Frankenstein: Less Human Than His Creation Essay
There are obvious similarities between Victor and his creation; each is abandoned, isolated, and both start out withgood intentions. However, Victors ego in his search for god-like capabilities overpowers his humanity. The creatureis nothing but benevolent until society shuns him as an outcast on account of his deformities. The creature is morehumane than his own creator because his wicked deeds are committed in response to societys corruption; whileFrankensteins 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 youngage; 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 ishypothetically 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 goodintentions; he is merely seeking to gain knowledge of natural philosophy. Soon, his greed for god-like powerovercomes him and he becomes consumed with the idea of creating life, Summer months passed while I was thusengaged, heart and soul, in one pursuit (32). The creature also starts out with kindness, he tells his creator, Believeme, 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, Thecreatures thoughts now became more active, and he longed to discover the motives and feelings of these lovelycreatures… he thought (foolish wretch!) that it might be in his power to restore happiness to these deservingpeople (77). The creatures display of care and compassion for the cottagers is more humane than most humans are;he retains the innocence and naive characteristics of a child. The creatures grasp of human-like qualities allows thereader to possess sympathy for his situation; he is a victim and Frankenstein is to blame. A true monster would, bydefinition, have no emotions or remorse, while Frankenstein’s creation has a very natural, human desire to be lovedand accepted, Once the creature falsely hoped to meet with beings, who, pardoning his outward form, wouldlove him for the excellent qualities which he was capable of bringing forth(154). Another human characteristicthat the creature holds is his conscience, as can be seen at the end of the book after Frankenstein dies. The creaturetells Walton, It is true that I am a wretch. I have murdered the lovely and the helpless; I have strangled the innocentas 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 firstyears of life; Victor says of himself, Winter, spring, and summer, passed away during my labors; but I did not watchthe blossom or the expanding leaves- sights which before always yielded me supreme delight, so deeply was Iengrossed in my occupation (33). Frankenstein is obsessed with holding god-like powers, I ceased to fear or tobend before any being less almighty than that which had created and ruled the elements (78). At several points in thebook Victor has the chance to prevent harm being done to others, but each time he is only concerned with himself. Itis ambiguous, but Victor could have warned the family, or gone to protect innocent little William. More obviously, hecould have spoken up about the creature and saved the life of Justine. Instead, Frankenstein chooses to let Justine dieand wallow in his own guilt, Anguish and despair had penetrated into the core of his heart (57). Thirdly, after thecreatures threat, Victor is concerned only about his own life and fails to see the threat to his bride Elizabeth. Victoris 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 Shelleys Frankenstein and Miltons Paradise Lost. Victorscharacter is paralleled directly with Satans; both succumb to selfishness when they fall. Much like Satan, Victor isforced to carry his anguish with him constantly ; Frankenstein bore a hell within himself which nothing couldextinguish (57). The creature is a portrayal of Eves role in Paradise Lost. The creature is persuaded by the behaviorof others to take his fall into wickedness, much like Eve was pushed by the serpent to eat the forbidden fruit. Shelleyblatantly makes this comparison when Frankenstein gets a first glance of himself in a scene that mirrors Eves firstlook at herself. The creature tells Victor, I was terrified when I viewed myself in a transparent pool! At first Istared back, unable to believe that it was indeed I who was reflected in the mirror; and when I became fully convincedthat 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 toevil; while Victor acts out of greed. Victors self-centered behavior effects everyone in the novel; he hurts his familysfeelings, he lets those that he loves die, and abandons his own creation. Even the creature couldnt have committedsuch horrible acts before the effects of societys rejection.