Father Son Relationships In Frankenstein

Superior Essays
Mary Shelley’s frame story Frankenstein (1818) explores the dangers of scientific discoveries alongside challenging father-child relationships in a patriarchal society. Caryl Churchill’s play ‘A Number’ (2002) examines the ethics behind human cloning and questions if a patriarchal society can adjust to this through assessing father-son relationships. The unsuccessful way the men handle situations involving their children is the backbone for most of the troubles in the frame story and play. For instance, absent fathers like Victor Frankenstein and Salter deprive their sons (The Monster & B1) of protection, nurture, and comfort at their births, which is why they later avenge their fathers.
Even present fathers like Alphonse and Salter neglect
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Naturally, Salter’s parental irresponsibility is fatal to adult B1’s relationships. Contemplate how he disciplines his dog (“hitting [it] with a belt/keeping it shut [in a room]”) replicates the ways Salter treated him (30). Gabrielle Griffin states that Salter is more concerned with “doing fatherhood and not being a father” (15). B1 deprives Salter of everything he loves (‘killing’ B2). He severs Salter’s relationship with B2 just to obtain affection showing a consequence of parental irresponsibility. However, Salter’s monologue shows his true feelings on B1:
“I spared you [despite being this] disgusting thing...My darling…Can you tell me things I did” (52).

The strange dual personality shows in two contrasting sentences. His language is entirely negative showing he took on these ‘fatherly duties’ because he had to. Then backtracks this with ‘My darling’ to comfort B1. Resultantly, Griffin is right in her judgement. Salter uses affection to apologize to B1 for his mistreatment without actually apologizing. Moreover, destructive paternal relationships demonstrate the importance of the absent mother in a child’s
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The DeLacey’s present Shelley’s ideal family, because of De Lacey’s positive nature towards his children (“Oldman… [often encouraged his children]”) (108). De Lacey is the only character to identify The Monster as a human being. The Monster “seizes [De Lacey’s hand]” and despite feeling The Monster’s hand, De Lacey says “who are you?” instead of “what are you?” (130), but could not act as Agatha and Felix intervene. Egle LaMont demonstrates that Shelley’s frame story reinforces her three male protagonists’ “dysfunctional desires” (42). Yet, I think these “dysfunctional desires” comes from wanting “relationships which bind one human being to another” like a positive father-son relationship (53). From Walton’s unfulfilled desires for “the company of man [to sympathize with him],” to The Monster’s desire for “interchange” this is clear (67). The De Lacey’s “descended from a good family” hence why they inherent positive parent-child relations

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