Was Frankenstein Born With His Identity or Was His Identity Created  Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

Frankenstein: An Identity Born or Created?

The title character in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein grew up in eighteenth-century Switzerland. In the character's own words, "No human being could have passed a happier childhood than myself" (33). Young Victor Frankenstein had loving parents, and siblings he adored. These early years proved to be a stark contrast to university life, where Victor was an eager student but very lonely. He threw himself into his work, becoming obsessed with natural philosophy and science. In a bold experiment, he gathered an assortment of human parts and stitched them together, curious as to whether he could create life. Victor was astounded to see that he did, indeed, create a living creature. The initial thrill he experienced at the success of his experiment quickly turned to horror as his creature escaped and began terrorizing the countryside. The creature was not born a monster, however. His identity was shaped not only by Victor, but by the people the creature encountered as he traveled in search of love and acceptance.

The creature fashioned by Victor was a horrible sight: "yellow skin…watery eyes…shriveled complexion and straight black lips" (55). Victor made assumptions about his creature's nature based on its appearance, and assigned characteristics to the creature that were not present, at least in the beginning. The creature was essentially a blank slate. Over time he learned to meet his basic needs for food, shelter and warmth. He acquired language. He became fully human when he developed empathy and learned to love.

Mary Shelley crafted her story to offer three points-of-view. In the first, a sea captain, R. Walton, writes his sister a series of letters in which he describes the rescue of a mysterious man who ultimately has a strange tale to tell. The man is Victor Frankenstein, who relates the story of his monster's creation and the horrible events that occurred, including the murder of Victor's younger brother, a crime for which a beloved family friend was falsely accused, and the murder of his beloved bride. As Victor tells his story, he incorporates the story told to him by his monster. This is a clever…

Sources Used in Document:

Work Cited

Shelley, Mary. Frankenstein: Or, The Modern Prometheus. Salem, Oregon: Bookbyte Digital,

n.d. Electronic Book.

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