I Am Human. I Am Powerful.
In the society we live in, it is apparent that we as humans have a sense of power over all other living species. We have the ability to house-train a cat, teach a dog to guide the blind, or kill a rabid animal if we feel threatened. It is our ability to think and act upon our thoughts after deliberation that allows to us to rein over the animal world. In Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, Shelley examines how being human correlates directly with division of power in society by delineating the physical and emotional interactions between both Frankenstein and the monster throughout the novel. At the start of the book, Shelley depicts Doctor Victor Frankenstein as a human figure who is able to control his creation’s future. However, as time passes, Frankenstein becomes increasingly inhumane and his sanity is threatened along with his ability to dominate the monster’s life. As Frankenstein is losing his sense of humanity and control, the monster is gaining both. Though he starts off a powerless, unrefined brute, as the novel progresses the creature adopts a few human tendencies and gradually gains the ability to control his own creator’s future with his actions. Thus throughout the novel it becomes clear, when each character is in their most human state, they hold the most power over the other. During the two characters’ initial encounter with each other, Shelley depicts Frankenstein as having complete power over the monster’s future. The night Frankenstein “[beholds] the accomplishment of [his] toils” (43), he describes the moments leading up to the monster’s birth: “… I collected the instruments of life around me, that I might infuse a spark of being into the lifeless thing that lay at my feet” (43). This single line demonstrates the ultimate power Frankenstein has over his creation at that point in time. He alone has the ability to instill life into the inanimate creature lying before him. In addition, Frankenstein’s elevated cognitive...
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