Gaining Sympathy for Frankenstein
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How does Mary Shelley present the character of the monster so as to
gain sympathy for him?
The creature wonders if he was worthy of redemption. Exposure to these
ideas enables the creature to pose the quintessential questions of
spirituality: "What did this mean? Who was I? What was I? From whence
did I come? What was my destination?" This introspective questioning
highlights the creature´s humanity, and makes the reader feel sorry
that these questions, which lurk within all of us, cannot be
Learning language incites great thoughts in the creature but does not
satisfy his longing for companionship. His insights and physical
existence are kept to himself. Huddled in the cold outside of
community, the creature's newly acquired gift of knowledge serves only
to deepen his sorrow. "Was I a monster, a blot upon the earth from
which all man fled…………I cannot describe to you the agony that these
In the ice-cave of Mount Blanc, Victor Frankenstein is compelled to
admit that the creatures "tale and feelings, proved him to be a
creature of fine sensation." Relief, however, can only come through
relationships. Can the creature risk rejection? Life at the margin of
existence has brought out what was potentially virtuous within him.
But it does not gain him acceptance into humanity, it only serves to
intensify his pain and our sympathy.
Sensitivity, intelligence and the creature’s pathetic longing for
community cannot overcome human revulsion toward the marred creature.
Had the creature’s passionate qualities convinced Victor Frankenstein
or the De Lacey family to validate him, Mary Shelley's tale would be
in the genre of romantic comedy. As it stands, the story is a
cataclysmic horror tale of compulsion, murder and revenge. Victor's
cruel phrase, "There can be no community between you and me; we are
enemies" not only unveils animus toward his progeny but speaks of
humanity's collective rejection. The phrase easily translates into
"you are outside of human community; we want no part of you." Why? The
origins of the creature, born of the lust of his creator’s
overreaching thirst for forbidden knowledge, have implied to some
interpreters that there is an inherent reason for humanity's rejection
of him. Physically, the creature consisted of a tangled mass of dead
body parts stitched together to become what nature would never have
produced, hence the use of the word "monster", meaning "unnatural".
This quality is labelled "ontological impropriety". The perpetual
taboo of blending categories between living and dead, animate and
inanimate sets an absolute boundary between the dead and the living.
Victor Frankenstein oversteps this boundary; the creature is the
consequence of transgressing nature. From the Monster's perspective
this explanation is capricious and unjust: "You are what you are for
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reasons beyond yourself. You are damned by the human race for it."
This realisation by the creature is the crux to the novel. When the
creature realises that it will never be accepted, it turns on its
creator, and humanity as a whole. It is important to understand that
it is the continual rejection of mankind and the realisation of his
social ineptitude that finally breaks him and reduces the creature to
bloody vengeance. This is important to remember at the end of the
novel when we start to lose sympathy.
tor, detest and spurn me, the creature, to whom thou art bound by ties
only dissoluble by the annihilation of one of us. You propose to kill
me"(Chapter.10, page.95). This shows that the creator wants his own
Creation to be killed, because he thinks he has disowned God and also
because of his grotesque features. This shows sympathy for the
Creation. This is like a son finding out that he was an accident and
his father wants him dead. The Creation takes this in his stride; in
my eyes he was expecting this. He replies to victor by saying;
"Remember that I am thou creature; I ought to be thy Adam, but I am
rather a fallen angel."(Chapter.10Page.96.) this is using metaphoric
language to persuade Victor to listen to his argument. The Creation is
referring to the story of Adam and God. This is eventually going to
persuade Victor to make a female Creation.
"Cursed, cursed creator! Why did I live? Why in that instant, did I
not extinguish the spark, which you so wantonly bestowed? My feelings
were those of rage and revenge, I could with pleasure destroy the
cottage and its inhabitants.
This is an important quotation because it shows him getting violently
beaten after a brief contact with the first person he meets who
doesn't hit him or abuse him, this is because the man he meets is
blind and therefore is not scared of how ugly the monster and does not
shun him. This is a significant scene because he has made first real
compassionate contact with a human being, and is the first sign of
having friendship. The monster had his first touch of kindness shown
towards him and it was shattered because of the old blind mans son
Felix enters and attacks the monster very viciously. And this will
create sympathy because it is the first human encounter he has, and
the first chance of friendship. This is all ruined because Delacey's
son, Felix comes and viciously attacks the creature. This will create
great sympathy for the monster and hate for Frankenstein because we
know that it is Frankenstein who started and made all this misery for
"Abhorred monster! Fiend that thou art! The tortures of hell are too
mild a vengeance for thy crimes; come on, then, that I may extinguish
the spark which I so negligently bestowed."
"Be gone, vile insect …Wretched devil!" "…I will trample you to dust!"
These quotations from Frankenstein show he is cursing the creature
because it is ugly; he is also threatening to kill the creature with
his violent threats. This is very shocking because his is threatening
to commit infanticide. This is because he believes the monster is evil
and judges it from the physical appearance, because he is so shallow.
But inside the creature is actually quite kind hearted and very
clever. This increases our dislike towards Frankenstein. Most of our
dislike towards Frankenstein is created by the words spoken from the
creature because the monsters words are so sad and create sympathy for
him. Because of the wretchedness created by Frankenstein's evil. The
creature creates and deserves the most sympathy because he above all
is treated badly and is an outsider. The creature is an example of
inverted narcissism, the flawed facsimile of Frankenstein's vanity.
