Frankenstein, Theories Of Literature Baylor University, Literature 202 Research

676 words - 3 pages

Theories in Frankenstein:
· Freud’s Theory of the ‘Divided Self’: The divided self consists of 3 parts of the human mind- The id (which contains basic instinctual drives, is the ‘dark, inaccessible part of our personality’ and ‘knows no judgement of value: no good and evil, no morality’, the subconscious in every mind and the basis of our behaviour), the conscious ego (‘attempts to mediate between the id and reality’… ‘obliged to cloak the unconscious commands of the id with it’s own rationalizations’) and the ego (contains reason whereas the id contains passion, and is the aspect of ourselves which is encouraged to be dominant in civilised society and ‘is pushed with feelings of guilt if the id is indulged too much’.
Links to Frankenstein?
The doppelganger between Frankenstein and the monster symbolise the id and the ego, the creature being the embodiment of Frankenstein’s subconscious mind and the darkest part of his personality. Quote to use as an example: "Such a man has a double existence: he may suffer misery and be overwhelmed by disappointments, yet when he has retired into himself, he will be like a celestial spirit that has a halo around him, within whose circle no grief or folly ventures" However, in the text they are physically divided by two separate bodies, which allows the id to act independently without the intervention of the ego, and so the monster is irrational and murders William, Henry and Elizabeth in passion. This affects Frankenstein’s reliability as a narrator, as the ‘ego’ he is able to edit the account of the monster’s tale to Walton; if the monster truly is a doppelganger of Victor then perhaps he has a hidden desire to kill those that are murdered by the monster, which he disguises through the fact the ‘id’ is responsible for their deaths. E.g. Victor’s father states he ‘could not love a child as much as your brother’ when referencing William, which could evoke jealousy in Victor? Additionally, Elizabeth praises Justine as ‘the most grateful creature in the world’, yet there is little praise...

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