2 December 2018
The Consequences of Oppression
Man is a complex, irrational creature, blinded by ignorance. In Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Victor Frankenstein is an idealist scientist who ponders upon the principles of life. In search of dangerous knowledge, Frankenstein disregards the warnings about his research, ultimately creating an ugly, wretched monster. The relationship between creator and disciple is strained, often presenting itself through gothic elements like isolation and violence. The monster craves comfort but, rejected by society, begs Victor to demonstrate empathy. However, Victor’s apathetic behavior causes the Monster to exhibit violence, seeking revenge by murdering Frankenstein’s loved ones. In Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, she cautions readers about the treatment of beauty and injustice which will result in undesirable consequences of Oppression.
Beauty is often thought to reflect one’s inner character, but Shelley disapproves the concept through the personalities of Victor and Monster. Frankenstein has a normal, but highly valued European beauty appearance of whiteness. The monster, however, is hideous with a “dull yellow eye”, scarcely covered “yellow skin” and “straight black lips” (Shelley 55). Society would suggest that the beautiful is kind and the ugly to be an evil monster. Ironically, Victor is a cold-hearted man who cursed the creation’s physical appearance and ran away in horror. Initially, the monster was born innocent and yearned for his father’s attention, but Frankenstein’s reaction filled the monster with desolation. Their appearances allude to race tensions during Shelley’s era, with White men oppressing Black’s rights (Egginton). While White men were free to pursue opportunities, the monster (like black men) was angered by his suppression due to uncontrolled characteristics and sought vengeance against the oppressor. Although monster was isolated and miserable, he learned compassion by observing the DeLacey family. When he learned of their hunger, he stopped stealing and satisfied himself with foraging “berries, nuts and roots” and helped the family collect wood for warmth (Shelley 110). The monster’s affection for others greatly contradicts Victor’s selfishness and abandonment for others. Nevertheless, similar to Victor, the DeLacey’s misconceived the monster’s gentleness due to his grotesque appearance and attacked him. The family’s ignorance and alienation from society awoke his aggressive personality and the monster, especially directed his fury towards Victor. However, in the end, the monster demonstrates his inner ‘human’ emotions like sorrow and grief, creating a funeral pile for his Victor’s cold death (Shelley 220). Consumed by misery and self-hatred, the monster leaped from the windows and “soon borne away by the waves and lost in the darkness and distance” (Shelley 220). The monster’s jump completes the novel’s main gothic element that evil deeds...