Theme Of Beauty And Morality In Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

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The following paper will discuss matters of beauty and morality. Different meanings of beauty exist in present society, however the term is most popularly associated with physical characteristics. Physical characteristics include both aspects of behaviour and form and are deemed beautiful when perceived as appealing by others. Morality is the ability for individuals to think rationally and decipher between what is right and wrong. In Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Shelley wrestles with themes of beauty and morality. Shelley’s emphasis on appearance in the early chapters of her novel suggests that the aesthetically pleasing are of good nature: however, in the latter, the reader is forced to recognize the prejudices in society made upon exterior …show more content…
The most prominent, “beautiful” figure of the novel is Elizabeth Lavenza. Victor Frankenstein describes Elizabeth by saying “her person was the image of her mind; her hazel eyes, although as lively as a bird’s, possessed an attractive softness (Shelley 66).” This quotation makes point of her physical qualities, such as her eyes, and how her eyes are sexually appealing to others. Victor is not the only one who is influenced by Elizabeth’s looks; Caroline Frankenstein further describes Elizabeth as “the most beautiful child she had ever seen, and shewed signs even then of a gentle and affectionate disposition (Shelley 66).” Caroline speaks of Elizabeth’s appearance in relation to morality; Elizabeth in her young age is viewed as morally good solely based on her exterior form. Additional characters in the novel also align with the “beautiful” description. For example, William Frankenstein is portrayed as “the most beautiful little fellow in the world; his lively blue eyes, dimpled cheeks, and endearing manners, inspired the tenderest affection (Shelley 71).” Here we see both physical characteristics of behaviour, viewed as endearing, and form, William’s lively eyes and dimpled cheeks. Likewise, when the creature comes across a picture of Caroline his thoughts communicated, “it was a portrait of a most lovely woman. In spite of my malignity, it softened and attracted me. For a few moments I gazed with delight on her dark eyes, fringed by deep lashes and her lovely lips (Shelley 155).” Indications of sexual connotation regarding Caroline’s appearance and its effect on the creature is most evident in this passage; Caroline’s image ignites warmth and passion in the creature, who is viewed as cold and heartless. Lastly, the creature’s description of Safie, “I beheld countenance of angelic beauty and expression. Her hair

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