This essay will examine the relationship between two sets of characters in two different books. In Mary Shelleys’ Frankenstein the relationship between Victor Frankenstein and The Monster he created will be discussed, by analysing both characters relationship to each other before detailing the effects this relationship had, on the others actions and how it led to their eventual downfall. In Matthew Lewis’ The Monk the relationship between Ambrosio and Matilda will be analysed and then compared to the aforementioned relationship in Frankenstein in order to highlight any similarities or differences in Ambrosios’ fall from grace as opposed to Victors.
In order to compare the relationship between Victor and The Monster it is important to highlight the traits and events that shaped Victor Frankenstein before he created The Monster, as it appears that Victor was so affected by his creation, that the creation of the ‘catastrophe’ and the events which unfolded signalled the end of Victor Frankenstein as he had previously existed. Victor was a highly motivated and intelligent young man who had a secure upbringing and a healthy social base as he matured. He was afforded the opportunity to learn about science and became totally obsessed with how far he could delve into the mysteries of life through his study of forgotten works of ancient alchemists. Victor in many ways mirrored the explorer Walton in his ambition to discover ‘those shores which I so ardently desire to attain’. He was so focused on the prize that he lost sight of his responsibilities and must be attributed a portion of the blame for the creatures fall from innocence.
Victor is driven and shaped by his ambition and single mindedness as he sees only the value of science in his creation and ultimately fails to nurture ‘his child’. His time spent working towards his goal and largely cut off from humanity may have caused him to lose part of his humanity alluding to the title of the ‘Modern day Prometheus’. Although ambition and scientific brilliance were abundant in Victor, a lack of paternal guidance and nurture towards his creation begins The Monsters descent from humanity and on to a path of isolation and murder. His actions, or lack thereof have a dramatic consequence on himself, as he is transformed from the creator of life to a man obsessed with the destruction of the life he has created.
Alternatively The Monster was born fully formed yet without knowledge, so could be compared to the birth of a baby, mentally at least. From the moment of his creation Victor rejects him which lays flawed foundations for The Monsters psychological development. When Victor awakens in his bed to find The Monster standing over him staring and smiling he is unsettled and rejects him again. If we think of this moment and replace The Monster with a child, who would have inevitably been in this scenario with one of their natural parents, we may say that the Monster was looking for security from ‘its father’. This occasion only served as a missed opportunity for nurture and bonding between the two and set the tone of The Monsters future place in society and relationship with each other. The appearance of The Monster horrifies Victor and this reason for rejection, is then commonplace among all of those who come into contact with the creature. Victors’ lack of guidance as a paternal figure, which The Monster viewed Victor as, was undoubtedly detrimental to his intellectual and moral development. This too is touched on in Victors childhood when he makes reference to his fathers’ lack of guidance of the science literature he was reading, "If, instead of this remark, my father had taken the pains to explain to me that the principles of Agrippa had been entirely exploded…I should certainly have thrown Agrippa aside and have contented my imagination…by returning with greater ardor to my former studies". If this was to be believed then it may be argued that Victors father may too...
Bibliography: Shelly, Mary; Frankenstein, Introduction and Notes by Dr Siv Jansson (Wordsworth Classics 1993).
Ed. Davies, David Stuart; Lewis Matthew: The Monk; (Wordsworth Classics 2009).
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