Frankenstein’s Monster & The Lack of Familial Ties
The Romantic Era inspired detailed expressions of internal feelings and an emphasis on the appreciation of nature. Romantic writers feared the disintegration of human emotion and the relationship between humans and nature. Once the Scientific revolution called for reason and the theorizing of the causes of life, it seemed as if people would become more mechanical and rational rather than sentimental and imaginative. There was in fact, a sweeping fear of dehumanization; nature was not something to fear anymore, and eventually, it was becoming an element that no longer received respect. In Frankenstein, Mary Shelley embarks on the literary depictions of the most intense human emotions, both negative and positive, with a primary focus on the abundance or consequential lack of familial love and affections.
Shelley’s characters are constantly expressing intense feelings and are extremely self-aware and sentimental. Victor expresses anguish over the completion of his morbid creation when he states, “the beauty of the dream vanished and breathless horror and disgust filled my heart.” The monster, too, expresses his sentiment over the loneliness and sadness he endures. Nature throughout the novel has the tendency to relieve characters of their anguish, however brief the moment. Shelley’s characters are tuned to their most internal feelings, depicting the element of the Romantics that opposes reason. Passion and emotional expression is intrinsic to Frankenstein, a novel that was created to produce horror, which is an obvious emotional objective.
Victor Frankenstein’s self-interest and ambition is perhaps one of the roots that caused the pain suffered by various characters in the novel. His thirst for scientific knowledge resulted in the abandonment of his family in order to satiate his desires. This intense ambition threatened the solidarity of his family when he is separated from them because there is a lack of communication throughout the years Frankenstein resides at Ingolstadt. Of course, Victor’s ambition is not solely to blame. Alphonse, Victor’s father, is negligent when Victor accounts of his interest in the sciences and names the authors whose texts he admires to his father, when Alphonse bashes the authors saying, “My dear Victor, do not waste your time on this; it is sad trash,” with no further explanations for the reason of his disapproval. A good connection between father and son would have depicted the contrary, where Alphonse would have taken to explain to his child the source for his remark and introduce him to updated and credible information in the subject of interest, simultaneously discrediting Victor’s admired philosophers. Although Victor describes his parents as ideal and “indulgent”, there is a reason to believe that his upbringing has been less than ideal. The indulgence or rather, leniency of Victors parents was far too generous, leading Victor into an individualism that materialized into the destruction of all those around him.
Indeed, the result of Victor Frankenstein’s ambition was disastrous. As a result of Alphonse’s negligence towards Victor’s education, Victor’s thirst for knowledge was not set in the right direction, and from it rose the unnatural desire to be like God. Victor in contemplating the result of his creation, states, “a new species would bless me as its creator and source; many happy and excellent natures will owe their being to me (51).” There is speculation that Victor’s obsession over creating life unnaturally stems from a deep psychological problem. A critic states Victor devised to annihilate motherly and feministic attachments by becoming the creator of a new species that would owe him their life (Yousef). Shelley had fears of her own, concerning motherhood and nurturing because of the children she had lost and the mother who died when she was an infant. However, Frankenstein had no contempt towards the female figure...
Cited: Shelley, Mary. Ed. Brantley Johnson. Frankenstein. New York: Simon & Schuster Paperbacks, 2009. Print
Yousef, Nancy. “The Monster in a Dark Room: Frankenstein, Feminism, and Philosophy.” Modern Language Quarterly 63.2 (2002): 197-226. Web. Nov. 16.
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