Frankenstein : Who Is The Real Monster?

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorHigh School, 12th grade February 2008

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Locke once debated on whether men were born evil or were made evil by the situations that developed around them. This has become a universally debated question, one that does not have a correct answer. In her novel Frankenstein Mary Shelley addresses this issue through her portrayal of the monster. The monster was not born an evil entity, but rather, the situations he faced and how he dealt with them bred it within him.

The monster is described like a child, innocent, eager to please and to learn. For instance, after the monster is first brought to life, Frankenstein describes it as a "miserable monster" with disgusting features and a terrifying face (43). Yet although the monster is hideously ugly and ghastly to look at, its smile betrays its motives. He is like an innocent child, reaching out to the first benevolent face it sees, stretching his hands out to be either held or pampered, but not fearing rejection.

Frankenstein understands the role he must play as creator of this monster due to his own experiences as a child. He relates his own role to that of his parents, who were ordained to bring him "up to good, whose future lot it was in their hands to direct to happiness or misery, according as they fulfilled their duties towards me" (19). Victor understands that he has certain duties to his monster, and that it is in his power to bestow to him happiness or misery. Yet he shirks this responsibility, leaving the monster to develop his own sense of right and wrong due to how he responds to the world around him.

The monster develops his own moral code from the situations that he experiences and the people he meets. It is not from birth, but from his interactions with...