Archetypes in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein
Virtually all literature contain instinctive trends in the human consciousness to represent certain themes or motifs, these are defined as archetypes. Archetypes can be thought as blueprints or as bundles of psychic energy that influence the manner in which we understand and react to life. There are two different categories of archetypes; the plot archetype and the character archetype. The orphan, martyr, wanderer, warrior, magician, villain, wise child, temptress, rebel, underdog, fool, saint, virgin, wise, old man or woman are all considered to be character archetypes. Call to adventure, isolation, quest and monster that turns against its creator are all considered to be plot archetypes. The novel, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, contains archetypes.
The novel Frankenstein by Mary Shelley contains the archetype of ‘great/terrible’ parent. The ‘great/terrible’ parent is a character archetype used in many novels and literatures. The ‘great/terrible’ parent is defined as a parent in the novel with either great or terrible parenting traits. The great parent is a caring, compassionate, loving, nurturing character who can either be a father, mother or creator. The terrible parent is uncompassionate, unaffectionate, uncaring, and a loveless character that can also be a creator, mother, or father. The monster created by Frankenstein is a victim of bad parenting because of the wrongdoing of the protagonist Victor Frankenstein. “I, the miserable and abandoned, am an abortion, to be spurned at, and kicked, and trampled on” (Shelley, 204). Frankenstein is an example of a terrible parent because he creates a creature which he neglects to nurture and take care off. Instead he looks at it in disgust, mistreats it and abandons it as if it were an abortion. Justin the young girl that was adopted into the
Frankenstein household while Victor had been growing up is another casualty of bad parenting, but in this case it was her mother...
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