The Archetype of a Noble Savage
The definition of a noble savage is a primitive human representing natural goodness and simplicity when not encumbered by civilization. When born, humans are naturally good. We are naturally benevolent and compassionate creatures and it is only through the corruption from society and others do we become immoral. The Monster consistently displays this trait by doing noble things, but by the influence of society he becomes evil and malicious. Therefore, the idea of the “noble savage,” that all human beings are naturally good and that any evil they develop is a result of the corrupting force of civilization, is portrayed by Victor Frankenstein’s creation in Mary Shelly’s novel Frankenstein. Frankenstein’s creation was inherently good and he showed that fact when he showed compassion towards De Lacey and his family. When the monster was first born he observed the De Lacey family. “I had been accustomed, during the night, to steal a part of their store for my own consumption, but when I found that in doing this I inflicted pain on the cottagers, I abstained and satisfied my self with berries, nuts, and roots.” (Shelly pg 107) He learned that by taking from the family, he hurt them, and he eventually began to pity them. He could have taken their food for his own personal gain but he knew that was wrong. He was never taught that it was wrong but he already knew. He had goodness in his heart without being taught to be good. After learning of the family’s status as poor farmers, the monster even began to help out anyway he can. He was grateful to the family for teaching him even though they didn’t know they were doing it. He showed his appreciation by gathering firewood for the family. He was never taught to appreciate the family and he wasn’t taught to do good things. It was an inbuilt instinct for him to do good things. He was born with the knowledge of good and bad and he also had the drive to commit noble acts. He...
Cited: Shelley, Mary. Frankenstein. St. Paul Minnesota: EMC/Paradigm, 1998. Print.
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