Frankenstein Frankenstein A critique of the Monster and by mikesanye


A critique of the Monster and the Human
  The Monster – character analysis
• The Monster comes across           • “Gentle Giants” in popular
  as a gentle character, which         fiction include Boo Radley in
  puts a radical spin on the           “To Kill A Mockingbird”, the
  usual ominous Monster                Beast in “Beauty and the
  characters in various texts          Beast” and John Coffey in
  think Dracula or Jekyll and          “The Green Mile”.
• Rather the Monster is more         • It is important to note that
  of a “gentle giant”. This type       these all came after
  of figure is not particular to a     “Frankenstein” so they were
  specific genre but is usually        not an influence for her more
  physically threatening and           like the other way round.
  thus spurned despite having          What is significant to note
  a benevolent nature.                 however is that they differ
                                       from typical Gothic prose of
                                       the time.
• The Monster’s recognition of his plight
  which he accepts with despair as opposed
  to bitterness lends his sympathy from the
• “Once I falsely hoped to meet beings who,
  pardoning my outward form would love me
  for the excellent qualities which I was
  capable of unfolding” Volume 3 Chapter 7
  page 225
     Victor – Character analysis
• Victor comes across a           • His sense of reverence is
  somewhat judgemental              not for life or love but for
  character – talented,             beauty and purity. He
  arrogant and passionate           describes Justine as
  about science.                    “exquisitely beautiful” which
  “Chemistry… became                is a singularly unimportant
  nearly my sole                    fact during the course of the
  companion… I read with            novel and even during
  ardour” Chapter 4. He is          Justine’s own scenes her
  able to take the sanctity and     beauty bears little if not no
  out of life and death and         relevance.
  look at them in purely          • This love of beauty and
  scientific terms: ”I beheld       purity is of the utmost
  the corruption of death to        importance as it serves to
  the blooming cheek of life”.      explain why he rejects the
  And the love he bestows is        Monster with his “dull yellow
  limited but to those whom         eye” and “shrivelled
  he bestows it upon,               complexion”.
• His judgemental nature is seen at once his
  rejection of the Monster for no reason other
  than his looks and when his passion for
  science leads to murder by proxy he dissolves
  into self-pity and guilt “No one can conceive
  the anguish I suffered…” Rather than looking
  outward and thinking about Justine he simply
  turns the guilt he feels inward to more self pity
• In short Victor as a narrator is not necessarily a
  protagonist. The protagonist is usually the hero
  and the central character and Victor who
  should fulfil the former role given that he is the
  latter is not necessarily the hero – there does
  not appear to be one in the novel at all.
• Again this is an example of Shelley’s novel
  differing from the traditional type of Gothic.
       The Monster and Victor’s
• Given that The Monster kills Victor’s family, it
  makes sense that Victor feels hatred and a need
  for revenge towards him. “I ardently wished to
  extinguish [his] life”. However his calling the
  Monster his “odious companion” suggests that
  his revulsion towards the Monster is much to do
  with his physical appearance as it is his crimes.
• The Monster too is not as innocent as his
  disposition first suggests. Whilst the killing of
  Elizabeth and Clerval are punishment for Victor’s
  refusal to appease him he kills innocent young
  William effectively in cold blood.
   “My reign is not yet over…        • However it is interesting to
   come my enemy… your                 note the difference between
   sufferings will satisfy my          their final words about each
   everlasting hatred”                 other:
                                     • Victor: he ought to die
– The Monster’s taunts having        • Monster: Farewell
  killed Victor’s family take away     Frankenstein
  from the benevolent wronged        • Victor talks about the Monster
  character we originally deem         as one might a brutal animal,
  him to be.                           you cannot talk to it.
                                       Meanwhile the Monster is
                                       talking to Victor, although he is
                                       dead and literally can no
                                       longer be spoken to.
• Shelley’s presentation of the Monster and the human is
  significant because she is trying to make a statement.
  One view is that she is trying to suggest that what is
  different should not necessarily be abhorred. It may be
  that she is comparing the Monster to a man of another
  race. Although they are created by the same as British
  people, they were spurned for their physical differences.
  Perhaps she is trying to suggest that everyone is the
  same, that the content of one’s character is more
  important than their outward appearance. Given that she
  is a woman in a misogynistic time, it is possible that she
  can relate to the Monster – not on account of rejection
  but perhaps the ideas of being different and lesser are
  ones that she understands and given her feminist
  upbringing, ideas she abhors.
• This review of Frankenstein provides a sound critique of the main
  two main characters in a novel that is essentially the story of a
  man’s crime and the subsequent penalties that he faces.
• It raises the interesting question as to whether Victor truly deserved
  his fate, for whilst as an audience we tend to end up irritated by his
  self pitying moans and wails one has to consider whether it is not at
  least understandable given the circumstances.
• Frankenstein is a compelling novel – it is a psychological drama with
  main characters, Victor an academic genius with a passion for
  knowledge and discovery and the Monster a thing created from
  dead people with a superhuman physique and powerful rhetoric who
  both inspire sympathy and disgust from readers according to their
  actions and feelings.
• Interestingly whilst the Monster and Victor are two separate
  characters they remain inextricably linked, each existing to ensure
  the other’s demise. This idea is supported by the fact that on hearing
  of Frankenstein’s death, the Monster goes away to commit suicide.

• The Belle Assembl\351e Review of Frankenstein
• British Critic Review of Frankenstein, March 1818

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