Expression of Sympathy in Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

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Mary Shelley’s gothic novel Frankenstein (1818) is set in Switzerland, Germany, France, England, and Scotland. It tells the story of a wicked creation of a monster. The two main characters, Victor and the creature, both endure many struggles which cause them to do irrational things. After his mother’s death, Victor spends months building this creature with old body parts and then abandons him in disgust and horror as soon as he sees him. He realizes that this is a mistake. The creature learns to speak, but he is rejected by society and his own creator. Because of this disapproval, the creature becomes malicious and violent and seeks revenge on Victor by killing everyone he loves. Difficult circumstances and temptations of revenge cause him to be a person who he truly is not. In Frankenstein, the creature deserves the most sympathy because he is abandoned by his creator and is mistreated by everyone he comes in contact with.

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The creature is deserving of the most sympathy because he was abandoned by his creator as soon as he came to life and felt unwanted by him. Frankenstein was obsessed with creating this monster, but as soon as he came to life, he was overwhelmed with disgust for him. The creature was left alone and frightened in a world where he didn’t belong. Criticizing his creator, the creature says, “Cursed, cursed creator! Why did I live? Why, in that instant, did I not extinguish the spark of existence which you had so wantonly bestowed? I know not; despair had not yet taken possession of me; my feelings were those of rage and revenge” (Shelley 97). The creature wishes he was never brought to life and questions why he was created if Victor was just going to leave him in the end. This causes the creature a lot of anger and uncertainty about the world. According to the monster, his malicious behavior was linked to being left by Victor. For example, the creature says, “I was benevolent, my soul glowed with love and humanity; but am I not alone? You, my creator, abhor me” (Shelley 114). The creature explains that he was filled with joy and kindness, but Victor’s disregard caused him to be altered in a negative way, in which he was left sad and miserable. Ultimately, the creature would have been joyous and compassionate had it not been for Frankenstein’s disregard for him.

Not only was he abandoned, but he was also mistreated by the people that he came in contact with, causing his violence and rage. The creature received abuse because he was hideous and people were scared of him. This abuse helped cause his rage and violence. For example, the villagers return to see the creature talking to De Lacey, their father, “Agatha fainted, and Safie, unable to attend to her friend, rushed out of the cottage. Felix darted forward, and with supernatural force tore me from his father, to whose knees I clung, in a transport of fury, he dashed me to the ground and struck me violently with a stick… I saw him on the point of repeating his blow, when, overcome by pain and anguish, I quitted the cottage, and in the general tumult escaped unperceived to my hovel” (Shelly 79). Returning to their home, the cottagers were shocked by the creature’s ugliness that they attacked him for just talking to their father. Incidents like this is what caused him to reciprocate what had been done to him. Retaliating against all humans and releasing his anger, he took revenge on humans and thus committing many murders. The creature realized he was talking to Frankenstein’s little brother, William when anger came over him and began to strangle the boy. The boy responded, “ 'He struggled violently. Let me go, he cried; monster! Ugly wretch! You wish to eat me and tear me to pieces. You are an ogre. Let me go, or I will tell my papa” (Shelly 170). The creature was shunned or attacked by everyone he came in contact with, causing him to be left sad and aggressive. Ultimately, Everyone detested him just because they were terrified of the way his height and countenance.

Lastly, the creature didn’t have anyone like him to connect and make friends with. In other words, his non-existent friendships were the reason for his pain and aggressiveness. Nobody wanted to be friends with him because of his different appearance and that was something that he could not have avoided. The creature requested that Frankenstein make him a girl companion. After he refused, the creature responded, “I am malicious because I am miserable. Am I not shunned and hated by all mankind” (Shelly 175)? He makes his case that he is shunned by all mankind and because of that, he deserves to have a companion of his own. Victor declining his wish makes him even more miserable and lonely. Talking to Frankenstein, the creature states, 'And what was I? Of my creation and creator, I was absolutely ignorant, but I knew that I possessed no money, no friends, no kind of property. I was, besides, endued with a figure hideously deformed and loathsome; I was not even of the same nature as man” (Shelley 115). Loneliness and exclusion from human privileges caused him to become hostile and therefore depressed. He just wanted to be accepted and have normal relationships like he saw everyone else doing, but he was not accepted.

Not only was the creature abandoned by his creator and the only person he had, but he was verbally abused and mistreated. He attempted to connect with people but none of them accepted him and because of that, he became violent and malicious. Before his rejection, he was kind and compassionate. He helped the cottagers when he piled up wood for them to use and helped with chores without them even knowing. He was an all-around good person who wanted to be just like everyone else.

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