Frankenstein: Self Education of the Monster

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Q. “Self education plays a critical role in shaping the subjectivity of Victor Frankenstein’s monster”. Do you agree? Discuss. Rousseau believed that humans were intrinsically good when in their natural state (before civilization). According to him, humans were corrupted by society. Frankenstein’s creature is a case in point. So, calling him a monster in itself is a problematic view. Joyce Carol Oates focuses on the benevolent nature of the creature in his essay entitled, ‘Frankenstein’s Fallen Angel’. According to him, the demon is human consciousness-in-the-making, naturally benevolent as Milton’s Satan is not, and received with horror and contempt solely because of his physical appearance. To substantiate his point, he gives an example of the good nature exhibited by the creature even after he has been rejected by his Creator himself. Joyce says, “When Frankenstein is tracking the demon into the arctic regions, for instance, it is clearly the demon who is helping him in his search, and even leaving food for him; but Frankenstein is so blind – in fact so comically blind – he believes that “spirits” are responsible,” who direct “my steps”. Here, I would like to connect the dots. The very idea of the “noble savage” is linked to the romantic perception of looking at things from the point of view of the marginalised, rebellious and disobedient. Mary Shelley gives a voice to the marginal creature to explain his agony, pain and trauma of exclusion, isolation and alienation through his tale. In doing so, education of the monster plays an important role which imparts in him a sense of reason to question the society and his creator. This paper will examine the process of education of the monster after he comes in contact with the De Lacey family: focusing on learning through observation. Thereafter, I will question the sense of identity that the critics feel is imparted to the monster through his reading of certain texts. Finally, the influence of the experiences he...
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