For centuries, there has been enormous controversy over whether inherited genes or environmental influences might affect one’s personality, development, behavior, intelligence and ability. While it is clear that physical characteristics are hereditary by nature, nurture is mostly in control when it comes to an individual's manners and character. Nature and Nurture are both major contributors to the development of the monster’s behavior in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Since the beginning of life, nature and nurture have influenced all living things to learn, live, and survive. Nature represents the biological qualities that organisms inherit at birth, while nurture represents the qualities that organisms acquire from society. In the novel, Frankenstein, Mary Shelley portrays the theme of nature versus nurture through characterization, setting, and irony in order to show that the creature created by Frankenstein would not have been a monster if society had not influenced him to be that way.
The theme of nature versus nurture is portrayed through characterization of both Frankenstein and his creature. It is a certainty that no one is able to have a kind and amiable stance on life when even its own creator or parent rejects it. Throughout Frankenstein, Victor Frankenstein rejects his creature that he had previously been so obsessed with. After spending months toiling over the creation of his product, the creature finally comes to life; but instead of being ecstatic and delighted, Victor is frightened by this and flees from the creature that so desperately needs him. He abandons the creature out of disgust because of its deformities and therefore initiates its long reign of terror against Victor’s friends and family. Because Doctor Frankenstein refuses to have anything to do with his creation, the creature is immediately afraid to trust and must learn the ways of life on his own. The creature is thrown into a world of misunderstanding and prejudice. It begins its...
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Shelley, M. Frankenstein. St. Paul: EMC/Pardigm Publishing, 1998.
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