Frankenstein: The Theme of Abortion Most of us have read the novel Frankenstein. There are many themes that come along with one of the first gothic, romantic science fiction novels of the 17th century. Mary Shelly used her background life to create this horror book. She influenced future horror films for decades to come, Halloween costume ideas and quote upon quotes. Although this book carried the obvious Halloween-feel themes Shelly had a greater meaning for the book. Shelly believed in the need of human connections and the importance for a person’s actions and for a person’s relationship with others.
This novel held dangerous knowledge and how knowledge can affect a community, sublime nature and the soothing affects it has when a person can be upset, monstrosity, secrecy, passive women and their role in a community, and abortion (Randy, Messerli). Victor Frankenstein soon becomes obsessed with the thought of reanimation after taking many science classes with his professor. After reanimating a soul from many different body parts, Victor soon regrets his decision thus abandoning his creature and creating an abortion theme.
Doctor Frankenstein’s creation, a hideous being, unable to adapt into human society, covers beyond the plot to offer awareness on a debated issue like abortion. In the novel, Doctor Frankenstein debates his decision to give life to such a terrifying creature that will terrorize the human race. This dilemma relates directly to the pro-life versus pro-choice debate that rages in modern society. The Doctor’s creation results in a miserable being constantly on the verge of suicide who despises the human race that gave birth to him.
Although he was born pure and compassionate, the creature experiences only hatred and violence, which banishes any sanity from the monster’s heart. As a result, the living creation scorns the life given to him. Although the child will be granted the most valuable gift, life, he may live in misery and hatred, despising the moment his imperfection came to light (Smith). Although the child may have a moral and pure good personality like Frankenstein’s creation, an absence of acceptance into society may drastically affect a human for the worse.
Indifference from loved ones, like the one rejected by Frankenstein’s rejection of his creation, guarantees a rejection from society as a whole and an emotional breakdown like depression and suicidal tendencies, like those of Frankenstein’s monster (Messerli). The life that Frankenstein’s monster led encourages the idea that such personal, painful disasters must be prevented. Abortions should be used only to spare fetuses future misfortunes and grueling mental and physical pain (Beth).
Doctor Frankenstein could have performed an “abortion” on his creation, but his decision against an end to the being led to the creature’s mental, emotional, and physical breakdown. The idea of abortion recurs as both Victor and the monster express their sense of the monster’s hideousness. When Victor first sees his creature he says this: “How can I describe my emotions at this catastrophe, or how delineate the wretch whom with such infinite pains and care I had endeavored to forms (Shelley 318). The monster feels a similar disgust for himself: “I, the miserable and the abandoned, am an abortion, to be spurned at, and kicked, and trampled on. (494). ” Both weeping the monster’s existence and wishing that Victor had never engaged in his act of creation (Clark). Whether as a consequence of his ambition to achieve the superhuman status of constructing a new life or his avoidance of society in which science is generally showed, Victor is damned in his lack of humanness. He overlooks the secrets of life lingering in natural creation and renews “life where death had apparently devoted the body to corruption (314). Victor’s views of giving life are distorted; he is selfish about what he wants from it and aborts it when it is a product he does not like. Shelley portrays a character who is disillusioned about the “secrets” of creation, consumed by his desire to make a life from death (Maslov). Mothers’ are portrayed as women who nurture and gives love for the sake of loving, Victor instead of creating life to love and adore like the maternity instinct that should’ve been there he would rather receive praise for his work (Beth).
Frankenstein seeks the feminine area of creativity but lacks the integral maternal sentiments (Beth). Doctor Frankenstein is repulsed immediately after creating artificial life and “when [he thinks] of him, he gnashed his teeth, his eyes became inflamed, and he ardently wished to extinguish that life which he had so thoughtlessly bestowed (351). ” Victor then continues later to overlook his hypocrisy as a creator of life when he grieves Justine accused of killing William by exclaiming: “To have murdered the son of her benefactor, a child whom she nursed from its birth, and appeared to love as if it had been her own!
