She makes constant reference to family and the concept of alienation and by examining how the creature is treated we can form a better view on whether he is a monster or a victim. Shelley quickly gets the reader involved in the story by enabling us to read the letters Walton writes to his sister. This epistolary style gives a sense of realism to the whole story and thus prepares us to hear Frankenstein and the creatures accounts later on through Waltons journal, which forms a frame for their versions of the story.
Because we are hearing Frankensteins version through the eyes of Walton, a romantic character, who bitterly feel(s) the want of a friend and quickly identifies Frankenstein as the sort of person who could satisfy this want, we may be hearing a biased version of the events. We also see the Creatures version told to Frankenstein and then recorded in Waltons journal. However, the eloquent rhetoric used by the creature give the impression that we are not reading an entirely prejudiced report of the creatures account who may otherwise have appeared less articulate and more like a babbling monster.
However, first of all I will examine Frankensteins narrative where we can see that there is regular emphasis put on the benevolence of the characters. His father passed his younger days perpetually occupied by the affairs of his country and his parents benevolent dispositions often made them enter the cottages of the poor. His mother is described as having a soft and benevolent mind and his own early childhood memories are of his mothers soft caresses and his fathers smile of benevolent pleasure.
This emphasis on the importance of benevolence can be traced to Shelleys father, William Godwin a radical thinker who believed that universal benevolence would create a just and virtuous society and that a true solitaire could not be considered a moral being. Shelley by dedicating her book to her father would seem to be showing that she believed and shared in some of his philosophy and this would appear to be the case here. Before we hear the creatures story we see the use of both Romantic and Gothic imagery setting the scene.
Frankenstein is enjoying the beauty of nature when a noble war in the sky takes place. This is a description of a storm which is taking place and Shelley frequently uses the weather and sublime scenery before the entry of the creature or when something unpleasant is about to take place. If we then start to look at the creatures narrative reported by Frankenstein to Walton (thus showing how Shelley has used a set of enclosing narratives Waltons narrative being the framing narrative with Frankensteins story enclosed in this and the creatures enclosed within that.
) we see that his story is totally the opposite to Frankenstein. When we do see the entry of the creature we see that his first memories are the opposite to Frankensteins, they are not of benevolence he is rejected by his creator, followed by the repulsion and horror of the shepherd, followed by the villagers chasing him off and the DeLaceys and finally after saving the life of a young girl he is shot by a man. Accordingly, in his own words: I was benevolent and good; misery made me a fiend.
The idea of the unfallen state of innocence possessed before the creatures corruption, brought about from his contact with society, is something Shelley had come into contact with from her reading of Rousseaus books. The creature claims to have read Paradise Lost (believing it to be factual) and other books such as Plutarchs Lives and through these and listening to the DeLaceys he starts to build up a picture of the philosophy of society. He sees himself as the lowest of the low when he learns about the class system and when he sees his own reflection.
The latter he describes as miserable deformity. Consequently the solitary and abhorred creature who believes himself to be miserably alone compares himself to Adam. However he realises that Adam had not been alone and his creator had not turned from him in disgust and abandoned him. Because no Eve soothed my sorrows nor shared my thoughts he sees that his only hope of happiness is to have a female version of himself created. Thus we see again parallels being drawn with the Paradise Lost story.
Using eloquent and persuasive language Frankenstein is persuaded to create a second creature. Of course, he later decides against this and we see the creature once again facing a life alone, miserably alone and it is in this state we see him once again causing death and destruction. Some readers see that the book is a rejection of the excess of romanticism, perhaps Shelley saw this excess in her husband Percy and felt the need to voice an objection. If a person becomes obsessed with the pursuit of knowledge then things can go wrong and this could be seen to be the case with Frankenstein.
Others believe that Frankenstein represents a man who sees himself in the place of God who does not need a woman to have a child and if this is the case once again we can see that Shelley has shown how things can go wrong and instead of No father should claim the gratitude of his child as completely as I should deserve theirs we see a creature alone, miserably alone who sees the only way forwards is the annihilation of one of (them) Consequently, it is my opinion the creature was a victim and that this is the way that Shelley intended us to judge him.
She wished the readers to see that society has a responsibility for everyone. We should not judge people by their appearance and we should take responsibility for the less fortunate people in our society. She was writing at the time of the industrial revolution and when many new scientific theories were being advanced and perhaps saw the danger of what could happen if people failed to take responsibility for their actions and perhaps even believed that it would one day be possible to create beings and wanted to ensure that scientists would see that they had a responsibility for anything that they did create.
The creature had no loving family or friends and no one to guide him and therefore it is inevitable that he would turn into a monster but a monster because of the way he had been treated and therefore a victim. Am I to be thought the only criminal, when all human kind sinned against me?