bolts on the sides of his head. The reason for the monster’s behavior is the third difference. In the novel, it is suggested that the monster’s bad behavior is caused by his abandonment by his creator and neglect because of his appearance. In the movie, the monster’s bad behavior is blamed on Fritz’s mistake of fetching the brain of a criminal. An example of this is the scene in the novel where the monster rescues a little girl from drowning. In the movie the opposite happens; the monster causes the death by drowning the little girl. The last difference is the absence of the monster’s request for a mate in the movie. In the novel, the monster asks Frankenstein to create him a companion so he will no longer be lonely. The ending of the novel is very different from the movie. In the movie, Frankenstein lives with his fianc?© and the monster is hinted to be destroyed. In the novel, Frankenstein, Elizabeth, and the monster all die.