Frankenstein - Theme of Appearance

Topics: Human, Africa, Morality Pages: 5 (1760 words) Published: October 8, 1999
The Unjust Isolation of Frankenstein's Creation and Other Reasons to Never Become a Model: Societal Prejudices in Shelley's Frankenstein
A Swiss Proverb once enlightened, "When one shuts one eye, one does not hear everything". Sadly, vision is the primary sense of mankind and often the solitary basis of judgment. Without human's limitations of the shapes, colors and textures of our overall outward appearances, the world would be a place that emphasizes morals, justice and intelligence rather than bravado, cuteness, and sexual attraction. For if there were no predetermined ideal models defining the beautiful possibilities of the human body's variation, one would never suffer isolation due to one's disability, unattractiveness, or unusual physical attribute. Mary Shelley's novel, Frankenstein, sheds light on the eternal illusory and importance of appearance through the tale of an unwanted creation that is never given a chance. Ironically, the supposed beast was initially much more compassionate and thoughtful than his creator, until his romantic and innocent view of the human race was diminished by the cruelty and injustice he unduly bore. Not only does the creature suffer the prejudice of an appearance-based society, but other situations and characters in the novel force the reader to reflect their own hasty crimes of judgment in an intelligent and adult fashion. The semi- gothic novel includes several instances of societal prejudice that include the isolation and outcast of Frankenstein's creation, the creature's biased opinion of the cottagers, and the unbalanced and inappropriate classification of Victor.

Throughout the course of the creature's isolated and pathetic journey, he is never given the opportunity to participate in human interaction, as he so deeply deserves. Upon his creation, the reaction of Victor, his maker, is so vividly appalling; one forgets that this is actually the birth of a human being. His ‘father', Victor, is so selfish and has such a lack of responsibility and foresight, that he creates a human being for the simple purpose of recreation, intellectual stimulation, and the thrill of 'the chase'. Frankenstein himself refers to his own creation as, "…the life which I had so thoughtlessly bestowed" (88; ch.1; vol. 2). Victor is solely interested in the beneficial aspects on the surface of creating, just as his interest in the exterior ‘monster' is superficial. Not only is Victor's quest selfish, but his goal is frivolous as well. Victor's initial opinion of his creature is that of disappointment, although he succeeds in his destination to create a living being from inanimate pieces. The disappointment is not only irrational, but also shows his further jaded ideal of perfection in the fact that he considers ugliness a weakness. If that were true, ugliness would be the creature's only weakness, as the story goes on to tell of the selfless acts of kindness the creature administers. Victor describes his supposed miserable failure as a deformed monster when he says "His yellow skin scarcely covered the work of muscles and arteries beneath; his hair was of lustrous black, and flowing his teeth of pearly whiteness; but these luxuriances only form a more horrid contrast with his watery eyes, that seemed almost of the same colour as the dun-white sockets in which they were set, his shriveled complexion and straight black lips" (56; ch.5; vol.1). Later, Victor sees the creature after a long period of his aimless roaming, and he "trembled with rage and horror" (95; ch. 3; vol .2). Victor wished to engage in mortal combat because he had a faint premonition the creature might have possibly killed his son. The senseless idea was formed simply because of the creature's physical features, and that he may have been in the vicinity. Even though the monster was shunned, hated, labeled prematurely as a killer, and cursed by his very own maker, he sees the goodness of the human...
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