Frankenstein By Shelley

Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley is a complex novel that was written during the age
of Romanticism. This gothic work has enjoyed a wide range of interest and
readership for roughly 200 years. Gothic tales have certain elements in common,
chief among them being certain universal themes, eerie settings, twisted
creatures and a breach in the natural order. Shelly's "Frankenstein"
is a perfect example of a gothic novel. In this book she explores as her main
theme the development of evil in an individual when he is subject to rejection
by society. She also develops two secondary themes: man's fear of death, and
man's conflict between morality and science. These two themes are used to
support and clarify the main theme. These themes are as relevant today as when
the novel was written. The novel is first and foremost an exploration of the
development of the evil in Frankenstein's monster, which is, a consequence of
his rejection by society. Frankenstein created his monster from bits and pieces
of human corpses, and brings it to life. Horrified by his actions, he deserts
the creature to find its own way in the world. Hideous in appearance, unable to
communicate, and ignorant of his condition, the creature attempts to interact
with the people around him. They reject the creature with fear and cruelty,
causing him to flee in hiding. The monster falls victim to the system commonly
used to characterize a person by only his or her outer appearance. Whether
people like it or not, society always summarizes a person's characteristics by
his or her physical appearance. Society has set an unbreakable code individuals
must follow to be accepted. Those who don't follow the "standard" are
hated by the crowd and banned for the reason of being different. When the
monster ventured into a town"....children shrieked, and ...women
fainted". From that moment on he realized that people did not like his
appearance and hated him because of it. The creature spends several months
spying on a family living in a hut, learning to speak and read by watching them.

Gradually, he becomes convinced that he needs a companion in order to be
complete and goes in search of his creator. He turns to murder as a method of
forcing Frankenstein to acknowledge his existence and meet his demands. When

Frankenstein fails him a second time, he again resorts to blackmail and murder.

In this novel, Ms. Shelly shows how the creature's attempts at interaction are
met with rejection until finally the creature sees intimidation and extortion as
his only recourse. The creature was not born evil, but was forced into evil acts
as his only way to force acknowledgment of his existence. This theme strikes a
chord among modern readers, for ours is a society, which places a high value on
beauty and empowerment. Those people who are rejected as worthless by our
society because they are ugly, clumsy, mentally retarded, or too different from
their peers frequently use extreme actions to force acknowledgment of their
existence. These acts might include arson, murder, theft, vandalism, and other
senseless acts of destruction or violence. Like Frankenstein's monster, constant
rejection breeds not compassion and understanding, but anger and hatred. The
main theme of development of evil is supported by a secondary theme of man's
fear of death. It is this fear of death and decay, which drives Frankenstein to
create his monster. He believes that if he can discover the secret of life, then
he can cheat death and defeat old age. The fear of death has driven mankind on
many searches throughout the ages to find ways of cheating death and avoiding
old age. Today, scientists and doctors create new medicines to slow the aging
process and defeat diseases, which cause death. They peer further and further
into the genetic code of human life in an attempt to understand why we die and
to see if they can alter the course of life. We can understand why Frankenstein
created his monster, even if we cannot support his cowardice in abandoning this
creation. When Frankenstein abandons his monster, he opens up the theme of the
conflict between morality and science. Frankenstein began his experiments with
the noblest of intentions, but without thinking about what the consequences of
his actions. He failed to consider that simply because something can be done,
doesn't always mean that it should be done, or that the results are not always
desirable. He usurped the power of God by creating life, and them compounded his
error by recklessly abandoning his creature. Without love and guidance, the
creature was forced to become evil.