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.
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