the noble savage in Frankenstein

Topics: Romanticism, Mary Shelley, Frankenstein Pages: 4 (1597 words) Published: February 1, 2008
Examine in historical contexts the theme of the noble savage in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.

The time in which Mary Shelley was writing was one of great change both scientifically and religiously, with the movement from Enlightenment to Romanticism there was much interest in scientific subjects and other explanations of human origins than from what is described in the bible. Shelly would have been very influenced by her husband Percy Shelley, who preferred the Greek myth of Prometheus to explain our origins. As well as interest in the science and especially electricity the Romantics were also interested in nature and its endless possibilities, and the concept of the sublime. Everything during the Romantic Movement was very much to do with emotions and sensations, which is why the character of the monster would have been so much more poignant to the people reading Frankenstein. It makes him easier to relate to and to sympathise with as he is connected to nature and uses his sensations of pain and hunger to learn. This is also linked to the idea of the noble savage and the monster as the embodiment of the idea. As the monster is at one with nature and has no immoral thoughts, he is even a vegetarian. The monster is only affected by the other vices of men once he starts to learn of the culture and no longer rely on his senses to teach him. The industrial revolution would have had a major impact on the writings of the romantics as it gave a new view towards nature and the in particular the native people of new countries such as Australia and America. They were seen as Enlightened because they had no use for money or machines and they were seen without the obvious sins of the western people such as greed and jealousy. They were however seen as savages as they had not moved on and developed as a society from the beginning of the human race, they still behaved like animals, and went out hunting with spears and bows and arrows. Yet they were seen as noble people...
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