Identity In Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

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The novel Frankenstein by Mary Shelley explores the topic of identity through the lens of nature versus nurture. Shelley argues that neither of these things makes the man, but rather that the decisions they make effect themselves and those around them. Victor Frankenstein claims to have been raised in a very healthy and nurturing environment. Frankenstein’s monster wasn’t raised in the home of a wealthy family, and instead woke suddenly in the lab of his creator, scared and mostly alone. These two very different situations should have made Frankenstein and his creation very different beings. Instead, the line between scientist and science experiment become increasingly blurred. In his search for an identity, the monster causes Frankenstein …show more content…
This is how the creature identifies himself through a lot of the story. The monster starts with an infantile mind and over time gains knowledge about how the world functions. However, there is constantly a lingering feeling of need for a connection to another being. “Of my creation and creator I was absolutely ignorant” the monster explains to Victor when they encounter each other in the mountains (108). Throughout his entire existence the monster had been isolated from humans, living in forests, the mountain, and the shed behind the De Lacy family’s cottage. Even though the monster is aware of how gruesome he is in appearance, he holds hope that people would make their judgements based on his inner nature (which he believes is kind) instead of basing their opinions on looks alone (103). Of course, he learned very quickly that this is not the nature of all humans, even though he wants to believe otherwise. Because he begins his life as a calm and somewhat sensible being, he is naïve enough in his relatively young age to believe that all beings feel the same. His creator didn’t stay around long enough to teach the monster the mechanics of the outside world or even give the creation a name. Instead, the creation is referred to as ‘monster’, ‘creature’, ‘wretch’ and ‘demon’ more than once through the story. Even though the monster spends a long time with the De Lacy family he barely gets …show more content…
Shelley’s novel certainly makes the argument that in the battle between nature versus nurture, neither one comes out on top. Though Victor was raised in a very loving and nurturing household, he becomes evil in nature and unable to sympathize with a creature that he created. The monster should by this standard be evil from the start and be unable to form connections and feel for other beings. This proves to be untrue simply in the fact that he continuously wants Frankenstein to see from his point of view and assist him in finding a family. The novel criticizes the nature versus nurture theory by giving readers two characters that should embody they ideals, and instead of turning out as expect they end up being very much

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