These are a few quotations, which will give sympathy to the creature:
The monster feels jealous and saddened because he has no family or
friends- he hasn't even a name and dearly wants to be a part of their
family. When Safie and Felix get married, the monster is aware of a
different relationship between them than Felix and Agatha, he realises
that he could never have that kind of a relationship, especially with
Safie who he loves. He can feel the family's pain and so he tries to
help them by chopping up wood which made them happy.
We feel sympathy for the monster in volume 2 chapter 7, as the monster
finally thinks that the De Lacy family might accept him, if he becomes
friends with the blind man. "My heart beat quickly; this was the hour
and moment of trial, which would decide my hopes, or realise my
fears." The monster's courage and hopes make us feel sympathy for him,
as he has come to love the family as his own. But he is rejected,
because they thought that he was trying to hurt the blind man, we also
feel for him as he puts his trust in the blind man "now is the time!
Save me and protect me!" and again he is alone in the world. A
vengeful spirit of wrath is released in the creature and he decides to
seek-out Victor, as he is the only human who owes him anything.
On his journey to find Victor he comes across a small girl who was
drowning in the river "I rushed from my hiding place, and, with
extreme labour from the force of the current, saved her," and the
monster felt kindness and gentleness, and is shot for his reward "I
now writhed under the miserable pain of a wound which shattered the
flesh and bone". We feel sympathy for the creature as he again has
been rejected by society and claimed as a monster.
Another example of the monster being rejected is when he goes and
stays in the De Lacey's barn, the De Lacey's are a poor farming family
which were having a rough time with there crops and harvesting them
because of the weather but the 'monster' overheard there convocations
and problems and being the kind, giving person he is he helps them by
picking there crops and helping them get by (this is where you see a
very altruistic side to the monster), he does all of this without them
finding out who he is. But when the taxman comes to threaten and try
to harm the eldest of the family who is blind the monster steps in and
stops him. The blind man is the only people ever to talk to the
monster and understand he’s problems, but when the family return and
find him in there house they chase him away although he has done
nothing wrong. This provides the monster with more sympathy because he
was just starting to be accepted for the first time in his life and it
was all taken away from him because of his appearance.
This period of her life was dramatically diverse to the one that
followed which brought back the gloom of the death of her mother. When
Mary was seventeen she gave birth to her first child but was
devastated when only twelve days later her baby tragically died. It
was said that she then had a dream where her baby came back to life,
which, in Frankenstein, is symbolized by the rebirth of the monster.
Her familiarity of death only deepened when she experienced the
suicides of both her half sister and the ex-wife of Percy.
Shelley uses another literary technique, of were she shows us an
example of what the monster has missed out on his life by showing us
the nurture and caring from another family. The children shows us the
importance of child0hood because the children that the monster watches
most closely gives him an idea of what he has missed out on, but
Victor has had all this and more, this is also the point of were he is
questioning himself saying "Who am I". This is because he is seeing
this family helping and being together may be is what is making him
wonder why he was ever created in the first place. From these views is
why I think the monster is the victim of this story and when Victor
created him, he of all people should have known that this monster
would be in need of great nurture and care
Sympathy In Mary Shelley's Frankenstein Essay
Sympathy in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein
Frankenstein for many people is a huge fiendish monster, a brainless
oaf with a couple of neck bolts, who is a horrible murderer. This
image has been created by Boris Karloff and other television/film
images. I also thought like that, believing Frankenstein to be a
monstrous murderer, so when I was met with the text I was surprised to
find as a mad scientist who creates a monster. This changed my opinion
greatly at first.
As the central characters were the narrators, they were obviously
going to be bias in their description of the novel. They would always
make themselves out as innocent or say that someone else was to blame.
For example Victor Frankenstein described the monster as 'the devil'
and 'a demon', whereas the monster describes itself as wanting 'to be
loved' and a 'benevolent soul', that is until he was rejected and
isolated. Also the characters will portrait their situations and other
characters to their advantage, making the text quite unreliable.
Frankenstein can also be 'melodramatic' and may be using this to evoke
sympathy for himself.
In this novel, I feel sympathy for both Victor Frankenstein and the
monster. I am sympathetic towards the monster as Victor Frankenstein
started this whole thing by creating it, although the monster killing
another that had not harmed him was unjustified.
When first created the monster is treated like an inhuman wretch.
Frankenstein was too swept up in the idea of bringing an inanimate
object to life to realise that what he was creating a monster.
'Unable to endure the aspect of the being I had created, I rushed out
of the room'
When the monster awoke Frankenstein ran from it and tried to sleep, as
if pretending nothing had happened, showing that Frankenstein had no
thoughts of taking this as his responsibility. As the creator and
father of the monster, it was Frankenstein's duty to teach it right
from wrong, to care and nurture it like you would a child, because
that is what the monster was inside- an unknowing child. As soon as he
was created, the monster had a need for love; it reaches an
outstretched hand towards Frankenstein showing a want for recognition
'A grin wrinkled his cheeks'
The monster even tries to communicate but it can only utter
'inarticulate sounds' as it was yet to be taught how to speak, which
should have been the task of Frankenstein. A grin is the first
expression of the monster, showing he was primarily looking for
companionship and affection from Frankenstein.
'Fearing each sound as if it were to announce the approach of the
Frankenstein fears the creature he has created and does not give him
the chance to become accepted.
Throughout the novel, the monster wants love and friendship but he
does not get...
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