Evaluate who is the true monster in Frankenstein
The gothic novel Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley explores criticisms of society and aspects of human nature. The main notions that are examined in depth are the abuse of science and technology in man attempting to be God and the dilemma of an individual’s aspirations and the evil incurred when those aspirations are attained selfishly and irresponsibly. The responder is aided, by being presented with these motifs and notions, in discovering that the identity of the true monster in the novel is in fact, Victor Frankenstein.
Frankenstein is in many ways more monstrous than the actual monster. Shelley depicts Frankenstein as an individual, who due to his obsession, cannot deviate from the course he chose and whilst having ‘good’ intentions for society’s gain also suffers from moral degradation in the process of creating the monster. Here Shelley criticises the desire of the scientists of her time to penetrate into the ‘recesses of nature’. Victor’s wish to discover nature’s many secrets is seen as an unnatural and evil action. The composer, in the didactic manner of the text, voices this concern through Professor Waldman who provides Frankenstein with the benefit of his experience and a dire warning, ‘You seek for knowledge and wisdom, as I once did, and I ardently hope that the gratification of your wishes may not be a serpent sting to you, as mine has been’. Despite this warning Frankenstein chooses to ‘…pursue nature to her hiding places’. Shelley criticises her society’s experience of such practices and Frankenstein’s ensuing creation as an abomination, maintaining a position against those who attempt to ‘play God’ with nature.
Whilst Frankenstein was in the midst of creating the monster he became increasing alienated from society and those he loved giving himself over to his monstrous preoccupations, however, he goes on to state, ‘ But my enthusiasm was checked by my anxiety and I appeared rather like one...