Frankenstein: "Cruelty Breeds Evil"- Analysis of the novel

Essay by m27khanUniversity, Bachelor'sA-, November 2004

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"Cruelty Breeds Evil"

There is nothing worse than feeling detested and abhorred by society, especially if this hatred is caused solely by one's physical appearance. In Frankenstein, Mary Shelley uses the Creature to show how people are inherently good, but compelled to become evil only when ostracized by their fellow man. Although the Creature is initially full of love and is surrounded by examples of human happiness, he finds himself excluded from this happiness, through no fault of his own. The creature turns to evil only after he is spurned by humanity. Two tragic events lead to his transformation: being rejected by his 'family' - the De Laceys, and being rejected by his creator - Victor Frankenstein.

It is only through contact with humans - the De Laceys - that the Creature realizes that he is an outcast, isolated from society. The Creature is originally only concerned with responding to his physical needs - food, water, and shelter.

As his intelligence grows, however, he becomes self-conscious and realizes that he will never fit in with humanity. In comparing himself to them, the Creature feels himself to be a monster. He is shocked by his own reflection, and is nearly unable to accept it as his own: "At first I started back, unable to believe that it was indeed I who was reflecting in the mirror; and when I became fully convinced that I was in reality the monster that I am, I was filled with the bitterest sensations of despondence and mortification" (Shelley, 80).

Despite his physical appearance, the Creature is seen as sympathetic, caring, and sensitive to humans. He aids the De Laceys by gathering firewood for them. He also sympathizes with the plights of other ostracized people such as the Native Americans. "I heard of the discovery...