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Frankenstein: Less Human Than His Creation

There are obvious similarities between Victor and his creation; each is abandoned, isolated, and both start out with good intentions. However, Victor’s ego in his search for god-like capabilities overpowers his humanity. The creature is nothing but benevolent until society shuns him as an outcast on account of his deformities. The creature is more humane than his own creator because his wicked deeds are committed in response to society’s corruption; while Frankenstein’s evil work stems only from his own greed.

Victor Frankenstein and his creation are very much alike. Both are abandoned by their creators at a young age; Frankenstein is left without his mother after her death, the creature is rejected by Frankenstein’s abandonment. Frankenstein and the monster are also similar in that they are isolated and outcasts of society. Frankenstein is hypothetically an outcast when he consumes himself in work and is isolated when the creature kills those he loves, and the creature is obviously isolated as a hideous outcast of society.

Victor Frankenstein starts out with good intentions; he is merely seeking to gain knowledge of natural philosophy. Soon, his greed for god-like power overcomes him and he becomes consumed with the idea of creating life, “Summer months passed while I was thus engaged, heart and soul, in one pursuit” (32). The creature also starts out with kindness, he tells his creator, “Believe me, Frankenstein: I was benevolent; my soul glowed with love and humanity: but am I not alone, miserably alone? ” (66). However, after society refuses to accept him based on personal appearance, the creature becomes angry.

The creature has an overwhelming capacity to love as can be seen in his admiration for the peasants, “[The creature’s] thoughts now became more active, and [he] longed to discover the motives and feelings of these lovely creatures… [he] thought (foolish wretch! ) that it might be in [his] power to restore happiness to these deserving people” (77). The creature’s display of care and compassion for the cottagers is more humane than most humans are; e retains the innocence and naive characteristics of a child.

The creature’s grasp of human-like qualities allows the reader to possess sympathy for his situation; he is a victim and Frankenstein is to blame. A true monster would, by definition, have no emotions or remorse, while Frankenstein’s creation has a very natural, human desire to be loved and accepted, “Once [the creature] falsely hoped to meet with beings, who, pardoning [his] outward form, would love [him] for the excellent qualities which [he] was capable of bringing forth”(154).

Another human characteristic that the creature holds is his conscience, as can be seen at the end of the book after Frankenstein dies. The creature tells Walton, “It is true that I am a wretch. I have murdered the lovely and the helpless; I have strangled the innocent as they slept… You hate me; but your abhorrence cannot equal that with which I regard myself”(155). Compassion, fear, desire to be accepted, and guilt are all very human emotions and characteristics that the creature displays.

While Frankenstein is consumed in his work he feels none of the emotions that the creature feels in his first years of life; Victor says of himself, “Winter, spring, and summer, passed away during my labors; but I did not watch the blossom or the expanding leaves- sights which before always yielded me supreme delight, so deeply was I engrossed in my occupation” (33). Frankenstein is obsessed with holding god-like powers, “I ceased to fear or to bend before any being less almighty than that which had created and ruled the elements” (78).

At several points in the ook Victor has the chance to prevent harm being done to others, but each time he is only concerned with himself. It is ambiguous, but Victor could have warned the family, or gone to protect innocent little William. More obviously, he could have spoken up about the creature and saved the life of Justine. Instead, Frankenstein chooses to let Justine die and wallow in his own guilt, ” Anguish and despair had penetrated into the core of [his] heart” (57). Thirdly, after the creature’s threat, Victor is concerned only about his own life and fails to see the threat to his bride Elizabeth.

Victor is weak in love; he has difficulty expressing his feelings and controling his impulses, and he is self-centered. Many contrasts can be made between Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and Milton’s Paradise Lost. Victor’s character is paralleled directly with Satan’s; both succumb to selfishness when they fall. Much like Satan, Victor is forced to carry his anguish with him constantly ; ” [Frankenstein] bore a hell within [himself] which nothing could extinguish” (57). The creature is a portrayal of Eve’s role in Paradise Lost.

The creature is persuaded by the behavior of others to take his fall into wickedness, much like Eve was pushed by the serpent to eat the forbidden fruit. Shelley blatantly makes this comparison when Frankenstein gets a first glance of himself in a scene that mirrors Eve’s first look at herself. The creature tells Victor, “I [was] terrified when I viewed myself in a transparent pool! At first I stared back, unable to believe that it was indeed I who was reflected in the mirror; and when I became fully convinced hat I was in reality the monster that I am, I was filled with the bitterest sensations of despondence and mortification” (108).

Despite their similarities, Victor and his creation differ greatly. Only after rejection does the creature turn to evil; while Victor acts out of greed. Victor’s self-centered behavior effects everyone in the novel; he hurts his family’s feelings, he lets those that he loves die, and abandons his own creation. Even the creature couldn’t have committed such horrible acts before the effects of society’s rejection.

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