Shelley crossing of temporal boundaries. One could argue

Shelley presents science as a powerful hold and desire for knowledge to be poisonous. “Frankenstein” was written at a time of significant developments in science and technology; scientific developments undermined traditional beliefs. At the time of ‘The Pentridge Uprising of 1817’, Mary Shelley had radical sympathies and through her illustration of the monster, she portrays an awareness of social injustice and passionate desire for reform. Interestingly, Percy Bysshe Shelley had a lifelong fascination with science, whom he was inspired by Dr Adam Walker, who theorized electricity as the spark of life.

This led Shelley to conduct various experiments, which led to results, ranging from holes in his clothes, to electrifying the family cat. Victor Frankenstein’s creation of the “vile insect” highlights the danger and the undermining consequences of man’s thirst for knowledge, and crossing of temporal boundaries. One could argue that, Frankenstein’s creation of the monster is a punishment imposed upon him, due to his unrestrained pursuit for knowledge. Victor Frankenstein’s misuse of science, has led to numerous physical fatal conflicts. Frankenstein is a text plagued by death; every time Victor’s family or friend is murdered, Frankenstein’s mental state deteriorates and he becomes beleaguered by guilt and shame.Victor’s ‘secret toil’ comes to seem a shameful and unnatural activity, and by the end of Volume one, chapter IV, he becomes anxious, oppressed and nervous.He is tormented by guilt and remorse, as his creation of “the filthy daemon”, “the devil” is the destructive cause of Justine and Williams’s fatality.

We Will Write a Custom Essay Specifically
For You For Only $13.90/page!

order now

Victor’s ‘misuse of science’, leads the monster to be torn between love and revenge. In reality, the monster was never evil, but it is through his mistreatment, in which he seeks revenge and builds grudges towards everyone associated with his creator. Once the monster begins to be educated and understands just how alien he is, and he questions himself; “what was i?”, he sounds like a different person, and becomes more light footed and graceful, but also repulsive and abnormal-a “blot on the earth”. This is an example of how knowledge is seen to be dangerous, as it makes him aware of his differences, which leads to an increase in self hatred, which leads to inner conflict within oneself. Moreover, one could argue that Victor is the real monster, as he has evidence of what the “wretch, the filthy daemon”, is capable of, yet he still denies all claims and wishes not to admit the truth, to define his reputation, as “these reflections determined me, and i resolved to remain silent”.

He shuns the company of others as he were “guilty of the crime”. Once the monster begins to become obsessed with revenge, in Volume Two, Chapter VIII,  the embodiment of revolutionary mob violence out of control, becomes evident.He becomes filled with emotions of hatred and vengeance and “i did not strive to control them”, he admits, “but allowing myself to be borne away by the stream, i bent my mind towards the injury and death”.

This is a key example of how the weather reflects the monster’s feelings, with fierce winds producing a kind of insanity. This truly reflects his physical appearance; he loses his humanity and becomes monstrous. Interestingly, in classical myth, monsters are frequently constructed out of ill-assorted parts, like the griffin, with the head of an eagle, and paws of a lion. Victor’s monster continues this tradition in being constructed out of parts being taken from graves, dissecting rooms and slaughterhouses.

Ironically, the monster desires everything Victor has rejected; he longs for companionship, someone who loves and understands him for himself, not by physical appearance. Denied the sympathies for which he longs, the creature himself admits, becomes sorrowful and misery makes him ‘a fiend’, destroying what he cannot have.If we take a physiological approach to the text, the creature begins to act as Victor’s dark doppelganger.

A variety of critics have suggested that the window in Frankenstein, symbolises a mirror, showing the demonic double of oneself. In addition to this, given that the novel suggests that the monster is the darker double of Frankenstein, it is not a surprise that one of the largest misconception, is that Frankenstein is the name of the monster. The creature, goes on and destroys all things that might associate with his needs and desires, which results in him losing his humanity, as he merges with and acts for, his creator. We can therefore, see the monsters nature as human, but twisted by his anguish. Towards the end of the novel,  metaphorically, the boundary between Victor and the monster is broken down. This is conveyed, through Victor’s confession of fault for the murders; “Have my murderous machinations..

” this suggests the result of him creating this “demon”. Victor even tells his father  “how little you know me. William, Justine, and Henry — they all died by my hands.” The emphasis on “my hands” can be established, because it was Victor’s hands that brought this creature to life, even though the monster uses its own hands to strangle the innocent.

