Frankenstein Prejudice Essay


Prejudice, or judging people with little or no evidence, is a recurring theme throughout Frankenstein. The first major incidence of it comes when Victor abandons his creature. Worse, when he wakes to see it reach out to him just hours after its 'birth', Victor assumes it means harm. In fact, it is simply the natural action of a 'child' reaching out for its 'parent'.

People who come across the Monster are all deceived by its appearance into thinking it will do them harm, when in reality it has been born with completely pure and good intentions. It is attacked by townspeople, beaten by Felix (who it thought could be a friend) and shot at by a peasant. It is no wonder it turns evil in the face of such prejudice. Shelley makes us question how we treat those who appear monstrous when we may be monsters ourselves.

Victor also suffers prejudice, in parallel with the Monster, when he is washed up in Ireland and treated with immediate suspicion and anger, called a 'villain', and accused of a murder he did not commit.

Justine suffers prejudice, and pays with her life, when she is accused of murdering a child. That child, William, is himself prejudiced. He insults the Monster with the same words Victor uses against it, when all it wanted was to make friends. Shelley is constantly showing her readers the destructive and isolating nature of prejudice.

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Man's Prejudice "Frankenstein" By Mary Shelley

In Frankenstein, Mary Shelley shows us Victor Frankenstein’s creature as a monster. He is hideous, violent, and terrifying. He torments his creator. He steals and murders. Appearing monstrous, he is rejected by his creator and all of society. However, William Godwin, Shelley’s father, offers another perspective in his book, Political Justice, when he observes that solitude is,The bitterest torment that human ingenuity can inflict… Solitude, absolutely considered, may instigate us to serve ourselves, but not to serve our neighbours. Solitude, imposed under too few limitations, may be a nursery for madmen and idiots, but not for useful members of society. (251-2)Like an ostracized human, Victor’s creation was not “born” a monster. Rather, society’s unremitting hatred and rejection transform him from human to monster.

In the creature’s first moments of life, he is innocent, only a baby, psychologically and emotionally. The first thing the creature sees is Victor, his “parent.” He wants Victor to touch him and love him. However, the creature’s yellow skin, watery eyes, and black lips horrify Victor. When he sees the creature standing over his bed, reaching out a hand to seek comfort, Victor imagines that the creatures means to “detain him” (86). He flees, thinking that he has “escaped” (86) from a murderous beast. In fact, he has only upset and confused an innocent creature. Rejected by his father, disturbed, and dejected, the creature runs off into a world he does not know.

In this miserable state, the creature must learn to survive. He learns to eat, drink, and clothe himself, even to use fire. Soon, however, he grows lonely again. Entering a village, he is met with the same abhorrence that his creator showed him. The villagers attack him and drive him out of town, forcing him to take refuge in a wretched hovel. However, he does not lose hope, for his new home is joined with that of some villagers. The creature longs deeply to be accepted by this family and spends countless days learning about them, their lives, and their language. He even aids them in their poverty by bringing them firewood. The creature is curious about the family’s relationships with one another because as far as he knows, “no father had watched [his] infant days, no mother had blessed [him] with smiles and caresses” (146). He hopes...

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