Foils In Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

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Foils are characters who contrast the protagonist’s traits in order to emphasize them. In many cases there is more than one foil to a character. Frankenstein, Or, The Modern Prometheus by Mary Shelley provides an example of multiple foil characters. Elizabeth Lavenza, Robert Walton and Henry Clerval each counteract the main character, Victor Frankenstein. The most effective foil, however, is the creature Victor brings to life. As the differences, and sometimes similarities, between the two characters and actions of the creature are revealed to readers are introduced to Victor Frankenstein’s understated traits. Bringing out Frankenstein’s traits is the creation of the “monster”. First, it shows the scientific and humanistic mind of Victor …show more content…
These malevolent actions bring out Frankenstein’s anger and guilt for creating a “monster”. He explains that he is in despair for his construction of the gruesome thing that “had desolated [his] heart and filled it forever with the bitterest remorse” (Shelley 201). Not only do the creature’s vicious actions display anger and guilt, but they also reveal the love and care that Frankenstein holds for the people that were hurt by the “monster”. Frankenstein cares so much for those that were destroyed that revenge against the murderer “is the devouring and only passion of [his] soul” (Shelley 243). There would be no need for revenge if he did not care for William, Alphonse, Elizabeth, and Clerval. Frankenstein even contemplates whether to commit suicide, but he decides against it when he remembers who all was hurt by the …show more content…
Where the creature uses both similarities and differences as a method of foiling the character, other characters such as Walton, Elizabeth and Clerval use mostly their differences. Elizabeth is kind and caring; Frankenstein is not. Walton is optimistic and wants to make friends whereas Frankenstein is negative and isolated. Clerval is interested in romance and is a selfless, gentle man, but Frankenstein is more interested in humanistic science and is very impulsive as well as selfish. Each of these characters has a few personality traits that are polar opposites of Frankenstein. The creature is a more effective foil because he does more than that; he also has experiences that differ Frankenstein’s which helps the readers see how the protagonists’ trials have affected

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