The Argument of Discovered Characteristics in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein
The Argument of Learned Characteristics in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein In Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, a crucial element of nurture is examined through both Frankenstein and his creation. The creatures interaction with the cottagers, as well as his interaction with Frankenstein, display Mary Shelley’s personal views on the topic. Particular contrasting vocabulary and recurring themes as Frankenstein is viewing the cottagers help Shelley to highlight the animal’s influences as he’s finding the world, and how that connects to a major style of the story.
The creature was born and let loose into the world without any assistance, without any concept of what is socially ideal and wrong. In the beginning he just focused on surviving and discovering understanding of the world and all his new-found senses. Later, he came across the cottagers. From them, he learnt more about typical human behaviors, and he discovered of right and wrong. The creature talked about how “Such was the history of my beloved cottagers. It impressed me deeply.
I learned from the views of social life which it established, to appreciate their virtues, and to deprecate the vices of humanity” (Frankenstein, 88). Here, the creature described the cottagers as “beloved,” he “discovered” from them, and “appreciated” them. This word choice demonstrates how the animal sees the cottagers as a child would see their cherished parents, gain from them, and admire them. Despite the fact that the cottagers did not know of the creature, by observation the creature saw them as the parental figures he did not have.
The word “impress” can also be taken to imply that the cottagers left their mark upon the creature, revealing that the creature gained from observations of them. Likewise to how a kid imitates their protector, the animal was beleaguered with “a desire to become a star in the busy scene where a lot of exceptional qualities were called forth and displayed” (88 ). Using the words “star” and “scene” recommend that the creature does not feel as if he can be entirely himself outdoors social world, for he understands he is not completely like the cottagers.
However, since he has learned from and looks after the cottagers, he still has the desire to show the “exceptional qualities” that he sees. This reveals an ernest desire to be a good essence in human society, with no idea for rage or revenge. It likewise shows the dominance of his nurture, his childhood by the cottagers, over his nature, his monstrous state of being. However, the creature also finds out of evil from Paradise Lost, from his desertion by Frankenstein, and from the response to his presence in the cabin.
After he was erupted of the home by the cottagers he so loved, the animal “bore a hell within me; and, discovering myself unsympathized with, wanted to tear up the trees and spread havoc and destruction around me, and after that to have sat down and enjoyed the destroy” (95 ). Here he is associating with the Satan that he read of from Paradise Lost, where Satan likewise “bore a hell within” himself. This is pure evil is something that the creature gained from his readings. “Wrecking the trees and spreading out havoc” is similar to the desires of Satan in Paradise Lost, who then, too, likewise just wanted to ruin for vengeance and to “take pleasure in the destroy. At this moment, the animal likewise starts describing mankind as “my opponents,” whereas prior to he had described the cottagers as “my buddies” on multiple events. This reveals the transition from learning good from his pals, the cottagers, to finding out hatred and evil from the world. Later, when the cottagers leave, the creature says “My protectors had left, and had actually broken the only link that held me to the world. For the first time, the feelings of vengeance and hatred filled my bosom” (97 ).
Here, the parental element of the cottagers is more displayed through the word option of “protectors” when the creature discusses them. He still refers to them as his protectors, even after they showed such ruthlessness to him, which suggests that he still considers them adult figures, and so continued to discover hatred from their actions of hatred against him. Since the creature was only feeling hatred and revenge “for the very first time,” this too demonstrates how the creature was not born a dreadful animal, but was revealed wicked by his those he looked up to.
Throughout these pages, there is a recurring theme of the animal replacing his lost moms and dads with the cottagers through vocabulary such as “protectors” and “cherished.” There is likewise a shift from the animals “admiring” the cottagers to his loathing them as “opponents.” This shift from an open, desperate to be great being when the creature initially satisfies the cottagers to his revenge looking for state after the cottagers leave him shows how the animal was not born with bitter hatred or excellent social qualities, however both were gained from what he read in books and what he saw from his protectors.
This argument reaches throughout the entire book revealing Mary Shelley’s view on the topic of nature vs. nurture. This also connects to the idea that Mary Shelley reveals through her novel that one can not produce and after that merely leave the creation to ruin at the expense of society. The duty of a developer is to support and raise one’s creation, which Frankenstein stopped working to do. The animal is not the only showcase for the argument of nature vs nurture, however Frankenstein is too.
Frankenstein says this himself when he describes to Walton that “I was their toy and their idol, and something much better- their kid, the innocent and defenseless animal bestowed on them by Heaven, whom to raise to great and whose future lot it was in their hands to direct to joy or suffering, according as they fulfilled their duties towards me” (16 ). Frankenstein, too, knows the significance of the “duties” of nurture here, noting how his “future lot it remained in their hands to direct to happiness or torment” which he himself failed to do for the animal.
He ignored his responsibility as a developer which cause the creature’s absence of correct support and his revengeful enthusiasm. Justine Moritz also displays the idea of nature vs support. She was not born to the Frankenstein family, however instead was embraced. Despite the fact that she was not of the household, she “loved her protectress. Although her disposition was gay, and in many respects inconsiderate, yet she paid the greatest attention to every gesture of [the] aunt. She … ndeavored to imitate her phraseology and good manners, so that even now she frequently reminds me of her.” (___). Here, the auntie is described as the “protectress,” much like the creature referred to his cottagers as “protectors.” Justine’s view of the auntie is parallel to how the creature viewed the cottagers as he was learning from them. When again support is the most crucial influence, for even though Justine’s was “disposition” was to be inconsiderate, her nurturer influenced her to take on qualities mirroring the aunt.
The creature himself understands that he was not born evil when he mentions, “my heart was made to be prone of love and compassion” (158 ), “I can not think I am he who’s thoughts were when filled with the superb and transcendent visions of the beauty and the majesty of goodness” (160 ). Even the animal knows that he was born genetically neither good nor wicked, but was shaped by his upbringing into the beast he produced. His misery now reveals the repercussions of a creator failing to nurture the creation, and the power that Shelley thinks support has over nature.
Support is not only dominant over nature, but it is likewise the obligation of the developer. The creature acknowledged Frankenstein’s duty to support him when, in Frankenstein and the animal’s first conversation, the creature proclaims “However I will not be tempted to set myself in opposition to thee. … if thou will likewise perform thy part, the which thou owest me” (68 ). The “part” refers to the nurturing that Frankenstein owed the creature as a creator; however, now his nurture is to be fulfilled by means of a 2nd creation.
Frankenstein tried to play God, however he failed, as humans do, and was not able to perform the responsibilities of the creator. Shelley, too, was influenced in her life by her nurturing. Her dad, a scientist, raised her to be really liberal in thought, which effected her scientific views. She was likewise influenced by her readings, like both Frankenstein and the animal, of Darwin, who covered the topics of genes and their impact. The concept that nurture is more important that nature was a liberal scientific view during Mary Shelley’s time period, and hence her nurturing is displayed in her book’s styles.
Through Frankenstein, Mary Shelley is able to show her perspective on the idea of nature vs nurture. Through characters in Frankenstein, especially the creature, she shows how their training had more influence over them than their genes. The creature’s observations with the cottagers, as well as his unpleasant interaction with them, Frankenstein and society produced him into the beast that he was. This shows Mary’s Shelley’s belief that the influence of nature, also the duty of the developer, is more crucial to one’s character than that of one’s genes.