Novel Review: Frankenstein
Appearance can be distinguished in many different ways, it can indicate someone’s inner self, but only because society inevitably reacts to beautiful people in a way that makes them able to be good- and to ugly people in a way that make them turn out evil. This is an ongoing question that I asked myself when reading the novel Frankenstein as there was an extinct difference when exploring the various characters that are affected by the opinion of others with respect to their appearance. The narrative in Frankenstein shifts from Robert Walton to Victor Frankenstein to the monster and finally back to Walton. I found that with each shift of perspective, I was able to gain new information about both of the facts of the story and the personalities of the respective narrators.
The role of beauty and ugliness in Frankenstein had two elements that the author was trying to convey through this book. They were, nature’s effect on the characters and the way characters were treated based on their beauty. However, this theme should also teach readers that beauty is subjective to the one perceiving and should be used objectively when judging one’s character. Had the villagers just given the monster the chance to prove himself that many deaths could have been avoided which lead him to the underlining classis message of “Don’t judge a book by its cover”. Throughout the novel of Frankenstein, there was a theme of beauty that incriminated certain characters to act differently than they normally would and I believe this is how Shelly portrayed the characters with these depictions. A few of the characters that I will be discussing is; The Monster, Elizabeth, Caroline Beaufort, Justine Mortiz, and William Frankenstein.
The Monster, who in the novel they explain is the eight-foot-tall, hideously ugly creation of Victor Frankenstein (Shelly, 24). Who was intelligent and sensitive, the monster attempts to integrate himself into the normal world and interact with human social life but unfortunately everyone who see him is shocked of what they see. The monster feels shamed by the way he is treated therefor, compels him to seek out revenge against his creator. I feel like this is such a normal happening in today’s society where we aren’t able to acknowledge someone for who they really are and judge them by their looks first. Shelly makes a great distinction between ugliness and beauty, prior to getting into detail there is definition of beauty that one first should determine what is beautiful. In the novel, Elizabeth was seen as a paragon of beauty. She was an orphan, five years younger than Victor, whom the Frankenstein’s adopted. She is described by Frankenstein; as being who possessed an attractive softness (Shelly 20,). Throughout the story Elizabeth is overly praised for her beauty and is seen to be the well behaved and innocent one because of it. Being beautiful was a gift that allowed her to integrate within society and life a somewhat normal lifestyle. Elizabeth was able to get an education, gained popularity, and was even able to find love all because of her beauty. Elizabeth’s life would have been considered to be an ideal dream to any little princess prior to the birth of the monster. I feel like we aren’t able to break this habit because even in death she was still seen as beautiful as shown when Victor Frankenstein saved the actual piece of her head for the monster’s bride. While on the other hand, the monster that was seen as ideally beautiful because Frankenstein had selected his features of beautiful and ended up being ugly and suffered for his ugliness (Shelly, 35).
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