I could not consent to the death of any human being, but certainly I should have thought such a creature unfit to remain in the society of men. ” (p. 354) His speech is loaded with hypocrisy because he is the creator who pains over his own ‘child’ and then consents to its death. Victor’s dark nature is reflected in his statement declaring Justine’s innocence. Frankenstein’s creature, the “fallen angel” who becomes “a malignant devil”, refers to himself as the “miserable and the abandoned, an abortion, to be spurned at, and kicked, and trampled on (494). He desires to interact with the world and share in the simple pleasures it holds, but he is buried in self-criticism as his mutilation and unnaturalness painfully put him into an isolated world. The creature has very human instincts despite his structure. He feels endeared sympathy, curiosity, admiration, hate, anger, anguish and many other symptoms of humanness when telling his story. He watched and “admired the perfect forms” of a peasant family, describing “their grace, beauty, and delicate complexions,” but when coming to see himself, he was terrified and “filled with the bitterest sensations of despondence and mortification (379). Even as the creature “declares war against the species (403)” as he finds himself utterly rejected and denied company from the world, he recalls the horror with himself. The theme abortion wraps itself around the how much life is deserved in the novel (Randy, Messerli). Frankenstein’s creature deserves a rewarding life besides his flaws, but he receives a life of sharp, fragmented, with manipulated features. Frankenstein’s monster seeks to share Man’s mockery of creation through connection with others. He wants a female companion made to remove his isolation and cries “Oh!
My creator, make me happy; let me feel gratitude towards you for one benefit! Let me see that I excite the sympathy of one living thing (413)! ” Victor is stuck in his thoughts wondering “did I as his maker owe him all the portion of happiness that it was in my power to bestow (413)? ” In the end not only does Frankenstein withdraw his promise to his creature, he also denies his creature this companion as he “tore to pieces the thing on which he was engaged (438)” casts the pieces of her out to sea to abort her. The creature in return unmakes Elizabeth on the night of her wedding.
The only kind of creation the monster achieves is out of line with the natural order (Smith). When he kills William he states: “I too can create desolation; my enemy is not impregnable. ” Like his Creator, the monster finds he can create something equally as tragic as creating life from death, death from life. In conclusion, abortion in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, is depicted through the creator departure from natural creation and depiction of human qualities which portray how much life is deserved (Smith). The creature is rejected and abandoned. His creator scorns him.
Victor upon first seeing his monster decides it does not and abandons it to survive alone among the elements. The theme of abortion also is literally played out through the destruction of a female creature. The theme abortion wraps itself around the how much life is deserved in the novel. Works Cited Abortion Cons Related to Frankenstein the Novel: An Annotated Bibliography Alcorn, Randy, and Joe Messerli. “10 Abortion Arguments- 10 Arguments Against Abortion and 10 Arguments for Abortion. ” 10 Abortion Arguments: 10 Arguments for Abortion, 10 Arguments against abortion (2007).
Women’s issues- All About Women’s Issues. Web. 13. Sept. 2011. http://womenissues. about. com/od/reproductiverights/a/AbortionArguments. htm. Beth. “Abortion. ” Abortion-Knowledge is empowering. Knowledge is empowering- Home. Web. 09. September. 2011. www. knowledgeisempowering. com/abortion Clark, Gary B. “Milestones of Early Life – Heritage House Literature. ” Abortion Facts – Information on Abortion You Can Use. Heritage House ’76, Inc. , 2006. Web. 11 Oct. 2011. http://www. abortionfacts. com/literature/literature_9438MS. asp. Maslov. “I.
Maslov’s Contributor Profile – Yahoo! Contributor Network – Contributor. yahoo. com. ” Yahoo. com, 30 Mar. 2008. Web. 03 Nov. 2011. . Messerli, Joe. BalancedPolitics. org – Free Balanced, Non-Partisan Discussion of Political & Social Issues for Debate (Pros and Cons – Decision Making Politics). Issue brief. 30 June 2011. Web. 13 Sept. 2011. http://www. balancedpolitics. org/abortion. htm. Smith, Nicole. “Analysis of Frankenstein by Mary Shelley: Morality without God. ” Welcome to ArticleMyriad. com! 2010 Article Myriad, 2010. Web. 02 Nov. 2011. .