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Frankenstein by Mary Shelley Essay

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How does Mary Shelley present the character of the monster so as to gain sympathy for him?

When Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus, in
1818 at the tender age of 18, it was often wondered how such a young girl could imagine such a horrific story. In fact, one could find that the idea of ‘playing God’ and manipulating the ideas behind life and death were very much real at the time, and even today. Many scientists were investigating the process of bringing a dead being back to life, or galvanism, and there were some, like Humphrey Davy, who believed that scientists had no limit as to what they could do, believing that they could become masters, even creators. Shelley’s character,
Frankenstein, shares these…show more content…

However the novel also concentrates on the moral and political issues of society at the time, a matter that could be very easily compared with in our own time. A theme that frequently occurs in the novel is the issue of appearance and reality, and the way that society tends to judge people’s exterior rather than interior being. The creature is at first innocent, and suffers his life in loneliness and isolation, eventually becoming the monster that
Frankenstein already sees him as. However the creature was not always as monstrous on the inside. It is only when he experiences constant rejection from society and even more importantly his ‘friends’, the de
Laceys’, that the creature falls into the character of being a
“monster”.

Mary had known about Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s theory that children were born with innocence and purity, and also John Locke, who put forward the idea, tabula rasa, where children learnt from those around them and through their own sensations that they experience. Even Mary’s father, Godwin, believed that a recluse could not ever be moral, and that only when things like possession, marriage, and selfishness were abolished could there ever be happiness in our society. When the idea came to her in a dream, it was with the knowledge of all of this, and her very own traumatic personal experiences that she had already encountered in life, that Mary Shelley was able to mould her story into a tale about Frankenstein and

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