THE DESTRUCTIVE RESULTS OF POWER:
DEPICTION THROUGH FRANKENSTEIN AND HIS MONSTER
Regis Jesuit High School
In Partial Fulfillment
of the Requirements for the Course
Honors British and World Literature
November 13, 2012
For my paper, I have chosen to write about the theme of playing God throughout the book of Frankenstein and how it ultimately affects the person doing it. Throughout the course of the story, Victor and his creation try to take on the role of God, especially through the creation and destruction of life. I will mainly be speaking of Victor’s creating of the monster as his role as “God.” The monster’s role as “God” is mainly fulfilled through his murders, or his destruction of life. The eventual demise of both of these characters is directly stemmed from their attempts to create and destroy life. Not only are the two individuals killed due to this toying with life, but also the journey leading up to their death is all but pleasurable. From the moment that Frankenstein’s monster’s eye opened, the rest of both of their lives consist mostly of depression and pain. This pain eventually leads to a pursuit of one character after another. The two chase each other in a pattern, beginning from the creation of the monster. The monster chases Victor for a period of time, and it is not until Victor’s wedding night that the roles of the chaser vs. the chased are switched. These ideas will help with the main construction of my paper. The two main sources through which I will be drawing information to help me type this paper include Frankenstein by Mary Shelley and “What is a Monster?” by Peter Brooks. However, I do plan on going back to the databases and looking for help if I get stuck in my writing.
“When the power of love overcomes the love of power, then the world will know peace.” This quote from Jimi Hendrix coincides with one of the main underlying themes in the gothic novel Frankenstein by Mary Shelley: power. The plot begins with the creation of the monster, the first act in search of power in this novel. From this point on, a chase between Victor and his monster begins to unravel. Throughout the course of the monster’s life, he finds power through the destructive nature of death; especially those of the humans who have made him feel neglected by society. After the murder of his wife, Victor decides it is time for him to end the life of his creation. At this point in the story, the plot shifts and the monster becomes the pursued and Victor, the pursuer. Both Frankenstein and his monster suffer through this cycle due to their mistakes stemming from the search for power. Throughout the course of the story, Victor and his creation try to take on the role of God, especially through the creation and destruction of life. This ultimately leads to an epic pursuit culminating in the demise of both characters, showing that the search for power greater than that of nature leads to destruction. Victor pursues great powers through the creation of life, a mistake that will continue to haunt him until the end of his life. Victor’s overwhelming desire to control life stems from his personal life, specifically the death of his mother. This traumatic experience from his childhood left him with an emotional scar. The pain from the death of his mother ultimately manifests itself through the creation of his monster. The creation occurs in a laboratory nearby the University of Ingolstadt where he is a student. Shelley writes, “by the glimmer of the half-extinguished light, I saw the dull yellow eye of the creature open; it breathed hard, and a convulsive motion agitated its limbs” (Shelley 43). This marks the night that the spark of life was transmitted into the monster by the hands of Victor Frankenstein, who immediately flees the scene out of horror. The monster, abandoned by Victor, blames him for the grotesque creature he is, and seeks...
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