Mary W. Shelly Frankenstein

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Mary W. Shelly Frankenstein


The main characters - Victor Frankenstein and his creation, a monster without name, are the only round characters in this story. It means, that they are described in great detail and their characters are developing as the story goes on. (The others merely represent the types of goodness, benevolence and love.) I will try to describe how the main characters’ natures were developing and what circumstances led to their fall.
The 19th century, in which Mary Wollstonecraft Shelly lived, can be characterized as a period of strong believe in God. People believed that he is the only creator of the world and of the whole mankind. The author of Frankenstein was influenced by this idea too but she was strong enough to use her imagination to interpret it and create this unforgettable story (not only) of human egoism and egotism in which human effort ends in an unexpected end and results in tragedy. I think she believed in the supreme power of God and that nobody else, even human being, could not “play” God because the result could be only disaster. It is not only a simple horror story but also a great picture of humans’ fates, which are absolutely influenced and changed by a mistake of one person.


“For my own part, I begin to love him as a brother, and his constant and deep grief fills me with sympathy and compassion. He must have been a noble creature in his better days, being even now in wreck so attractive and amiable.” In these words is Frankenstein described by the explorer who takes him on the board of the ship, which is captured in the vast plains of ice in "the land of mist and snow”. We can suppose that Frankenstein is physically very sympathetic man and probably nobody who met him or even knew him would say what secret is he now carrying in his mind and that he, not in deed, but in effect, is the true murderer – that he is responsible for death of several people. But this was not his true behavior from the beginning.
“The world was to me a secret which I desired to divine.” This sentence fully
expresses the feelings Frankenstein has in his early childhood and which become the reason of his later misery and loneliness. He is a special young man with a special aim. He wants to unfold to the world the deepest mysteries of creation. His dream is to create a being, stronger and better than a man is.

But what is the reason of doing this? Does he feel that the human race is not what it used to be or that the human behavior is getting worse or is it something else?
The fact is that people of great values surrounds Frankenstein. His father is loyal towards his family and friends, his only friend Henry is a kind of “dream friend” – sensible, enthusiastic and gentle. Finally, his beloved “sister”, an angel, is a symbol for the good. She is always calm, sensible and forever loyal to her friends and family. It means that Frankenstein’s family and friends, or behavior of people in general, are not the reasons of his effort to create a new being. I think it is his desire for success. He has an idea, he know the way how to do it and he wants to show the others that he is maybe as powerful as God is. He believes that he could create a happy and perfect being. He could but he made a big mistake. He is working on the body for two years. Through this period of his life he looses contact with the outer world and, of course, with his family and friends. He is ambitious, systematic and determined to finish his work, no matter how much it costs. He is very selfish in this way.
“His limbs were in proportion, and I had selected his features as beautiful. Beautiful! Great God! His yellow skin scarcely covered the work of muscles and arteries beneath.” Until now, Frankenstein behaves as a true scientist but after he makes the creature live, he seems to me like a small child who cannot take responsibility for what he has done. He is the first man in the world who created life from dead substance and he is not proud of it. Shocked and full of fear, he escapes instead of taking care of the monster. I have that kind of feeling that his reaction is irresponsible and illogical and this attitude to the monster is the primary cause of the later tragedy. If he was interested in the monster, if he took care of him none of next events would happen. I do not know if it was the purpose of the author but during the months when Frankenstein is doing things not related to the issue of the monster, I am really left in a strain. I am “worried” about him and interested in his feelings and how does he cope with the problems of the world. Frankenstein’s relationship to the monster is expressed in this sentence: “...when I became assured that my enemy had indeed fled, I clapped my hands for joy...” He considers the monster as an enemy but he has no reason.

Later he wants to completely forget about the monster but the monster will not let him to forget.


“Alas! I had turned loose into the world a depraved wretch whose delight was in carnage and misery.” After the first murder, it is clear that the monster has a special aim: to let his creator suffer in the worst way - by killing all his relatives. But how did he know about his creator and how did he find him?
“At first I started back, unable to believe that it was indeed I who was reflected in the mirror; and when I became fully convinced that I was in reality the monster that I am...” In spite of his appearance he is one of the most intelligent and skilled creature in the world. I will explain it. When he is “born”, there is nobody to take care of him as it is natural, let us say in the world of mammals. He realizes that he has several senses but he does not know how to use them and what is their purpose. He has needs for drink, food, sleep and for sentiments, as he later finds out. Without any help he is able to cope with these things and learn a lot about the secret of life. He spends several years very close to a group of people. He learns to talk and read by watching them doing it. He realizes that he is lonely, has no relatives or friends - things necessary for a happy life. In the beginnings of his life, he is a very sensitive and sensible being, loves and helps the people who he is watching. But as the time goes on he is more and more thinking about his life (who is he, where does he come from) and he is getting more and more depressed and frustrated. Then one day he tries to contact the people but the result is a disaster. From then his behavior changes. “My daily vows rose for revenge - a deep and deadly revenge, such as would alone compensate for the outrages and anguish I had endured.” He reads the notes, which he has found in the Frankenstein’s coat and starts to plan the revenge.
"You must create a female for me with whom I can live in the interchange of those sympathies necessary for my being.” The monster is extremely unhappy with his life and feels that he must have a similar being on his side. In this situation, the attitude of Frankenstein changes for a while. He feels that he is responsible for the monster’s melancholy. He agrees that he will create him a partner but later he changes his mind because he realizes that she-monster can be as virulent as the monster is. He also feels an enormous responsibility to the whole mankind.
“You are my creator, but I am your master; obey!" These are the strongest words in the story and it is clear that the final fight between them is about to come. Frankenstein is very egoistic - he is sure that the monster wants to kill only him; but he finds crueler way how to avenge.

The monster, full of pain and hate, kills his best friend and than beloved Elizabeth, his wife. The monster tired of his life and determined to die is playing a game with Frankenstein. He is leading Frankenstein to the coolest place in the world – to the North Pole. The explorer mentioned at the beginning saves tired and sick Frankenstein. Than he dies on the board of the ship and feels that he does not feel hate anymore and is prepared to “meet” his family. When the monster sees that his final victim Victor Frankenstein is already dead, he shows remorse. He knows that Frankenstein is the only person in the world who could love him and because of this, he is determined to die.

I think that Mary W. Shelly wrote one of the best stories in the literature of the 19th century. Although it is a simple story, the main characters are very realistic and described in great detail. It shows that people, peaceful and full of love, can change into cruel monsters, full of hate and revenge. This should be a warning for all of us. tomas mihalciak.

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