Subjective Humanity In Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

Subjective Humanity
The Nonhuman Rights Project, a group working to attain legal personhood and therefore the same rights that people possess for animals, states in their mission that, “We work to secure legally recognized fundamental rights for nonhuman animals through litigation, advocacy, and education.” This particular group wants to redesign the definition of a human to include animals, but the idea that the characteristics that define a human are subjective has graced society since the beginning of time. Specifically, the book Frankenstein by Mary Shelley explores the characteristics of humans through the invention of a new type of creature by Victor Frankenstein. However, the creature in Frankenstein directly opposes the key characteristics
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When referring to the monster, Victor never uses a name or anything of the sort, instead “[beholding] the wretch - the miserable monster whom [he] had created” (Shelley 48.) In another instance, where the creature sees Victor for the first time since his creation Victor meets him with cries of “Abhorred monster! Fiend thou art! [...] Wretched devil!” (Shelley 83). Considering that a name defines a person, Victor’s choice to not use a name but instead use derogatory terms like “wretch” “monster” “fiend” and “devil” further explains Victor never intended to make the creature human. People need names to function in society because even in Mary Shelley’s time, someone could not get a job, own land, or get married without a name. These the creature cannot participate in these everyday acts, leaving him on the edges of society. Also, humans use names to connect with each other, using them to identify each other and remember each other. Without a name, the creature possesses no type of individuality, a key trait specific to human, consequently making him a …show more content…
The creature, however, cannot be a human because Victor Frankenstein made him in his own fallen likeness, with an incredibly large stature and no personal identity. Victor’s role in the creation of the monster defines whether the monster can be described as human or not and in the same way, God’s role creator ultimately separates humans from all other beings. Yet, today’s culture slowly forgoes their special identity as creations of God by looking to find themselves in other subjective beliefs in order to not bind themselves to an absolute truth. Those who do not believe in a higher power would say that humanness is subjective and therefore if people want, they can say that animals should receive the same rights as humans. While pursuing meaning in life in this way does bring some pleasure at first, it always leaves those who adhere to this belief system empty and unfulfilled, as only God can define and fulfill a person. For this reason, society as a whole needs to make finding the objective truth about the essence of humanity a priority, because when people feel secure in their identity, they can live more purposefully and intentionally, truly living life to its fullest

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