In the nightmare, that closes the chapter, the monster even appears to be part of his body; “i felt the fiend’s grasp in my neck; and could not free myself from it;groans and cries rang in my ears”. Many questions can be raised regarding this moment. For example, why does he feel the grasp “in” his neck, rather than “on”? This is an example of how Victor’s silence and staying faithful to his reputation, has come back to haunt him and scar him for eternity. Despite his commitment to science, Frankenstein fails to realize what Mary Shelley realizes in her introduction: in the modern world, human beings are not spoken to in dreams; they are speaking to themselves.Justine is also an innocent victim, who was wrongly put to death by judges, who “had rather ten innocent should suffer than one guilty should escape”,due to the lack of evidence to support herself from false accusations of her being guilty of William’s death, who was murdered by victor’s creation; “And on the morrow, Justine died”. Justine forms tight connections with Elizabeth and Caroline, as they all resemble and mirror each other. These three examples of submissive and idealised women, are set against the equally extreme examples of masculine egotism represented in the novel.

Justine is somewhat ironically named, given that her name means “righteous” or “fair”; her destiny is far from this. Furthermore, the fact that the judicial system saves clerval, even though he was the guiltiest and culpable character in the novel, portrays how corrupt and unjust the government and social justice is. While being so unfairly dealt with, and being betrayed by Victor, she is the only character in the novel’s entire secular world to call upon god.She even advises Elizabeth to commit herself to the “will of heaven”. Social injustice also plays a key role in Frankenstein, as it is emphasised through The De Laceys treatment of the monster, and in the trial of justine, which could perhaps present the idea that society itself is monstrous. Social institutions such as the law and the church are repeatedly shown to be corrupt. Shelley takes advantage of the creature and uses him as her mouthpiece to symbolise her critique of suppression and inequality in society.

The monster develops his knowledge around social injustice, by his own experiences, through the De Lacey family; He sees how “high and unsullied descent united with riches”. Through this, the monster could be seen as a representative of the oppressed classes. Due to Mary Shelley not being able to support the rebellion against the established rule, this demonstrates the fear of the revolutionary violence that injustice in society may provoke.

Like her mother, Shelley did not define people by their social class and wealth, and strongly believed in social justice. Taking this into account, us readers are then not so surprised as to how she demonstrates most  w0men as inferior due to their honesty and morals, compared to other heinous characters in the novel. Moreover,Victors misuse of science leads to isolation and alienation of both the monster and Victor himself. We sympathise for the monster, once he explains that he is “malicious”, because he is “miserable”.

This expands on my point that he longs for companionship and affection,and subsequent violence appears from the fact that he will never experience love. Furthermore, Frankenstein also seems to usurp the  power of women and the roles and rights they are entitled to. The fact that Mothers are absent throughout the majority of the novel, and those that do rarely appear, are often killed, could reflect Shelley’s own ambivalence about childbirth.First pregnant at sixteen, Shelley lost most of her children soon after they were born. Similarly, the motif of the moon is frequently repeated, which could be symbolic of the roman mythology goddess, Diana,is also the goddess of childbirth.Just by Victor’s creation of the monster alone, he is already causing a dispute of rage and havoc as he is questioning the natural order of life and death. He seeks to usurp the role of God, and in her 1831 introduction, Shelley suggests that this is his main crime; his ‘frightful’ egotism in pursuing to act godlike. Victor’s misuse of science also leads to conflict between man and nature.

After the death of William and Justine, ironically Victor turns to nature for rehabilitation, for when his actions have been so unnaturally immoral and he is tormented by guilt and shame.Hower, notice that it is specifically “inanimate nature” that fills him with pleasant consciousness. The utopian descriptions of the “serene sky and verdant fields”with the sense of the natural world evolving, only increases tension and anxiousness for the reader. One could argue that, man resorts to nature, to find inner peace and a sense of hope and relaxation. This is conveyed when Shelley depicts the monster, to be filled with “anticipation of joy”. The monster is responding in a childlike manner towards the natural world. Nature takes on a healing function, which further connects to the view, that man and nature are not in dispute and are in harmony.

Furthermore, weather is a common prompt for pathetic fallacy.As the weather changes, conveying outer conflict reflects inner, victor becomes more agitated and night falls. Us readers are aware that the monsters arrival affects changes in the weather. this is clearly suggested through the sudden change within one paragraph, when wind rises “with great violence”, the waters on the lake become rough, and there is a “heavy storm of rain”.



I'm Casey!

Would you like to get a custom essay? How about receiving a customized one?

Check it out