The introduction: the fundamentals of Shelley’s novel
While comparing and contrasting Victor Frankenstein and his creature, I would like to disclose some fundamentals of a popular novel. First of all, I would like to point out that Mary Shelley’s novel was first published in 1817. This novel is recognized to be one of the earliest productions of science fiction genre. Generally, the novel combines the features of the Gothic novel and Romanticism.
It is related to science knowledge and reflects some elements of classical myth. The main characters of the novel are Victor Frankenstein, the Monster, Robert Walton, Elizabeth Lavenza, Henry Clerval, and the DeLacey family.
In my opinion, the most common themes the novel represents are horror and terror, social responsibility, parental neglect, obsessive behavior, revenge, injustice, physical deformity, parental love and responsibility. Of course, all the themes are vividly reflected in Mary Shelley’s work, but I suppose that the key theme is still considered to be good vs. evil.
Another important point I would like to highlight is the history of the novel. To my mind, the most interesting fact is that the story was not created by chance. On the contrary, it appeared on the basis of competition. Mary Shelley and other writers decided to create the best ghost story.
In other words, “the novel was the result of a dream she had after a challenge that she, Lord Byron, Percy Shelley, and a doctor friend of theirs each write a ghost story” (“Frankenstein by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, 1797 – 1851 – LSC-Kingwood” par. 2). So, I suppose that the novel Frankenstein written by Shelley, won.
The thesis statement
Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein represents numerous interesting themes. The novel discloses people’s attitudes towards superficial issues as well as really important ones. A science fiction genre reflects public mood and inhumanity of the contemporary world.
The body: Victor Frankenstein vs. his creature: some similarities and differences between the main characters
While discussing the main characters, one is to keep in mind that the creator of the monster Victor Frankenstein and his creature are the principal figures of the novel.
According to Shelley’s work Victor was fond of chemistry and science. He received his education at the University of Ingolstadt. The main aim of the investigations made by Victor was to disclose the secret of life. However, the main character’s researches led to the creature appearance. In my opinion, Victor’s interest in science is closely related to the knowledge of the Renaissance period and Middle Ages.
I suppose that the most obvious distinctive feature between the creator and his creature is the state of mind of both characters. While analyzing the characters’ behavior, one is to make a conclusion that Victor’s mind seems to be unstable; while the monster he created is more balanced.
To my mind, Victor’s nature is mostly associated with a psychological disease, namely obsessive-compulsive disorder; while his creature becomes cruel because of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Thus, the creature says: “Believe me, Frankenstein: I was benevolent; my soul glowed with love and humanity: but am I not alone, miserably alone?” (Shelley 85).
I think this quotation confirms an affirmation that originally, the creature created by Victor wasn’t a monster. On the contrary, the creature wanted to be accepted by people; however, it is appearance, which is considered to be much more important than a person’s inner world. Of course, the monster realizes his lameness and can’t stand people’s mockery anymore.
The creature Frankenstein tried to find friends; however, later he realized that there were no human beings who could love him or accept his horrible appearance. So, he says: “Unfeeling, heartless creator! You had endowed me with perceptions and passions and then cast me abroad an object for the scorn and horror of mankind” (Shelley 118). Taking into account the quotation, one can state that the creature experienced enough pain, before it was transformed into a real monster and started to kill people.
On the other hand, I think there is also a need to tell a few words about the creator of the monster. It is evident, that Victor understands what causes his experiments lead to. For instance, he says: “I was seized by remorse and the sense of guilt, which hurried me away to a hell of intense tortures, such as no language can describe” (Shelley 76).
The creature, in its turn, realizes that there is no its fault that people can’t accept it. While experiencing joy, Frankenstein (the creature) can’t share the feeling with others. On the contrary, the main character is recognized to be a social outcast.
In my opinion, there are not so many common features, which both characters possess. This seems to be really strange, as the monster Frankenstein was created by a scientist; so, both characters had to have numerous common traits. To my mind, the only thing both characters have in common is coherence of reasoning. In other words, Victor Frankenstein and his creature express rational thoughts; however, relying on the first impression, it seems that the affirmation is to be wrong.
By the way, I have to point out that my suggestion about Victor’s unstable mind is not at variance with the present conclusion. I mean that the statement about rational thoughts both characters possess and the creator’s unstable mind are to be regarded differently. I suppose that Victor’s unstable mind is mostly related to his desire to study alchemy and discover the secret of life. So, rational thoughts do not contradict previous conclusion.
In my opinion, the author depicts the main character from the negative side mostly. Mary discovers his selfishness. On the other hand, “Victor Frankenstein was, in some ways, reflective of the consistently growing and changing field of medicine in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries” (“A Cultural History of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein” par. 9).
I suppose this position explains Victor’s interest in death. Moreover, the creator wanted to resolve various contradictions concerning medicine. However, his experiments were not successful, unfortunately.
The conclusion: it is through no fault of the creature…
So, what general conclusion concerning the similarities and certain differences between two characters can be made? I think the so-called interdependence between the characters can be neglected. In spite of the fact, that both figures had to possess the same traits of character as well as viewpoints, people’s attitude towards moral issues and their dependence on the external things changes the situation and leads to catastrophic consequences.
Finally, in my opinion, it is not the monster’s fault that it kills people. On the contrary, people’s cruelty and indifference cause the tragic events. “Soft tears again bedewed my cheeks, and I even raised my humid eyes with thankfulness towards the blessed sun, which bestowed such joy upon me” (Shelley 119).
“A Cultural History of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.” Mount Holyoke College. Web. <https://www.mtholyoke.edu/courses/rschwart/hist257s02/students/Stacy/Frankenstein.htm>.
“Frankenstein by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, 1797 – 1851 – LSC-Kingwood.” Lone Star College System. Web. <http://www.lonestar.edu/index.htm>.
Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft. Frankenstein Or, the Modern Prometheus. New York: Collier Books, 1961. Questia. Web. 3 Mar. 2012.