James Julius VanKeuren III
Material and Spiritual Worlds in Frankenstein
In Frankenstein there is a close relation with the material and spiritual world that each character must face and accept. A major part of it is how these worlds interact with each other and how the character act on how they feel would be in the ethical bounds to achieve their own personal fulfillment and goals. Such is the question that the major characters of the story face since many of the characters have to go through very hard times in which they must find what could fulfill their needs and get rid of their impenetrable sadness and depression. Also are Frankenstein and his monster’s insatiable search for knowledge that they think will lead them to spiritual contentment but both find out that their pursuits will only lead to horror. The monster, created by Frankenstein, has many material needs once he is on his own. He is essentially like a baby, he doesn’t know much about the earth or what to do to survive, and slowly he starts to learn. Once he was in the woods he started to become accustomed to the habitat, “I found a fire which had been left by some wandering beggars, and was overcome with delight at the warmth I experienced from it,” (Shelly 99). He started to realize that he needed things, like fire to survive in the wilderness. When the monster sat his creator down, and he told him that, “You must create a female for me with whom I can live in the interchange of those sympathies necessary for my being,” (Shelly 138). Nobody accepted the monster for who he was because he looked scary on the outside, but was kind and needy on the inside. The monster just wanted a friend to be able to talk to and not have run away before speaking to them. While learning from the cottagers, the monster had a need for knowledge. When talking about himself, the monster said, “ While I improved in speech, I also learned the science of letters as it was taught to the stranger, and this opened before me a wide field for wonder and delight,” (Shelly 113). The monster was feeding off the knowledge that he learned from the family in the cottage. Every day he became smarter and is becoming more open to trying to interact with people. The monster’s material needs started to morph into what humans need to survive. Slowly he’s starting to focus more on his material needs than his spiritual needs.
When the monster was created by Dr. Frankenstein he had no corporeal needs. As he spent more time in the woods by himself, he started to lose focus of his spiritual needs. When Dr. Frankenstein found the monster lurking around in the woods, he approached the monster and degraded him, the monster threatened, “If you will comply with my conditions, I will leave them and you at peace; but if you refuse, I will glut the maw of death, until it be satiated with the blood of you remaining friends” (Shelly 95). The monster was so upset that Dr. Frankenstein did not approve of him, that he was willing to hurt his creator to get revenge. The monster thought that it was socially acceptable for him to hurt people when he did not get his way. While the monster was living in the woods, he watched a family of cottagers during the day. He realized how much he missed having a family and said, “No father had watched my infant days, no mother had blessed me with smiles and caresses” (Shelly 115). The monster was jealous of the children that lived in the cottage because he never got the love that they were receiving from Dr. Frankenstein. He was mentally unstable because he never had someone to talk to or someone that appreciated him. When Dr. Frankenstein dies, the monster becomes sadden by the news, he returns to the house of his creator and says, “Oh Frankenstein! Generous and self-devoted being! What does it avail that I now ask thee to pardon me? I, who irretrievably destroyed thee by destroying all thou lovedst. Alas! He is cold, he...
Cited: Shelly, Mary. Frankenstein. New York: Signet Classic, 1963. Print.
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