How far and in what ways do you agree with this view of Shelley’s presentation of suffering?
Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein presents suffering through a variety of different mediums, however whether or not that suffering is deserved varies depending on the construction of the character. The novel was written in 1818 in the latter stages of the Gothic literary genre; Shelley incorporates the gothic theme when enabling two types of character – those who are innocent victims and those which are responsible for their own predicament. In creating and then running from his creation, Victor has behaved with culpable irresponsibility, and thus provoked the Creature’s revenge. Victor can therefore be seen as deserving of the suffering brought his way, due to his irreparable damage as a result of his initial neglect of ‘the monster’. Nonetheless, one could deduce that it is the responsibility of the Creature to recognise his own destructive actions.
Shelley creates Victor’s first person recollecting narration to be arrogant and selfish in nature.
In chapters 1 through 3, Victor is shown to be overly content: “no human being could have passed a happier childhood than myself”, he has an “eager desire to learn” which fuels his satisfaction. Such contrast between his gratification before the creation of ‘the monster’, and his constant suffering which is imposed after, emphasises the mistake which was “trying to play god”: “When man tries to play God, he messes up the process…When Frankenstein made the daemon, he created something that only brought chaos upon his life” (Chris Jones). Victor is the sole creator of all the anguish and thus holds undivided responsibility; this is ultimately presented when the monster refers to him as “my tyrant and tormenter”. Fred Botting writes that “[the monster’s] subsequent violence displays the equally human interrogation of human characteristics that revolted him” consequently it is